The Gili Islands are a picturesque representation of paradise. They are surrounded by an azure sea, white beach, and palm trees, and they float in the middle of the water. They are also doing far better than those in any other part of Indonesia. New, hip hotels are springing up all over the place like mushrooms in the fall, and speedboats ferry tourists all the way from Bali.
The islands’ generally laid-back culture, the alternative spirit that Western partygoers brought with them, and a vibrant green sense are all being pulled in opposite directions by the draw of large visitor money. Even while nobody knows what the future holds, the Gilis have managed to preserve their laid-back allure for the time being (partly due to local efforts to exclude dogs and motorbikes from the islands).