Gili Trawangan’s Nightlife (Best Gili Island Bars)

Gili Trawangan’s Nightlife (Best Gili Island Bars)

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.


Gili Trawangan’s Nightlife (Best Gili Island Bars)

Photo Source : (Hanane Bidine)

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.


rudy's pub

Photo Source: Jeremy (Flickr)

Rudy’s Pub

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).


Gili Trawangan’s Nightlife (Best Gili Island Bars)

Photo Source : (Scallywags Resort)

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.


gili night life 3

Photo Source: Blue Marlin Google Business

Blue Marlin

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.

first time lombok - gili swing

First timers: Lombok or the Gili Islands?

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..

first time lombok - gili islands swing


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

gili meno, gili air, gili trawangan

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.

patagonia xpress gili air

Why we love Gili Air, a tropical island destination

Gili Trawangan is deemed the most developed Gili island, it is a magnet for backpackers and party seekers out of the three special islands. Gili Meno is the most underdeveloped, staying true to its local values, thus the quietest. Gili Air, however, has it all! The tiny island dances around the idea of a vibrant beach life, and a wilderness for travelers seeking bliss. It is our epitome of a tropical paradise getaway.

Patagonia Xpress provides the safest, most comfortable fast boat services from Bali to the Gili islands. As Gili lovers ourselves, here are a few reasons why you should visit the quiet Gili Air:

patagonia xpress gili air

The best of both worlds

The sand is silky white, the waters dazzling blue, the coast is warm and long – perfect for a romantic walk with a loved one. There are parts of Gili Air where you can cycle and enjoy a private beach of your own. Feeling a bit groovy? One thing you’ll notice about Gili Air is wherever you go, you’ll find mini Bob Marley’s hosting a relaxed party. Despite its chilled out ambiance, it’s possible for you to have a two dollar cocktail in hand and dance the night away.

The food

On a small Indonesian island, you would expect to only be able to feast on Indonesian staples like nasi goreng, mie goreng, or nasi campur. Worry not as Gili Air offers you a range of dining options that are served to perfection for local and international tongues. Mowies’ dishes are not unlike those served in a typical hipster joint in Melbourne or Bali. Another favorite is Zipp Bar, which conveniently serves 2-4-1 happy hour cocktails until 8 pm.

A range of high quality accommodation

From beachside bungalows to three-star hotels with stunning pools, Gili Air has plenty of accommodation for everyone. Those on a budget can opt for a standard bungalow from IDR 350,000/night, while island-view bungalows can start from IDR 650,000/night.

Snorkeling on Gili Air

Snorkeling in Gili Air

The visibility of Gili Air’s underwater realm during dawn is excellent. You’ll undoubtedly spot turtles grazing seaweed and swim around corals. The east side of the island is believed to boast the best snorkeling opportunities, however, the beach isn’t as idyllic as the one on the west. Best time to go is in the morning to avoid snorkel boats packing up the surface. Wear reef shoes or fins to protect yourselves from sea urchins and sharp corals.

Patagonia Xpress can conveniently take you to Gili Air from Bali. View our schedule to start planning your Gili trip.

gili air

Sophisticated and Minimalist: Gili Air

When you have tranquil beaches, clear waters, sea turtles, and amazing marine life at your fingertips, you are living the life. Gili Air ticks all the boxes and will undoubtedly spoil you for the rest of your trip. Compared to its two sister isles, Gili Air is the perfect balance of relaxation, the laid-back beach life, while being able to stay active. With today’s volume of fast boats from Bali to the Gili Islands, accessing the islands are easy and breezy.

fast boat bali to gili trawangan patagonia xpress

The island is dotted with the right amount of bars and restaurants where visitors can hang around and chat until late hours. Big parties rarely occur in Gili Air – it is certainly quieter than Gili T.

Gili Air boasts excellent water activities. From stand up paddling, kite surfing, diving, snorkeling to going on an excursion on a glass bottom boat. The island has a number of good dive schools that will sufficiently teach you how to dive and bring you to the best locations around the island. Visit Manta Dive for more information. Sea turtles, sepias, colorful corals and beautiful fish await you!

If you fly solo, you can easily rent out snorkel equipment and explore underneath the turquoise waters on your own. Not only it is a cheaper alternative, it will feel rewarding once you spot large groups of rainbow colored fish and meet a group of nemos! If you, for some reason, don’t fancy getting wet but are still curious about the underwater marine life, you can go on a glass bottom boat and watch through it.

As a quiet island with not many residents, Gili Air gets fairly dark at night. It is the perfect opportunity to switch off with the island and enjoy the stars above you. You may even spot shooting stars – priceless and romantic.

gili air beach

Before sundown, however, one of the island visitors’ favorite pastimes is to find a spot on the east side of the island after 6pm and watch the sunset. Immerse in the stunning view and calm atmosphere when the ocean uncurls and the sun disappears. It is also a great photo opportunity. Sunsets over Bali are guaranteed to be breathtaking!

