Do you want to know what it’s like to work remotely from Gili Islands, and if that’s even possible? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Today, I’m going to show you all the good, the bad, and the nomadic that this tropical location has to offer. What’s more, I’m going to break down the potential connectivity and visa concerns, and so much more. So let’s get into it!
Gili Islands for Digital Nomads at a Glance
- Sandy beaches and beautiful vistas.
- Low cost of living.
- Loads of activities.
- Frequent power loss.
- Patchy connectivity.
An Introduction to Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are an archipelago that consists of three islands, affectionately known as the Gili Island Triplets. There’s Gili Trawangan (Gili T), Gili Air, and Gili Meno. All three islands are big tourist attractions and have several resorts and huts for tourists.
Since the 1980s, two of the three Gili Islands have become a hotspot for rave/party tourism, as they’re rarely policed. In Gili Meno and Gili Air, locals sell psychedelics openly on the streets to tourists.
Traveller’s Advice: Keep in mind that Indonesian drug laws are extremely harsh and prohibit any drug possession. In fact, the punishment for drug possession can carry the death penalty.
Connectivity in Gili Islands
If you want to work remotely from Gili Islands, it’s not going to be an easy feat due to power connectivity. The islands often experience WiFi or power loss, at times lasting for hours.
WiFi in Gili Islands
Overall, Indonesia has a pretty bad rating on speedtest.net, and the average download speed is 21.35. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Gili Islands don’t really shine when it comes to WiFi coverage.
Of course, there are cafes across all three islands with free WiFi where you can sit, and get some work done. However, the internet connection is spotty, at best, and you shouldn’t be surprised if it simply cuts out.
If you want a reliable internet connection (which I’m sure you do), you should pick up a USB modem or portable internet while on the mainland. I recommend taking a look at packages from either JavaMifi, Webspot, or Telkomsel.
4G and Mobile in Gili Islands
Speaking of a USB modem, you can get a Telkomsel Flash Sim card for your phone. The overall reception is pretty solid across all three islands, but don’t expect anything better than a 3G connection.
Mobile Internet Providers
If you want to improve your chances of getting a good reception and decent internet speeds, you should go to a reputable provider. The top four mobile internet providers in Indonesia are:
- XL Axiata
- IM3 Ooredoo
- 3 (Tri)
Telkomsel is the biggest provider, has the widest coverage, and they’re active in every Indonesian province. The fastest service you can get with them is 4G/LTE, and you can buy their cards pretty much everywhere. Also, SIM card prices are extremely low, with the basic packages starting at Rp 2.000 ($0.14).
Visas and Documentation for Gili Islands
If you want to work remotely from Gili Islands while enjoying the warm weather and delicious food, you’ll most likely need a visa. Now, let’s take a look at the most common types, and exactly what you need to get them.
The 169 Visa-Free Country list entitles some foreign travelers to a visa exemption. They can enter Indonesia from 124 different checkpoints, and are granted a stay of 30 days, which they can’t extend. The mandatory requirements for an exemption are a passport of at least 6-month validity, as well as return tickets.
Visa on Arrival
There’s also a visa-on-arrival list, which includes 68 countries, and its holder is given a stay of 30 days. A DN can extend their stay once at the Immigration Office for 30 days. The Visa on Arrival has the same mandatory requirements as the exemption.
With a Visit Visa, you can stay up to 60 days, and you can extend it five times, each time for a 30-day stay. You can apply for one in an Indonesian Embassy or a Consulate. To receive a Visit Visa, you need:
- Passport with 6-month validity
- Application/Guarantee Letter
- Copy of bank accounts
- Return/through tickets
- Re-entry permit
Multiple Visits Visa
If you’re traveling to Indonesia for Business, Family, or a Governmental visit, you can apply for the Multiple Visit Visa. It is valid for one year, and you would be given a non-extendable 60-day stay each time you visit. Also, the requirements are the same as the ones for a Visit Visa, except your passport needs to be valid for at least 18 months.
Where Digital Nomads Live & Work in Gili Islands
When considering how and where to work remotely from Gili Islands, two places stand out — Gili T and Gili Air. I’m not going to include Gili Meno because it’s not DN-friendly at all, even though it is a great vacationing spot.
The majority of people living in Gili Air, apart from the locals, of course, are scuba divers, yogis, and DNs. The vibe is pretty relaxed, and no one ever seems to be in a rush to get anywhere. If you’re looking for a place that will force you to stop to smell the flowers — you should definitely check out Gili Air.
Living in Gili Air
To track down a place to stay, you can browse AirBnB or booking.com. The prices range from 10s to 100s of dollars, and there’s a wide variety of properties to choose from.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for permanent accommodations, you can either join a Facebook group, Gili Air – Original Pinboard, or find a real estate agent.
Working from Gili Air
If you want to work remotely from Gili Islands, Gili Air’s probably your best bet. The top places to work in Gili Air are Sharkbites, a craft beer bar, Breadelicious, a chill coffee spot, and B52, a modern coffee shop.
All of them offer decent WiFi speeds, depending on the occupancy, not to mention great drinks and a friendly local community.
Gili Trawangan is one of the top nightlife destinations in Indonesia, and there are tons of bars with live entertainment. So, you definitely won’t have any trouble filling out your free time.
Living in Gili Trawangan
Gili T is home to luxury resorts, which, if you have the budget, are a great choice because of the free WiFi. Additionally, as a budget-friendly option, I recommend checking out Airbnb. Here, you’ll be able to find more affordable rooms, which start at around $20 per night.
Working from Gili Trawangan
Like Gili Air, if you want to work on Gili T, you’ll most likely have to find a café or work from your hotel. One of my personal favorites, Scallywags café, offers comfortable seating, internet connection, and power sockets.
How is Gili Islands for Digital Nomads — My Final Thoughts
If you want to work remotely from Gili Islands, you’re not going to have it easy. The power outages and low connectivity leave a lot to be desired for any digital nomad. So if your heart is set on going, I recommend vacationing rather than working from the tropical paradise.