Tropical sea with turquoise water and trees. Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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This is your guide to the best Gili Trawangan attractions, places to stay, restaurants, bars and info on how to get there and where to head next.

Welcome to the beautiful island of Gili Trawangan. Located off the northwest coast of Lombok, one of Indonesia’s larger islands, Gili Trawangan is a favourite tropical destination for visitors to Bali. Often referred to by the affectionate nickname “Gili T”, this island is a stunning tropical paradise that offers a unique travel experience which few destinations can match. Visitors here are spoiled by the natural splendour, incredible seafood, fun nightlife and permanent holiday atmosphere which make Gili T one of the best islands near Bali. Not only that, it is part of a chain of islands (together called “the Gili Islands”) that includes Gili Air and Gili Meno, making it the perfect place to island hop from.

One of the standout features of Gili T is that there are no cars, scooters or motorised vehicles on the island. Instead, the main form of transport is bicycles and horse-drawn carriages are used to accompany visitors from the harbour (Pelabuhan Gili Trawangan) to their accommodation. It’s truly surprising to see how the absence of motorised transportation adds to the island's peaceful and fun atmosphere.

There are heaps of fun things to do in Gili T. Firstly, this is one of the best places in Asia to experience a sunset, with locals and visitors alike flocking to the famous Sunset Point at golden hour. As day turns to night, Gili Trawangan transforms into a vibrant party island with pulsating nightlife. Beachfront bars and clubs like Sama Sama Reggae Bar and Ombak Bar host insane parties under a canopy of stars. But the daytime is just as thrilling, especially for water enthusiasts. The island offers incredible swimming and snorkelling opportunities, with popular spots like Halik Reef and Turtle Point showcasing stunning coral reefs and sea turtles in their natural habitat. This island celebrates the simple life, and one of our favourite things to do here is simply ride leisurely on a bike around the island.

Gili T’s natural scenery is another must-see feature. This stunning haven is just a stone’s throw from Bali but feels a world apart with its less trodden environment and yet-unspoiled beauty. Whether you’re seeking sparkling turquoise waters, pristine white sand beaches, or abundant underwater worlds to explore, Gili T offers a stunning illustration of nature’s finest offerings. And of course, let's not forget the food. Gili Trawangan offers various culinary experiences, from fresh seafood grills to traditional Indonesian cuisine and international fare, spoiling you with choices.

When it comes to finding the best places to stay in Gili Trawangan, you're spoiled for choice. Gili Trawangan is known as a party island, but it is just as good for enjoying serenity, peace and quiet. When choosing where to stay, consider whether you want to stay in the main hub close to restaurants and bars, or retreat to more remote areas of the island which feel untouched. One of our favourite places to stay is The Beach House Resort, which features aesthetic rooms, great breakfast options and a pool with a swim-up bar. But there are more luxurious options like The Pearl Trawangan, depending on your budget.

This guide offers the lowdown on how to get to Gili Trawangan, what makes this island worth visiting, how to get around, the best places to stay, where to eat and drink, our best tips for making the most of your stay, and more. Without further ado, read on!

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Where is Gili Trawangan?

Visual map of Gili Trawangan showcasing islands near Bali

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Gili Trawangan is an island in the West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia, located just off the northwestern shores of Lombok. Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three Gili Islands, a small archipelago which also includes Gili Meno and Gili Air.

Although widely associated with Bali due to its popularity among tourists, it's important to note that Gili T is not part of Bali itself. Gili island is situated approximately 35 kilometres (22 miles) east of Bali's eastern coast, separated by the Lombok Strait. It takes around 2 hours to get to Gili Trawangan from Bali.

The name 'Gili Trawangan' is rich in local linguistic heritage. 'Gili' translates to 'small island' in Sasak, the native language of Lombok. 'Trawangan' is derived from the Indonesian word 'terowongan' meaning 'tunnel', a nod to the Japanese-built tunnels found on the island during World War II. Additionally, the island's vibrant energy, diverse attractions, and charm have earned it the endearing nickname 'Gili T', a shorthand widely used by locals and tourists alike. This moniker encapsulates the island's laid-back atmosphere and serves as an inviting call to its crystal-clear waters and sandy shores.


