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Travel Guide Gili Trawangan | Backpacker’s

The Gili Islands are easily one of my favorite places to travel to in South-East Asia.  While some people prefer the more relaxing vibe that you’ll find on Gili Air, I have to say that Gili Trawangan is my favorite of the three.  It’s a backpacker haven, amazing beaches, and there’s always something to do.  If you’re making your way over to Gili

Accomodations

  • Gili Backpackers:  Definitely the #1 hostel on the island, and the perfect place to meet people, party, and enjoy your time on the island.  There’s weekly pool parties, nightly pre-games, clean and comfortable dorms, and decently quick wi-fi.  I’d highly recommend staying there.
  • La Boheme Hostel:  Another great option for Gili Trawangan.  Tucked away from the main action about a 10 minute walk to the port, you’ll find this awesome hostel.  It’s not as clean or comfortable, but it’s a great place to meet people and hang out.  There’s a movie area, free food, and really friendly staff.
  • Homestays:  For those who don’t want to stay in a hostel, there’s SO MANY different small homestays and guesthouses on Gili Trawangan.  I’ve stayed in 3 different ones now, and have enjoyed all of them.  No need to book ahead, just ask around and BARGAIN down the prices.

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Activities:

From snorkeling, diving, beach days, booze cruises, movie nights, bike ride, night markets, and amazing food.  There’s never a dull moment on Gili Trawangan.  Check out my blog post:
10 Amazing Things To Do on Gili Trawangan.  

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Nightlife:

Gili Trawangan is the notoriously known as the “party island”.  Plenty of people come here just to enjoy the beautiful beaches, scuba dive, and watch amazing sunsets — but it also draws a heavy number of wild and crazy backpackers.  There’s way too many bars to go over, but I’ll discuss a few of my favorites.

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Where to Eat:

I’m obsessed with the food on this island, and I’m sure you will be too.  There’s tons of options, and the food in general is pretty great, but these are a few places I would highly recommend:

  • Le Petit Grill:  This is an absolute MUST-TRY during your stay on Gili T.  It’s one of the only places on the island that is OPEN 24 Hours, and has amazing food.  They are particularly known for their burgers, and they’re absolutely delicious.  Located just at the corner of the center, you can’t miss this place.  Recommend:  THE GREEK BURGER.
  • Pizzeria Regina — Just down the street from Gili Backpackers, you’ll find an amazing restaraunt that serves the best pizza on the island.  If you’re in the mood for pizza, head here and won’t be disappointed.
  • Night Market — If you come to Gili Trawangan, you definitely need to eat at the night market at least once or twice.  The food is incredible and budget friendly.  Recommendation:  Check the place on the lower corner that has a large selection of meats to choose from.  You choose what skewer / meat you want, and then get three additonal sides.  It’s by far the best place to eat in the night market.  Right next to that, there’s also a decent place to grab some cheap Nasi Goreng.

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Budget Tips: 

  1. Alcohol is the #1 budget killer on Gili Trawangan.  Just a bottle of the “cheap stuff” at the liquor stores will cost you 200,000 IDR (16-17 USD).  If you can, try to bring some from Bali or Lombok.
  2. Depending how long you plan on staying, you can find great deals at the homestays for as low as 100,000 – 120,000 IDR per night.  That sleeps two people.  Those won’t be the most comfortable sleep, but if you are on a budget — that’s the best way to go.
  3. Avoid restaurants that have a “All prices are subject to a 11% service charge and a 10% government charge”.  There’s plenty of places that don’t have that!
  4. When you’re at a party, choose to buy your beer from a mart instead of a bar.  It won’t save a ton of money, but every penny counts.
  5. BARGAIN.  Just like everywhere in Indonesia, they will try to rip you off all the time.  Talk them down!

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Arrival:

Getting to the Gili Islands is really easy.  Most people come to Gili Trawangan from Bali, and there’s tons of tour companies that organize the trip for you.  Trust me, it’s much easier to book it through them than to try to get to Padang Bai by yourself, and book your ticket there.  Try your hardest not to pay more than 450,00 iDR Round-Trip, or 300,000 IDR for one-way.  Prices vary at each place, but shop around and you’ll normally find a place that will give you that deal.

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Where To Next:

Gili Air:  I would definitely recommend visiting Gili Air for at least 1-2 nights.  It’s similar to Gili Trawangan, but has a much slower and relaxing pace.  There is a bit of nightlife on the island as well, but nothing like Gili T.  If you head that way, check out my blog post The Ultimate Guide To Gili Air.

Lombok:  Explore the northern waterfalls, relax in Sengiggi Beach, or attempt the rigorous Rinjani Trek

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