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Gili Trawangan Perfect Island

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Gili Trawangan. This is the perfect island for any kind of vacation; from backpacking to luxurious travel, from crowded tourist spot to peaceful beaches. This island has bars and restaurants that provide great entertainment and nightlife. But if you’re searching for a quite and desolate place, this is also the place for you.

Bali, Lombok, and Gili islands. click image to enlarge
From Padangbai to Gili island. Fasboat route and ferry route. click image to enlarge

Gili Trawangan is one of the three small Gili islands northwest of Lombok island (West Nusa Tenggara Province). There are several alternatives to reach Gili Trawangan. The easiest way is to fly directly to Mataram city (the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province) and go north to cross the sea to Gili. I myself went to Gili from Padangbai, Bali.

Padangbai is the main harbor in Bali for crossing the Lombok strait. The large ferries for passengers and vehicles provide hourly trip from Padangbai to lembar. The ticket price for the ferries is really cheap, in 2010 I only have to pay only 30.000 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). But the low cost isn’t without its downside; it took about 6 hours just to reach Lembar harbor. From Lembar, you have to take a shuttle bus all the way to the north about 4-6 hours. Only then you can now cross the sea with a small boat about 15 minutes to Gili Trawangan. The entire trip will cost 125.000 IDR. Try to check the ferry schedule and choose the new ferry if you can. My ferry is really comfortable and clean. There’s a bar, a small stage with music entertainment, standard seats, bed seats, playground for kids, and even shower on top of the deck for sunbathing. You can check this picture below for travel destination and rates from Padangbai.

travel rates from Padangbai. click image to enlarge

If you don’t have that much time to travel to Gili, you can take a speedboat from Padangbai. It only took one hour or more from Padangbai to Gili Trawangan. The ticket price varies from 250.000 to 500.000 IDR for 1 person. This rates depends on the tourist season; if its high season, long weekend or on  national holiday, I highly doubt you’ll get any discount. I know this because I went there twice with a speedboat. The first time I went, I got a really great discount from the lodging’s owner and I only have to pay 200.000 IDR for 1 person. The second time it’s not that lucky and we have to pay 400.000 IDR for 1 person because of the the holiday season.

the Balinese crews perform a prayer before the speedboat depart
powerful speedboat motors. you can see mount Agung of Bali on the way to Gili

Gili Trawangan doesn’t have a proper jetty, so most of all the boats stop directly at the beach. It’s highly recommended to wear shorts and sandals upon arrival. This is a beach after all, get rid of your jeans and shoes. So anyway, welcome to Gili Trawangan!

the main beach
boats parking on the beach of Gili Trawangan

The only vehicles allowed on the island is bicycles and local cidomo (horse cart). You probably need the cidomo for heavy lifting. It’s about 50.000 IDR for a short trip and 150.000 IDR for a trip around the island. Bicycle rent is 60.000 IDR per day or 25.000 IDR for 2 hours. It’s highly recommended to rent a bicycle for a full day and have some adventure around the island by yourself. Take your time to pick a bicycle; there are mountain bikes, city bikes, tandem, cruiser, bmx, or even hotrods. There are many bicycle rentals all over the beach, so choose the one you most comfortable with. Check for the tyre and brake because some aren’t in the best conditions.

cidomo horse
sunbathing tourist on the main beach

Gili Trawangan consist of 3 main areas. The most crowded is the main beach on the east side of the island. There’s a lot of restaurants, shop, and hotels here. The interior of the island is where the locals live and there are some extremely cheap lodgings here. The west side of the island is the quite and empty side of the island. There are also several hotels here, but most of them are the expensive/private types.


Now you can enjoy this island as you like. The coral reef on the main beach just north of the boat landing is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, but beware of approaching boats. There are also snorkeling trips with glass-bottom boat around the 3 Gili island. You can see quite a lot of sea turtles if the time is right. There are quite a lot of this kind of services, like a party boat that provide trips for more than one day. You can walk along the main road and choose for yourself what kind of tour you want.

snorkeling with sea turtles

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