Discover all of the epic things to do on Gili Trawangan island in Indonesia– from snorkeling to world-class sunset spots and more. Complete traveler’s travel guide to Gili T including all attractions, activities, where to stay, and more!
Gili Trawangan is well connected via fast boats and therefore, serves as the perfect in-between destination for backpackers and travelers moving from Bali to Lombok or vice-versa. However, with all the epic things to do on Gili Trawangan, it has quickly become a highlight destination rather than a quick stopover.
Gili Trawangan is the most popular of the famous Gili Islands in the north of Lombok. Known also as Gili T, there are just so many things to do on this incredible Indonesian island. From wreck snorkeling, swimming with turtles, and exploring the island by bike, one thing is for sure, you won’t run out of activities on Gili T!
In this blog post, I will reveal all of the best things to do on Gili T based on my own experience exploring the island. I’ve also included a bunch of photos from my trip that I hope will inspire you to visit this incredible island paradise.
- How to Get to Gili Trawangan and the Gili Islands
- Best Things to do on Gili Trawangan
- 1. Snorkeling on Gili Trawangan
- 2. Watch The Famous Gili T Sunset
- 3. Eat at the Night Market
- 4. Workout on the Beach at the Free Beach Gym
- 5. Rent a Bike to Get Around
- 6. Scuba Dive
- 7. Try Not to Get Run Over By a Horse Drawn Carriage
- 8. Go Island Hopping To Gili Meno and Gili Air
- 9. Explore the Island’s Interior
- 10. Gili Trawangan Beach Cleanup
- 11. Gili Trawangan Hilltop – The Highest Views You’ll Get on Gili T
- 12. Listen to Live Music at the Sama Sama Reggae Bar
- 13. Indonesian Cooking Class on Gili Trawangan
- Where to Stay on Gili Trawangan – Quick Accommodation Guide
- Gili Trawangan Budget Food Guide
- More Photos from Gili T
- Beyond Gili Trawangan: More Indonesia Travel Guides
How to Get to Gili Trawangan and the Gili Islands
If you want to get to Gili Trawangan and the Gili islands, then it will depend on where you are coming from. Here's a quick guide to get to Gili Trawangan from Bali and from Lombok.
Getting to the Gili Islands From Bali
The most popular route to get to the Gili Islands is from Bali. There are several fast boats that operate from the port of Padang Bai, approximately 1.5 hours from Kuta or the International Airport.
Bali to Gili Trawangan Fast Boat Cost: 350K - 450K
If you want to save time, I'd recommend booking this fast boat in advance. This boat ride includes complimentary pickup in an air-conditioned vehicle from your accommodation in and around Denpasar, including Kuta and Seminyak (click the link for more details).
Alternatively, for those traveling at a backpacker's pace, there is a public ferry that runs from Padang Bai every hour. This is much cheaper, at only 40 000 per person. However, the ferry is much, much slower, taking about 5 hours in total from Padang bai.
Furthermore, you'll need to remember that this doesn't include a shuttle to the port. So, if you're packed and ready to explore all the epic adventures on Gili Trawangan, then I'd suggest just taking the fast boat.
Book Gili T: 3 Day Island Private Tour From Bali
Getting to the Gili Islands from Lombok
If you're already in Lombok, then you can expect a much shorter and cheaper journey to Gili Trawangan. There are several fast boats and a public ferry that operate from Bangsal Harbor.
At the harbor, there is a ticket office that is open from 8.00 AM until 4:30 PM where you can buy a shuttle boat ticket for around 20 000 per person. The journey takes about 45 minutes to an hour and leaves when the boat is full.
Book Gili T: Full-Day Tour From Lombok
Best Things to do on Gili Trawangan
With that out of the way, let's jump into the full list of what to do on Gili Trawangan. I haven't ranked this list in any specific order, so you'll just need to pick and choose the Gili Trawangan adventures that sound good to you.
Below I've also included some links to some of the best-rated tours and experiences on Gili Trawangan for those that prefer to have something booked in advance.
1. Snorkeling on Gili Trawangan
Let's start with the most popular of the things to do on Gili Trawangan (besides chugging a Bintang). The island is surrounded by incredibly crystal clear waters and healthy coral reefs.
There are also what seem like hundreds of sea turtles that laze around Gili Trawangan and the surrounding Indonesian Islands. For these reasons, snorkeling is one of the funnest activities Gili Trawangan.
Tip: There are loads of turtles on these small islands. If you're heading to Gili Meno, you could also check out the turtle sanctuary!
Gili Trawangan Snorkeling from Beach
What's great about Gili T snorkeling is that you can just walk straight into the water from the beach and be surrounded by healthy marine life.
