A tropical island paradise fringed by beautiful coral reefs with astonishing biodiversity, far away from any cities or pollution, with picture-postcard sandy beaches, hotels and beach bars, Gili Trawangan is the perfect holiday destination for anyone, from backpackers to honeymooners.

Of the three Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan is known as the party island, because of its late-night bars – but you can also experience peaceful relaxation, and swimming with turtles in the warm, clear turquoise waters. Gili Trawangan has been called the “turtle capital of the world”, and there are many places in the coral reefs that surround the island where you are guaranteed to see green and hawksbill turtles grazing amongst the sea grass.

Gili Trawangan has become famous as a party destination amongst backpackers and younger holidaymakers, but calling it “the party island” is a bit of a misnomer, because while those parties do exist, and there are lots of great bars to hang out in, Gili Trawangan also has lots of quiet, relaxed areas, expensive upmarket resorts with elegant restaurants, and sunset beach bars where you can lie on a bean bag or hammock and just chill with a cocktail. It’s not all about wild partying! But if that’s what you want, then there’s one late night party to be found every day of the week except Thursday, and all-night full-moon parties on the beach once a month. Most bars stay open until 1 am, and on party nights till much later. Full moon parties go on until dawn.

There are lots of reasons why Gili Trawangan is a must-visit, and you can enjoy all of them every day: coral reef adventures in the crystal clear water, idyllic beach and poolside relaxation, watching beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and the great nightlife. This is your ultimate Gili Trawangan guide.


How to get to Gili Trawangan

What to know about Gili Trawangan

Be a sustainable eco-tourist

Coral reef and watersport activities

Other things to enjoy on Gili Trawangan

Where to stay on Gili Trawangan

Where to eat on Gili Trawangan

Where to drink and party on Gili Trawangan


How to get to Gili Trawangan

Bluewater Express’s fast boats leave from Serangan and Padang Bai every morning for Gili Trawangan. The trip from Padang Bai takes 90 minutes. Check the schedule and book your tickets here: https://bluewater-express.com/schedules/.


What to know about Gili Trawangan

Gili T, as it is commonly known, has a permanent population of around 1,500 residents. It measures 2.5km by 1.75 km, and it takes less than an hour to cycle all the way round. The south-west corner of the island rises to 127 metres, at the top of which is a wonderful view point where you can see the three Gili Islands in their tropical reefs, Bali’s Mount Agung to the west, and Lombok’s Mount Rinjani dominating the skyline to the east.

Bali is famous for its unique Hindu culture, but be aware that Gili Trawangan is a traditionally Muslim community, like the rest of Indonesia. There is a mosque from which you will hear calls to prayer, including in the early morning – bring earplugs if you are staying nearby.

Gili Trawangan can be visited all year round, but the best time is the dry season from April to November. In the rainy season it can be very muggy when it’s not experiencing torrential downpours, the seas can get rough, and visibility is reduced for snorkeling and diving. It’s still a great place to spend the Christmas and New Year festive season though. July and August are the busiest months, when everything needs to be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. Away from peak season, April to June and September to November, prices are a bit lower, it’s less crowded and you don’t need to book in advance to go scuba diving or to enjoy other activities.

There are no motorised vehicles on Gili Trawangan.  Locals offer transportation by horse and cart, known as cidomo, but sadly many of these horses are badly treated. The best way to get around is by rented bicycle. You can get these at the harbour or from many places around the island, prices start from $3 a day. Check them out before riding away: some of them are rather old, and a part of the route round Gili Trawangan is rough and sandy. (The island has a six kilometre circumference, five of which is road and one kilometer is sandy beach with bars and restaurants.)

Accommodation ranges from dormitories to bungalows to luxury resorts. Wherever you stay, you will often come across “open concept” bathrooms without a roof. The larger more expensive resorts are found on the west coast of the island, where the sunset views are best. The east coast features many smaller resorts with bungalows set around a central pool. The cheapest accommodation, including hostels, can be found inland from the coast to the east and northeast. Very few of the resorts are right on the beach, and those that are don’t usually offer rooms with beach views. They are usually set a bit inland, with most of the accommodation facing a swimming pool.

There are bars and restaurants all over the island, but the area around the harbour and to the south-east of the harbour is where most of the party action takes place. This is also where you will find most of the dive schools.

