13 Things to do at Gili Trawangan: Ultimate Gili T Guide
Wondering what to do in Gili Trawangan? You’ve landed on just the right page! This comprehensive guide covers the best things to do at Gili Trawangan and includes tons of top tips to help you plan an epic Gili Islands trip.
Located a stone’s throw from Lombok’s epic shores, you’ll find one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful islands, Gili Trawangan Island – the biggest of the famous 3 Gilis. Teeming with natural beauty and lots to keep you busy, it’s not hard to see why Gili Trawangan is such a popular side trip from Bali or Lombok.
Despite only measuring 15km2 in size, Gili Trawangan has a lot going for it! For starters, it’s home to soft powdery white beaches fringed with swaying palm trees, turquoise waters chock-full with diverse marine life, and epic beach bars. Top that off with an array of fun things to do like snorkeling with turtles, island hopping, scuba diving with reef sharks, and you couldn’t find a more idyllic paradise-like setting even if you tried!
Exploring more of Indonesia? Read this 2 weeks in Indonesia itinerary to find out what not to miss!
Ready to dive into this super-detailed Gili T guide? Read along to discover the coolest things to do in Gili Trawangan and get all my tips to plan the perfect Gili Trawangan itinerary.
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Before you visit Gili Trawangan
Before heading out to the gorgeous Gili Islands, here are a few tips and things you need to know.
- Search the best places to stay in Gili Trawangan well in advance. Gili T is a relatively small island, so hotels, resorts, and hostels fill up quickly.
- Book a fast boat to get to Gili T stressfree.
- There’s not much crime on the Gili’s, but with that said, it’s always best to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Make sure you have travel cover to keep you and your belongings safe. World Nomads is highly recommended, and applying online couldn’t be easier.
- There are only a handful of ATMs on the island. It’s a good idea to carry a bit of extra cash with you.
- There are no motorized vehicles on any of the 3 Gili islands. The only way to get around is on foot or by bike. While it’s not hard to find a “cidomo” (horse cart) ready to take you all over, I wouldn’t recommend using them. Most animals are treated quite badly, and it’s really sad seeing them carting tourists and stacks of heavy luggage around. It’s best to travel light when visiting the Gili Islands. If you must take luggage, rather stay closer to the jetty.
- If you’re planning on spending quite a bit of time in Indonesia, make sure to grab this awesome guide book. It’s a great way to learn more about the country’s history, traditions, and culture.
In a rush? Don’t miss a thing! Pin these things to do Gili T to read later.
How to Get To Gili Trawangan
Since the Gilis are quite remote, with the nearest landmass being Lombok, the only way to get there is by fast boat. With that said, if you are traveling from Bali, it’s still pretty easy to reach the islands. Here’s a quick breakdown on how to get to Gili T.
Getting from Bali to Gili Trawangan
The fastest and easiest way to get to Gili Trawangan from Bali is by speed boat. The boat ride takes about 2 hours and departs daily at 9 am from Padang Bai. Since fast boats only leave at certain time slots, it’s best to book a ticket well in advance to avoid disappointment.
While several boating companies are available, remember to choose a charter that includes a pick up at your hotel in Bali. That way, you wouldn’t need to worry about all the logistics of getting to the port. To save time and the hassle of even more research, grab your Gili fast boat ticket here.
Don’t want to plan a thing? Check out this 3-day Gili T tour from Bali!
Getting from Lombok to Gili Trawangan
If you are already in Lombok, getting to the Gilis couldn’t be easier. Both public ferries and speed boats depart daily from Bangsal Pier between 9:30 to 16:30. The public boat takes about 30 minutes to get to Gili Trawangan and leaves as soon as the boat fills up with about 40 people. Tickets cost IDR 22,500.
While a fast boat will ultimately be a bit more expensive (IDR 85,000), boats leave every hour on the hour. It only takes 15 minutes to reach Gili Trawangan.
Travel Tips: If you take either of these options, make sure to get to the ferry as early as possible. Also, only book tickets directly through the ticket office. There are quite a few local street vendors who’ll try to rip you off.
For more info on getting to the Gills from Lombok, see options and schedules here.
When to Visit Gili Trawangan
The Gilli Islands have a tropical climate with hot and humid weather throughout the year. There are two distinct seasons, though, a wet season and a dry season.
The dry season runs from April to October, with October being the hottest month, reaching up to 33°C. In contrast, the wet season runs from November to March. January is the wettest month seeing more than 300mm of rainfall.
Consequently, the best time to visit Gili Trawangan is from July to October. During these months, the weather is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The temperature ranges from 25°C to 29°C, and there is very little rainfall.
Where to stay in Gili Trawangan
While Gili Trawangan might only be 15km big, there are oodles of cool places to stay. From backpacker-type joints to posh villas to gorgeous beachfront hotels, you name it; Gili T has it all!
