Gili Trawangan Guide: 10+ Best Things To Do On The Island

Gili Trawangan Guide: 10+ Best Things To Do On The Island

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Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three smaller islands to the east of Bali, Indonesia. Known as Gili T colloquially, it’s a place many visit to scuba dive, snorkel, free dive, and just enjoy the crystal clear oceans while sitting on the beach. Bali is incredibly beautiful.

One of the reasons we visited was to scuba dive on Gili Trawangan, and it didn’t disappoint. The water was crystal clear, with many different species of fish and sea creatures. We’ll go over how to get to Gili T and what you can do on the island while you’re there.

Snorkeling And Glass Air Boating On Gili Trawangan

You can rent snorkels for extremely cheap on Gili Trawangan. They’re roughly 50,000 IDR per day or $4 USD. A good snorkel set only costs $20-$30, so if you want to get your own and pack it in your luggage, you’ll probably save money over the long run.

If you want a special snorkeling trip, book a glass boat. These boats have a glass bottom, so you can see beneath into the water below. The boat picks you up at Gili Trawangan, and you’ll snorkel on all three islands.

The boat gets cheaper the more people you get to go with you because the fixed cost is the boat, gasoline, and tour guide. For a 2 hour trip, it’s $59 + $10 per additional person. For a 4 hour trip, it’s $89 + $15 per additional person. If you can band together with a group of friends or even people you just meet, it’ll be a great deal.

Bike Around Gili Trawangan

There aren’t any cars on Gili T due to the narrow roadways. There are a few horses with carriages but the majority of the island either walks or bikes for transportation.

You can rent a bike for $2-$3 per day if you’d like. If you have a ton of luggage, you can hire a horse buggy to help you get your luggage to your lodging.

There aren’t really motorbikes on the island, especially not to rent! Biking around the island is a great way to see it and get in some exercise while you’re on vacation and eating a ton of glorious food. It’s also super cheap!

Scuba Diving On Gili T

There is only one main road on Gili T that takes less than 15 minutes to walk, so you’ll see all the dive shops. Since we decided to go to Bali and Gili Trawangan on a whim, we didn’t book reservations in advance.

One of the shops we liked was full for the day so we went to the other one that was highly rated. All dives are the same price on all 3 of the Gili islands. 

The dive shops agreed to fix their prices so that there would be no price wars and the shops could keep their quality high. Normally cartels are not good, but for a small island, this seems to work. This means you won’t have to shop around for the cheapest price, since they’re all the same. Check out:

The instructors at Blue Marlin were kind and we got one dive master and a dive master in training leading just my partner and I. I was thankful they had nausea medication because I noted how I noticed getting nauseous diving in the past few months and didn’t know there was medication for it.

Paid Banner In Front Of Blue Marlin On Gili Trawangan
Paid Banner In Front Of Blue Marlin On Gili Trawangan

Blue Marlin had a small pool and area to relax in after diving and a small restaurant and bar. If you’re mostly looking to give on your vacation in Gili T, Blue Marlin has some rooms for ~$30 per night. We found out later Blue Marlin had 4 more locations on other islands. Here are some dives you should check out in Gili Trawangan:

  • Halik
  • Glen Nusa (AOW)
  • Manta Point
  • Meno Wall (Turtles!)
  • Shark Point
  • Stingray

AOW means Advanced Open Water Certified for deep dives (30M or 100ft). Unfortunately, my partner didn’t have his open water certification at the time, so we couldn’t go wreck diving thi time. But if you have yours, definitely check it out!

Free Diving On Gili Trawangan

We did free diving at FreeDive Gili and really loved it. Freediving is diving without any machines or tools, with the exception of extra long fins so you can dive faster.

You’re taught how to hold your breath properly, embrace the psychological fear of your brain thinking you don’t have enough oxygen, etc. For people who love scuba diving, free diving means you don’t have to carry 20+ pounds of equipment on your back and can swim through the water as if you really were a fish.

There is a yoga studio in FreeDive Gili, along with a small pool to hang out in. Even if you’re not staying at the freediving hotel, you can still use the yoga studio and pool if you’re taking some free diving classes.

Cost Of Hotels And Airbnb On Gili T

Accommodations on Gili T range from $15 to $100+ per night. Don’t let the price fool you though! These are spacious, unique, and well-serviced homes for $15 per night.

We found a nice Airbnb apartment for the both of us for less than $50 with a pool and breakfast, complete with a kitchen. Since we booked last minute for a few days in advance with 90% of the locations booked up already, you can probably find better deals than us. Our booking would’ve been $30-$35 normally.

Check out Airbnb and get $40 off your first booking.

If you’re looking for a hotel with a large, private grounds, beach, bar, and restaurants, you’ll find those for above $75 per night. Pretty cheap for such an amazing stay! Compare that to going to Hawaii and spending a few hundred dollars a night on a luxury hotel.

