Gili Trawangan has gained quite the reputation as Lombok’s crazy party island and a monicker as the “Ibiza of the East”. If you haven’t been there yet, you’re sure to have heard rumours of Gili Trawangan’s nightlife, epic parties, and if you’re planning to head there yourself, check out our Gili Trawangan travel tips and then read on for some ideas of what to expect.
Sama Sama Reggae Bar
This huge, two storey, yellow building is the first thing you’ll see when you disembark at Gili T – quite the fitting welcome for all party animals. Many locals and tourists say that Gili Trawangan’s nightlife starts here. It gets pretty crowded later on in the night thanks to live music, bright lights and cheap drinks. This is a great bar to try on your first night here. It’s centrally located so it’s easy to bar hop if you’re feeling a little bit restless.
When you want to enjoy another different Gili Trawangan’s nightlife go to Rudy’s pub and get ready for another rowdy night out with Rudy’s beach parties that are just out of this world. In addition to sick drinks and some very questionable Arak cocktails, there’s a huge wooden sign on the premises that claims the availability of magic mushrooms (which are illegal in Indonesia, by the way).
Scallywags Seafood Bar & Grill
Here’s a slightly more relaxed option for those who are still looking for some fun, but without actually going off-the-charts crazy. Scallywags is a good place to relax on the sand right by the water with a wide selection of really delicious, good quality cocktails, wine and drinks and a scrumptious BBQ spread with epic views of Mount Rinjani and the Lombok coastline. Scallywags has it owns resort that suitable for backpackers. But if you would like to seek for more luxury place, there are some recommended luxury accomodations in Gili Trawangan.
Blue Marlin is originally a dive centre – one of the very best in Gili, Lombok and Bali -. There are many beautiful diving sites around Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. Blue Marlin Dive Gili Trawangan is the place to start your evenings and end your nights in the wee hours of the morning. Just behind the dive centre is a pretty little resort, which is also the location of one of the island’s most popular bars and the Famous Monday Night Party.
Gili Trawangan is a tropical paradise only 90 minutes away by fast boat from Padangbai, Bali. Book your trip with Patagonia Xpress, Bali’s largest and most luxurious fleet of fast boats to and from the Gili Islands to Bangsal, Lombok, and Bali.
Looking to soak up the solitude in peace and quiet? Head over to Bali’s neighbouring Lombok and stay at these impossibly quirky and charming hotels.
#1 Mentigi Bay Dome Villas
Also dubbed as “Hobbiton”, this dreamy resort is located on a cliff’s edge in Mataram and overlooks the beautiful crystal clear waters of the bay. The resort’s dome-shaped villas allow for inspiring 360-degree views while you lie in your bed. Connecting dome villas with a private pool are also available.
#2 Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp
This luxury resort sits in the heart of 55-hectares of natural forest reserve and is mostly made with bamboo, wood and alang-alang. Beautifully designed luxurious interiors come with amazing views of the sea. Your stay includes 3 meals per day, all prepared fresh, using only local produce. This is the ideal resort if you wish to feel far removed from civilization.
#3 Tugu Hotel Lombok
Inspired by the ancient Hindus of Majapahit, the Tugu Hotel Lombok, like all other Tugu properties in Indonesia, are living testaments to Indonesia’s rich culture and history and houses some of Indonesia’s finest art and antiquities. Guests can expect a full Indonesian experience through cultural performances and refurbished historic buildings. Each room is different and unique, as local artisans carefully curated every room, suite, and villa.
#4 Villa Sapi
Guests will fall in love with this villa’s whimsical and slightly futuristic design. There are five delightfully decorated bedrooms and all the modern amenities you’ll need. Designed by Canadian designer David Lombardi, the villa is fitted with full-length glass windows to maximize natural light. There is even a home-theatre system, a spa hut in the traditional Lumbung style and your very own private beach!
#5 Rinjani Lodge
Seeking an alternative to the beach? Rinjani Lodge is located at the foot of a mountain and promises lush jungle views, an incredible infinity pool and immortal views of Mount Rinjani. This luxury property is a jungle lodge at its best and is only 20-minutes’ walk to Sendang Gile, one of Lombok’s most popular and Instagrammable waterfalls.
Lombok is a tropical paradise that’s only 90 minutes away from Bali by fast boat. Book your trip with Patagonia Express, Bali¹s largest and most luxurious fleet of fast boats to and from the Gili Islands to Bangsal, Lombok, and Bali.
It can be difficult to choose between traveling to the Gili Islands or Lombok, especially if you’ve never been to either. The Gili Islands are a part of Lombok and the distance between them is easily navigated by fast boat.
The differences between the two are quite distinct. The Gili Islands are relatively more popular and internationally recognized than the main island, Lombok. You can expect both The Gili Islands and Lombok to be of a slower pace, peaceful, and less crowded than Bali.
Here’s a brief overview of Lombok to help you on your way to these beautiful and unique islands..
To the east of Bali is Lombok, home to wonderful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, unspoiled forests, and Indonesia’s second highest volcano.
