For me or not for me? Gili Trawangan

by Poi on August 22, 2012

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“I want to Bali a few years ago” A random backpacker told us “although I ended up staying on the Gili Islands for most of it as I loved it so much”

Well, that sounds pretty promising.

Gili Trawangan

Transport on the island.

It sounded like the perfect place to relax and after checking into a lovely room for the six nights everything seemed just right.  We spent the first couple of days just wandering around the island, stopping along different points of the beach, trying different barbeques and enjoying a few drinks in the evening.

The problem came a few days in when I just got a little bored.

The island was too busy to be the ultimate relaxing paradise and not quite busy enough to have the party vibe. So what was it to be? You can obviously get away from the crowds on the beach by renting a bike, of which there are plenty available, and heading off around the island to find your own little spot.  However, naturally most of the hotels and bars have set up shop along the best sections so it may not be the heavenly beach spot you’re looking for.

The same goes with the party atmosphere, there are big party nights at some of the bars a few nights a week but it doesn’t quite live up to the standards of other places we’ve had the pleasure of visiting on our trip. The main strip reminds me a little of Boracay in the Philippines but without quite so many people. Restaurant after restaurant runs along the sea front, broken only by the odd reggae bar and so many dive shops it’s impossible to know where to start.

Gili Trawangan

The main beach

The island is till considered to be part of the backpacker trail but with so many upmarket hotels and large scale restaurants it certainly doesn’t feel that way and that may be enough to put some people off. Trawangwan does seem to be the busier of the Gili islands so perhaps we would have been better staying on one of the others, Air or Meno.  They certainly looked a lot quieter as our ferry stopped off on the way into Trawangan.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Pamela August 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Our highlight there was to scuba dive, but I agree, the place is to small to stay a long time and it seemed very touristic.


Andi of My Beautiful Adventures August 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm

The water at least looks amazing!?!


Mike & Jo August 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

Great post – We went to all 3 of the islands, Gili Air was our favourite. We were on Gili T for Christmas of 2009 as the biggest island we felt it would be good for us to celebrate christmas with more people around us. Thankfully we didn’t stay long enough to get bored. Hope your both not too bored of home yet!


tempo dulu August 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Used to be great, but I wouldn’t go back. Way too busy and most of the coral has been destroyed. And swimming is no fun as there are too many boats to watch out for!


Travelling Blogger August 29, 2012 at 2:57 am

Is Thailand easy to do on a budget? It’s always been on my bucket list, but i’m not too sure about how much of a savings I would have to make before going..


Stefan Russel August 30, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Gili Trawangan is definitely getting more touristy. Gili Air and Meno are still fairly quite though.

A good place to go if you want to have your own private beach is Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida. These two islands are very beautiful and the diving is amazing – sunfish are the big thing in season, but there is plenty of other good stuf to see. You need to have some dives under your belt to visit several of the good sites as currents can be tricky.


kris November 2, 2012 at 11:53 am

Hi Poi,

This looks beautiful, ive been travelling around asia for years and never heard of this place. How do you get there? Flight to Bali and then?

You compared the place to boracay 🙂 thats where ive been living/based for the past 6-7 years. What can i say im a sucker for paradise islands.

Anyway hope your enjoying the travel life.


Marysia of My Travel Affairs December 15, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Generally Bali is and always was my big dream, maybe I will managed to visit it in the upcoming year. I have already noted down to visit those other islands, at least briefly on the day trip 🙂


Indah Jelita December 3, 2014 at 6:55 am

Nice post and gallery!
You have to explore more places in Indonesia.
Keep writing and goodluck. 😉


Gabrielle May 22, 2015 at 9:12 am

a unique title. I’ve never been to Gili Lombok, but I do a lot of reading a review, that these sights are very interesting and unique. some people are getting bored with Bali, and usually they divert the aim to Gili Lombok. it looks like a fun place, especially for those who love the tranquility and peace. but this great post. thanks.


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