Cost To Get To Gili Trawangan

The only way to get to Gili Trawangan is to go by speedboat. There are two kinds of speedboats. Small ones without air conditioning and large ones with.

I’d highly recommend going on the later kind of speedboat. It can get stifling in a boat without air conditioning in tropical climates with the engine running. The larger boats are also faster. Here are the speedboat ports in Bali that go to Gili Trawangan:

  • Amed
  • Padang Bai
  • Sanur
  • Serangan

The Amed boats concierge will only pick you up around Amed, while Padang Bai concierges will pick people up from the Sanur/Serangan region. If you really hate boats, you should consider leaving from Padang Bai as that is the shortest speedboat. It is because it is the closest to Gili Trawangan.

A one-way ticket on a speedboat with air conditioning currently costs $30-$50. For most return tickets, you’ll need to nail down a date when you get to Gili Trawangan at the speedboat booth. Make sure to do this or they might not have space on the boat on your return trip.

Where To Eat On Gili Trawangan

Most hostels, Airbnbs, and hotels will have free breakfast for you in the morning. We took advantage of this free breakfast. If you’re looking for an American healthy breakfast with fruits and oatmeal, check out The Banyan Tree.

As for lunch and dinner, here were our favorite haunts. It surprises me the ingredients that are available on Gili Trawangan. One of the meals had halloumi. Another store had Acai bowls.

Gili Trawangan somehow had even more Western-style food than Ubud or Sanur in Bali. Everything we had was crazy delicious.

Romantic Restaurants On The Beach: Pearl Beach Lounge

This gorgeous lounge is housed in a bamboo structure with amazing views of the beach. We dined here twice, during both the day and night. The food and service were fantastic, and so was the view.

The menu has both Balinese and Western cuisine, so there’s something to fit everyone’s palate. Pearl Beach Lounge has two sections, one of them the giant two-story bamboo structure and the other on the beach. We didn’t try out the beach section, as there were many restaurants on the beach — we found the bamboo structure much more unique and decided to dine there instead.

View from Pearl Beach Lounge 2nd Floor
View from Pearl Beach Lounge 2nd Floor
Pearl Beach Lounge 2nd Floor
Pearl Beach Lounge 2nd Floor

Pearl Beach Lounge 2nd Floor
Pearl Beach Lounge 2nd Floor
Beach in front, jungle in back
Beach in front, jungle in back

 

The amount of globalization on this menu of items was seriously incredible. The food at the Pearl Beach Lounge rivaled some of the nicest hotels we’ve ever been at.

Pool at the Pearl of Trawangan
Pool at the Pearl of Trawangan

Romantic Restaurants On The Beach: Ko Ko Mo Restaurant

We looked through all the beach restaurants on the Western side and liked the atmosphere of Ko Ko Mo the most. If you let them know it’s your birthday or anniversary, they’ll whip up a special dessert for you.

We sat on the beach, overlooking the water. The best time to start dining is during sunset since it’s so beautiful. Once it turns dark, the giant lanterns above you give the place a soft glow.

This is me, 30 minutes after finishing scuba diving. I just put my shirt on over my swimwear and walked 2 minutes for some delicious candlelit dinner on the beach.

 

Light globes lit up on bamboo sticks on the beach at Ko Ko Mo
Light globes lit up on bamboo sticks on the beach at Ko Ko Mo

Coworking Space: The Banyan Tree

While we were there, we only really found one coworking space with fast internet. The place served healthy food like acai bowls and smoothies and required you to take off your footwear before entering. We spent a few hours at The Banyan Tree chilling after a long free dive session and before our boat left in the afternoon.

Vegan Restaurants: Pituq

One of the highest rated restaurants on the island was Pituq, which is a vegan restaurant. When we went to Gili Trawangan, we went during Ramadan.

During this time, the restaurant fasted during the day, so they warned their food might taste a slight bit off. Even though they couldn’t taste it, seems like they still made great food! It was surprisingly delicious considering we don’t usually like vegan food.

They used a lot of texture, creaminess, and umami flavors that we barely noticed we didn’t have any meat. Did you know that jackfruit tastes like pulled pork?! The texture and taste were so similar to BBQ pork.

It’s also a pretty romantic place. Each “table” is on a small bamboo platform where two people can sit. We took a picture of the table across from us, but blurred out the couples faces. The platform really is pretty cool.

Pituq "Tables" on Gili Trawangan
Pituq “Tables” on Gili Trawangan

 

Private Beach Dinners

If you’re into super romantic and private dinners on the beach, they have that for you too! Dinners start at a couple of hundred dollars USD for completely private dinners. Where else are you going to get a private dinner on the beach?

Most Instagramable Places on Gili Trawangan

On The Beach at Sunset On Gili Swings

 

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Snorkeling With Statues

 

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Pearl Beach Lounge At Night

 

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What are your other favorite things to do on Gili Trawangan? What else do you think visitors should know? Let me know in the comments below!

Author: Olivia

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