How to get from Bali to Gili Trawangan?

Fast boast at Gili Trawangan, near Bali

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The easiest way to reach Gili Trawangan from Bali is by fast boat, from the ports of Padangbai, Serangan, Sanur or Amed (currently closed). The journey to Gili T takes around 2 hours on average, with prices for fast boats ranging from $25-75 AUD one-way. Padangbai is the ideal departure port for those in Ubud, whereas Serangan is closer for those in south Bali areas like Seminyak, Kuta or Canggu.

There is a public ferry available as an alternative to the fast boats but this arrives at Lombok, rather than Gili Trawangan, and typically takes 5-9 hours - so it’s not recommended.

Below we explain in more detail how to get to Gili Trawangan from popular areas of Bali.

Is Gili Trawangan worth visiting?

Famous swing in clear blue water on island at Gili Trawangan, Bali

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Gili Trawangan is absolutely worth visiting, especially for those already in Bali or Lombok. Gili Trawangan offers a one-of-a-kind island experience that's hard to find elsewhere. With no motorised vehicles, a relaxed daytime ambiance transitioning to a vibrant nightlife, delectable freshly caught seafood, a tropical paradise atmosphere, and amazing snorkelling opportunities, Gili T is a bucket list destination for travel enthusiasts.

There are 5 main factors that, in combination, make Gili Trawangan truly unique.These factors are highlighted below.

  • Vehicle-free Island: One of the unique elements of Gili Trawangan is its lack of motorised transport. The island values a quieter, more relaxed pace of life, which is evident in its preference for bicycles and traditional horse-drawn carriages.
  • Indonesia’s Party Island: Gili T comes alive at night with a pulsating energy that's hard to resist. Beachfront bars and clubs, with live music and dance, create an unforgettable party atmosphere beneath the stars.
  • Snorkel Offshore: Gili T is a haven for water lovers, offering amazing swimming and snorkelling opportunities. The chance to swim amidst beautiful coral reefs and spot sea turtles in the wild is a unique experience.
  • Tropical Oasis: In Gili T you can live out your tropical island fantasy, including drinking cocktails out of coconuts and enjoying the beautiful warm waters that surround the island. The seclusion, peace and quiet here is second to none, and by night the fun begins! 
  • Fresh Seafood: Gili Trawangan serves up diverse culinary treats, from fresh seafood grills to traditional Indonesian fare and international cuisines. It's a gastronomic adventure that adds to the unmatchable appeal of the island.


Getting Around Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is highly unusual in that motorised transport is not allowed. That means no cars or scooters are found on the island at all. Additionally, horses and carts, called ‘cidomos’, are commonly used to take visitors from the main port, Pelabuhan Gili Trawangan, to their accommodation. This makes Gili Trawangan a one-of-a-kind destination when it comes to transport options!

There are 3 main ways to get around Gili Trawangan: on foot, on bicycle and by horse and carriage.

On foot: Gili Trawangan is a small island (“gili” literally means small island) that only takes around 2 hours to circumnavigate. Walking or strolling is a lovely way to get to know the island at a leisurely pace, but remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.

On bicycle: Riding a bicycle is the easiest way to get around on Gili Trawangan, allowing you to travel between various points on the island quickly, and have fun whilst doing so. Most visitors rent a bike during their stay, which costs about 40,000-50,000 IDR (≈$4-5 AUD) per day. Mad Monkey and Sila Rent Bike are two trusted bike rental options on the island, or otherwise most accommodations will help you to organise a bike. It takes only around 30-45 minutes to do a lap of the island on bike.

By horse and carriage: When you arrive in Gili Trawangan, one of the first things to notice from the port is the horse and carriages which line the shore, waiting to take visitors to their hotels. Called ’cidomos’, a horse and carriage is an experience to try at least once while you are on the island! The cost of the cidomos rides depends on the length of your journey. In general, a short ride from the harbour to your Gili accommodation costs around IDR 40K to IDR 80K (≈$4-8 AUD).