Luxury: If it’s luxury you’re after, you won’t find a better base than Hotel Lumi Gili Trawangan. Located mere steps from the beach, this gorgeous 4-star hotel boasts beautiful modern rooms, a large outdoor pool, and neatly-kept gardens. Check prices and availability here.
Affordable Luxury: If you’re looking for the perfect base at surprisingly affordable rates, you don’t need to look much further than PinkCoco Gili Trawangan. This beachfront locale is ideal for couples looking for a relaxing stay in a beautiful setting. The beach bar is the perfect spot to chill out with a boozy cocktail, catch the famous Gili T sunset, and enjoy live entertainment. But that’s not all; there’s also an onsite spa where you can get a massage and a gorgeous pool to cool off in. Check prices and availability here.
Mid-Range: Villas Flamingo is a hip 3-star hotel boasting colorful rooms with beautiful Instagrammable decor. Besides the onsite restaurant serving a delicious breakfast, the glimmering pool is the perfect spot to unwind after a day out exploring all the best things to do on Gili Trawangan.
The hotel is a short stroll to Sunset Point and less than 1km from Gili Trawangan Harbor. Check prices and availability here.
Budget: Mad Monkey is a funky hostel featuring a cool outdoor pool, clean, modern facilities, and an amazing atmosphere. Choose from huts to teepees to dormitories. There are also loads of fun activities to join in if you’d like to mingle with the backpacker crowd.
Need more help finding the perfect place to stay in Gili T? Search more options here on Agoda.
The Most Epic Things to do at Gili Trawangan
Great! Now that you know how to get to the Gili islands and where to stay, let’s tackle all the awesome things to do on Gili Trawangan!
Relax at the beaches
Arguably one of the best things to do on Gili Trawangan is simply to relax. You are on an island, after all! And what better place to do just that than at the beach!
There are several beaches in Gili Trawangan, all offering epic views, perfect swimming conditions, and plenty of beachside stalls, restaurants, and bars where you can grab a bite or enjoy a freshly cracked coconut. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick look at the best beaches in Gili Trawangan.
North East Beach: Located a 5-minute stroll from the jetty, the stretch of sand in front of Villa Almarik offers great swimming conditions and is the best place to spot turtles in the shallow waters. If you’re looking for a relatively quiet Gili T beach sans the crowds, this is your best bet.
Sunset Beach: Towards the northwest coast of the island, you’ll find Sunset Beach – a popular spot among sunset chasers and Instagrammers. While Sunset Beach is pretty spectacular during the day, it’s even better once the sun starts to set! If you want to snap a photo in one of the cool Gili sunset swings, make sure to come a bit earlier so that you can be first in line.
Malibu Beach: On the southwest side of Gili Trawangan, Malibu beach is just the place to kick off your flip flops and find a spot in the sand. There are also loads of cool beach bars where it’s easy to find a beanbag, have a cocktail, and watch the waves come and go.
South or Good Heart Beach: This beach is located on the island’s southeast side and probably the most crowded beach in Gili Trawangan. It gets quite busy during the day with the backpacker party crowd, and you’re bound to find a few happy hour deals from any of the nearby vendors. If you’re after a party vibe, this is the Gili T beach for you!
Snorkeling is right up there with the best things to do on Gili Trawangan! And to be honest, you can’t visit the Gili islands without getting a close up look at the all colorful treasures beneath the water.
What really sets the snorkeling apart from elsewhere in Indonesia is that the Gili islands are home to incredible coral reefs filled with colorful fish and beautiful sea turtles, and even a few underwater statues!
Moreover, you can literally go swimming and snorkeling off the shore from anywhere in Gili! If you didn’t bring your own snorkeling gear, it’s easy to rent a mask, flippers, and a snorkel at any of the dive shops in town or even from locals on the beach.
However, joining a guided snorkeling tour is a great way to really discover Gili Trawangan’s rich marine life. While you can book a snorkeling trip at practically any shop along the main strip, it’s a good idea to book a tour through a reliable tour operator like this one. Most of the operators pack the boats to the brim, which is not always safe. For the ultimate experience, though, consider renting a private boat for you and your mates. It’s pretty easy to organize a private charter via most shops, too. By doing so, you’ll have a boat all to yourself!
Bike around the island
Since there are no vehicles on Gili Trawangan, the only way to get around is on foot or bike. It’s easy to rent bicycles all over the island for as little as IDR 50,000 a day. And in most cases, your accommodation will have bikes that you can use for free.
The best part? Gili T is really small and has little elevation. You could easily explore the entire island in less than an hour or two. Besides being a great way to get around, it’s also loads of fun! Bike to all the beaches, find a spot to chill out, take a dip in the cool waters, or simply spend some time under a palm tree before moving on to the next location.