Water is a precious commodity on Gili Trawangan, as it has no source of freshwater of its own. Many of the hotels use seawater for their showers. The more expensive resorts import fresh water from Lombok.

Make sure you bring with you:

  • Any medication you will need. There are very few medical facilities on Gili Trawangan.
  • All the essentials for a beach holiday, including sunscreen, sunhats, light clothes and swimwear; you can buy these things on the island but at high prices. Make sure your sunscreen is reef safe. Many products contain chemicals that damage corals and poison marine life. Find out more about recommended sunscreen products here: https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/#.WXShIIiGNPY.
  • A refillable filtered water bottle and reusable straw. Plastic pollution is a big problem on Gili Trawangan and you don’t want to add to it with single-use water bottles. Download the Refill My Bottle app from https://refillmybottle.com to see where you can get safe drinking water on Gili Trawangan.

There is a small medical clinic next to Villa Ombak where you can get any minor injuries seen to. More serious injuries or illnesses must be treated on Lombok or Bali.


Be a sustainable eco-tourist

In the last century, destructive practices damaged the local coral reefs – fishermen used dynamite and cyanide to increase their catches – while waste, especially single-use plastics, has become a huge problem. Initiatives to save the environment started in 2002, and now include a plan to make Gili Trawangan a waste-free environment, with 100% recycling. That isn’t happening yet, but you can help!

Gili Trawangan still has a big problem with waste, especially plastic. You will see it everywhere you go. That which is collected ends up getting burnt, which you will smell when you explore the island. The best way to avoid contributing to this is to buy your own reusable water bottle, straw, and any other item you need to cut out single-use plastics. You can then join in with the organized beach clean-ups – see The Gili Eco Trust below for details.

There has been an increase in environmentally friendly accommodation, with rainwater harvesting, solar power and eco-friendly waste management. If you choose these places when booking your stay it will encourage other hotels, resorts and hostels to follow suit.

One of the most important attractions on Gili T is the beautiful coral reef that surrounds it, with wonderful marine life. Reefs are very fragile, and can be damaged inadvertently by human impact. Many types of sunscreen contribute to poisoning corals and their associated biota. Please avoid touching and stepping on the reefs, keep your distance from the animals, especially the turtles and manta rays.

The Gili Eco Trust

Established in 2002 as an NGO in partnership with the dive schools, the Eco Trust began life repairing and restoring damaged coral reefs but has expanded into all areas of environmental concern. Every week they hold a Waste Free Friday session on Gili Trawangan, when tourists and members of the local community take to the beaches to pick up plastic and other environment-polluting debris. These one hour Friday sessions result in 7,000 kg of waste and debris removed from the beaches of the Gili Islands each year.

You can take the Gili Eco Trust Ocean Quest Coral Rehabilitation Course, which teaches a scientific understanding of corals and reefs, including coral rehabilitation, and every year there’s a Race-for-Waste triathlon fundraiser, a cycling, swimming and running race around Gili Trawangan.

Check out our main article on the Gili Eco Trust here.


Coral reef and watersport activities

The amazing coral reefs are the most important reason to visit Gili Trawangan. The crystal-clear tropical waters are home to a beautiful multi-coloured environment featuring giant barrel sponges, pink and orange sea fans, gorgonian sea fans, sea whips, stony corals, soft corals and sponges. The sea-grasses around the corals are home to a wonderful population of green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, making Gili Trawangan the Turtle Capital of the World.

Living in this paradise are butterflyfish, angelfish, clownfish, scorpionfish, trumpetfish, lionfish, triggerfish, damselfish, anemonefish, oriental sweetlips, shrimp gobies, puffer fish, garden eels, and morays. The corals also hide peacock mantis shrimp, pygmy seahorses, cuttlefish and octopuses. Swimming through the reefs are manta rays, stingrays, giant trevallies, spanish mackerel, dogtooth tuna, black tip sharks, white tip sharks and reef sharks.

The three best ways to experience the coral reefs are snorkeling, scuba diving and stand-up paddleboarding. There’s no need to have had any experience; all three skills are taught to beginners.

The best time to experience these idyllic waters is the dry season from April to November. The rainy season has choppier waters and reduced visibility, as well as torrential downpours.


Go snorkeling on Gili Trawangan.

See our main article about snorkeling on Gili Trawangan here.

