OT Travel Itinerary: Your Three-Day Guide To Gili Trawangan In Indonesia

Part of a group of three islands between Bali and Lombok, Gili Trawangan invites visitors to relax without a care in the world
Gili Trawangan—popularly known as Gili T—is the largest of the Gili Islands
Gili Trawangan—popularly known as Gili T—is the largest of the Gili Islandslemaret pierrick/Shutterstock

The Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small islands called Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air just off the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. They more than live up to their local name of “Gili Indah” which means "small beautiful islands.” Gili Trawangan—popularly known as Gili T—is the largest of the three and is a tropical playground which ranks among Bali and Borobudur as one of Indonesia's top destinations. The island is home to hip bars, plush guesthouses, delicious restaurants and a plethora of snorkelling, diving and boat schools catering to visitors' every demand. There are no motorised vehicles on any of the three islands so visitors get around by cycle or “cidomo” (horse-drawn carriages).

Here’s your three-day guide to Gili Trawangan.

Day 1


A turtle in the turquoise waters of Gili Trawangan
A turtle in the turquoise waters of Gili TrawanganGatot Adri/Shutterstock

Start your first day with a stop at Turtle Point. Rent a snorkel from vendors at the beach and head into the crystal clear waters of Gili Trawangan to check out the marine life. You can also take advantage of boat tours around the island and complete a full loop of its shores. A morning taking in the sights and smells of the seas is a morning well spent.


A Gili Trawangan swing
A Gili Trawangan swingdanaidoro/Shutterstock

Relax at the Kayu Café whose breakfast offerings are the best in the area. Try their falafel and hummus wrap, banana carrot cake, and iced (or hot) coffee while looking out onto the beach.

Next, head over to the Gili Trawangan Swings, of which there are dozens scattered across the island. Swing above the ocean as the waves lap at your feet. One of the best times to ride them is during sunrise and sunset but this also means more crowds. You can hire a professional photographer to capture Instagram-perfect photos or simply ask a fellow beachgoer to take them for you.


The Gili T Night Market
The Gili T Night Marketmattia1489/Instagram

Watch the sunset from the Gili Trawangan Viewpoint. Once you get to the top, you'll have 360° panoramic views of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. On a clear day, you can probably see all the way to Lombok, and even Mount Agung in Bali.

Time to hit the iconic night market. The Gili T Night Market is a popular spot for families and backpackers alike in the evening. It features open-air traditional food stalls offering affordable grilled seafood like crabs, king prawns, fish and squid as well as local desserts. It’s best to visit before 7PM in order to secure seating. Be cautious about hygiene practices such as protecting meat from flies.

Day 2


The Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary saves turtle eggs from predators
The Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary saves turtle eggs from predatorsgiliturtlesanctuary.com/Website

Now's the time to take a tour of Gili Meno and Gili Air. Start with a vist to the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary which saves turtle eggs from predators and has them hatch naturally. The young turtles are raised for a year. Visitors can see three endangered turtle species local to the area like green turtles, hawksbill turtles and olive ridley turtles depending on the season. Entry is free though the organisation appreciates donations.


People having a go at "Subwing"
People having a go at "Subwing"subwing.com/Website

Next, head to Gili Air. Try your hand at "Subwing", a unique way of exploring the underwater world. It is a board made from two separate wings which are connected with a rotatable swivel. Divers hold on to the front edge of each wing with one hand, which they can control in all directions. To steer, all you have to do is pull or push the wings up or down. A boat will tow you along at your chosen speed so you can have fun doing acrobatic manoeuvers under the sea.

Once you are back on shore, take a cycle to explore the island, where you will come across fields of palm trees, free-roaming cows, chickens and cats.


The underwater sculptures of Bask Nest
The underwater sculptures of Bask NestKris Wiktor/Shutterstock

On your way back to Gili Trawangan, stop at Gili Meno for snorkelling among the underwater sculptures of Bask Nest. The 48 life-size figures are designed by Jason deCaires Taylor, a sculptor and environmentalist. The interlocking pieces connect to provide a platform for marine life like corals to colonise and inhabit. Visitors will be able to see turtles, moray eels, octopuses, cuttlefish, rays, sea snakes, white tip and black tip reef sharks, parrotfish, and clownfish.

Day 3


Horse riding on Gili Trawangan
Horse riding on Gili Trawanganstudhorseriding/Facebook

Your final day beckons. Take a cycle and explore the interior of Gili Trawangan. You can welcome the day with sunrise yoga on the beach, take a relaxing massage at the various spas dotted around the island, pick up souvenirs in the shopping districts, try stand up paddle boarding in the waters, surf, laze on the beach, or even go horse riding! It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kinda day so do what you feel like.


A meal at The Banyan Tree
A meal at The Banyan Treethebanyantreegili/Facebook

Time to eat. Head to The Banyan Tree for sumptuous vegetarian fare like zucchini lasagne, pumpkin soup, Vietnamese spring rolls, blueberry pancakes, sweet potato chips and more.


Gili Trawangan is known for its famed nightlife
Gili Trawangan is known for its famed nightlifeTasou TV/Shutterstock

Wrap up your trip by experiencing Gili Trawangan’s famed nightlife. There are plenty of bars and hipster hangout spots on the island. Popular venues include the Sama-Sama Reggae Bar, Jiggy Bar, the Irish Bar at the Tír na nÓg Beachfront Resort, the Pearl Beach Lounge, the Evolution Bar and the Mad Monkey.

Alternatively, you can do some sunset yoga or watch a movie on the beach if the desire strikes you.

Where To Stay

The Aston Sunset Beach Resort and the Desa Dunia Beda Beach Resort offer luxury stays. Budget-conscious travellers should consider the M Box Hotel and the Roots Hotel. Backpackers can stay in La Bohème or the Happy Cocoon Homestay.

Getting There

Take a ferry or privately operated boat from Bali, Lombok or Nusa Lembongan to the Gili Islands.

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