Lombok is not your normal tourist destination. Not much happens in Lombok and visitors who seek an escape find Lombok a delightful place to unwind. Though less developed than Bali, Lombok has begun to appeal to tourists opting for an alternative to the crowds and expectations of Bali. Even more so now that daily fast boats, direct from Bali to Lombok, are easily found.
Central and East Lombok boast rice paddies, tobacco growing areas, and some established tropical natural reserves. Southern Lombok attracts surfers and beach-bums alike, looking for the perfect break or deserted beach. To the north stands majestic Mount Rinjani with its crater-lake and exceptional views. On a clear day you can even see Gunung Agung on Bali.
Its indigenous Sasak people boast a rich and endearing culture, making it one of the many unique attractions of the island. They are related to the Balinese in language and ancestry, although the Sasak are predominantly Muslim, while the Balinese are Hindu.
The Gili Islands
Read about the Party Paradise Gili Trawangan to get an overview of how it differs to the more reserved Lombok.
Looking for an escape to a mini paradise with your loved one? Try out Gili Meno.
The sophisticated and minimalist Gili Air is as untouched as Lombok, but read more on how it is different to its mainland here.
Verdict: Weigh out your needs – do you want more variety or privacy? What activities are you looking to do? What is your budget? If you’re still indecisive, then try them all out! Patagonia Xpress offers fast boat services from Bali to the Gili Islands and Bangsal, Lombok. You’ll rest easy knowing you can travel back and forth whenever your heart pleases.
There is an array of excellent opportunities for aspiring volunteers in Indonesia. For many organisations, fundraising and cash donations are the best way to help. Most also seek a helping hand looking for skilled volunteers to work as English teachers or nurses.
Whether you’re looking for community work in Bali or Lombok, fast boat services from Bali to Gili Trawangan or Lombok are easily accessible and guarantee you hassle-free transport.
Here are some ways to give back to the community.
Gili Eco Trust
Founded in 2000, this NGO aims to protect the coral reefs around the Gili islands, particularly from destructive fishing. The local population reacted to the frequent dynamite and cyanide fishing, as well as the damaging of corals and marine life. Started as a legal agreement between dive shops and local fishermen, Gili Eco Trust has grown and expanded its activities from marine conservation to waste management and sustainable eco-tourism. You can get involved short-term or long-term.
Cats of Gili
There is a huge cat population on the Gili Islands. The numbers reached such a worrying point that it raised numerous health problems among them, such as infections, worms, flu etc. Cats of Gili, in cooperation with Jakarta Animal Aid Network and Gili Eco Trust, organizes free cat clinics multiple times a year. They’re always looking for volunteers, so if you’re an experienced vet or a vet student, you can volunteer at the clinic and they also offer free accommodation. If you don’t fall into that category, they still welcome animal-loving volunteers to help look after the cats.
East Bali Poverty Project
This Denpasar-based NGO works to help children in the impoverished mountain villages of east Bali. With the mission to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable, social and economic development, they use English teachers and have a solid child-protection policy. Volunteers can get involved in the Communications & Marketing team, as an English teacher or a Bamboo Specialist.
The Indonesian Development of Education & Permaculture is based in Bali but has schemes across Indonesia on environmental projects, disaster planning, and community improvement. They develop and deliver training and community programs related to sustainable development. Get involved in their mission to ‘help people help themselves.’
For more community work and volunteer opportunities:
Global Vision International (www.gviusa.com) organises short-term volunteer opportunities; they have offices in Australia, the UK and the US.
Go Abroad (www.goabroad.com) lists mostly paid volunteer work.
You can charter your own private fast boat from Bali to the Gili Islands with Patagonia Xpress.
When you’re on holiday, the Instagram envy you induce amongst your followers and friends back home is inevitable. A lazy morning sipping on coconuts on a beachside hammock? A selfie by the beach showing off your glowing tan?
Win the ultimate Grid Game at these top Instagram worthy places in Gili Trawangan. If you’re staying in Bali or Lombok, get on a fast boat to Gili Trawangan to fix yourself an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed.
Open Air Cinema @ Hotel Vila Ombak
The beachfront hotel hosts an outdoor cinema by the beach every night, depending on the weather. What would look better on your grid than a cinema on a pristine sand to make your followers wishing they were you?
Sunset Swings @ Ombak Sunset Resort or Pandawa Resort
There is no sunset in the world like a Gili T sunset. Floating above clear waters to the backdrop of a picturesque sunset, the famed set of swings is a magical experience to immerse in the sunset. This may well be like the Leaning Tower of Pisa but the shameless tourist shots are, on many occasions, obligatory for the ‘gram.
Swing and hammock in the ocean @ The Exile
Hammock in the ocean and rustically framed swing, The Exile has it all. Here you can bag photos oozing a homely, tropical charm with thatched roof bungalows, bicycles, and pieces of driftwood to pose with. Plus, the water is aqua blue wherever you go in the Gilis, so you won’t ever have a dull backdrop.
Casa Vintage Store
Imagine the laidback tone of Bali but a few notches higher. You can dine and laze to the view of the crystal clear ocean, while updating your feed with photogenic candid shots. It doubles as a vintage store selling pre-loved apparel, and a bar! It hosts a lovely bonfire every evening and is also an excellent sunset spot.