Gili Trawangan is a snorkeler’s paradise. The water is always warm, averaging 28°C, and visibility is high. Apart from the harbour, there are coral reefs all around the island. Some of them are a bit of a way out, and more suitable for scuba diving trips, but there are many places where you can just swim out from the beach over the reefs and sea grass, with turtles grazing below you.

Lots of beach bars and resorts offer snorkeling equipment hire from the beach, but you can also rent from the professional tour operators. These can be mostly found in the central area near the harbour, and they all offer public snorkeling tours and private snorkeling tours twice daily, from $10 a trip. Private tours are recommended for beginners who want instruction, starting at $20.

A speciality of Gili Trawangan is drift snorkeling. Here you enter the water at the top of the reef and let the current take you with it. You don’t have to exert yourself swimming, you just go with the flow, and drift all along the reef.

On the west and north coasts of the island you’ll find several places where you can just swim out from the beach. The most famous of these is called Turtle Point, to the north-east. The sandy beach gives way to a garden of sea grass filled with grazing turtles, around a coral reef in only three to four metres of clear water.


Go scuba diving on Gili Trawangan

See our main article on scuba diving in the Gili Islands here.

Gili Trawangan is possibly the best place in the world to learn to scuba dive. Not only is it one of the most affordable places in the world to learn, but the amount of variety of dives, including shipwrecks, reef walls, sea mounds and gardens, and the number of professional dive schools, mean that you can enjoy amazing experiences while becoming qualified with globally-recognized diving certificates.

As with drift snorkeling, you can enjoy drift dives, gliding with the current, letting it take you the length of the dive site, with the dive school’s boat waiting for you at the end.

All of the dive schools offer the beginners’ Open Water Certification, and those who are already experienced at scuba diving can take other courses, for example the Deep Diving Certification. Qualified dive guides are always available, and each school offers up to four dives a day, including sunset dives and night dives.

Some recommended dive schools are:

  • Blue Marlin
  • Manta Dive
  • Trawangan Dive
  • Dive Central Gili

These are relatively large professional schools that offer a range of courses and certificates.

The best places for beginners to go scuba diving around Gili Trawangan are:

  • Manta Point. It’s a gently sloping reef with mild currents that’s the best place in the islands to see manta rays.
  • Halik (the shallow end). This is a beautiful coral reef, where you are likely to see at least five turtles in any one trip.
  • Biorock Reef. This is an artificial structure created by the Gili Eco Trust and Manta Dive. Its steel platforms have low-voltage currents passing through them that allow the fast accretion of calcium carbonate, helping new coral reefs to form. Find out more about this technology in our article about Gili Eco Trust.

The best places for experienced divers to go scuba diving around Gili Trawangan are:

  • The Wreck of the Glenn Nusa. This Lombok tugboat was bought by the Trawangan dive schools and the Gili Eco Trust and deliberately sunk to create a new dive site.
  • Shark Point. Here you’ll find the greatest variety of biodiversity to be seen in one single dive in all of the Gili Islands, including black tip, white tip and reef sharks, as well as all the other local marine life such as turtles and manta rays.
  • Deep Turbo. For advanced divers only. Sea mounds covered with gorgonian sea fans rise from the sea floor 30 metres down.


Stand-up paddle on Gili Trawangan

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is the easiest way to experience the waters around the island. You stand on a board that looks rather like a surfboard and use a paddle to move along. Paddleboards can be rented from many places along the beaches all around the island, with hourly, half day and full day options, and you will rarely need to book in advance. You can drift with the current over the reefs or paddle against it. Sunscreen and a sun hat are important!

Two great stand-up paddle options are:

  • Stand-up paddle clean and clear. Organised by the Gili Eco Trust, this is a wonderful experience that involves paddling out over idyllic reefs and seagrass gardens where turtles graze, taking time to clear away any floating pollution, then visiting the more remote beaches to clean and clear them of plastic and waste.
  • Stand-up paddle yoga. Fly Gili SUP Yoga offers the chance to practice yoga on a stand up paddleboard at sunrise. After paddling out over the water, the boards are tied together and, after some meditation and breathing exercises, you try out some simple yoga exercises and postures, testing your balance on the water.


Surfing on Gili Trawangan

Gili T isn’t the best place in the world for surfing, and most surfers in the area head for the waves at Bali and Lombok. But you can surf Gili T! The place to do so is at the southern tip of the island near Ko Ko Mo Resort, where there are good waves all year round, although the best time to go is from April to June.

