Gili Trawangan is the biggest of the 3 Gili Islands and has a reputation for being a bit of a party island… yes, there are lots of opportunities to go out and party but this isn’t as in your face as the party islands in Thailand for example. If you want to chill out in peace and quiet there are plenty of opportunities o do that as well. One of my favorite things about these islands, and Gili T in particular is that they offer a bit of everything so that every style of traveler can always find something enjoyable to do.
Apart from relaxing on the beach and having a few drinks in the evening your main activities are going to be taking a leisurely cycle around the island, water sports and snorkeling. For me the snorkeling on Gili Air was much better than Gili T, due to the ferry port being busier on Gili T there are a lot more boats which make the visibility in the water less clear than Gili Air but don’t get me wrong there are still some great spots!
You can spend your days cycling around the island looking for the best beaches, lounging in a hammock or grabbing a cocktail. If you’re a diver there are some spots like Shark Point which is home to reef sharks, turtles, sting rays and parrot fish. In the evenings go in search of that perfect Indonesian sunset (North beach is pretty ideal) or grab a beer at a beach side bar before heading out for a couple of cocktails and to explore the nightlife.
At night the south of the island bursts into life and there are various beachside restaurants where you can get reasonably priced food considering the settings. A main meal can be around 50,000 IDR but obviously it depends on what you eat as fried rice will always be the cheapest option. You’ll find the cheapest places to eat are towards the interior of the island in the little warungs where you can still bag some cheap local cuisine for 20,000 IDR. The bars also come to life and there’s a mixed crowd of backpackers, people on holiday and divers. These restaurants offer decent cocktail menus, and happy hours and beers can be found for 30,000 IDR for a large bottle of Bintang.
Because this is an Island things are generally more expensive, you can get a dormitory for about $6, a fan room / bungalow for around $12, an air-conditioned room for $20-30 or a stylish resort for $60+. There have been a range of luxury resorts popping up on the island and if you aren’t on a budget like I am there are some fantastic places to choose from. There are two that I can recommend, Resota Twins and Indigo Bungalows:
Ranked as the 9th best on Tripadvisor, this is a really nice homestay with friendly owners and a really nice breakfast! It was a little bit pricier than I normally pay at $32 a night but the rooms are clean and look brand new, the bathrooms are really spacious and nice, the owners will help you with anything you need! Also included in the price of the room are snorkels and bicycles, so by staying here you save about $5 on renting both of those items.
Possibly the cheapest bungalow with air conditioning and a pool on Gili T! The pool is clean and almost always empty, the rooms are clean and spacious with decent bathrooms. Breakfast is great and the guys that run this place are always helpful. At $30 a night it’s again in the pricier bracket and there are cheaper budget accommodations on the island but not with a pool and air conditioning!
After Gili T I headed off on the Komodo Boat Tour, which you can book tickets for anywhere on the Gili islands. Heading to Lombok takes about 30 minutes, to Bali takes between 1hr and 2hr 30mins depending on which port on Bali you are heading to!