Gili Trawangan Island: Home to Water Activities and Unique Experiences

How to Get There: 2 hour ferry from Padang-Bai in Bali

Best Time to Visit:  Perfect weather during June to early October, best deals and low crowds during October to May

Things to Do: Beach clubs, snorkel with turtles, spa days, cooking classes, and more

Fun Fact: There are no dogs on any of the Gili islands.

About a two-hour ferry ride eastward of Bali, there lies the enchanting cluster of three Gili Islands.  Gili Trawangan is the most popular and more developed than Gili Meno and Gili Air. Historically known as a party island, Gili Trawangan has developed beyond the fantastic night crowd and beach parties – it also offers boutique beach clubs, restaurants, day spas, honeymoon spots, and ocean experiences.

The largest of the Gili Islands trio, Gili Trawangan has a variety of hotels, bars, and places to eat and drink to suit different tastes and budgets. The southern coast near the boat harbour is lively with a ‘castaway’ nightlife vibe, while the secluded western shore is more peaceful and perfect for honeymooners and couples seeking tranquillity. It is also a great choice for families as the newly built boardwalk and Jalan Kelapa provides many great walking and cycling opportunities. Gili Trawangan is also a great place if you want to have a snorkelling tour to spot turtles and the huge diversity of fish.

Exploring the Size of Gili Trawangan Island 

You might wonder how big Gili Trawangan is and how much time you need to spend if you want to snorkel the whole series of best beaches in Gili Trawangan. While being the biggest island among the three Gilis, Gili Trawangan island is just six square kilometres with 2 km width and 3 km long. Roughly, you can spend 90 minutes walking around the island and 30 minutes taking a bike around the island. It’s safe to say you can spare a day to explore this specific island,  including the beaches, palm groves, or even the village.

Visitors usually spend around three days in Gili T, before or after hopping between Gili Meno, Gili Air, Lombok and Bali.

Getting around Gili Trawangan

With a ‘no motor’ ethos, Gili T encourages a slower pace of life and minimises pollution. Cars, trucks, buses, and scooters are conspicuously absent and upon arrival at the Gili Trawangan port, you’ll encounter Cidomo, quaint horse-drawn carriages ready to assist with transporting you and your luggage to your accommodation and moving around the island as needed. They are usually priced around 100,000 IDR per trip and you can hail a Cidomo driver like you do a taxi.

Besides walking, the most convenient way to explore Gili T is by bicycle. Tourists favour bicycles due to the islands’ small size, providing a comfortable and enjoyable biking experience. Rental rates vary, typically falling within the range of IDR 50,000 to IDR 100,000 per day depending on size and type of bicycle and you can usually rent from your accommodation or from a rental shop.

Whilst you may also notice electric scooters, these are typically privately owned and not usually available for rental.

Where to stay

Gili Trawangan offers many accommodation options to suit your budget. Honeymooners and couples love to stay at Majo Private Villas located in the centre of the island, given the tranquillity, exceptional in-house services and of course the private pool where couples can relax and unwind in peace.

Top 7 Things to do on Gili Trawangan
  1. Catamaran Cruise – For those wanting to elevate their snorkelling experience, Utopia Catamaran offers a once in a lifetime 5 hour cruise. You’ll get the opportunity to snorkel with turtles and the famous underwater statues with experienced guides who will capture these moments for you on GoPro. Included in your ticket is an international food buffet and drinks menu (non-alcoholic and range of beer, wine and craft cocktails), as well as premium snorkelling gear and towel. It is one of the highest rated experiences on the island, ideal for couples, families or a group of friends. There is a morning cruise, and sunset cruise on offer daily, departing in front of the Utopia Catamaran Ticket Office on Jalan Gili Trawangan. Tickets are 1,600,000 IDR per person.
  2. Free Diving The Gili Islands are globally known in the free diving community, and Gili Trawangan offers skilled instructors with various freediving courses, covering levels from beginner to advanced. Course costs range depending on experience level and equipment.
  3. Snorkelling – Exploring the underwater world around Gili Trawangan is a must do experience. Gili T is best for those who would prefer snorkelling from the beach instead of taking a boat. You can start from Turtle Point beach and enjoy vibrant marine life including coral, many species of fish and majestic turtles. Check out Utopia Catamaran’s experience where you can enjoy a snorkelling experience supplied with safe equipment and professional guides.
  4. Day Spa Experience – Enjoying a massage or beauty treatment is a popular way to wind down after a day of exploring. There are many basic salons on the island, but if you’re seeking a lovely day spa experience, then you must check out You Spa. Located on Jalan Kelapa, enjoy a sensory journey, indulging in a vast array of massage and beauty treatments (facial, hair and nail treatment, flower bath) by expertly trained therapists. The spa itself offers a calm oasis with beautiful natural wood furniture – there is also a retail shop with all of their natural ingredient products, made in Bali. Treatments start from 270,000 IDR.
  5. Cooking Class – Fun and flavour is offered at Gili T Cooking Classes. Enjoy a relaxed and fun learning space to indulge in a memorable cultural experience. Charismatic chefs will guide you and your friends through preparing, cooking, and eating several of the region’s most popular dishes. Classes start from 350,000 IDR per person.
  6. Yoga – If you are an experienced yogi, or interested to try for the first time, yoga is a great activity to try whilst on Gili T – there are many studios to choose from.
  7. Do nothing – Yes, just doing nothing in Gili T is something to do. You’ll notice how laid back the island is, so why not grab a book, turn off your phone and sit on the beach in the shade with a coconut and just watch the world go by.
Where to eat

Gili T offers many restaurants and warungs for you to enjoy. If you’re chasing instagram worthy boho vibes and vibrant evenings, La Cala is for you. This beachfront restaurant on Jalan Gili Trawangan offers a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere where you can enjoy unique cocktails, fruit juices and a modern European and BBQ menu prepared with fresh local ingredients.

Just a short distance up the road, Jali Kitchen is another favourite that won’t disappoint. It’s Asian fusion menu keeps things simple and tasty in a comfortable outdoor atmosphere.  

In the high season (May – September), the Gili T Night Market is a wonderful place to visit, to enjoy a range of diverse local foods including fresh caught seafood and locally grown produce, dishes start from 20,000 IDR.

There are many great bars and restaurants for you to try, with a range of prices, atmosphere and cuisines.