Bounty Wreck Dive
If you’re a traveling diver, this treasure under the waters of the Gilis is unlike any other muck diving. The Bounty was once a pontoon used by the Bounty Resort in Gili Meno, and whatever’s on the pier sunk together. The pier fell into shallow water along the coast of Gili Meno, which means it’s accessible to all level of divers! There’s also a vibrant coral ridge from 20m to 12m near the wreck. Be the envy of your diver buddies on Instagram!
Patagonia Xpress is now available for Charter! Bali’s largest and most luxurious fast boats are able to transport passengers from Benoa Harbour to tropical neighboring islands. For enquires please contact our Sales Team: email@example.com
The Gilis are regarded as one of the top turtle-spotting destinations in the world. The waters are calm, warm, and offer visibility up to 30m. The tame conditions are also ideal for children who have completed their PADI open water certificate!
Scuba Diving in the Gili Islands is increasingly becoming popular due to the gorgeous marine life the islands offer, particularly the beautiful bale of sea turtles under Gili Air waters.
The shallow shores offer as much diverse natural beauty as the deep blue sea, making it possible for you to snorkel among butterfly fish and Moorish idols. But if you want to get a solid turtle sighting, scuba diving is the way to go. Gili Air has around 14 scuba outlets and all operate on a fixed price system, respecting the arrangement with local NGO Gili Eco Trust. With price not a factor to consider, the choice of dive school can be more of a personal preference.
You may be one of the lucky few to spot more than one turtles on your first dive – it will undoubtedly get you hooked to the experience! One useful tip upon a turtle encounter is to refrain from swimming off to get a closer look, you don’t want to catch them off guard and shoo them away.
While there are about more than a dozen buzzing dive sites within a boat ride from Gili Air, Turtle Heaven is among many travelers favorites, where you can spot the green sea and hawksbill varieties for which the region is known for. It is no wonder the turtles in Pixar’s Finding Nemo are portrayed as extremely laid-back. The Gili residents go about their business without a care in the world, peacefully chomping on coral or resting amid the reef – seemingly oblivious to the human excitement surrounding them.
While your dive instructor will surely assist you in finding the best turtle sighting spot, here are a few tips to find the turtles of Gili Air
- Head to the North-East. Swim past the sea grass over the rocky mounds before the deep water, and keep your eyes peeled.
- Scour the sponges. Hawksbill turtles feed on sponges, so it’s likely you’ll spot some turtles munching on breakfast.
- See where the boats are. It’s worth following the crowd as to where the best sites are.
- Be patient. It can be quite tricky spotting the turtles, as they can blend in with the coral and sponges.
Patagonia Xpress is now available for Charter! Bali’s largest and most luxurious fast boats are able to transport passengers from multiple Bali harbors to the Gili islands. For enquires please contact our Sales Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who have surfed out the waves of Bali’s major surf points: you’re not running out of surfing options just yet. If you’re looking to find new and epic waves – visit Lombok’s Gili islands, about a two hour boat trip from Bali’s harbors.
Surfing the Gili islands hasn’t penetrated the local surf scene, unlike Bali that has earned a global charm. For this reason, the Gilis are an ideal destination to surf, as the crowds are smaller and the waves are as brilliant as Bali’s. Word travel fast, however, so let’s go over why we should take advantage of what the Gili islands have to offer.
Patagonia Xpress offers fast boat services from Bali to the Gilis. If you’re interested to embark on your next surf adventure, we’ll take you to the Gili’s shores safe and sound!
Gili as a holiday destination
Each island boasts its own unique allure, including its waves. Gili Trawangan is the popular one out of three, attracting backpackers and holidaymakers for its party scene. Gili T’s quieter siblings, Gili Air and Gili Meno manage to retain its local character, mostly appealing to honeymooners and travelers looking for a tranquil getaway.
Surfing in Gili Trawangan
Gili T is a secret blessing for surfers. Those who can drop fast waves will have the time of their lives riding long, big swells with steep barrels in some parts. The wet season (January – June) can provide 1-2 meter (3-6 foot) swells.
- Good for experienced surfers
- Small to no crowds
- Strong, hollow and fast
- Best during high tides
- Look out for sea urchins and rocks
- Friendly locals
- Lots to do when surf isn’t up
Surfing in Gili Air
Gili Air’s wave break is fast, short, hollow, and daring. Take extra care of strong currents and a treacherous reef during low tides.
- Short and hollow break
- Be careful of reef
- Avoid surfing at low tide
- Friendly locals
- Beautiful views
Surfing in Gili Meno
The break, popularly known as ‘Secrets’, is located 100m off the beach at the island’s southeast corner. On a good day, Secrets provide an impressive swell resulting in a fast, long, hollow right with ideal walls and barrels at parts. Be extra careful of the shallow reef.
- Recommended for experienced surfers
- Long hollow walls and tubes
- Helpful locals
- Careful of shallow reef
- Inconsistent, but rewarding
- Rustic desert island atmosphere
Taking a break from the Bali waves? Check out the wild barrels in the Gilis! Book a fast boat from Bali to Gili with Patagonia Xpress, where your safety and comfort are our top priority.