If you're wondering about the best places to snorkel on Gili Trawangan, then you might want to check out my snorkeling guide.
Gili Trawangan Snorkeling Trip
If you'd prefer to be shown some of the best snorkeling sites around Gili Trawangan and the other Gili Islands like Gili Meno and Gili Air, then you can also book a snorkeling day trip.
You'll find tour vendors scattered everywhere around Gili T. They ask for 10 000 rupiah per person for a full-day trip, which is pretty good value. However, if you've got a big crew, then you could probably talk this down a little.
Keep in mind that these trips are shared with dozens of other snorkelers. I understand that many people would understandably prefer a private boat tour. If that sounds like you, then I'd recommend this half-day snorkeling trip that you can book in advance.
This tour is one of the best-rated online and visits the best spots!
2. Watch The Famous Gili T Sunset
After a long day of snorkeling and exploring, the best way to unwind is to enjoy the world-famous Gili Trawangan sunset. The best places to view the sunset are on the Northwest or west side of Gili Trawangan.
On a clear day, you can watch the sun slowly creep behind Mount Agung in the distance and cast its fleeting rays onto the shallow coral waters. It's true that the sunset in this part of the world is something else! That's why watching the sunset is one of the best things to do on Gili Trawangan and something we did nightly!
3. Eat at the Night Market
This isn't a food blog, but checking out the night market is still one of the coolest things to do on Gili Trawangan.
There are fish, meat, and vegetable skewers and a wide range of epic side dishes to go with it. The Gili Trawangan night market is located just past Sama Sama Reggae Bar. You'll find it pinned on Google Maps as " Trawangan Night Market".
Locals cook all the food at the market on scolding BBQ coals and everyone gathers around a communal-style park eating area. It's here that you'll find the best value food on the island, and there are plenty of options to try.
I usually went with a vegetable skewer with 4-side dishes and rice for 20 000 IDR.
4. Workout on the Beach at the Free Beach Gym
I get it, a workout is probably one of the last things you'd want to do on Gili Trawangan and on your holiday. However, if you've been traveling for a while or enjoy a morning workout, then there's a free beach gym located right in front of Blue Marine Dive Shop.
There are chin-up and dip bars, a bench, some mats, and a few weights to use. It might not be a lot, but it's definitely enough to get a good workout in. In the early morning, there's usually no one here, so you can pretty much have all the equipment to yourself.
Also, if you get up early enough, you can even catch the sunrise on this side of the beach.
5. Rent a Bike to Get Around
Pumped after your morning beach workout and ready to explore?
By far, the best way to get around on Gili Trawangan is to rent a bike. Typically, vendors were charging around 40 000 per day for a bicycle. However, with a bit of bargaining, you can probably get this down to about 25 000 per day.
Once you've got your wheels, you can easily and quickly explore this beautiful tiny island!
Tip: Make sure to also check if your accommodation offers free or discounted bike rental!
6. Scuba Dive
When you first arrive at Gili Trawangan, you'll notice the endless array of dive shops almost immediately. That's because scuba diving is one of the most popular things to do on Gili Trawangan.
If you're already certified, there are some epic dive sites including Shark Point, Manta Point, and the Gili Wreck; Meno Bounty.
For those that have a little more time, it's also possible to get your PADI or SSI scuba license over 5 days. Due to the popularity and supply of dive shops, Gili Trawangan is one of the cheapest places in the world to get certified. So, if you've been thinking about it, now's the time!
Out of all the dive shops on Gili Trawangan, I'd recommend Manta Dive Gili T. They are one of the largest and most professional dive shops on the island. I've also recommended them because they did great work helping out with emergency relief and rebuilding following the earthquake.
7. Try Not to Get Run Over By a Horse Drawn Carriage
There are no cars or motorbikes on Gili Trawangan. In fact, there are no motorized vehicles at all! As a result, most people get around on bikes. There are also several horse carts which are known as "Cidomo".
You'll definitely need to watch out when you're walking or riding around, as they can come screaming around corners unannounced.
You'll need to use your own judgment on whether you'd want to actually pay for horse riding. I decided that I'd prefer not to use them, considering how overworked the horses looked.
However, the Gili Eco Trust is working with local Cidomo drivers to take better care of the island horses.
8. Go Island Hopping To Gili Meno and Gili Air
Some of the best things to do on Gili Trawangan aren't actually on Gili T at all! If you're on the Gili Islands, then it'd be a shame if you didn't get to experience Gili Meno or Gili Air too!
To get between Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, it costs 35 000 per person for a one-way boat ticket.
I know this is more expensive than the much longer shuttle boat to Lombok! However, I'm sure that you'd understand how tourist demand plays into this pricing.