Just a heads-up: The roads aren’t always the smoothest. Remember to slow down over the rocky patches and watch out for the deep sand spots! Also, while there’s little crime in the Gilis, make sure to leave your bike somewhere in plain sight. That way, you can always keep an eye on it.
Go Island Hopping
Since Gili Air and Gili Meno are both only a short boat ride away from Gili Trawangan, it’s easy to see all three Gilis on one trip!
Public boats travel twice a day between Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. The island-hopping boats leave Gili T at 9:30 every morning to Gili Meno and then onwards to Gili Air. The last boat back to Gili Trawangan leaves at 15:20. So, there’s lots of time to chill at the beach, go snorkeling, or explore.
You can buy dirt cheap tickets directly at the harbor or through any travel booths across the island. Just know that you’ll probably pay a bit more if you don’t buy them at the ticket office by the jetty.
Take a Day Trip to Lombok
If you can tear yourself away from the gorgeous beaches and all the fun things to do on Gili Trawangan, it’s worth taking a day trip to Lombok.
Revered for its laidback vibes and beautiful scenery, Lombok is a popular spot among backpackers and slow travelers. Besides unwinding on the epic beaches, hunting for waterfalls and exploring volcanoes are other popular must-dos. Since your time is probably limited, it’s best to book an organized tour. By doing so, you can simply sit back and enjoy all the stunning scenery without having to plan a thing!
Just a heads-up: If you’re keen to hike Mount Rinjani, know that you’ll need at least a few days to get to the summit. There are many organized tours with knowledgeable guides to choose from, but it’s always best to do proper research. Here’s a cool 2D1N Rinjani tour to consider.
Like the rest of the Gilis, Gili T is a diving hotspot and home to some of the world’s best coral reefs. With warm waters year-round and excellent visibility, it’s a great place to explore Indonesia’s diverse marine life.
You’re bound to see all kinds of colorful fish and a few sea turtles on any dive no matter what! But if you’re looking for a bit more action, head out to Shark Point. Here there’s a good chance to spot reef sharks and stingrays. More experienced divers can also deep dive and explore some pretty spectacular wrecks like the Glenn Nusa 1 or Bounty Wreck nearby.
Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, it’s easy to book a scuba dive session on the island. If you’re interested in exploring the underwater world, you can check out this scuba diving tour.
Don’t have a PADI yet? Here’s a cool beginner’s dive course to get a quick introduction to the good stuff!
Catch the Epic Sunset
The Gili Islands are famous for their epic sunsets. And watching one (or many) definitely deserves a spot on your list of things to do at Gili Trawangan!
There are stacks of beach bars and little elevated huts on the “sunset side” ready to serve you an ice-cold beer or a freshly cracked coconut. It’s just the place to watch the sun melt away over the horizon while listening to cool music in an airy hut, deck chair, or beanbag. It doesn’t get any better than this; trust me!
Just a head’s up, though, be prepared to pay IDR 150,000 to watch the sunset at most bars along the sunset strip. This fee is on top of any drinks or food you order, and believe it or not; it’s probably the only place in the world you’ll need to pay to watch the sunset!
One last thing – don’t forget your camera! You’re going to need it!
Visit the Gili T Sunset Swings
You wouldn’t be doing Gili T properly if you didn’t take a swing in one of the epic Gili ocean swings. There are many swings scattered all over the island, but for the best photos, make sure you head out to the swings on the westside of the island along the sunset strip. While some resorts have their own swings, there are a couple of community-owned swings where you can swing over the crystal clear waters and enjoy the gentle breeze for a small fee.
If you want to visit the swings at sunset, make sure to go a bit earlier. It gets crowded quickly around 6 pm.
Snack Your Way Through the Gili T Night Market
Located a short stroll from the jetty, you’ll find the BEST and cheapest place to eat in Gili Trawangan – the Gili T Night Market. Brimming with stalls dishing up just about anything from lip-smackingly delicious local food to tasty barbeque to fresh seafood and more, it’s not hard to see why this is such a must-visit place. Besides grabbing an authentic Indonesian meal at a dirt-cheap price, it’s also the perfect spot to soak up the buzzing atmosphere and mingle with locals.
Most stalls and vendors open at 6 pm and run late into the night.
Enjoy the Nightlife in Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan has quite a reputation as a party island, and even if that is not your scene, you should definitely set aside at least one night to party the night away! There are so many cool bars and hipster hangouts to choose from in Gili T, making it quite hard to decide exactly where to party.
With that said, one place that you should not miss is Sama Sama Reggae Bar. While it’s a pretty chilled place, it has an awesome vibe and is the perfect place to kickstart your night out. Don’t miss the live reggae music show every evening at 7 pm!
