Top 10 Things to Do in Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is part of the trio of Gili Islands along with Gili Meno and Gili Air. At this paradise island that is part serene and part hype, you will be sure to find lots of things to do.

Affectionately known as ‘Gili T’, this island has a reputation as a party spot for a reason. Half the island is dedicated to late-night bars and loud music. The far side of the island, however, is just as beautiful as its two sisters. The beaches are clean and beautiful and make a great base for a day of swimming and snorkelling. Again, there are lots of opportunities to dive, be it your first or hundredth time.

Cycle and explore island

One of the best activities around here is cycling, as there are no cars on Gili Trawangan. By cycling, you will also find yourself exploring the island in depth. One can easily rent a bicycle here on Trawangan and you can spend few hours circumventing the island.

Gili Islands, Indonesia

Birdeye’s view of the islands. Photo by yeowatzup

Enjoy the viewpoint

Gili Trawangan is known for its highest point which is aptly named ‘The Viewpoint’. It takes around half an hour to walk there from the central hub of the island but it is well worth it for the views over the sea and towards the other islands in this part of Indonesia like Lombok and Bali.

Sunrise at Gili Air, Lombok

Sunrise at Gili Air, Lombok. Photo by brian

Catch Gili’s famous swing on the sea

Find the famous swing on the sea and get a beautiful picture with the romantic sunset as backdrop. This swing can be found on the west of Gili Trawangan at Ombak Sunset resort hotel *.

The swing at Gili Islands at Ombak Sunset, Indonesia

The swing at Gili Islands at Ombak Sunset resort hotel *. Photo by Dennis Keller

Diving

The Gili Islands have some of the best dive spots in the country as the conditions here are clear and calm. Most people choose to dive off the coast from Gili Trawangan as this island has the best variety of dive shops and diving packages. Although not one of the top sites to dive in Indonesia, Gili Islands still offer quite a diving experience with some (harmless) sharks, rays, turtles and more.

Snorkelling

One of the best and easiest way to enjoy the sea is by snorkeling. You will find lots of snorkeling rentals in Gili Trawangan so just grab one and go spotting turtles, colourful fish, and maybe even a baby shark for far less than the price of a diving excursion from Gili Trawangan.

Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia
Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Luis Medina

Take a boat tour

A boat tour can be easily arranged from Gili Trawangan with its many operators. They offer boat trips ranging from a simple trip between the islands to a luxurious glass bottom boat tour of the surrounding seas. If you charter a boat to island hop, it can coast around IDR 300,000 depending on your haggling skills. But if you want to check out the other islands more cheaply, you can also get the local ferry for IDR 30,000.

Boats at Gili Trawangan beach, Lombok, Indonesia

Boats at Gili Trawangan beach, Lombok. Photo by yeowatzup

Visit the local night market

The local night market here is something not to be missed. Every evening a night market will be set up in the main square of Gili Trawangan at around dusk. This is also one of the best places to grab some dinner on the island. You will find many local stalls selling traditional snacks such as grilled satay and spicy corn on the cob or you may go for some simple fried noodle or rice dishes. The food here is usually cheaper than the restaurants or cafes on the island but it is equally if not more delicious.

 Night Food market at  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Night Food market at Gili Trawangan. Photo by Henrik Palm

Eat some seafood

If one is on a paradise island, eating loads of fresh seafood is a must. There are many local restaurants here that will display the day’s catch. There are no better ways to enjoy the fresh seafood than having them simply grilled over coconut husks and served with steamed rice.

Grill seafood at Gili Trawangan Gili Islands, Indonesia

Grill seafood at Gili Trawangan. Photo by Marie

Nightlife Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is known for being the ‘party island’ but don’t expect this to be anything like the nightlife scene in Kuta in Bali. Nonetheless, you will find a range of beach bars here that play music well into the night. Some venues will have special themed nights and dance parties, so look out for it. If you prefer a more relaxing evening, then head to Evolution Bar for live bands music.