Bongkas Surf School offers lessons for beginners, and you can also stay at a 6-day Surf Camp, which gives you accommodation with breakfast, surfing lessons, snorkeling and other activities.


Freediving on Gili Trawangan

Freedive Gili offers professional courses and training in freediving.from beginner to instructor. Two hour sessions take place from the boat leaving at 11 am each morning.

Courses last from two days to a week, and give training in breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, understanding the mammalian dive reflex, equalisation techniques, breath-holds, and how to use your change in buoyancy during a dive. The advanced course teaches competitive freediving.


Other things to enjoy on Gili Trawangan

 Ocean Swings

In recent years, having your photo taken on a swing over the clear turquoise ocean has become a unique must-do activity on Gili Trawangan.

The first ocean swing was set up in 2014 at Ombak Sunset Resort. Since then many more have been established all around the island, mostly on the west coast. Finding them and having a photoshoot on each one can be a great way to explore the beaches and beach bars on Gili T. They are mostly attached to the more expensive resorts, but you don’t have to stay there to have your photo taken, and it’s free. If you are staying in a bungalow on the east coast hire a bicycle and explore the western sunset beaches.

In peak season. July and August, and at peak times – sunrise and sunset – you may have to wait your turn, but mostly you won’t have to queue, especially away from the crowded high season. Great photos are often all about lighting, and while sunset over Bali in the west is the most romantic time to go, the best photos can often be taken in the morning, when the sun rises over Mount Rinjani in the east.

Be prepared for the tides. When the tide is in, the swings are over the water, for the perfect look, but that water can get quite deep. When the tide is out some of the swings are no longer actually over the ocean.

Where to find the ocean swings:

Coming south from the harbour the first swing in the south-east is at Pink Coco beach resort. As this is a famous place for watching the sunset, having a romantic photo taken here on their pink swing is ideal. The sea floor is flat and shallow here, which is just right.

Nearby along the west coast you will find the popular Instagrammable swing and hammock at The Exile Bar. Be aware that at high tide the water under the swing is deep.

Further up is Villa Ombak, the place where the ocean swing craze began. The resort is a popular honeymoon location, so the swing here is double, perfect for romantic photos.

Other ocean swings can be found at Aston Sunset Beach Resort, Ergon Pandawa Hotel & Resort, and the Window Bar. You can also find many swings on the beaches at several other places around Gili Trawangan


Horse riding on the beach

This is an activity that features regularly in adverts and videos focusing on romance in paradise, and when you watch the sunset from the beach on Gili Trawangan you will often see people riding horses past you. There are two ways to do this, only one of which is recommended.

There are people on the beach with horses available for you to get on for a photograph, or to ride for a short time if you know what you are doing. These people and their horses are not monitored, and neither the animals’ welfare nor your safety are guaranteed.

However, there is a proper horse stud and stable on Gili Trawangan’s southwest corner: Stud Horseback Riding Adventures. This is a professional setup, where the welfare of the animals is a priority; they are checked twice a year by teams from the International Vets and Farriers Organisation. Unlike the horses owned by the locals, and used for the cidomo horse and cart transport, those at Stud Horse Riding Stables are properly cared for, given fresh water and good imported feed, and their stables are cleaned out daily.

You can ride horses from here at all levels of ability, from beginner to advanced, from a slow guided walk to a gallop along the beach. If you are a beginner the staff will accompany you and walk the horse for you.

Find them at the south-west corner of Gili Trawangan, near the Gili T Hill sunset viewpoint (see below) and Pink Coco resort. Horse riding is offered twice daily, in the morning and at sunset, and you need to book in advance.


Watch the sunrise and sunset from Gili Trawangan Viewpoint

Gili Trawangan Island is the only one of the Gilis that’s not flat. The south-west, Gili Trawangan Hill, rises to 127 metres and is the best place to watch the sunrise above and around magnificent Mount Rinjani on the main island of Lombok and the sunset behind Mount Agung on Bali. The hill is off-limits for foreign businesses to develop, which means that it’s accessible to all. There are even wild deer to be seen in the wooded landscape.

From the hilltop the wonderful view eastwards takes in Gili Meno, Gili Air, their coral reefs and the surrounding sea, then the rugged coast of Lombok with volcanic foothills, above which towers the great volcano itself, rising to 3726 metres. Backlit by the light as daybreak turns to dawn it’s a wonderful sight.

