Unlike many tourist destinations, Gili offers you the best of both worlds; you can choose to have a lavish holiday splurging on luxury accommodation, cuisine and drinks, or completely contrary to that, Gili can also be done on a tight budget, whilst still having fun!
Here is your “Gili on a budget” guide: (Prices in US $)
Hostel and backpacker style accommodation is available ranging from about $11 – $18 a night usually including breakfast.
The main hostels if you’re a solo traveler wanting to socialize and make new friends are Gili Beach Bum Hotel, Gili Castle and Broken Compass. Both are equipped with 3 beds per room, swimming pool with epic pool parties, bar, air con, and the friendliest staff ever starting at $14.50.
There are quite a few other hostel style accomodation on the island too. Like La Boheme, Klapa and Good For Ya Knee.
Gilifit Gym and Fitness Center also offer a range of different “Island Style” accommodation within a budget price range starting from $7,50 including hammock rooms, teepee, lumbung, or garden rooms which also includes free gym access, breakfast and an indoor movie room for those rainy Gili days.
There are also Homestays on Gili. This is generally your own single standing room and bathroom. One homestay will be made up of a few of these rooms and often guests have the option to a shared kitchen and chill/lounging area. They would range from about $7 – $30 a night, depending on your preferences on level of comfort, location etc.
At the daily night market on Gili T you can get away with a decent size portion of food for under $2. By eating at the night market, you get a great cultural experience, a really good taste of authentic Indonesian cuisine and at a price that will hardly even touch your wallet.
Warungs: A Warung is generally a small family-owned restaurant or café selling Indonesian cuisine and often a few western dishes too, like burgers, fish and chips etc. We love Rosa’s Warung on the main strip. It has the best Nasi dishes and she is just so friendly and the service great. Warung Family is perfect for those lazy days as they will deliver straight to you. If you can’t find one of these 2, don’t stress, there is a warung around every corner.
Local Restaurants like Juku Marlin and Oceans 2 have super cheap deals everyday only costing around $2.50 plus free soup and salad while you wait for your meals. Thank You Café is another good option for cheap meals with a good vibe.
Street Stalls: There is no shortage of cheap and yummy places to grab a bite to eat, with night market and street stalls selling crepes, corn, rice and a lot of new local food to experience for as little as $1 – $2.
Watch out for happy hour specials at a lot of the bars around the island.
For example Jungle Bar have the best happy hour on the island from 8 – 10 pm everyday. Jiggy Bar offer an open bar on Sunday’s between 8:30 – 10:30, Irish Bar also have ladies night on Sundays with half price cocktails.
You’ll also get good deals at the hostel bars, and even meet a few new people while grabbing a drink there.
Lots of bars and restaurants have two for one cocktail specials over sunset time. (especially on sunset side of the island)
Go local – Local spirits are quite a bit cheaper than import spirits, and to put your mind at ease, they are safe to consume.
Snorkel: For $2 – $4 you can hire snorkel equipment and hit up the most pristine snorkeling spots around the island and do some turtle spotting.
Hire a bicycle: $3 – $4 will get a you a bicycle for a day. Explore the island and go all the way around to discover beautiful hidden spots, untouched beach areas and some tranquility.
An afternoon beer pong match in the sunshine is ALWAYS an excellent idea and all it costs is the beer.
Hanging out with the locals doesn’t cost a thing, unless you want to shout the beer, and its one of the most fun things to do on the island. Listen to their stories, sing along with the guitar and why not learn a bit of Bahasa too!
Cinemas: There are a few outdoor cinemas screening movies at night on the beach if you feel like relaxing after a big day of adventure. Gilifit also has an indoor cinema playing movies all day with over 1000 to choose from and its free to use if you buy a drink or snack from the health bar.
Island hop: For as little as $2,5 you can catch a public boat to Gili Air, Gili Meno or even Lombok.