 Live Band at Evolution Bar, Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

Live Band at Evolution Bar, Gili Trawangan. Photo by Reinardt Gilfillan

Try an open-air cinema

This may not sound like an activity you thought you would do here but it is really an experience itself. If you happen to know one coming up, do give it a try. At the open air cinema, you can sit on bean bags and enjoy a movie on a big screen under the stars. The most famous open-air cinema takes place on the main beach on Gili Trawangan. But many guesthouses and hotels here have noted its popularity and have set up their own open-air cinemas too.


Best Accommodations on Gili Trawangan

Pearl Trawangan
A beachfront resort with its own outdoor pool and bar, this place is ideal for those who want to relax in style. Styled with rustic designs, the individual huts are unique and inviting. Themed with a tropical island feel and filled with lush gardens, it is truly a dream to stay here. Prices starting from 140 USD.
Check out the latest prices and reviews at Booking.com *
Check out the latest prices and reviews at Agoda.com *

Desa Dunia Beda
Another beachfront resort, this one features spacious standalone bungalows and villas with a traditional wood interior. Each villa has its own private terraces and there is also an outdoor pool. Prices starting from 120 USD.
Check out the latest prices and reviews at Booking.com *.
Check out the latest prices and reviews at Agoda.com *

-> For more read Gili Trawangan Best Accommodations

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Best time to Visit Lombok – Weather

When to visit Lombok depends of course on what you are planning to do there and not too much on the weather. The weather quite stable and it is not difficult to find the best time to visit Lombok.

But if you are going there for specific reasons or activities or festivals, then you might want to plan around it.

Pink Beach of Lombok., Indonesia
Pink Beach of Lombok. Photo by Schristia

Lombok Weather

Lombok, in West Nusa Tenggara of Indonesia, share the major tropical climate of two seasons – the dry season and the wet season. It is also one of the drier places to enjoy in comparison to Bali or the other nearby counterparts with temperatures averaging around 30 C and are mostly humid.

Therefore mostly you may enjoy your time here with the good amount of sun if you can ignore the humidity, and during wet season with some bouts of rains in the day but it should not be much of a deterrence in your holiday.

The dry season is from May to October, where it is also the peak season where most tourists flock to Lombok, though this is also the best time to go here. The wet season is from October to March, with rain less than an hour a day, therefore can be your alternative choice to escape the crowd.

In terms of weather, the best time to go to Bali is from July to August as the temperature is at its coolest at these times and also the driest in terms of rain. But it is also the peak season naturally, thus take note of the tourist crowds and do book in advance.

However, it is still possible to travel in the rainy season. It may still rain during the dry season and not rain for a week in the wet season, and it usually comes down big but quick in the evening or late afternoons. Therefore if you must, traveling in Lombok during the wet seasons is still possible if you do most of your sightseeing in the morning and early afternoons and rest in the evenings.

Mount (Gunung) Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia

Mount (Gunung) Rinjani, Lombok. Photo by NeilsPhotography

High/Peak and Low Season in Bali

From April to September will be the high season in Lombok, as it is purportedly the dry season and also generally the summer holiday season in many parts of the world.

The quieter months are from October to March, and though it is considered the rainy seasons, most of the rains come only in the evening and leave pretty quickly. Therefore, it is still possible to enjoy Bali in this weather if you plan your days earlier and rest in the evening.

Best time to visit Bali

The best months to go to Lombok in terms of weather and also the crowd are the shoulder seasons, that is either March or October. At these times, you will have a relatively dry weather yet without the tourist crowds!

Bau Nyale Fishing Festival in Lombok, Indonesia

Bau Nyale Fishing Festival in Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by kenken31

Lombok Festivals

If you want to visit some of the festivals in Indonesia, the most interesting one in Lombok is the Bau Nyale Festival, normally in either February or March. Hundreds of people will rush to Lombok to catch a glimpse of the first nyale (worm-like fish) at this huge fishing festival.

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Which Gili Islands is for you? – Gili Air, Gili Meno or Gili Trawangan

Each of the Gili Islands offers something unique, so this guide should help you decide which one is for you before your visit. There is something for everyone here, from quiet luxury to remote relaxing to upbeat beaches.

This trio of islands are nestled in Indonesia and they are home to some of the most beautiful beaches, reef and people I’ve come across on my trip.

