Party and relax on Gili Trawangan

Fun parties, good food and white sandy beaches with palm trees. Those are the main reasons to go to Gili Trawangan, the biggest and most famous island of the Gili islands. Gili ‘T’ started out as a small, relaxed getaway for backpackers, but since the growth of tourism in the region, a lot of luxurious hotels and villas have been built. If you want to have a fancy dinner, dance the night away in a hip club and relax on the beach during the day, then Gili Trawangan is the place to go.

Casa Vintage Gili Trawangan

Casa Vintage Gili Trawangan

Friendly people

,,Gili T is a beautiful place,’’ Fernando Esquivel (31) from Chili says. After his travels to Ubud and Lovina Beach on Bali he decided to come to the Gili Islands and spend four days on Gili Trawangan. ,,The seawater is so clear and the beaches are beautiful. But for me the most fun part of Gili T are the people. The people are so friendly. We met a lot of travellers there and we loved to share stories with each other. We talked about the different places and countries where we were from. I love talking to different people from different cultures.’’

Casa Vintage Gili Trawangan

Casa Vintage Gili Trawangan

Good parties

Esquivel and his German friend Niko went to Gili Trawangan to party. The two guys like to go out to a bar or a club to have a drink or dance the night away. ,,We went to a fun bar called Sama Sama,’’ he says. ,,The bar was just in front of the harbour and they played some nice reggae music there. There was a band playing there so that was fun. I really like live music and we had a great time.’’

After drinking a few beers the two guys continued their evening in another bar called Jiggle. ,,There was a massive party going on there,’’ he explains. ,,People were dancing on the street and the party really went through the roof. It was fun, but also a bit too much. Later in the evening people were getting really drunk and we decided to go back to the hotel. We wanted to go to bed; we also wanted to enjoy the day time.’’

Sama Sama Reggae bar - one of the best places on Gili Trawangan

Sama Sama Reggae bar - one of the best places on Gili Trawangan

Beautiful nature

The next day the two boys rented two bikes and drove around the island. ,,The island is much more beautiful than you’d think,’’ he says. ,,It is not just a party place. There are some beautiful spots out there with some amazing nature. In the middle of the island there is a kind of oasis filled with massive coconut trees. I come from Chili where we don’t have coconut trees. For me, it was an amazing experience to see those coconut trees and to sit down and have some coconut water after that. It really felt like we were on holiday.’’

At the end of the day Esquivel and Niko sat on the beach and watched the sunset with their new friends. From the beach of Gili Trawangan you can see the mountains of Lombok and the sun sets just behind those mountains. ,,That was magic,’’ the Chilean guy said. ,,The water was so clear and around sunset it had a beautiful colour. In Chili you can see the sun setting in the ocean, but that is not the same as a sunset behind those mountains.’’

Just relax on the beach

Two Dutch Girls, Lindsey and Kiki (23), also went to Gili Trawangan for a couple of days but they didn’t go there to party. They just wanted to enjoy the white sandy beaches, the ocean and the rest of the beautiful surroundings of the island. ,,We went to Bali earlier and we missed the beaches there,’’ Lindsey says. ,,It was a relieve to come to Gili T and to finally be able to put our bikini’s on and sunbathe on a nice beach. This morning we followed a yoga class on the beach (at 6.15 in the morning, red) and that was great. It was a beautiful experience to do those yoga poses on the beach, while we had a view over the ocean.’’

The two girls loved the small, but sometimes crowded island. The fact that there were no scooters or cars, but only bikes and horses, made a good impression on them. ,,You don’t hear as much traffic noise as on Bali,’’ Kiki says. 

Gili Trawangan beach

Gili Trawangan beach

,,That makes it a very relaxed island to stay on. You can really enjoy your holiday without being disturbed. We also rented a bike and within half an hour we had cycled around the island.’’

Cinema in the open air

Kiki and Lindsey also went to an outdoor cinema. ,,That was fun,’’ Lindsey says. ,,They dressed the place up really nice and we were watching the movie sitting on bean bags. With all the lights and the popcorn we had a great time.’’

Gili Trawangan outdoor cinema

Gili Trawangan outdoor cinema

Night market

The night market. You don’t want to miss out on that either. ,,It is just fun to walk around and explore the different stalls,’’ Kiki states. ,,The local people of Gili Trawangan sell all kinds of stuff and you can eat there as well. You can just put all kinds of local food on your plate and eat it there.’’ The night market is in the south of the island, close to the harbour.

Night Market

Night Market

Snorkelling

But the thing that the two Dutch girls liked the most in Gili T, was the snorkelling. They joined a snorkelling course, jumped on one of the local boats and snorkelled all around the island. ,,We saw so many turtles,’’ Lindsey mentions. ,,It was insane. The instructor dove deep down into the ocean, made a bit of movement and all the turtles swam up. They came to the water surface to take a breath and after they dove under again. It was beautiful to see those turtles out there.’’

Scuba diving

Gili Trawangan is one of the best places to go snorkelling and diving and there are a lot of diving centers on the island where you can book a course and learn to dive. If you already have experience with scuba diving, you can just book some of the shorter courses, jump on a boat and go diving. Around Gili T and the other Gili islands there are a lot of spots where you can swim with mantas, sharks, turtles and beautiful fish.

Diving centers:

  • Aquaddiction Dive - on the main beach road on Gili Trawangan
  • Manta Dive- near the harbour
  • Diversia Diving

Besides scuba diving you can also go free diving and explore the underwater world by using only your own breath.

Free Diving centers:

  • Freedive Gili

 

Other activities that you can do on Gili Trawangan:

  • Rent a kayak and paddle around the island.
  • Surfing at Secrets. The water is very shallow though and you need to be experienced to be able to surf it
  • Follow a yoga class
  • Join the crowd that watches the sunset around 6 pm. Every night people go to the south western coast of the island to watch the sun set in the ocean and behind the mountains. Most people go to Sunset Bar or Bar Sunset.

 

Nice restaurants on Gili Trawangan:

  • The Night market. Eat some fresh fish, prawns or squid that is grilled on the spot by the local people.
  • Ko-Ko-Mo. This is one of Gili Trawangan’s best restaurants. The dishes are a mix of Asian and Western cuisine.
  • Scallywags: a nice mix of meat, seafood, tapas and pasta.
  • Beach House Restaurant. You can pick your choice of seafood from the fresh fish that is on display. Prawns, crabs and lobster are available.