Gili Trawangan is pretty much the biggest, the most beautiful, and the most visited Gili Island out there (there are three in total). It’s located off the north-west coast of Lombok, and is known amongst the fans of traveling as the ultimate “Party Island”. Sounds quite exciting, doesn’t it? It was discovered by the Indonesian officials back in 1990.
It had that raw, fun touch that instantly conquered the hearts and minds of millions around the globe. However, over the last 5 years, it has turned into something completely different. I mean, in the beginning, it was like the dream island for the backpackers and folks who like to travel light and drink coconut juice.
The days, Gili Trawangan is a top-notch resort island that appeals to more…elite clients, folks who like to travel with their families (kids included). It’s safe to say that if you’ve got some spare bucks to spend and are looking for that “tropical island experience”, the small, yet mighty “T” has got you covered.
Now, even though all those party vibes are still very much there, the incredible changes that occurred over the last years allowed this tourist spot to turn into a top-notch resort. It’s got the best of both worlds: a chill, friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and high-class, luxury service for the rich folks. Thanks to the small size, it looks and feels like a tiny piece of Heaven.
The Main Attraction Of Gili Trawangan
Ok, so, we’ve established that this island is all about that beach culture, but what can the visitors actually do while on their trip? Obviously, scuba diving is the main attraction, and Gili Trawangan has quite a few world-class dive centers that will teach you how to dive in no time.
Even if you’ve got no experience at all and/or are an old man/woman, these professionals will help you conquer the waves after the first session! The government has strict rules when it comes to the height of the constructions on the island – they can’t be higher than the local trees. That makes Gili T resemble the fairy tales about princes and princesses that we always wanted to be a part of.
What about accommodations? Gili Trawangan offers a wide range of options, starting with low-budget guesthouses (they’re pretty decent) all the way up to mid-range hotels located very close to the sea with breath-taking views of the surrounding islands. And if you’re really rich, I’d highly recommend the gorgeous resort-style hotels and villas that will make you feel like a million bucks.
As mentioned, even the most basic houses are very comfortable and will let you enjoy your stay. If you’re traveling in a “pack” (with your friends/loved ones, that is), it might be a good idea to cash in for something more expensive and squeeze into a small yet luxurious hotel – it will be fun!
Booking A Spot Before Visiting Gili Trawangan
As this is one of the finest islands in Indonesia and a magnet for tourists, I’d highly recommend taking take of accommodations way before you land. During the peak season, Gili Trawangan is always full of people – foreigners, mostly – and you might just end up sleeping under the sun. I’m not even trying to sound funny!
There are two “busy” periods: Jul-Sep and the Christmas days. So, if you have no desire to be left without a place to crash, make sure you book a room/house early. I personally know some folks who made the mistake of being too slow and lost an opportunity to enjoy a fine trip to Gili Trawangan.
Obviously, we don’t visit tropical islands just to spend 24 hours in a hotel room. Going out, sightseeing and talking with the locals is a huge part of the charm. Thankfully, the beachfront is literally stacked with numerous restaurants. If you’re not a “food fan”, the local street-food will be more than enough for you.
The gourmands will be happy to learn that the top-class restaurants offer delicious international meals that will turn this trip into a most satisfying adventure. The seafood here tastes truly amazing, as it’s super fresh and the chefs don’t add any “shady” ingredients.
Having A Good Time At The Island
So, basically, chilling under the sun, diving and having delicious meals is what Gili Trawangan is all about. And if you’re a fan of more “adult” activities, there’s a whole line of bars where you’ll be able to drink, meet new people, and have all kinds of fun in a very friendly, warm atmosphere. Every single week, there are these special party nights that never stop and invite the tourists to drink up and dance till the break of dawn.
On the other hand, if you’re all about peace, tranquility, and being one-on-one with the island, check out the western and northern areas where you’ll find some of the newer resorts. There, life is much “slower”, which will be perfect for you.
If you’re traveling with your girlfriend/boyfriend, don’t forget to watch the thrilling sunsets while sipping on one of the local drinks. The views are truly fantastic, especially if you take a look at the volcanos looming in the far. If the tides are calm, you’ll be able to see the creatures that prefer to hide under the water. Grab a charger for your phone, because you’ll be taking a lot of pictures on Gili Trawangan, that’s for sure!
The Ultimate Fun Experience On Gili T
The east side is the most developed and the most popular part of the island. That’s where all the action takes place. The west side, as we already established, is both quiet and expensive, something that the more adult folks with families will probably look into. For a family holiday, it’s a safe bet. What about the north and south ends? Is there any “action” there?
Well, they’re right in the middle of it all, meaning you’ll get some fun while still enjoying the intimate vibes. The south boasts some affordable and nice accommodation options – check ‘em out. By the way, one can walk around Gili Trawangan in +/- two hours. If you’re on a bike, the ride will be even shorter.
The only downside is that you’ll have to turn around every once in a while, and since there are tons of bars all over the place, you might just end up spending a whole night at the beach. This is what I call a true island experience! Gili T is perfect for diving, swimming, snorkeling, and riding, which is exactly why it’s called the ultimate party island.
It’s wild, free, and allows every single person to have his/her own kind of fun. Note: the island is famous for being “drug-friendly”, meaning you’ll be able to get some from the locals. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t do that, especially given the fact that the cops raid the place regularly and the laws in Indonesia are pretty strict.
How To Find Gili Trawangan
This tiny-yet-marvelous Island is about 15 minutes away from the coast of Lombok. On the map, it looks like a dot, but in reality, there’s plenty of ground to cover (on foot, at least). As I said in the beginning, it’s one of the three Gili islands, with the other two being Meno and Air. Currently, there are several fast boast services operating in the area and they’re all ready to take you to your destination.
But if you’re looking for a more “authentic” transport, check out the public boats. Keep in mind, though, that they only leave when all the tickets are sold (and they’re very slow). A private sailing boat is the most expensive and romantic pick.
For newlyweds, this will be a perfect choice. And then there are the private helicopters. True, they’re super-stylish, but also fast, reliable, and allow you to check out the entire region from a bird’s view. Again, for taking some great pictures, this is the best transport for you. On the island, you can use motorcycles and even horse carts.
Driving through the beautiful terrain on a bike is very satisfying, especially if you rent a couple of those and “compete” with your friends. The fast boats usually drop the tourists off on the east side of Tili Trawangan. Bali is 1, 5/2 hours away if you’re on a speedboat. The famous Senggigi beach is even closer – 45 mins away.