Picture this: a relaxing beautiful island, bikes instead of cars, delicious food, hippie vibes, shallow sea, white sand and evening live music. This is Gili Trawangan, a beautiful island off Lombok, Indonesia. In this blog post, I will provide a full travel guide to Gili Trawangan (or Gili T). I will run you through things to do, how to get there, costs, Wi-Fi speed and extra tips.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
How to get to Gili Trawangan
Easy! There are speedboats reaching Gili Trawangan from many places in Bali, Lombok and nearby islands.
Check out this website for tickets. The price would vary based on distance. Just to give you an idea, a speedboat ticket from Padang Bai (Bali) to Gili T. could be around £20 (one way) and the boat ride is between 1h30 to 2hrs. I would highly recommend bringing a seasick pill with you or taking it before boarding because the journey could be quite rough at times.
Once you arrive on the island, you might need to pay a small fee of about £2. This fee is only for tourists and people who don’t work on the island.
Extra tip: when leaving Nusa Trawangan, it’s better to book your boat in person rather than online. This is because if the sea is rough they would change the boat’s schedule or service provider. It happened to me before and it took a long time to get my refund!
Things to do On The Island
#1 Water sports
- Scuba diving: This island is very hot for scuba and free diving. You will literally see incredibly deep pools where people train, especially on the east side of the island. It’s also a great place to get your diving licence if you haven’t already.
- Snorkelling trips: Snorkeling experiences are also incredible here. You can swim with turtles (if you are lucky) and check out the “Nest” which is a circle made of 48 full-sized statues underwater. These statues were installed in 2017 and it shows human couples hugging each other. The aim of this art installation is to remind visitors of the fragility and preciousness of the sea.
In order to book these activities I would suggest arranging everything locally. There are stands on the street providing excursions or you can ask directly at your hotel. However, regarding diving, I found this place really popular on the island.
#2 Rent a bike
Oh, this was my favourite activity!
Gili T is quite a small island and cycling from east to west would take 30 minutes MAX. I just enjoyed random bike rides, getting lost and ending up in a cows’ field! You can also cycle near the coast and do a round trip to the island. I would recommend renting the bike straight away for your entire stay. It will be cheaper than renting it by the day. You can rent the bike from your hotel or any bike stands on the road. I decided to rent it through the hotel so that at night I could leave it locked at the hotel rather than returning it to the stand. The price would be about IDR 40,000 (just over £2) per day.
Extra tip: If you are visiting during the rainy season, cycling around is a good way to avoid walking in puddles and mud!
#3 Watch the Amazing sunsets
Sunsets will be on the west side of the island and they are incredible. You can watch them while having a drink on the beach and hearing live music. I think sunsets in Gili T are magical!
#4 Try A yoga Class here
I tried these 2 yoga centres on the east side of the island and I really enjoyed them (see details below). They do traditional yoga classes (such as Yoga Flow, Yin or Hatha) but there are many other locations offering flying yoga classes (not really my thing).
- Gili Yoga – I used to go to this one every morning. Drop-in classes are about IDR 150,000 each (£8)
- Yoga Center Angel – This yoga studio is on the first floor and it has a really nice view of the sea. If I recall right, the price is the same as Gili Yoga.
#5 Listen to live music
I listened to live music at the Good Heart Resort every single night as it was right next to my last accommodation. This place is located on the east side of Gili T. The atmosphere is beautiful and they also make delicious desserts! That being said, don’t miss out on the beach clubs with live music on the west side of the island that come alive at sunset. My suggestion? Begin by witnessing the breathtaking sunset on the west side, then make your way to the east to revel in even more captivating live performances.
#6 Island hopping
This is a great activity to do from Gili T, which is actually part of the Gili Islands. So right next to Gili T, you will find Gili Air and Gili Meno. They are all very close to each other and there is a public boat covering them every day (ask your hotel for a time schedule). You could even spend a few days on Gili Air and Meno, however, these islands are much smaller than Gili T so there won’t be much to do compared to Trawangan.
I’m not a party person but I know this destination is very famous for party people. These are the places I’ve heard about (see below) but the schedule changes constantly so I would ask your hotel manager.
#8 Massage and manicure
There are quite a few places to get a relaxing massage or manicure. I only tried this one which I would recommend: Luna Nail Salon. It’s amazing for both massage and manicure. You will find it on the east side of the island.
Where to book your accommodation in Gili Trawangan
This depends on what you’re looking for. Most of the cafes and restaurants are east and close to the harbour, the west side is quieter with relaxing places and sunsets. If you’re going during the rainy season I would recommend staying on the east side because the entire island will be flooded but at least you would have cafes and restaurants nearby! It’s also closer to the harbour as well so it would be a short walk from the boat to your room.
- Belukar in the northwest. I absolutely loved this accommodation. Each bungalow faces a beautiful swimming pool, and it’s 5 5-minute walk from the beach/sunsets in the evening. The food at the restaurant is to die for! From breakfast to dinner, I used to eat there most of the time!
- Bale Sampan Bungalows in the East. It’s within walking distance of nice cafes and restaurants. Staying at this place will be like joining a family. I felt looked after all the time and with extreme care! They also have a swimming pool and a private beach which is handy for a relaxing day! You can also choose to have breakfast on the beach which is beautiful!
Best Places to eat
The food on this island is delicious. If you are ready to indulge, these are my top pics:
East side of the island (near the harbour):
- Coffee & Thyme This is the perfect place for smoothie bowls, breakfast and brunch. The staff here is super friendly and caring 🙂
- The Banyan Tree I think I had lunch and dinner here nearly every day when I visited Gili T last time! They offer a mix of Western and Indonesian food and it’s a great spot if you need to get some work done too!
- Sumi Sate is the absolute best! I haven’t seen any tourists here and I think it’s Gili’s best-kept secret when it comes to food! When my local friend took me for the first time I loved my dinner so much that I then became obsessed with Bakso! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s a broth with meatballs (chicken or beef) and you can have it with noodles or on its own.
Best burger and dessert:
- Jali Kitchen – This place is beautiful!! Trust me on this one! Get a nice meal here before heading towards the sunset and you won’t regret it! I had a great burger but the dessert was something else!
Wifi on the island
Wifi is generally reliable (unless it’s raining), definitely much better if you try it from a cafe.
It depends on what you are using it for, if you need to have work Zoom calls, you might struggle. However, I’ve heard of really good Airbnb offering a powerful connection on the island, so it’s worth checking Airbnb reviews and maybe getting your calls done from your accommodation.
I’ve been to Gili Trawangan twice and I can’t wait to go again. It’s totally worth adding it to your list when visiting Bali, but allow yourself at least 1 week to get the best out of the island. You need to visit not only because it’s a paradise island but also because it’s really easy to meet people and make friends. I made some long-lasting friendships here and met loads of other solo travellers just like me!
Ready? Make sure to read the visa requirements for Indonesia whilst planning your trip 🙂
Ciao for now,