While every year millions of tourists are attracted to Bali, the nighboring island of Lombok offers 3 tiny paradise islands off its north-west coast, known as “the Gilis”. Gili meaning "little island" and when people talk of "the Gilis", they usually refer to the three little islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.
Gili Trawangan is the largest and most built up among the three islands. Surrounded by white sandy beaches, turquoise water and a mesmerizing underwater life, it has the largest number of guesthouses, hotels and resorts. This, combined with bars and holiday atmosphere make this the most popular among travelers. Most accommodation and other facilities on the island are on the east side.
Top Things to See and Do on Gili Trawangan
1. Scuba diving
Whether you simply want to try scuba diving, do fun diving or go all out and complete a dive course or dive master program, here is the hub of Lombok diving with a heap of dive schools and dive sites to choose from. Small wonder, because the islands have a wonderful underwater world. Lionfish, scorpion fish, cuttle fish, octopus, and different types of rays make the waters around the islands their habitat.
2. Go snorkeling
Swimming in crystal clear water with a sea turtle is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. You can rent snorkeling gear for half a day from one of the centers near the beach and If you are with a large enough group or join other people do take a private boat. Check with your hotel for the best spots of the moment to snorkel with the sea turtles.
3. Island Hopping
Twice a day the public boats ply around the islands. In the morning the boat leaves Gili Trawangan at 9.0 am. In the afternoon it returns from Gili Air over Gili Meno back to Trawangan.
4. Rent a bike
Gili Trawangan is a relatively small island. It takes approximately one hour to cycle around it. You can get bikes almost anywhere or check your hotel since they usually also have bikes for rent. Remember to chain and lock the bike when you leave it anywhere.
There are no motorized vehicles on Gili Trawangan, only bikes and horse drawn carts called "horse carriage". So bikes are your best transport to get you around the island.
5. Walk to the vantage point for sunset
Get a good view over the Gili islands, Bali and Lombok from the highest point on Gili Trawangan. The hill is located on the southern end of the island and can be reached within half an hour’s walk from most places on the southern part of Gili Trawangan. This is the best vantage point to admire sunsets. For another option, head to the west side of the island and find a spot to sip your cold drink while having your toes in the sand or find a chair in a beach bar, and watch the sun set behind Bali’s inspiring Mount Agung.
6. Check out the nightlife
A daily night market serving heaps of Indonesian delicacies at bargain prices, is worth your to visit. Located in front of the boat pier it opens at 6 pm or before sunset, this main public dining spot will satisfy your craving for seafood and local delights with a good variety of menu items to choose from. For such a small islandGili Trawangan certainly lives up to its time-honored party island reputation. Party nights are regular and are rotated between the bars, which usually stay open until 4 am.
Lombok is easily reached from Bali by air around 25 minutes or by sea crossing taking less than 2 hours.
There are speedboats available from Senggigi Beach on Lombok to the Gilis.
Transport between Bali and Gili Trawangan is also provided with fast boats. Public Boat is the cheapest way to reach Gili Trawangan. Departure is from Bangsal, a tiny little port in northwest Bali, from 8 am-5 pm. You can buy tickets directly from the ticket office. The official price is IDR 19,500 (Feb 2016) plus additional terminal fees at IDR 2,500. Charter boats run from here and tickets can be bought at the same ticket office. Charter boats are permitted to carry a maximum of 12 persons, with cost IDR 500,000 (one way) per person and IDR 950,000 (return)/person.