Gili Trawangan is the largest and most popular of the three Gili Islands, thanks to its well-established infrastructure that preceded the other two smaller islands in the group: Gili Meno and Gili Air. Therefore, Gili Trawangan is perfect as your first ‘starting point’ of island hopping, where you can enjoy most of the action. It has a wider range of facilities compared to the other two islands, with a good mixture of hotels, bars and restaurants catering to different preferences and styles. The main coast near the harbour offers a vibrant nightlife, while on the more secluded western shore you will find more peace and tranquillity for couples and honeymooners.
Once you arrive on Gili Trawangan, you stroll down along most of the beach on Gili Trawangan and the vast blue waters can all be yours. As a premier diving destination, Gili Trawangan is home to some of the Gili’s largest dive shops where you can get your PADI Open Water or Advanced diver certification, but Gili Trawangan offers more than just diving and beaches. After discovering the lay of the land you will be amazed at all the activities Gili Trawangan has to offer. Here is a quick look at the six best things to see and do on Gili Trawangan.
Gili Trawangan is surrounded by bright azure-colored waters which make snorkeling and scuba diving one of the best things to do on Gili Trawangan. Here you can explore a wide variety of tropical fish and brightly colored corals within the numerous reefs to explore around the island. Diving enthusiasts will be pleased by the top dive spots like Manta Point where you can dive with large manta rays and Shark Point, which is perfect for the more adventurous among us to go diving among blacktip sharks. Snorkelers will be spoiled by the beautiful underwater delights of Simon’s Reef and other spots around the Island. You can take a quick fast boat ride to Gili Meno where you can go swimming with the turtles at Turtle Point. Gili Trawangan boasts a Wreck Point at Mentigi Beach where divers will be fascinated by exploring a sunken WWII vessel.
Gili Trawangan boasts a laid-back attitude and exploring the island on foot is easy. The only 15-square kilometer area of Gili Trawangan can easily be walked in under 2-hours or rent a bicycle to explore the island. Along the way will find everything from luxury resorts to beach shacks to chickens strutting down the many streets of sand. Stop by at one of the cheap street side vendors for a quick bite to eat or a cold drink while you be amazed by the tropical landscape and the stunning blue waters of the Bali sea. Bicycle rentals are plentiful on the island and are the preferred method of transportation. If you get tired of walking you can simply hire one of the cimodos, a horse-drawn carriage to take you back to your hotel.
An amazing and interesting thing to do on Gili Trawangan is to discover and learn about the culture and history of the island through your palate. During your cooking class, you will learn more about the local culture and, how the island was developed through the food. You can learn traditional cooking techniques as well as feast on the delicious recipes like Nasi Rawon, Beef Rendang and the sweet treat of Martabak. The Indonesian cuisine mixes the influences of several cooking styles from countries such as France, China and Indian as well as other Asian countries.
One of the must things to do in the Gili Islands is to go island hopping. All three of the islands are an absolute must see while you visit the region. Gili Air is ideal for kitesurfing and standup paddleboarding with wide secluded beaches and calm tropical waters. The smallest island of the Gili Islands is Gili Meno, here you will find the Turtle Sanctuary, where rescued baby sea turtles are kept and released back into the ocean. There is also Gili Meno Bird Park which is home to peacocks, raptors, parrots, pelicans, and pheasants.
Another amazing activity on Gili Trawangan is to hike to the highest point on the island.
As you climb your way to 60m above sea level you will pass a mysterious white temple, a Muslim burial site and the remains of a WWII Japanese bunker. Once at the peak, you can enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of Mount Rinjani on Lombok to the east as well as the Bali Sea and Mount Agung to the west on Bali. The island is believed to have been uninhabited until the Japanese arrived in WWII and transformed the island into a prisoner's of war camp and a lookout. The name Trawangan is derived from the Indonesian word Terowongon which translates to tunnel. The island has numerous tunnels that were constructed during WWII by the Japanese invaders.
When the sun sets over paradise, end your day with a party. On Gili Trawangan there are plenty of beach shanties with live music in combination with a tropical island atmosphere and cool people to hang out with while enjoying your favorite drink. Gili Trawangan is the smallest island in the world to boast an authentic Irish Pub known as Tir Na Nog. Be aware that drug offenders will receive steep penatlies in Indonesia, including the death penalty.