JET SET EXPERIENCES: Finding paradise in the Gili Islands

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Nestled off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia, sit three idyllic islands where the water is a mesmerizing turquoise blue, the beaches are powder soft white sand, and the radiant sun descends behind neighboring Bali’s famous volcano. Best of all: there are no motorized vehicles, which makes horse drawn carriages, bikes, and walking the preferred modes of transportation!

Each island has its own unique charm. Gili Meno, the middle and the smallest of the islands, is known as the “Honeymoon Island” due to its secluded beaches. Gili Air is closest to Lombok and has retained its local character and quiet vibe. By contrast, Gili Trawangan (known as Gili T), is the largest and most cosmopolitan of all the islands with trendy restaurants and alluring nightlife. Due to the islands popularity, boutique hotels are popping up all over, but maintain the unified focus on sustainability to protect the local environment.

I was fortunate enough to have just visited the Gili Islands on my “engagement-moon.” Each perfect day in paradise started with fresh squeezed juices and eggs benedict followed by a brisk digestive ride around Gili Air for about 30 minutes. We would then rent snorkeling gear and jot around the island to explore different bays, which were breathtaking amid the reflections cast from approaching the storm. For lunch, we savored fresh seafood on the beach followed by a relaxing massage where we were lulled by the sound of the waves. As the day wound down, we found ourselves lounging on plush cushions enjoying local music and with tropical cocktails in hand admiring the most beautiful sunset that seemed to last for hours.

To taste your own slice of paradise, contact Courtney Sheeley at