Gili Air can be described as the middle ground between Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno, as in many ways it is a mixture of both.
The island is more developed than Gili Meno, so you will find more bars, restaurants, and cafes, although it does not have the nightlife scene that Gili Trawangan boasts of. As such, Gili Air can be a good compromise if you are looking for a place a bit less secluded than Gili Meno but a bit quieter than Gili Trawangan.
As with both the other Gili Islands however, the main focus on Gili Air is swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. A white sand beach runs around the island and off shore you can find clear seas and pretty coral reefs. Much of the interior of the island is a coconut plantation and little roads cross over the area – making the island easier to explore and much more interesting than Gili Meno. If you are not sure which island to visit on your first visit to the Gili Islands then this can be a good spot to base yourself before moving on to either Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno depending on your preferences.
Just like Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno, Gili Air does not offer much in terms of attractions, but the island has some lush foliage and pathways that run across it that are well worth exploring. You can also snorkel on all sides of the island and there is a wealth of underwater life, so expect to see colorful fish, rays, and maybe even a turtle or two if you are lucky. Aside from these few activities however there is little else to do other than swim or sunbathe or just take in the atmosphere while reading a book.
You can get to Gili Air from other neighboring Gili islands, Bali, or Lombok via public ferries and fast private boats. Boats from Bali leave from Sanur or Padang Bai, while boats from Lombok leave from Senggigi or Bangsal.
The only options to get around Gili Air are to either walk or hire a bicycle. It is well worth hiring a set of wheels here as this is one of the nicer and easier islands to explore thanks to the little tracks that run all over the interior. There are no cars on the island but there are a few horses and carts that can also be hired to take you around.
Gili Air has more options than Gili Meno when it comes to food and nightlife although not as many as Gili Trawangan. You can find a range of restaurants that serve both Indonesian and Western food and while you will not exactly find fine dining here, you will find some good mid-range spots. Some nice bars can also be found along the beaches that make a great place to stop and watch the sunset with a drink, with some even featuring live music. One of the bars has a kind of dance floor and is the closest thing Gili Air has to an actual nightclub.
Gili Air can be a nice change of pace to both party-heavy Gili Trawangan and sleepy Gili Meno. For this reason it seems to attract a range of visitors including solo travelers, couples, and families with children. The water sports like snorkeling here are worth the trip alone, and the island is more accessible and nicer to walk or bike around than the others. If you want to find pleasant beaches and some solid restaurants and bars then this is a good choice.