Then, in the evening, look the other way to Bali and the more distant Mount Agung, which rises to 3031 metres and is also dramatic against the beautiful sunset behind it.

Gili Trawangan Hill is accessed from the southwest corner of the island. It’s marked on Google Maps as ‘Hilltop Hiking View Point’. On the coast road to the west on the map you will see Sunset Bar. Find this and there are steps behind it leading up the hill. You can then walk back down the other side past Stud Horse Riding Stables.

Nearby, down the road from the stables, is Pink Coco resort. The beach here is widely considered to have the best beachfront sunset view on Gili Trawangan.

Sunset on Gili Trawangan takes place between 6 pm and 6:45 pm. Check out the exact times on foreca.com or similar.


Watch a Film on the Beach

There are two beach cinemas on the west coast of Gili Trawangan, and both offer a wonderful experience of watching a film while lounging on bean bags on the sand. They can be found in front of the Royal Regantris Hotel and the Aston Sunset Beach Hotel. The Royal Regantris has ambient lighting while the Aston Sunset Beach is darker. Both cinemas tend to show the same selection of films, every night, with two showings, usually 7:30 and 9:00, depending on the length of the films. There’s no need to book in advance and the showings are free.


Take an Indonesian Cooking Class

There are two places where you can learn traditional Indonesian cooking on the island.

Gili Cooking Classes next to Trawangan Dive School offers in-depth culinary training to learn how to cook the authentic Indonesian way using fresh, seasonal local produce. All the chefs are from the Gili islands or Lombok. There are three courses available, one and a half hours, two hours and two and a half hours, morning, afternoon and evening. Learn how to make peanut sauce, fried noodles, yellow chicken curry, gado gado salad, and chicken talawang.

Sweet and Spicy Gili Cooking School next to Egoiste Restaurant in the centre of the main strip offers one Indonesian cooking course lasting two to three hours every day with an experienced local chef.



Gili Trawangan has a good variety of yoga shalas, giving different experiences and teaching different styles of yoga. Here are four recommendations:

Gili Yoga near the central pier. This is not only a yoga studio, they also offer bungalow accommodation and a vegetarian restaurant. Twice-daily classes alternate between hatha and vinyasa yoga, and you can take a month-long 200-hour teacher training course.

Sunset Beach Yoga on the west coast of Gili Trawangan offers the best views. It’s a treehouse yoga school where you can experience Fly High Yoga suspended from straps, using gravity to get into unique positions and upside-down poses. Classes finish in time to watch the sunset from the beach.

Coco Cabana Resort’s healing yoga shala offers Mind and Movement Medicine Classes three times a week. Lasting an hour and a half, these classes specialise in PTSD-sensitive, chronic stress and trauma yoga therapy.  Breathing exercises are intended to help people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.

Pearl of Trawangan Soraya Yoga offers three Sunrise Beach Yoga classes every week on the sand. This is a perfect way to start the day, with dramatic sunrise views over Mount Rinjani on Lombok as you practice breathing exercises and yoga positions. Soraya Yoga also has a Wellness Center in the middle of Gili Trawangan that offers wellness retreats.


Make your own Jewellery

The Balinese jewellery store Yin Jewelry for the Soul offers silver jewellery making classes on Gili Trawangan. You are given a piece of silver and shown how to make either a ring or a pendant from it, which you then keep as a souvenir. The three-hour silversmithing workshop is offered twice daily starting at 10 am and 3 pm.


Watch Stick Fighting

Stick fighting, known locally as ‘presean’, is a traditional ritual of the Sasak tribe of Lombok. Most Sunday afternoons have a presean fight on the beach near the night market. Beginning with a procession, men wearing traditional clothing fight with rattan sticks and buffalo-hide shields. The combat is accompanied by beleganjur music, a traditional form designed as battle music.


Where to stay on Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan has the widest possible range of accommodation, and there’s something suitable for everyone, from impoverished backpackers to honeymooners spending money on the holiday of a lifetime. Prices range from $6.50 a night in a hostel dorm to $400 a night for a luxury villa.

The east and south-east coast near the harbour, known as Central, is the most built-up part of Gili T, and this is where you’ll find most of the regular accommodation, including many hotels that offer bungalows set around a central pool.