Gili Islands, Indonesia

Birdeye’s view of the islands. Photo by yeowatzup

Gili Meno

This is the quieter of the three islands, and is often referred to as ‘the honeymoon island’. Its stunning white beaches make the perfect setting for all things romantic, but it’s also a family-friendly destination.

This teeny island doesn’t have as much to offer in terms of restaurants and bars as the others but is ideal for anyone on a honeymoon or quiet break. That said, the food here is pretty special, and the beautiful setting only makes dinner more exciting. The beaches here are probably the best out of the trio and are normally very quiet. If you like secluded, serene spaces – head here.

If you’re someone who gets bored quite easily, this isn’t for you. This island is better suited to couples who want to get away from the crowds. Solo travelers may find it hard to meet other people, as there isn’t a huge backpacker scene.

Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia.
Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Blue Barnacle

There aren’t all that many activities to do here, so you do not need to feel guilty about doing nothing! This island is devoted to sunbathing and relaxing. You can rent bicycles and cycle around, or hire a snorkel and spend the afternoon submerged in the crystal clear waters here.

Accommodations on Gili Meno * are pricier among the Gilis, but don’t let that put you off. There isn’t much of a backpacker scene here, as the focus tends to be on boutique hotels. If you’re heading here for a romantic break, treat your loved one to Gili Meno’s Eco Resort * for around 60 USD per night. If you’re feeling flush, book a private bungalow on the beach at Seri Resort *, which comes in at roughly 115 USD for a night.

Gili Meno is perfect for lazing around on stunning beaches, romantic breaks and enjoying the silence.

Gili Meno Beach, Lombok, Indonesia
Gili Meno Beach, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Eduardo M. C.

Gili Air

My favourite of this trio, Gili Air is the most locally-populated island. The beaches here and lovely and clean, and the water is incredibly clear. If you like sunbathing on white sand, soaking up the sunshine and chilled vibes, this is the island for you.

There are dive schools all over the island, designed to help you get your PADI or enjoy fun dives with other experienced divers. Head to Oceans Five if you’re a beginner or Gili Pilih for a fun dive if you’re an advanced diver. Snorkelling is also very popular here if you want to see some underwater nature without having to train first!

There are lots of yoga studios on the island, as well as in the ocean! Try your hand stand-up paddleboard yoga, if you’re brave enough. I love this island for how good it makes your mind and body feel. There are a number of fantastic healthy-food cafes and vegan-friendly places to dine, which really help with the ‘feed your soul’ vibe.

Bungalow in Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia
Bungalow in Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Patrik M. Loeff

The food here is a great blend of local warungs (little family-run places offering cheap local food and a break from WiFi) and Western offerings. There are plenty of beach-front restaurants with barbecues laden with fresh seafood, if you fancy eating with your toes in the sand.

Gili Air takes about an hour to walk around and, as with the other two islands, there are no motorized vehicles (aside from a couple of mopeds!). This makes the island incredibly chilled, making it feel a bit like a wellness retreat. While there is nightlife if you seek it, most places close pretty early. This is a great spot for detoxing if you’re someone who gets led astray easily!

There’s a really lovely mix of accommodation styles at Gili Air *. For backpackers, Begadang * is the go-to spot, and I’ve met people all around the world who stayed here when they visited this island. A space in their outdoor dorm will set you back just over 10 USD a night. There are some lovely villas, such as Gili Air Escape or Captain Coconuts Gili * starting from just 80 USD. If you really fancy splashing out, treat yourself to a private pool with Villa Slow *, and nip to their next-door spa for an afternoon of ultimate luxury. Your own haven, complete with villa and pool, will set you back about 200 USD each night.

Gili Air is the perfect island for relaxing, eating and getting spiritual.

Gili Air Diving, Lombok, Indonesia
Gili Air Diving, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Gemma i Jere

Gili Trawangan

Affectionately known as ‘Gili T’, this island has a reputation as a party spot for a reason. Half the island is dedicated to late-night bars and loud music. If you’re travelling alone and tend to make new friends while drinking in your hostel, head here. There are heaps of hostels around the main ‘strip’, designed for those who enjoy going out and staying out.

The far side of the island, however, is just as beautiful as its two sisters. The beaches are clean and beautiful, and make a great base for a day of swimming and snorkelling. Again, there are lots of opportunities to dive, be it your first or hundredth time.

