Gili Trawangan is historically a backpackers mecca and party paradise. But it’s come a long way, and now all types can explore the beautiful beaches of this stunning island.
A small Island about 15 minutes of the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. It is the main island of a group of three, the other two being Gili Meno and Gili Air.
Despite having beautiful, tranquil, peaceful beaches, Gili Trawangan is for the most part, a party island. For the tiny island that it is, it is packed full of international tourists.
However, Gili T, as it’s otherwise known, has developed into much more over the recent years. The east side of the island (where the boat drops you off) is the most developed, with loads of restaurants, bars, accommodation and diving schools and it is here that most of the party goers reside. The west side is relatively quiet with luxury resorts and not much else, but great for a family holiday or a romantic getaway. The north and south ends are a little closer to the action without being right in the thick of it, and the south end in particular has some nice accommodation options here.
The island is tiny. You can walk around the entire island in about 2hrs, or ride your bike around it. There is no motored transport on the island, only walk, bicycle or cidomo (think donkey and cart).
We tried to ride bikes around the island which was amazing until there was no longer road but sand. And then we pushed our bikes around the island. Great work out, or it would have been if we didn’t stop at the beach every 20 mins and have a cocktail and a snack! The beach is perfect for snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding.
So you can come here and party, dive, laze on the beach, snorkel, explore the island, swim or ride bikes. But I think the best thing about Gili Trawangan these days, is you can make it what you want. There are enough accommodation and activity options spread in different locations on the island that the choice is yours.
The Ugly Truth
- The main strip on the island can party well into the early hrs of the morning. If that’s not what you are there for, don’t stay in this area, as it will feel like your sleeping in the middle of a club.
- The island is tiny, and unless you want to spend a week diving or partying, you will probably be happy staying here for 2 – 5 days.
- Drugs are readily available and Indonesia has very strict drug laws and you should avoid drugs without exception. Although police presence is minimal, police raids and arrests have occured on the Gili Islands.
- If you decide to go for a drink, please note there has been incidences of drink spiking and methanol present in drinks. Be careful and stick to pre-packaged bottles of brands you know.
- There is no hospital, but a small clinic, on the island. If you need to get to a hospital your nearest is on mainland Lombok.
The Silver Lining
- It may be a tiny island but its got a whole lot of beauty. Some of the most beautiful beaches I have seen. And it’s fun being able to ride around the entire island in a few hours.
- Gili T might be a ‘party island’ but you can easily occupy your time with other activities. Gili T has much more to offer.
- If you’re here to party Gili T knows how to throw a good one.
On Gili Trawangan beaches there are bars, restaurants, diving schools, snorkelling and other water sports. Enough to do to keep you busy, or simply just lay on one of it’s beautiful beaches and relax.
You can also get a boat to Gili Meno and Gili Air for the day. And mainland Lombok is not far away if you wish to spend some of your time here.
- Gili Air and Gili Meno can be reached by boat and takes about 15 minutes between each.
- Senggigi Lombok is about 45 minutes away (15 minute speedboat ride and 30 minute taxi).
- Bali is approx. 1.5 – 2 hrs away by speedboat, or you can catch a plane from Lombok International Airport (but you will need to take a 15 minute speedboat to Lombok, then approx. 1. 5 hrs drive to the Airport).
A Day At Gili Trawangan
Morning: Hire a bicycle and start your journey around the island. Stop off at the Gili Trawangan beaches and restaurants as you go.
Afternoon: Try out paddle boarding and snorkelling, or just relax on the beach. Then head to the north end and have a beer in one of the bungalows on the beach.
Evening: Walk to Karma Kayak to take in the sunset. Walk back to the main strip for dinner or a drink.
Things To Do
It really depends what you come to Gili T to do, but there is a range of activities. If you want to dive, snorkel, swim or party then you will be in heaven. But much of the appeal is relaxing and exploring the island.
- Water sports (Diving, snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, free diving)
- Partying (mostly backpacker crowds and there are different venues for different nights of the week)
- Island hopping between the Gili Islands