Row of bicycles for rent in Gili Trawangan Island, Lombok, Indonesia

Credit: Akturer from

Best Time to Visit Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is an all-year-round travel destination. That being said, the best time to visit Gili T is during the Dry Season (May-October). The weather in this period is usually sunny, with clear skies, and temperatures between 21-32°C. The dry season period is ideal for Gili Trawangan’s best activities like sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and partying. Just keep in mind that July and August are peak tourist months, meaning it does become a bit more crowded and expensive on the island.

Another option for a great time to visit Gili Trawangan is during the shoulder seasons (April-June, September-October). These times offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, though there's a bit more rain compared to the dry months. 

For the most budget-friendly adventure with fewer tourists, explore Gili Trawangan during the low season, from October-November and February-March. Despite more humid and rainy weather, you can still enjoy the island's charm with indoor activities like jewellery making workshops or spa days.


Top 5 Activities in Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is a tropical paradise, making it an ideal place to explore at your own leisure. There is a feeling of freedom on this island, where unlike Bali you don’t need any specific itinerary, but are free to roam and discover things for yourself. That being said, there are some must-do activities on Gili Trawangan to truly experience the island.

Here are our three favourite activities on Gili T:

1. Snorkel with turtles

Underwater snorkelling view of turtle at Gili Trawangan, Bali

Credit: MagdiB from

Snorkelling with turtles is one of the most magical experiences available in Gili Trawangan, especially for those that enjoy close and personal animal encounters. Snorkelling in general is excellent in Gili T due to the warm temperatures, clear blue waters and easy accessibility from the shore. But given that this island is a haven for turtles, including Hawksbill and Green Turtles, snorkelling is even more fun and exciting here. What we particularly love about Gili Trawangan is that you can swim and snorkel directly offshore from most points on the island, which is a feeling of freedom which few destinations can match! For offshore snorkelling, head to the east and south coast of the island. One of the best spots for snorkelling with turtles, is the aptly named Turtle Point in the upper eastern corner of the island, where you’re almost guaranteed to find turtles. Snorkelling gear is available from the local vendors, who in many cases will point you in the right direction for turtles or even accompany you.

Joining a boat tour is another great way to enjoy snorkelling in Gili Trawangan Local companies like Dream Divers and Manta Dive offer guided snorkelling tours, which typical include equipment rental, lunch, and a guide. The price is around IDR 100,000 ($10 AUD) for a half-day tour. The mornings are the best time to see sea turtles, so you’re in for a treat  if you’re an early riser. Remember to respect marine life by keeping a safe distance from turtles and not touching the coral. 

2. Rent bikes and tour the island

Bicycles standing on the sand beach during sunrise with blue ocean background, Gili Trawangan, Bali, Lombok, Indonesia

Credit: Pszabo from

Renting bikes is a very popular choice of activity on Gili Trawangan, both for leisure and transport. This due to the total absence of motorised vehicles on the island. This eco-friendly mode of transportation not only preserves the island's pristine environment, but also provides an adventurous way to explore the island at your own pace. Many hotels and local shops offer bike rentals at affordable daily rates, from around 40k IDR  ($4 AUD). The island's circumference is around 6 kilometres (3-4 miles), making it easy to cycle around in a couple of leisurely hours, including stops at scenic spots whenever you wish.

However, bear in mind that certain parts of Gili T have sandy paths, making cycling a bit challenging. In such areas, it's advisable to dismount and walk your bike if you’re not a strong cyclist. Despite this minor difficulty, biking remains one of the best ways to take in the incredible sights of Gili Trawangan at your own pace.

And besides, nothing is more exhilarating than frantically cycling to Sunset Point to catch Gili T’s phenomenal sunset! Which takes us to the next item on our list. 