On the less built-up west coast there are larger, more expensive resorts, offering deluxe rooms and villas. Inland and to the north of the island are where many of the cheaper places to stay can be found.

It’s impossible to cover all the options here, so check out our comprehensive guide to where to stay on Gili Trawangan. In the meantime, here are some selected recommendations, from cheapest to most expensive.


  • Mad Monkey Hostel on the north-west coast, a bit remote from the main action, is a backpackers’ party place with its own beach club.
  • Mbox Party Hostel is close to the main street near the harbour, with its own beach club Margaritas Bar.
  • My Mate’s Place is the largest hostel on the island, with its own party boat, nightclub and free pizza nights.

Budget hotels

  • Little Woodstock Homestay is in the Central area but set inland from the beach and harbour, offering bamboo huts beside a pool for $20 a night.
  • Gili Pirates, to the north of the Central area, is a Bed and Breakfast with a pool for $30 a night.
  • Jati Village offers bungalows around a pool with a pizza restaurant.

Mid Range

  • Cotton Tree Cottages has peaceful Balinese-style cottage bungalows around a pool, with an Italian restaurant.
  • Jali resort offers hotel rooms again around a central pool with an on-site restaurant.
  • Natya Hotel is on the beachfront near all the party bars, with modern hotel rooms and great service.

More Expensive

  • Desa Dunia Beda Beach Resort is found to the north-west of Gili Trawangan, on a large area of beachfront. The accommodation is traditional wooden village bungalows, with four poster beds and antique furniture, offering sea views and snorkeling from the beach.
  • La Cocoteraie Ecolodge is the perfect place to go ‘glamping’ (glamourous camping). Luxury tents have double beds, en-suite showers and toilets and free safe drinking water.
  • Wilson’s Retreat is a boutique hotel to the north of the island, on a stretch of quiet beach with sunset views.


  • Gili Eco Villas is an up-market beachfront villa hotel on the west coast, with a beach restaurant, and snorkeling from in front of the villas. Prices start at $180.
  • Ko Ko Mo Resort offers elegant villas by the beach at the south end of the Central zone from $160 a night.


Where to eat on Gili Trawangan

You can get any kind of food you want on Gili Trawangan, from hot dogs to lobsters, from pizzas to local sasak cuisine, Irish fish and chips, Mexican tacos and barbecued mahi mahi. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for.

Check out the main article on Where to eat on Gili Trawangan.

Here are a few selected recommendations.

The night market

Every evening, before sunset, a marketplace of traditional Indonesian food opens at the harbour. Street vendors set out their stalls of barbecued fish such as barracuda, snapper and mahi mahi, seafood such as prawns, squid and crabs, grilled meat, and the local Indonesian buffet of nasi campur, a dish of rice with your own selection of toppings.

The prices at the night market are lower than at the beach restaurants and party pubs. But most importantly of all, it’s a vibrant cultural experience and a great fun way to start the evening.


Warungs are traditional restaurants, often family-run, selling local Indonesian specialities such as nasi goreng, nasi campur, and beef rendang, washed down with Bintang beer.

Recommended warungs include:

  • Warung Sasak
  • Warung Jaman Now
  • Intan Inn Resto
  • Warung Dewi
  • Wajan café

Casa Vintage Beach

This is a unique Caribbean restaurant with a vintage look and feel, serving traditional spicy Jamaican food. It’s next to the beach where you can watch the sunset while eating yellow fish curry. The owners make their own fruit wines, including banana wine, mango and pineapple.

La Moomba Bar & Restaurant

This beach bar and restaurant is the place to go snorkeling with turtles from the beach. Snorkeling equipment can be rented from the bar. They have little huts where you can eat looking out at the sea, or padded beach chairs, and serve Indonesian and western cuisines all day.

Regina Pizzeria

Run by an Italian chef, here the pizzas are authentic, cooked in traditional wood-fire ovens. They’ve been called the best pizzas in Asia.

Coffee & Thyme

Possibly the best-loved café on Gili Trawangan, Coffee and Thyme serve breakfast all day, as well as cakes, with regular coffee,  crème brûlée coffee and iced caramel latte. Vegetarians are catered for; check out the tofu scramble, the vegan taliwang sandwich, or the vegan pesto pasta.

The Banyan Tree

The Banyan Tree is a dedicated vegetarian and vegan café. Try the coconut curry, avocado toast, zucchini lasagna, Buddha bowl with poached egg, and vegan chocolate cake.