Believe it or not, you can also go on a mini shopping spree on the mini island. Despite not having a high number of shops to choose from, the available shops have a range of interesting clothes, accessories, shoes, as well as souvenir trinkets to take home with you.

Planning to travel to the Gili Islands? Patagonia Xpress offers safe, luxury fast boats from Bali to the Gili Islands. View our schedule and prices for more details.

party gili trawangan

Party Paradise: Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan, popular by its nickname Gili T, used to be a sanctuary for backpackers and a party paradise with cheap alcohol. The island has come a long way ultimately when it was first introduced to luxury resorts and attracted more upscale island hoppers. Gili T now hosts a mixture of tourists from across the globe.

GIli T is a miniature island roughly 15 minutes off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia but is highly accessible from Bali. With Patagonia Xpress fast boat services, you can reach Gili Trawangan from Bali in around two hours, more or less. It is the main island of the three Gili islands.

It is best for its water sports (diving, snorkeling, surfing, etc.), relaxing, and many more, but it is mostly known for its parties. There are different venues for different nights of the week.

party gili trawangan

The wild one

Despite its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, Gili T’s reputation is being the party island. It is especially popular among international tourists. However, it has developed into much more over the recent years. The island’s east side is now largely dotted by restaurants, bars, accommodation, and diving schools – and these are where most of the partygoers reside.

The west side, on the other hand, is relatively quieter boasting lavish resorts and an ideal environment for a family holiday or a romantic getaway. The north and south ends are a little closer to the crowd without being too heavily involved. The main strip on the island can party well until sunrise. Avoid this area if you’re looking for a tranquil holiday, or you would feel like staying at a club. The south side has beautiful accommodation options.

fast boat to gili trawangan patagonia

The island is tiny and most people are content with staying for 3-5 days. However, if you’d like to spend a week to learn how to dive or party, the island wouldn’t bore you.

If you’re here to party, Gili T knows how to throw the best ones! Plan your Gili trip with Patagonia Xpress now to enjoy 20% off on our Return Tickets valid for travel until 30 May 2018. Book a fast boat from Bali to Gili Trawangan with Patagonia Xpress, where your safety and comfort are our top priority.

The Gili Islands Travel - Patagonia Xpress

The Gili Islands Travel & Money Saver Tips

Although not as tranquil and cheap as they were years ago, The Gili Islands are still a quieter and inexpensive alternative to Bali. The three hidden gems attract numerous travelers from backpackers on a budget, to a higher spending holidaymaking crowd. If you fall into the former boat, we’ve compiled some Gili Island travel tips for you to make the best out of your Gili holiday without having to break the bank.

The Gili Islands Travel - Gili Air

Top things to see & do in Gili Islands

  1. Lounge on the beaches
    If you’re on a white sand paradise, it’s a no brainer that you should spend your time basking in the tropical sun and immerse yourself in the clear, turquoise waters. After all, it’s completely free! If you find yourself on the southern tip of Gili T where most upscale beachfront resorts are located, you may have to put in a bit of cash on beverages or sunbeds.

  2. Go scuba diving
    All three islands are dotted with qualified dive centers. With lionfish, scorpionfish, cuttlefish, octopus, and different types of rays littering the waters of Gili, marine life enthusiasts may argue that the dive scene is better than Bali’s – it is also cheaper to learn diving in Gili. An Open Water course will cost around IDR 6,000,000.

  3. Go surfing
    Like Bali, the Gilis are ideal for surfing all year round. The south side of Gili T boasts the best waves for both novice and pro surfers. A surf camp on the island ranges around IDR 6,000,000 a week – all inclusive of accommodation, meals, lessons, yoga, and other activities.

  4. Visit the sea turtles
    Gili T and Gili Meno have hatcheries that lie on the island’s main beaches. However, many may opt for snorkeling around the turtle populations for a closer encounter. Ask around for gear rentals and how to get there.

  5. Bike the islands
    All three Gili islands are small, pedestrian-friendly, and won’t take you a long time to tour around by bike. Make a morning out of it! Bike rentals typically start from IDR 135,000.

Typical costs

  1. Accommodation
    The islands are abundant of inexpensive lodges. Airbnb is available throughout, with shared rooms starting around IDR 130,000 per night. Cheap hotels and guesthouses with a private bathroom and air conditioning may cost around IDR 300,000. If you’re feeling fancy, expect to pay IDR 2,000,000 for beachfront resorts.
  2. Food & Fun
    A meal can cost as low as IDR 35,000, while a nice seafood dinner may cost IDR 135,000. A bintang will cost you around IDR 30,000 and a week’s worth of groceries, around IDR 275,000 – 400,000. Get a sense of the local culture and go for food stalls rather than luxurious restaurants. If dining in at a resort or restaurant, keep an eye out for hidden taxes. Relaxing massages start around IDR 100,000.