The night market here is well worth fuelling up at before a big night out. The smells alone will guide you there, and there are many local delicacies to try. Gili T is designed for socializing, and your hostel will probably organize a night out or two each week. This is a great place to soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the buzz and meet new people.

Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia
Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Luis Medina

If you want to mix it up and give your liver a break, there are lots of lovely spas on the island, too. Wander away from the main strip by the port (the island can be walked around in about two hours), and find a quiet spot to relax in.

Gili T brags a hub of places to stay *, so there’s something to suit everyone. My Mate’s Place * is arguably one of the most popular destinations for budget travellers, and it’s not hard to see why with luxurious dorms at just 15 USD inclusive of a good hearty breakfast. If you fancy something in the middle, book a bungalow with Lievera * for about 20 USD and share it with a partner or close friend. Else splurge and go for the bests on the island – Jadi Resort * or Kaleydo Villas *.

Gili Trawangan is perfect for meeting new people, getting into ‘holiday mode’ and letting your hair down.

Gili Trawangan Paradise, Lombok, Indonesia
Gili Trawangan Paradise, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Phil Palmer

Don’t worry if you can’t make up your mind! These islands are very easy to travel between, with regular boats running between them all. You can reach the Gilis very easily from mainland Bali, or from nearby Lombok.

-> Check out the Best hotels and resorts on Gili Trawangan

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Top 10 Best Beaches in Lombok

Lombok is one of the most beautiful islands in Indonesia and is rivalling Bali with its beaches. On a visit to Lombok you can expect the same white sandy beaches and azure waters but without the crowds.

Many people are now opting to skip Bali completely and travel straight to Lombok, and if you choose to go this way, you will be rewarded with a wide range of beaches to choose from. Here is our list of the best beaches in Lombok for you.

Tangsi Beach, Lombok, Indonesia
Tangsi Beach, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Frantisek Krivda

Pink Beach

If you have never visited a pink beach then now is your chance. Also known as Tangsi Beach, this beach has the in a pretty shade of pink. This is one of only two pink beaches in Indonesia (the other one is in Flores) and although it is famous for its strawberry blonde sand, it is rarely crowded. You can spend the day here relaxing on the sand or go for a swim in the neighbouring sea. Pink Beach is located in the small village Sekaroh, Jerowaru, eastern Lombok. The luxury hotel Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp is located along this pink coast,

Pink Beach of Lombok., Indonesia
Pink Beach of Lombok. Photo by Schristia

Selong Belanak Beach

If you want to learn to surf but don’t want to do with the crowd at Kuta Beach in Bali, then head to Selong Belanak Beach in Lombok. The surf here is of the same standard, with small to medium sized waves, and you can rent a board and hit the water in a more relaxed and serene environment. This beach is also used by local fisherman and you can take in the pretty coloured boats here that bob on the water. Right at this beach you will find very affordable boutique hotel such as the favourite Bukit Indah Boutique Accommodation *

Mawi Beach

Just a little down the coast from Selong Belanak is the Mawi beach. It is most famous as a surfing beach as there are some nice breaks here which make it popular with surfers who make their way here from Bali.  The breaks here are recommended for advanced surfers only as the sea has a rocky bottom. The water, however, is pristine as is the fluffy white sand, so if you don’t surf you can still come here and relax on the beach. You can also take in the stunning views here across the bay over to Selong Belanak. One thing to note here is that there is no board rental available so you will need to come prepared.

Selong Belanak Beach - Hidden Beautiful Beach in Lombok, Indonesia.
Selong Belanak Beach, a hidden one in Lombok. Photo by celebrityabc

Beaches on the Gili Islands

The Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok are made up of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. Gili Trawangan is the most developed island and has a long strip of sandy beach that runs around it. The island is also known for its pristine seas, and you can go snorkelling or diving here and enjoy a range of underwater delights including turtles and sharks. If you want a more secluded beach spot, then consider heading to Gili Meno. This island is known for being popular with honeymoon couples thanks to its small size and intimate atmosphere and you can spend time on the main beach here enjoying the warm sand and the clear seas. If you want to stay on Lombok but still with quick access to the Gili Islands, Hotel Tugu * is an excellent choice.