For those looking to join the die-hard party crowd, head over to Jungle, where you can have a wild night filled with thumping EDM music and flowing shots! If that’s a bit too wild for you, other good places to hangout include Blue Marlin, The Irish Pub, and Rudy’s.
Go on a Sunset Cruise
If you want to watch the sunset over the water, enjoy a bit of snorkeling and have a tasty meal onboard a boat, then you can’t miss a sunset cruise. It’s easy to book a sunset cruise along the main strip at one of the many tourist info booths. It’s a good idea to shop around a bit to avoid being ripped off. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle; most vendors are notorious for inflating the prices!
Of course, if you want to take your Gili T experience to the next level, don’t miss the famous Gili T Booze Cruise. Just a word of warning, it will be a wild party, but you’re guaranteed a good time! Check out the Jiggy Boat Party’s Facebook page for more details.
Get a Massage
After an action-packed day exploring all of Gili T’s top attractions, treat yourself to a lavish pamper session. And what better way to unwind than with a good old fashioned massage!
If your hotel doesn’t have an onsite spa, it is possible to get a masseuse to come over to your hotel room. Alternatively, pop by any massage parlor along the main strip or, better yet, get a massage right on the beach along the southeast side!
Join a Cooking Class
If you didn’t have time to join a cooking class while in Bali, now’s your chance to rectify that. Indonesian food is mind-blowingly delicious, and you’ll be doing yourself an injustice if you didn’t add a cooking class to your list of things to do at Gili Trawangan.
Sweet and Spicy is the most reputable school on the island and offers a fun 2-hour cooking class. Besides learning how to prepare several amazing dishes that you can gobble up afterward, you’ll also get tons of cool tips and tricks so that you can recreate everything back home! Book your spot here!
What to Pack For Gili Trawangan
As already mentioned, Gili T is hot and humid year-round. Make sure to pack light, breathable clothing to stay cool during the day. Besides the usual things you’ll pack for a beach vacation, here are a few other items I highly recommend bringing along.
- Underwater Camera: Since you’re on a tropical island, you’re likely to spend quite a bit of time underwater. Pack a waterproof camera like this Go Pro 9 to capture all the awesome underworld treasures.
- Waterproof Phone Case: If you don’t want to get your phone wet, it’s always a good idea to pack a waterproof phone case.
- Reef Safe Sunscreen: While you won’t have trouble finding sunscreen on Gili T, bringing reef-safe sunscreen along is highly encouraged. That way, you can stay protected against the harsh rays without harming the environment.
- Dry Bag: Many of the things to do on Gili Trawangan involve being in or near the water. It’s a good idea to pack a dry bag, like this super durable, lightweight Earthpak bag, to ensure all your belongings stay dry.
- Microfibre Towel: There’s nothing worse than tugging along a wet towel. These Dock & Bay towels dry in a jiffy and come in a range of funky colors and patterns.
- Eco-Friendly Bug Spray: Mosquitoes can be a real pain in Gili T. Make sure to pack an eco-friendly bug spray like this one to avoid any bites.
- Universal Adapter: You might need a travel adapter for your trip to Gili T and the rest of Indonesia. This one works in over 150 countries and is super lightweight.
Where to eat in Gili T
You’re bound to be hungry after exploring all the cool things to do at Gili Trawangan. Luckily, there’s no shortage of excellent food joints on the island. Here are some of the best places to eat in Gili T.
- The Banyan Tree: If you’re looking to fill up with a healthy meal, head over to The Banyan Tree. The restaurant has a wide range of delicious vegetarian options.
- Warung Warna: Not too far from the pier, you’ll find one of the best places to find cheap and tasty Indonesian cuisine. Don’t miss the Nasi Goreng and the satay skewers – they are heavenly!
- La Moomba Bar and Restaurant: With picture-perfect ocean views and an incredible menu, La Moomba is a great spot to grab a bite and chill out with a few boozy cocktails.
- Casa Bonita: If you want to enjoy a meal in one of the cool huts overlooking the water, make sure to stop by Casa Bonita. The menu features all the usual Indonesian classics and some western food choices for more picky eaters.
Did You Figure Out What to do in Gili Trawangan?
Whether you are heading out to explore the underwater world, chill at the beach, or joining the crazy party scrum, there’s plenty to do at Gili Trawangan! Whatever you do, though, don’t forget to soak up the laid-back vibes and enjoy paradise at its very best!
Thanks for Reading my Guide on Things to do on Gili Trawangan!
If you need more help planning your Bali & Indonesia trip, check out these fun guides I wrote.
That wraps up this list of Gili Trawangan things to do! Feel free to share your travel tips, best things to do, places to stay, best eateries, and anything in between in the comments below!
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