Gili Trawangan Travel Guide
Updated April 2020, Gili Trawangan Travel Guide was originally written in December 2015
Gili Trawangan, or Gili T as its more commonly called is a tiny island off the coast of Lombok and is the largest of the three Gili Islands. Easily reached by speed boat from either Lombok or Bali, Gili T makes a great addition to anyone visiting this heavenly slice of Indonesia. Learn everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip in this Gili Trawangan Travel Guide.
Gili Trawangan Quick Tips
- Boats: Ferries and speed boats connect the Gilis with Bali and Lombok.
- Visas: Most nationalities can enter Indonesia visa-free for 30 days.
- Weather: Gili Trawangan is hot and humid year-round. The dry season tends to fall between June and August, which coincides with the peak season. December and January are also popular months to visit because of school holidays.
- Language: Officially Bahasa Indonesian is the language spoken on the Gili Islands, though the Gilis do have their own unique dialect. Getting by on only English isn’t a problem here as most everyone that works in tourism knows some degree of English.
- Money: The Indonesian Rupiah is the currency of the country. As of November 2019, the current exchange rate is $1 USD = 14,000 IDR. There are ATMs on the island, but I’d advise bringing cash with you to the Gilis as the ATMs out here seem to have problems frequently.
How To Get To Gili Trawangan
The Gilis are reachable only by ferry and fast boat. Fast boats go for $30-40 and can be booked from Lombok, Bali or Nusa Penida. The transit times are and 15 minutes, 60-90 minutes depending on the departure point, and 2 hours, respectively, though these times can be slower during bad weather.
Getting Around Gili Trawangan
Getting around Gili T will be done either by cidomo (horse-drawn cart), on a bicycle or on foot. Gili Trawangan is small enough that you could walk its entire coast in 2 hours, 1 hour if on a bicycle. Cidomo are handy if you’re staying further from the ferry terminal and have luggage.
Which Gili Island Should I Visit & Stay On?
Gili Trawangan is one of three Gili Islands, the others being Gili Meno and Gili Air. They each have unique atmospheres, which may change up which one you decide to stay on. Gili T is has a reputation as a party island, but you can stay there and have a peaceful and tranquil time. Gili T has the most in the way of accommodation options, nightlife, and activities. Gili Air is quieter and more geared towards couples and families with a more relaxed vibe than Gili Trawangan. Gili Meno is the smallest and least developed island of the three with the best beaches of the Gilis and perfect for those looking to get away from it all.
Want to visit them all? Don’t fear, you can easily stay on one Gili and make day trips to the others, or book an island hopping tour to visit all three.
Where To Stay In Gili T
Gili T seems to have the full array of accommodation types for all budgets from the backpacker fighting for the last rupee to bougie luxury resorts.
Where To Stay In Gili Air
Gili Air prices are just slightly higher than Gili T, but still runs the gammut from budget to luxury.
| Booking.com |
Where To Stay In Gili Meno
Gili Meno has a more rustic feel to the island as well as its accommodation options, though luxury can be found here.
What To See & Do
With beautiful white sands and warm waters lapping at the shore, beach bumming it is probably one of the best things to do in the Gilis.
Go Island Hopping
Want to see all three Gili Islands but don’t want to be bothered with shuffling luggage between the three? Why not do a half-day island hopping and snorkeling cruise? Shop island hopping tours here.
Spending time in Bali too? Check out my Bali travel guide
Snorkeling & Diving
The Gili Islands have sublime snorkeling and diving with plenty of colorful aquatic life. Not PADI certified? All three islands have diving centers that offer open water certification. Click here to book your open water certification class. There are heaps of operators offering up snorkeling and diving day trips from Gili T as well. Click here to book a Gili Islands snorkeling trip.
The southern edge of Gili T has the best surf on the island. There are a few surfing resorts on the southside that you can expect to pay about 6,000,000+ IDR per week for room and surf lessons.
SUP is a great way to spend a morning in Gili Trawangan. You can rent SUP boards or take SUP yoga classes from Fly Gili.
Tour Gili Trawangan By Bike
For about 70,000 IDR per day you can rent a bicycle and cruise around Gili T. In about one hour’s time you can make a lap around the entire island.
Nightlife & Parties
Of the three Gili Islands, Gili T is widely known as the party island. Sama Sama, Jungle Bar, Jiggy Bar, Blue Marlin, Irish Bar, and Evolution Bar seem to be the most popular nightlife spots on Gili Trawangan. There are nightly parties that rotate through the bars each night of the week. Sama Sama was our favorite party spot when I was in the Gilis. Check out Wild & Away’s Ultimate Gili T Party Guide for more info on the best bars and the rotating party schedule.
Cheap Eats At The Night Market
Each night from 4-10 pm a lively night market opens up opposite the ferry terminal. From freshly grilled seafood to nasi goreng and all the delicious treats this is the place to go.
Or Do Absolutely Nothing
The beauty of the Gili Islands is that there isn’t too much to do, so if you wanna relax for a few days and not do much of anything at all you’re in luck.
What To Eat
Eating at street stalls is going to be the most budget-friendly allowing you to stuff your face for as little as 14,000 IDR for a meal. You can expect to pay 30,000-80,000 IDR for meals at good midrange restaurants on the island. Pituq Warung, Ikan, Pearl Beach, Joli Kitchen and Kayu Cafe all seem to be traveler favorites.
What To Pack For Gili Trawangan
- Microfiber Towel
- Sun hat
- Bug Spray
- Dry Bag
Use normal precautions that you would in most areas and you should have a problem-free visit in the Gili Islands, though things do happen from time to time, unfortunately. The biggest warning I had gotten prior to my visit was to avoid any hard alcohol out at bars. There have been cases of travelers getting sick and even dying from methanol poisoning after fake alcohol was added to liquor bottles to cut costs. We stuck with beers when out at night, but you can buy hard liquor from shops on the island.
Do not try to swim between the Gili Islands. Though they appear close, the current can get quite strong between them and you could get sucked out into the open sea.
Earthquakes do happen around here as Indonesia as a whole sits in an active zone. In 2018 a 7.0 earthquake struck near Mt. Rinjani over in Lombok, killing about 300 people and causing devastation and an evacuation of the Gilis. Though there is not much you can do about it, it is something to be aware of traveling in this part of the world.
Have Any Questions About Visiting Gili Trawangan?
Ask in the comments section below!