Gili Trawangan otherwise known as Gili T, is one of Bali’s most popular destinations and after spending a good few days there, we can definitely see why. It offers beautiful beaches, incredible snorkelling, some really delicious restaurants and then the perfect sunset. You can’t really ask for much more. Although Gili T is the largest out of the Gili Islands and is primarily known as the ‘party island’, it really has is so much more!
SO HOW DO YOU GET THERE?
To get to Gili Trawangan, you can depart from Seragan Harbour or Padang Bai. It takes approximately 30 mins from Serangan and around 90 mins from Padang Bai. When you arrive at the harbours, ignore the vendors who try selling you tickets between 300-400RP. It’s a very high price and you can get it down so much more. Infact, as there was 4 of us at the time, we managed to secure a price of 150RP per person. Always remember when bargaining prices to never be rude. Always be polite and friendly and it will work in both your favours.
WHERE TO STAY
Our accommodation on Gili T was one of the best places we have stayed in a long time. Little Coco Hotel was amazing and we couldn’t have asked for more. It was about a 10 minute walk from the harbour & main strip. The room was clean, comfortable and opened up right onto the pool. What was even better was the spread they put on for breakfast! The choice, quality and quantity was perfect!!.
1. CATCH A SUNSET
If you have heard that sunsets in Bali are beautiful then you have definitely heard right. So catching one on Gili T is a must do. Gili T is only small so you can pretty much be anywhere on the island and see the insane colours of the sun setting. However, if you walk around more of the north part of the island, that’s where you will most likely get the best view. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants with beanbags on the beach where you can park your bum for the next couple of hours. It helps that a lot of places have happy hour, so you can’t really get much better than watching the sunset on the beach with a beer or cocktail in hand. If you’re an avid instagrammer, you will also find the famous Gili T swings for the perfect ‘insta’ shot.
2. GO SHOPPING
You will not be short of shopping when it comes to visiting Gili T. There are plenty of clothes & souvenir shops around the island and a variety of boutique shops for a little bit more luxury. The clothes are actually so nice, it was hard to resist buying a lot of it. Although, everything is a little pricey. I think because of being an island, maybe they can get away with charging a little more. At some shops, give a go at haggling and try to get a good price for your item. Just remember to be polite and friendly, it is their business after all.
3. GO OUT
Gili T is more commonly known as the party island but don’t let that put you off. It would really depend on the time of year you go, where you stay and if you want to get involved. There are plenty of bars that offer a range of music, whether it is something dancey your looking for or maybe just some live music to chill out to. There is a huge choice which I think is a real winner on Gili T. Also, a lot of bars will offer Happy Hour every night. You’ll probably find Bintangs around 35,000 and then 20,000 during Happy Hour.
4. OUTDOOR MOVIE
We loved this addition to Gili T. There aren’t really any signs for it but if you walk left from the pier, you will walk straight past a huge screen. They usually play the classics which is even better and then you can get the movie, popcorn and a beer for 50,000. I mean thats £3 and think what you pay back home for the cinema! It is pretty cool to sit on the beach watching a good old favourite.
5. CYCLE AROUND THE ISLAND
One of our favourite afternoons was cycling around the island. It literally only takes about 2 hours, well depends on how fast you cycle and how many times you stop, but it’s doable. We loved that there are no motors on the island, no cars, no scooters, so you can simply get around get cycling. It’s a great way to explore the island more and you can stop off at various bars and restaurants with free pools for a quick refreshing dip on the way. Most hotels/hostels will provide bicycles to rent but you can also find vendors along the rode. We hired ours for 40,000 each for 24 hours.
6. EAT ALL THE YUMMY FOOD
Gili T will not disappoint you when it comes to food. There is a huge variety of types of food and price. You could get a burger & chips for 30,000 or you could have BBQ seafood for 300,000. Maybe one night you could treat yourself, but there are definitely loads of restaurants accommodated to backpackers which is perfect. There is also a night market you can feast at. It’s only small but it offers the cheapest most amazing food. You can get all sorts of meat or grilled fish and noodles & rice for 5,000 a scoop! This was an absolute gem of a find!
7. CLEAN THE BEACH
Do good and help the ocean. There are a few restaurants on Gili T that offer free drinks to those who fill up buckets of plastic from the beach. We were straight on this. We only intended on filling up two but we ended up filling up four. It didn’t take long, which is the worst of it really. It shows how much rubbish & plastic surround the beach and fill the ocean. It’s an amazing deed to do and we want to encourage more people to do this and help save these beautiful places.
Gili T is known for its snorkelling and we can now see why. The clear water offer some incredible sights! When you arrive on Gili T, you will be hounded by people selling you boat tours to go snorkelling. Literally every 5-10 metres, I’m sure someone will ask you. Although it’s not such a bad thing because you can really shop around and get the best price. Depending on how many there are of you, I would really recommend booking a private tour. Although the public boats are cheaper, they all leave at the same time, visit the same spots and in high season, can have around 30 people on them. Whereas we booked a private boat for 4 people for 700,000. Yes it was a little more expensive, although not by much. But we left at 9am so we beat the crowds at the popular snorkel spots. When we arrived at turtle point, we had about 4 turtles swimming around us and swimming up and down from the surface, it was incredible!
We’ve met some people who have loved Gili T and even extended their stay there and then we have met others who didn’t really like it. To be honest, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t like Gili T. I mean there is something really for everyone, especially backpackers. We stayed on the island for 3 nights but we could have easily extended. It is not expensive to travel to Gili T and if you are on a budget, you really don’t have to spend much to enjoy everything there. It is probably one of our favourite places in Bali, we hope others feel the same!
By Lauren from @just_us_travelling