Arcing away from the northwest corner of Lombok, the Gili Islands are three idyllic atolls where the sand is still powdery white, the water a clear sparkling turquoise, and the sunsets over Bali’s Agung in the west simply spectacular.
Home to the largest Irish bar on the smallest island in the world, an authentic Japanese sushi restaurant, a turtle hatchery, ominous sounding dive sites like ‘Shark Point’ and miles and miles of white sandy beaches, Lombok’s Trawangan, or Gili T for short, makes a surprisingly ideal getaway destination. Getting there is easy and whichever way you chose, you will be guaranteed to see some of Bali and Lombok’s breathtaking scenery.

No motorised transport

Fortunately all three Gili Islands will not permit any type of motorised transport on them and therefore rely on bicycles or horse and carts, locally known as ‘Cidomos’. Bicycles can be rented from any of the kiosks and cost from around Rp10,000 an hour, or better value, ask for the daily rate. Cidomos are easily located all over the islands but tend to hang around the harbour and busy spots, arrangements can be made if you are staying in a more remote place on the island, for instance a late ride home…. Haggling is the norm, and always agree a price before your journey.


Although originally discovered by backpackers in the mid eighties, and a reputation as a party destination, Gili Trawangan now boasts itself as a great destination suitable for families of all ages. Various new hotels and boutique bungalows now cater for children and offer good discounts, some have baby sitting services, and with lots of activities on the islands families are sure to enjoy their holidays to the full.

Swimming and Snorkeling

The best place for snorkeling and swimming is along the main beach area a few hundred meters from where the boats pull in, this area is known as Goodheart. Masks, fins and snorkels can be rented by the hour or day, from any of the dive shops or the kiosks in the street. Glass bottom boat trips around the three islands are available and cost around 50,000rp per person. You can see all types of marine life just by snorkeling including the turtles, but please be careful not to touch the coral.
Note; Please do not try to swim between the islands as the currents in the channel can be unpredictable and very strong.

Money matters

There is no ATM machine on the Gili Islands and currently no plan for one, all the dive shops and bigger hotels accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards, cash advances at 10% are available in many places most of the time but all relies on a rather shaky phone connection. Money changers will cash traveler’s checks and currency but at a lower reduced rate than on the mainland.


All three Gilis now have their own PLN electric generating stations and have power 24 hours a day, however in the peak seasons this can be put under strain particularly late afternoon and early evening. A number of businesses have their own generators such as the larger hotels and restaurants so as to avoid the problem, and usually power cuts or ‘mati lampu’ only last a few hours.


There are a number of internet cafes on Gili Trawangan all charging approximately the same, (around Rp200 per minute) although all operate at different speeds. For telephone calls the best place to use is the Wartel, located next to the art market.

Crime, safety and health

Generally there is very little crime on the islands, however no where is 100% free. As with any where in the world you travel its best to leave your valuables in your room, and ideally in your hotel safe. If you do have any problems on the island report them to the Head of the Island (Kepala Desa) at the Satgas office, located opposite the Harbour. There are two small basic clinics on Gili Trawangan that can deal with minor problems, located in the village and at Villa Ombak.

The Wallace line

Alfred Russel Wallace, the so-called father of animal geography, formulated his ideas on evolution by natural selection while observing and collecting wildlife in the islands of Southeast Asia. He was particularly impressed by the sudden difference in bird families he encountered when he sailed some twenty miles east of the island of Bali and landed on Lombok. On Bali the birds were clearly related to those of the larger islands of Java and Sumatra and mainland Malaysia. On Lombok the birds were clearly related to those of New Guinea and Australia. He marked the channel between Bali and Lombok as the divide between two great zoogeographic regions, the Oriental and Australian. In his honor this dividing line, which extends northward between Borneo and Sulawesi, is still referred to today as Wallace's Line. The very first island of the Australian region is Gili Trawangan.

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