3. Head to Sunset Point for a drink

Sunset on beach at Gili Trawangan, Bali

Credit: Martinscphoto from

Gili Trawangan boasts several amazing sunset spots, but one stands out above all – Sunset Point next to Pink Coco bar, located on the eastern side of the island, next to the lively Pink Coco bar. This chill beachfront spot offers an unobstructed view of the sun setting over the ocean, with the silhouette of Bali in the distance. The laidback setup with comfy beanbags and loungers is perfect for unwinding and sinking into the island vibes. To add to the ambiance, a DJ spins tranquil tunes from 5 PM to 9 PM, making it an ideal spot to grab a drink and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of a Gili Trawangan sunset.

For a less crowded sunset spot, take a 25 minute walk from Gili's main street to the Hilltop Hiking View Point, a lesser-known gem conveniently marked on Google Maps. Despite being close to the town centre, the route to the viewpoint feels like a secluded escape into nature. Along the way, you may encounter local deer peacefully grazing in their natural habitat. Once you reach the summit, you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view which is ideal at sunset hour. This serene hike is a must for nature lovers and adventure seekers in Gili Trawangan.

4. Check out the best of Gili’s famous nightlife and parties

Gili Trawangan nightlife

Gili Trawangan has a one-of-a-kind nightlife scene that leads to its designation as Indonesia's "Party Island", with a range of venues and music styles on offer from DJ events to electric parties and tranquil beachside bars. The island hosts numerous events throughout the year, with live music, fire dancers, and a crowd that knows how to party. The best and most popular bar in Gili T is undoubtedly Sama-Sama Reggae Bar, which is a relaxed hangout location featuring great drinks, amazing atmosphere and daily live reggae music kicking off from about 6pm. The renowned Ombak Bar is a must-visit for legendary beachfront parties that last until the early morning. Nearby, the Tir Na Nog Bar, known as the "Irish Bar," offers excellent drinks, warm hospitality, and pulsating music. The nightlife on Gili Trawangan offers something for everyone, whether you're a party animal or a leisurely traveller. Other excellent nightlife venues in Gili Trawangan include Lava Bar, and the Exile Gili Trawangan.

Handy traveller’s tip: One of the best ways to have an amazing time partying in Gili Trawangan is to make friends and ask around. Whilst some bars and clubs are popular all year round, there are sometimes special DJ events or parties so it’s a good idea to follow the crowd!

5. Eat freshly caught seafood on the shore

Scallywags, Gili Trawangan

Credit: Scallywags

Is eating an activity? On Gili Trawangan it is! This island serves up some of the best food in Indonesia, where visitors can enjoy freshly caught seafood directly on the shore. Seafood grill restaurants are extremely popular on Gili T, and you will find them easily as you stroll along the shore of the main street, Jl. Pantai Gili Trawangan. Many of these restaurants are connected to resorts, rather than existing as their own separate restaurant. One of our favourites is Scallywags, which is one of the most popular beachside seafood grills on the island. 

As you walk along the main street, you will find the fresh catches of the day displayed on ice out the front of these establishments, where you can choose from a variety of fish, prawns, crabs, lobsters, and octopus. Local chefs expertly grill your selection on an open BBQ, which you can then enjoy under the starry sky, serenaded by ocean waves and enhanced by the island’s amazing atmosphere.

Gili Trawangan's night market is another great place to come across delicious seafood, which is served up with ample portions of rice or couscous.

Handy traveller’s tip: Have you ever wanted to try lobster? Gili Trawangan is a great place to enjoy this delicacy, at a comparatively much cheaper price than back home. A large lobster cooked with butter and herbs costs around 800,000-1,000,000IDR (~$80-100 AUD) in Gili T. 