Where to drink and party on Gili Trawangan

Most of the bars and restaurants are found on the east and southeast of Gili Trawangan, near the harbour. To the north you’ll find beach bars with bonfires. The west coast is where the upmarket villa resorts can be found. Alcohol is relatively expensive on Gili T compared to other parts of Indonesia, but for those on a budget, every bar has a Happy Hour, and often they last for longer than one hour.

Here’s an overview of what to expect and where to go when drinking on Gili Trawangan, for a detailed guide see our main article Where to drink and party on Gili Trawangan.

First up though is an important health and safety precaution. There’s a locally-distilled spirit called Arak, and it can contain dangerous amounts of methanol. Some bars have been known to lace their local Indonesian spirits with it to reduce their costs, and this has led to methanol poisoning and, on a couple of occasions, to deaths. So it’s recommended to stick to imported spirits if you do drink them, but best of all to the local chilled Bintang beer, which you will find everywhere you go. A good way to be safe is to avoid spirits that seem suspiciously cheap. Most bars sell both cheap local spirits and more expensive imports.


Sunset bars

If you can only see the sunset on Gili T for one night, go to Pink Coco Beachside Bar. Set at the perfect south-east location for watching the sun set behind Mount Agung on Bali, Pink Coco’s beach bar has bean bags and loungers, and a DJ playing music 5pm to 9pm every night.

Pearl Beach Lounge is an upmarket beach bar serving cocktails and wine.

Paradise Sunset Bar is quiet and peaceful compared to the east coast, with beautiful sunset views. The evenings host bonfires on the beach and fire shows, while the restaurant serves great roast chicken.

Malibu Beach Club is also quiet and peaceful, with a bonfire on the beach every night.

The Exile Bar and next-door Goa Sunset Bar have live music and drumming most nights.

Other great bars on the Sunset Strip include Mowies, Gili Lumbung and Cheeky Monkey.


Parties on Gili Trawangan

There is an organized schedule for partying on Gili Trawangan. A different bar stays open late each night specifically for partygoers to have fun, while the others close at midnight to 1 am – except for Thursdays, when there’s no party out of respect for Friday morning prayers. The party bars are close to each other on the main drag heading south from the pier at the harbour. Here’s the current schedule.

Monday: Blue Marlin. This is a hugely popular party pub right in the middle of the main strip, with its own pool and a great DJ. It can get a bit crowded on party nights.

Tuesday: Jiggy. Jiggy is a party pub with a Happy Hour every night from 8:30 to 11:30 pm, and a DJ playing the hits. Jiggy also runs a boat party with a DJ on a five hour cruise using their own boat, every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday in the dry season.

Wednesday: Tir Na Nog. This is the island’s Irish Pub, featuring themed discos, sports on the big screen, Mexican food and fish ‘n’ chips. Sunday is ladies’ night with half price cocktails.

Thursday: No party because of Friday prayers

Friday: Rudy’s This is famous for being one of the best dance and party bars in the Gili Islands, with a packed dance floor and a mixed clientele of locals , backpackers and divers.

Saturday: Sama Sama Reggae Bar. You can’t miss this place. It’s a large two-story bright yellow bar right next to the harbour. It has live music most nights – not always reggae – and a dance floor. It’s usually packed.

Sunday: Evolution. In the centre of the main drag, Evolution hosts beer pong, live bands and grilled seafood.


Gili Trawangan Pub Crawl

There’s an organised pub crawl every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday night. It costs $15, and the crawl makes its way along the main party bar stretch of the central zone, taking in the above party bars such as Sama Sama and Tir Na Nog, with rounds of beer pong, DJs and live music. Check out times and starting points at any of the party bars.


Other party bars on Gili Trawangan include Mad Monkey on the west coast sunset strip, with its own pool, DJs, cocktails on the beach and quiz nights, Lava bar which hosts Rock and Roll Bingo every Friday night, and neon-lit Jungle nightclub. Scallywags is a more up-market bar, perfect for cocktails on the beach.


One last thing to be aware of

Drugs are readily available in the bars of Gili Trawangan, and often presented as normal. It’s important to remember that possession and distribution of drugs are serious criminal offences in Indonesia, punished by long prison sentences and sometimes even the death penalty. Indonesian jails are not nice places. Keep away from Gili T’s drugs and drug dealers at all times!