Regardless, at the end of the day, the cost to explore more of the Gili Islands isn't that much. If you've only got time for one, then I'd recommend going to Gili Meno for the epic, turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and awesome snorkeling spots around the island.
9. Explore the Island's Interior
One of the most overlooked things to do on Gili Trawangan is to head inland. I understand that the beaches and reefs are hard to leave, but if you want to see what real island life is like, you'll have to take a walk or bike ride to the interior.
There are fields of symmetrical palm trees and super scenic roads.
If you've already spent plenty of time on the beach, then I'd recommend taking one of the interior roads when you head for sunset on the west side of Gili Trawangan. This way, you'll probably save time and get to experience the island interior at the same time!
Don't Miss: Nusa Penida (my favorite island)
10. Gili Trawangan Beach Cleanup
While you're on Gili Trawangan, one of the most helpful things you can do is to dispose of your trash properly. For those extra passionate about limiting plastic pollution, you can join in on the weekly Gili Trawangan Beach Cleanup.
The beach cleanup starts at 5 PM sharp every Friday night in front of the Gili Teah Restaurant. It's organized by the awesome guys and girls at the Gili Eco Trust.
This is a great way to help out, meet some like-minded travelers, and best of all, you'll get a free beer at the end!
The Gili Eco Trust doesn't only do beach cleanups. They do great work on the Gili Islands, building the first recycling facility in 2014 and helping the community rebuild with recyclable bricks. If you want to find out more, you can visit their website at the link above.
11. Gili Trawangan Hilltop - The Highest Views You'll Get on Gili T
As you can probably see from the drone photos, the Gili Islands are really flat. However, there is one hill on Gili Trawangan that is worth climbing.
The Gili Trawangan Hilltop Viewpoint is the highest point on the island. From the top, you'll get expansive 360-degree views over the Gili Islands, Lombok, and even out to mainland Bali.
It's not super tall, only around 100 meters in elevation. Still, chilling on the top of this hill is going to offer one of the best sunset spots on Gili T island!
12. Listen to Live Music at the Sama Sama Reggae Bar
The Sama Sama reggae bar is on most lists of things to do on Gili Trawangan for a reason.
Many people visit the Gilis every year because of the nightlife. If you prefer live music over nightclubs like me, then you won't be disappointed by the Sama Sama Reggae Bar, located close to the Gili T Boar Harbour.
13. Indonesian Cooking Class on Gili Trawangan
If you search for the best-rated tours and activities on Gili T, you'll find this particular cooking class right at the top. It's also mentioned in tonnes of blogs and even in the Lonely Planet guide!
The class is called Sweet and Spicy, and focuses on traditional Indonesian cooking. Of course, you'll learn the basics with common dishes like Nasi Goreng. But, you'll also be taught some interesting combinations that you can keep making easily on your travels through South East Asia.
Where to Stay on Gili Trawangan - Quick Accommodation Guide
Being a small island, the best places to stay are usually along the beach, or just a couple of streets down. Accommodation is fairly affordable here.
Below I've given you my top three picks for the best places to stay on Gili T for various travel styles and budgets.
- Gili Eco Villas - A luxury, solar-powered beachside getaway. The best-rated hotel in the Gili Islands!
- Tipsea Turtle Rooftop - The most vibing hostel and the best place to meet other travelers on the islands!
- Kuno Villas - Prefer a private villa? Kuno Villas have the best villas on the island. Let's just say they are absolutely freaking incredible!
Related: Secret Gilis (from Lombok)
Gili Trawangan Budget Food Guide
For travelers used to Lombok food prices, you might be shocked at the cost of a meal on Gili Trawangan. However, this is understandable considering the entire island is catered to tourism.
However, don't stress, you can still grab a cheap bite by opting for local food. The night market listed in the above things to do on Gili Trawangan offers good quality budget food. If you eat vegetarian food, you can easily walk away refueled for under 25 000 IDR. Otherwise, expect to pay a little more for fresh seafood or meat.
I also found a great little warung with fair prices just one street back from the beach and the main strip.
You'll find it on Google Maps under Kafe Kecil's - Ristorante Italiano. I'm not sure why it has this name since it's mostly local Indonesian dishes. Meals are around 15-25K, and they even have translated words to help you learn some Bahasa Indonesia.
More Photos from Gili T
Beyond Gili Trawangan: More Indonesia Travel Guides
I hope this travel guide featuring the top things to do on Gili Trawangan has been useful for planning your adventures!
While you're here, below are some more blogs you might enjoy, especially if you're planning your adventures through Indonesia!
Sunday 19th of June 2022
thank you so much, good info