Gili Trawangan Accommodation - Where to Stay

Finding the perfect place to stay in Gili Trawangan is a relatively easy task, with a variety of options available from quaint homestays and budget hostels to luxury resorts. The accommodation in Gili Trawangan reflects the island's tropical charm and laidback vibe, with many of the properties offering ocean views and easy beachfront access. Here are our five favourite accommodations in Gili T: 

1. The Beach House Resort: Best For Chilling Out

Beach House Resort, Gili Trawangan

Credit: The Beach House Resort

The Beach House Resort perfectly blends a chilled atmosphere with a lively party vibe. Just a stone's throw from the beach and Gili T’s most popular bars, it boasts rooms with direct access to a refreshing pool for cooling off and unwinding through the day. The resort is especially known for its incredible seafood and breakfasts, a popular remedy for those nursing sore heads. 

2. Havana Hideaway: Best For Solo Travellers

Entryway to villa at Havana Hideaways Gili Trawangan, Bali

Credit: Havana Hideaway

Havana Hideaway epitomises tranquillity for solo travellers seeking a serene escape in Gili Trawangan. Nestled away from the bustling party scenes, yet within a comfortable walking distance from the harbour, it strikes an ideal balance. Each room provides a private outdoor space, offering a personal sanctuary for moments of solace. Its location, coupled with a peaceful ambiance, makes Havana Hideaway a premier choice for those adventuring alone.

3. Pearl of Trawangan: Best For Friends

Aerial view of waves and sand of beach resort Pearl of Trawangan, Bali

Credit: Pearl of Trawangan

Pearl of Trawangan is the go to resort for friend groups visiting Gili Trawangan. Its popularity stems from its prime location, where rooms are just 5 metres from the lagoon-style pool and a 30 metre saunter to the beach. Modern rooms with efficient air conditioning and a wildly popular a la carte breakfast add to its appeal. Being close to the lively strip, it pulses with energy, making it a hub for those looking to immerse themselves in the island's social scene.

4. Aston Sunset Beach Resort: Best For Couples

Sun lounges under umbrella at resort pool at Aston Sunset Beach Resort Gili Trawangan, Bali

Aston Sunset Beach Resort is a favourite Gili T accommodation among couples, thanks to its tranquil location away from the island's bustling party scene. What sets this resort apart is the highly attentive staff, who go above and beyond to ensure your stay is unforgettable. Start your mornings with indulgent beachside buffet breakfasts. Later, as the sun goes down, unwind while lounging on a beach bean bag and enjoy movie nights on the shore.

5. Pondok Santi Estate Luxury Beachside Resort: Best For Families

 Pondok Santi Resort Gili Trawangan, Bali

Credit: Pondok Santi Resort

Pondok Santi Estate presents an idyllic retreat for families visiting Gili Trawangan. Equipped with private villas boasting their own pools, every age group can enjoy its sanctity and privacy. Additionally, the resort offers free bike rentals, allowing families to explore the island's charm at their own pace. What truly sets Pondok Santi Estate apart is its culinary offerings – the 'best pizza on the island' is served here, making it a hit with the kids and adults alike.


Best Gili T restaurants and cafes:

Despite its modest size, Gili Trawangan boasts an impressive range of restaurants and cafes. From aromatic local Indonesian flavours, to authentic Italian pizzas and gourmet vegetarian fare, there is a culinary discovery on every corner of this small island paradise. Here are our 3 favourite places to eat on Gili Trawangan: 

1. Jali Kitchen

Indoor dining tables and chairs at Jali Kitchen Gili Trawangan, Bali

Credit: Jail Kitchen

Found in the heart of Gili Trawangan, Jali Kitchen is a captivating Asian-Fusion restaurant that offers a delightful dining experience. Renowned for its generous portions of freshly cooked delights, Jali Kitchen caters to a diverse range of palates, including a substantial vegetarian menu. Amidst the tropical ambiance, guests can relish freshly squeezed juices, a favourite among patrons. The cosy al fresco dining setting of Jali Kitchen exudes an inviting charm that often attracts a full house, so reservations are strongly recommended. As an added bonus, they also accept credit cards.