The Gili Islands Travel - Patagonia Xpress

Planning to travel to the Gili Islands? Patagonia Xpress offers safe, luxury fast boats from Bali to the Gili Islands. View our schedule and prices for more details.

choosing gili islands

Which Gili Island is for you?

What brings you to the Gili Islands? Are you desperate for an escape away from the hustle and bustle? Or are you looking to party all week and come out as a licensed diver? If you and your summer fling are merely craving a secret getaway from Bali to Gili, all three islands can accommodate every traveler’s wants and needs.

Blessed with pearly beaches, clear waters and azure sky, these three miniature islands are how you would envision heaven on earth. With each having a distinct personality, find out which one is for you.

choosing gili islands

Gili Trawangan: the wild one

The largest, most developed, and lively one out of the three islands, Gili T is perfect if you’re looking to let your hair down and dance the night (or three) away. The island has a welcoming vibe, mostly visited by like-minded crowds looking to mingle and make memorable nights out. The social atmosphere is the massive charm – each night of the week, a different bar or club hosts a different party.

Gili T is also one of the cheapest and safest places to dive with many reputable dive schools to choose from and dive spots to die for. If you’re not into the nightlife scene, the snorkeling, diving, and sunbathe opportunities are aplenty. The best marine life is believed to be on the northern side of the island, while the western side is dotted by serene high-end resorts.

Gili Meno: the romantic one

The smallest of the Gilis, Gili Meno is a perfect honeymoon spot for lovebirds. It arguably offers the best beach and has a definite romantic atmosphere. Different to Gili T, there are only a handful of restaurants and accommodations are fairly limited to exclusive resorts. There are about three dive schools in Gili M. The western side is practically deserted so you can take advantage of having a private beach. The island is mostly about tranquility and relaxation, so if you are one to get bored easily, go for a day trip from Gili T.

Gili Air: the quiet one

Gili Air is the perfect mix of the two. It has sufficient amenities and dive franchises like Gili T but still boasts the peaceful ambiance like Gili M. There is a slight hippy feel to it. Clubbing is not a priority in Gili Air – visitors typically go for the laidback, chilling by the beach type of night. Full moon parties are held each month for Gili Air-goers. The eastern side offers great snorkeling opportunities – you might see clownfish or spot turtles. Its key allure is the authentic, local feel, hence many are hoping that the ongoing development will not take that away from the island.

sunset in gili islands

Motorized vehicles are forbidden on all three Gilis. Getting to the Gili Islands from Bali, however, is easily done with fast boats. Visit Patagonia Xpress for your fast, safe, comfortable fast boat to Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air.

gili swing

Embrace the culture of the Gili Islands (Gili Islands Etiquette)

The Gili Islands are a manifestation of heaven on Earth and many will agree with us on this. However, the lifestyle and culture can be completely foreign from a Western perspective. Gili Air, for example, has unique cultural dynamics that may be challenging to understand for an outsider.

There is no harm in taking a bit of time and effort to familiarize yourself with the Indonesian culture, which has different customs, habits and values wherever you go on the archipelago. It can be wise to gain some insight into the culture prior to or during your visit.

The local population in The Gilis is a mixture of Sasak people hailing from Lombok and families of the original Bugis settlers. The three islands were once virgin tropical playgrounds before their secret came out some years ago by backpackers. Numbers of tourists skyrocketed throughout 2007, with fast boat services from Bali to Gili correspondingly multiplied. While the strange ways of tourists are generally tolerated, there are actions and behaviors to consider to avoid offending the locals.

gili islands swing

Here are several Gili Islands etiquettes to keep in mind:

  • It is considered rude to point with your fingers – if you really need to direct at a place or thing, use your hands like you are presenting it.
  • Indonesian society believes the left hand is used for ‘toilet duties’ and is therefore considered unclean. In Gili Air, it is rude and offensive to hand someone something with your left hand.
  • You may have to remove your shoes when entering a building or someone’s house and wait to be invited to sit if you are a guest.
  • Try to keep your voice to a minimum. Be considerate of the local residents and avoid being rowdy and starting trouble when you’re out drinking, for example.
  • Indonesians highly appreciate if you try to speak their language, even if you only know a couple of words. Get to know them better this way.
  • The Gili residents are predominantly Muslim, which means the dress codes here are different than it is in the Western world. People are moderately clothed with their hair and body typically covered. Please be respectful and don’t expose too much of your skin. Cover yourself with a sarong when going into a village or a shop and refrain from sunbathing topless.

fast boat gili trawangan

Getting to the Gili Islands from Bali is highly accessible via fast boats. Patagonia Xpress provides fast, safe, comfortable fast boat services from Bali to the Gilis and surrounding islands.

scuba diving

GIli Island Turtles

The Gili Islands are a paradise for sea turtles, as well as holiday makers. You can even find endangered species such as green sea turtles…