-> Read Top 10 Things to Do on the Gili Islands
-> Check out Best places to stay on the Gili Islands

Gili Trawangan, one of the Gili Islands, Indonesia.
Gili Trawangan, one of the Gili Islands. Photo by Luis Medina via Wikimedia Commons

Segar Beach

To the east of Kuta Lombok is Segar Beach which sits in a delightful small cove. The is one of the best beach as it is made up of pretty sand and coral. When the tide is out it is possible to walk across the sand to a large rock which protrudes from the bay. This beach is also known for its nice surf break and some of the main surf competitions in Lombok are held here. During which the beach can get quite crowded, so it is best to check if there is a competition on ahead of time if you want to beat the crowds. The nearest hotel to this beach is the trusty Novotel Lombok Resorts and Villas *.

View of Kuta, Lombok from a hill near Pantai Seger, Indonesia, Indonesia.
View of Kuta, Lombok from a hill near Pantai Seger, Indonesia. Photo by Whatsinaname at wts wikivoyage via Wikimedia Commons

Pandanan Beach

To the north of Senggigi in Lombok is Pandanan Beach. This is one of the least visited beaches on the island so it is a good choice if you want to beat the crowds. The beach hugs a long strip of coastline and you can expect clear seas and fluffy white sand. If possible, try to come here in the late afternoon as the beach is known for its gorgeous sunsets. This is one of the most romantic and secluded beaches in Lombok which makes it perfect for couples. Best places to stay nearby here are Qunci Villas Hotel and Sundamala Suites and Villas *.

Tanjung Aan

Tanjung Aan has the claim to fame of being one of the most beautiful beaches around Kuta in Southern Lombok. The beach is surrounded by lush rolling hills and you can hike to the strip of sand here and then go for a swim to cool off. To get to Tanjung Aan from Mataram takes around an hour and a half but it is more than worth it for the pretty views. Not too far off is the popular and high-end luxury hotel Villa Sorgas *. Book well ahead if you want to secure a place here.

Blue sea of Tanjung Aan beach, Lombok, Indonesia
Blue sea of Tanjung Aan beach, Indonesia. Photo by Suryanata budi via Wikimedia Commons

Pantai Mawun

If you want to spend time relaxing on a beach in Lombok then head to Pantai Mawun. This secluded beach is around an hour and a half away from Mataram, the capital city of Lombok and 20 minutes drive from Kuta. This is also one of the best beaches for swimming as the waves are small and the currents are gentle. You can pass the afternoon here sunbathing on the white sand or enjoy a refreshing coconut from a local stall. If you want to stay near this beach, don’t miss out the beautiful Mawun Raya Resort *

Mawun Beach, Kuta Lombok, Indonesia.
Mawun Beach near Kuta, Lombok. Photo by Whatsinaname via Wikimedia Commons

Cemara Beach

If you want to get off the beaten track, then head to Cemara Beach in eastern Lombok. This beach is also known as one of the most beautiful in the area and it is surrounded by pretty vistas and lush scenery. The beach is made up of a long strip of white sand that backs onto clear seas and this is a great choice if you want to go swimming or snorkelling.

Picking fishes at Kuta Beach, Lombok, Indonesia.
Picking fishes at Kuta Beach, Lombok, Indonesia. Photo by Tanti Ruwani via Wikimedia Commons

Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach in Lombok is not to be confused with Kuta Beach in Bali and is one of the most popular beaches in Lombok. This is however also one of the most crowded beaches on the main island, especially at the weekends, but it is also a good place to choose as a base. The beach stretches for some seven kilometres and you can go swimming or snorkelling here. There are also a number of small local cafes dotted along the shore called warungs where you can get some simple Indonesian dishes like fried rice or noodles. You can also relax on the sand with a fresh coconut and this can be a good choice if you don’t have much time to explore the other more secluded beaches in Lombok. Nearby to Kuta, Lombok, there are many choices of places to stay, with best-rated Mana Retreats *.

-> Read Kuta, Lombok Travel Guide
-> Read Where to Stay in Kuta, Lombok

Where to Stay in Lombok – Best Places and Accommodations

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