2. Pearl Beach Lounge

Pearl Beach Lounge, Gili Trawangan

Credit: Pearl Beach Lounge

As you step into Pearl Beach Lounge, their magnificent beachfront Bamboo restaurant and bar is incredibly striking and fun. Get ready for a culinary journey that blends local and international cuisine perfectly. The Pad Thai receives rave reviews, and the fresh 'catch of the day' is an absolute must try. Indulge your sweet tooth with their irresistible selection of cakes. For an even more breathtaking dining experience, secure a seat on the first floor, where you can soak in mesmerising views of the sun setting into the turquoise waters while a gentle breeze accompanies your meal. 

3. Francesco’s Pizza

Supreme pizza being served at Francescos Pizza Restaurant Gili Trawangan, Bali

For those yearning for authentic Italian cuisine on Gili Trawangan, Francesco’s Pizza is the place to visit. Stepping into Francesco’s feels like taking a swift journey from the sandy beaches of Gili T straight into the charming backstreets of Napoli. The pizza here is a beautiful rendition of Italy's culinary legacy, and the freshly made pasta dishes are nothing short of spectacular. The lively atmosphere is infectious; it's no wonder guests find themselves returning three or four times during their island stay.


Best Gili T Bars and clubs:

Gili Trawangan's nightlife is a vibrant and unique experience that sets it apart even from the iconic party scene in Bali. It's less hectic but every bit as captivating with a diverse range of bars and clubs which make evenings in Gili Trawangan so fun. Whether you're keen on sipping cocktails by the beach, savouring the local brew under the stars, or dancing till the sunrise, Gili T has you covered. Let's dive into the top three Gili T nightlife hotspots you should not miss:

1. Sama Sama Reggae Bar

Supreme pizza being served at Francescos Pizza Restaurant Gili Trawangan, Bali

Sama Sama Reggae Bar is a legendary establishment in Kuta that captivates both tourists and locals alike. Renowned for its phenomenal live reggae and rock performances that grace the stage every night, Sama Sama perfectly embodies the relaxed island atmosphere. Treat yourself to their refreshing beachfront cocktails at reasonable prices. For a laidback experience, opt to sit outside and immerse yourself in the beachside reggae vibes. Or, for an unforgettable musical journey, secure the best seats inside from around 8pm to avoid disappointment.

2. Tir Na Nog (the Irish Bar)

External view of Tir Na Nong Restaurant Gili Trawangan, Bali

Tir Na Nog, affectionately known as the "Irish Bar," is one of the most popular places for a drink on Gili T, and presents stark contrast to the stereotypical darkwood decor and grey skies of distant Eire. This lively bar, adorned with tropical hues, has been the epicentre of oceanside revelry in Gili T for over two decades. Renowned for its legendary Wednesday night parties, the bar pulsates with an infectious vibe that captures the essence of the island. Enhancing its allure is the longest happy hour among all the bars on the island, from 4-8pm every day, making Tir Na Nog an irresistible hotspot for any adventurous traveller.

3. Ombak Bar

Party goers dancing at night time on club dance floor at Ombak Bar Gili Trawangan, Bali

Ombak Bar, an iconic watering hole in Gili T, is a haven for party animals. This spirited hotspot allows you to try your hand at beer pong, a classic crowd pleaser, while sipping on their notoriously potent cocktails - they're easy on the wallet but strong on the palate, so proceed with caution! The bar features DJs spinning a wide array of tunes, from techno and house to progressive and Latin. With happy hour from 7-10 pm, you'll be well-prepared for their renowned Dark Moon parties. Here, every new moon brings an evening of dancing under Gili T's star studded skies, creating an unforgettable experience that should be on every traveller's bucket list.


Leaving Gili Trawangan - Where to next?

Wondering where to head after your trip to Gili Trawangan? You have a few options: either head back to Bali, or check out some of the other islands around Gili Trawangan like Lombok. A neighbouring volcanic island, Lombok is known for vast landscapes, untouched beauty and incredible attractions like Mount Rinjani. Getting from Gili Trawangan to Lombok is easy with regular boat services connecting the two islands.

Check out the below info on some of the best places to visit after your stay in Gili Trawangan, and how to get there. 

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