There’s never a dull moment on Gili Trawangan

How you can make the best out of your Gili Trawangan vacay. Source: Shutterstock.

YOU may think that an island that measures just 15 square kilometers would be limited when it comes to activities, but you’d be wrong when it comes to Gili Trawangan.

Gili Trawangan (or Gili T as most people know it) is the largest of three islands off the northwest coast of Lombok. Its neighbors Gili Meno and Gili Air are undeniably beautiful, but Gili T is where the party’s at, literally.

Gili T has gained quite the reputation of being a raver’s paradise over the last couple of years, a reputation it lives up to.

The island certainly doesn’t lack raucous bars and buzzing nightlife venues, offering cheap booze and entertainment for the party-seeking traveler. But partying isn’t all there is to this beautiful island.

Gili T also offers quaint little beach bars, highly-regarded diving schools, incredible restaurants, five-star resorts, and some of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Indonesia.

There really is something for everyone on Gili T and whether you’re visiting for 48 hours or two weeks, you can do and see everything the island has to offer without getting bored.

Here are six must-do things on Gili T, from catching a sunset to riding (small) waves:

Catch a sunset at Casa Vintage Beach bar

Gili T is as well known for its stunning sunsets as it is for its partying atmosphere, neither of which will disappoint.

One of the best places to catch a candyfloss-like sunset on the island is at Casa Vintage Beach bar along the same stretch of sand as the famed Malibu Beach Club.

At Casa Vintage Beach bar you can settle on chic deck chairs, sip a fruity cocktail, and watch as the golden sun turns the sky into hues of pastel colors.

Source: Holly Patrick.

After sunset, Casa Vintage Beach bar is the perfect place to have dinner, play a few rounds of cards, and dance on the sand under the moonlight.

  • Where: Jalan Pantai Gili Trawangan, 83352.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 09:00-23:00.

Meet people at Le Pirate Beach Club

Le Pirate Beach Club isn’t your typical rowdy beach bar. Instead of offering guests banging music and party games, it maintains an air of sophistication in style and ambiance.

Le Pirate Beach Club is located on the sunset side (southeast) of the island offering guests cute blue and white beach hut-style accommodation, a pool and poolside bar, and unobstructed views across the turquoise ocean.

Source: Le Pirate Beach Club.

But you don’t need to be staying here to enjoy the facilities. Simply stroll or cycle up here, buy a drink or two, and set up camp on the deck chairs around the pool.

Throughout the day the pool area can get busy with like-minded travelers who want to chill, chat, and relax as much as you.

  • Where: Jalan Pantai Gili Trawangan, 83352.
  • Opening hours for non-guests: Monday to Sunday, 10:00-late.

Channel your inner child

Whoever said swing chairs were only for children has clearly never visited Gili T.

Almost every beach around Gili T has an ocean swing chair just a few meters out in the water. Some of them are double swings, perfect for a cute photo shoot with your love or bestie.

Source: Holly Patrick.

Others are styled with hammocks and signs such as “Love”, “Gili T” and even the name of the bar closest to the swing.

No matter which on swing chair you choose to snap your pic, try to get one at sunset as the blue sky turns to candyfloss colors.

Cycle the island

Gili T doesn’t have any motorized vehicles so the only transport available is cycling or walking. There is the option horse and cart, but we don’t recommend this as the horses are severely mistreated.

The island only takes two hours to walk, but cycling makes it a lot more fun and forces a much-needed breeze onto your face.

There are cycle routes throughout the island that all lead to beaches and paths paralleling beaches around the island.

Source: Shutterstock.

There’s only one part where you’ll have to get off and push for a few minutes at the northeast of the island, but apart from that, it’s all brick or mud roads.

Most hotels offer cheap bike hire and provide bike locks. If yours doesn’t, just take a stroll along Main Street to find an abundance of bike hire vendors.

Discover the underwater world

Gili T is surrounded by clear waters, coral reefs, and diverse marine life. Anyone adventurous enough to venture into this turquoise ocean will likely be captivated by turtles, butterfly fish, clownfish and manta rays, to name a few.

Gili T is actually one of the cheapest places in the world to learn to scuba dive.

Source: Holly Patrick.

If you’re looking to try your lungs at scuba diving, then head to Main Street where you can’t walk more than 10 meters without spotting a PADI scuba diving shop. Manta Dive Gili T has glowing reviews and a wide range of courses, from beginners’ introductions to specialty technical dives.

For those who like to divide their time between the beach and the ocean, snorkel hire is available on across the island.

One of the best and most secluded snorkeling spots on Gili T is in the north just by Teok Café.

The stretch of beach here is hidden by a small stone wall, but just over the wall is soft, white sand and minimal rocks, making it easier to enter the water.

Source: Holly Patrick.

Snorkelers here can stash their valuables away inside Teok Café and look forward to an iced tea and some Korean snacks when they’re done exploring the ocean.

  • Where: Jalan Pantai Gili Trawangan, Gili Trawangan, 83352.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 09:00-21:00.

Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is a hugely loved activity on the island.

It doesn’t rely on big waves to create fun as surfing does. Instead, a paddleboarder can use the longboard as a vessel to explore shallow water and catch the occasional wave break if it comes along.

Source: Holly Patrick.

All the beaches on Gili T offer paddleboard hire, along with snorkeling equipment. But if you want to learn how to paddleboard like a pro and maybe even pick up some tricks, head to Paddle Gili.

Paddle Gili rents paddleboards and kayaks by the hour, half day, and full day. They also offer inductions on how to stay upright on a paddleboard and tours to some of the island’s best snorkeling spots.

  • Where: Jalan Pantai Gili Trawangan, 83352.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 09:00-17:30.