Traveling Gili Trawangan,? It considered the party island of Lombok is a really beautiful one. If you are traveling in Bali and Lombok, you will not see blue waters all the time. The water in Gili Islands is very blue and super beautiful, and is really good for hot summer swims, and a lot more of activities in and out of the sea.
How to Get to Gilli Trawangan
If you are coming from Bali to Lombok, you’ll need to get a taxi ride to the Sanur port or Padang Bai. Could be difficult to find an Uber or even Go Jek in the area, so it’s best to ride the Blue Bird taxis (this is the cheapest, most reliable we found. From there, you go to the port, and then take a fast boat to the island.
You should be in Bangsal in 45 mins (200 000 INDR) to an hour with the fast boat. A few things to remind you when riding a fast boat:
- You might need to walk on shallow water, so you’ll have to wear shoes that work for that, or completely remove your shoes and raise your pants.
- If you need help, there should be local guides that will help you go on board the boat.
If you take the slow boat from Padang Bai, to get to Gilli Trawangan, it will take you 5-6 hours (50 000 INDR) to reach Lombok and later you nmeed to head to Bangsal port, 2-3 hours by car. There are local transportation, and also the possibility of hitchhiking. It takes much longer but you will save money if you are on a budget.
From Bangsal a slow boat to Gilli it costs 17 000 INDR and it takes 20 minutes to get there. There is the possibility of the fast boat for 75 000 INDR and it will take you 10 minutes. From Bangsal to Gilli is easier the situation, locals try to push you to get the fast boat but if you buy the ticket in the slow boat will be fine. But be careful from Gilli to Bangsal, we will wirte below with more details.
Life in Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is an island and one of the first impressions you’ll have is that there are more foreigners than locals – which can be true.
The locals staying in the area are almost just the ones working and doing business there.
Life in Gili Trawangan is pretty simple. Laid back like most of the Asian island lives are. There are not any complicated transportation as its really small. Everyone’s goes around by walking, riding bikes or riding the Kalesa (horse carriages).
There are a lot of restaurants and bars plus many shops in Gili Trawangan. And since it’s a beach destination, there are activities ranging from surfing, SUP, boats, snorkeling, diving and even island hopping.
Gili Meno and the rest of the Gili Islands are close by, and you can even feel that you can swim to the next island, because of how close it is. We think the only reason people don’t do this is because of too much boat traffic, which can be dangerous.
Bars and Parties
Gili Trawangan is known as the party island. One of the bars here is pretty active and has good dance and drinking parties every night. There are many bars to choose from, whether you like really loud music or want mellow music to talk to friends and people you meet.
During our stay traveling Gili Trawangan, it was the Ramadan season. Therefore bars are pretty much close at 12, and the whole island easily becomes very quiet.
Gilli is famous because of the mushrooms, if you want to try magic mushrooms here is your opportunitty to do it! We didn´t try them but we met a few people who did and they were supper happy with the experience. Maybe next time!
More Things to Do Traveling Gili Trawangan
It’s beach time! It’s hard not to lounge by the beach area here, as the waters are very blue. I mean who in the world will not love these blue waters? It was such a breath of fresh air from Bali’s beaches. (Although if you’re a surfer, you will probably like them more).
You can swim, or just lay around the beach. And of course if you’re feeling active, do some water activity. Lots of tours around as it’s a touristic area, and stores that provide water sports gear are everywhere.
Shopping will always be related in the island. While you are in Gili Trawangan, you are pretty much in the island all the time, and you should be able to access and get everything from the island. Luckily you can! Rachel even found liquid for her contact lenses while in Gili.
There are turtle hatcheries in the area. In my opinion, these beautiful creatures need to be in their own habitat, and admired from there, so really hoping they take good care of them a lot!
Local hostels right in the middle of the bars and restaurants – noisy but may be good options for party people who don’t mid the noise. There are also a lot of massages and spa houses for that perfect Balinese (and sometimes even Thai) massage!
Where to stay
Gili Trawangan can be easily considered as the backpackers haven. There are accommodations for different kinds of budget and definitely a lot of budget friendly options for travelers. While in Gili Trawangan, we stayed with Martas Gili.
We love staying in Martas. Clean, simple, has everything you need, and very close to the main street of the island. In just a few minutes walk you’ll see food places, the bars, and the beach. It’s good that it’s far enough to drown the noise coming from the main street of Gili Trawangan.
If you’re looking at other options, or are traveling with maybe a higher budget, with family, or friends, and needed a much more private shared space, you can also stay in Baruna Villas. Had an amazing time sharing a 5 bedroom villa with Traveltomtom here. Haha! Good internet, far from the main street (about 15 minutes walk), so you are totally isolated from the main street, in case you want to be that far.
And because it’s a villa of your own, you can stay here longer, and have your own huge fridge, living room in case you want to entertain guests, and your own kitchen, to cook your own food.
You will also have your private pool so you can pretty much enjoy in the villa, in case you’re not ready to go to the main island just yet.
A look inside the bedroom villa. Huge, comfortable, and beautiful!
Local night market
There is a local night market in Gili that us super duper affordable. You can’t even complain of high prices in the bars because you can go out and eat cheap in the night market. Really, island travel can be very cheap, or very expensive – just depends on where you are looking at spending.
Just a quick reminder that in the islands, almost all the locals are there for business, so make sure you ask around when checking for prices of activities or when buying tickets and buying things. It’s really hard to even have to admit this, however in very touristic areas in Asia (and yes, Gili Trawangan is very touristic), people tend to think they can easily scam foreigners. So just be mindful when traveling, and everything else should work fine.
To share to you the bad experience we had, we were leaving Gili Trawangan to go back to Bangsal where you have two options – the slow boat, that locals ride, or the fast boat, which, unsurprisingly the foreigners ride. The slow boat saves you money, and is not even too slow (as you’re pretty much in Bangsal in 20 to 30 minutes), but still foreigners take the other boat.
We bought our local tickets, and asked to wait for our boat by the beach. We tried to ride every local boat that tried to left the island, and every time we were refused to board, with local boatsmen telling us that our tickets are for another boat. A few boats more, and we started to feel antsy.
A few more boats and the local told us we missed ours. Which was pretty weird as we were standing right in front all the local boats are. Nothing left without us asking to ride. When we checked back with the ticket office, the local officer was already ready to tell us we missed our boat, and we didn’t hear them call us. No one was happy about the situation. Tom and I were pretty much very very frustrated. This is not our first time in the islands. This is not the first time people tried to scam us. The ticket officer shouted at us, and told us to wait again, blaming us for what happened. They asked us many times to buy new tickets. And we didn’t budge.
As Tom prepared to Snap the experience, some local boatsmen who’ve been watching everything talked to us, took our tickets, and told them it’s okay. We can ride their boat. They told us how much they hate these scammers, and that they’ve been watching us the whole time asking around for our turn to ride the boats, so they pretty much knew us. Who can miss two tall European guys who are the only ones trying to ride the local boats?
Day saved by locals – finally it ended with a good experience.
Really wanting to end this on a positive note, so we saved the sunset shots we had in Gili Trawangan for the end. ha!
Sunset in Gili Trawangan is very popular. Almost every resort has set up their swings overlooking the sunset where people can take their most Instagrammable Gili Trawangan shots. ha! Naturally, we were looking for this area, and it’s a long walk, about 45 minutes walk or 15 minute bike ride from the main street. It’s pretty much at the other end of the island, surrounded by luxurious villas and resorts.
Far, but worth it. Check the shots we got!
Hope you had lots of fun in this little island adventure with us! Make sure you share it to a friend who needs to travel here.
Til the next island story! x