If you’re in Bali, a trip to the Gili Islands is kind of a must. My trip was limited to Gili Trawangan only, but I like to think that it gives me an excuse to go back and see the rest!
The Gili Islands are 3 small islands (Trawangan, Meno & Air) in Indonesia, just off the coast of Lombok – also another great place to go to. They consist of sandy beaches, endless amounts of palm trees and epic places to go swimming/snorkelling/diving etc.
They’re the perfect place to do loads of stuff or do absolutely nothing.
Before I start my recommendations, I will say the WiFi on the Gilis is awful. Really awful.
So if you’re a fellow digital nomad, just know if you’re planning on working out there it will be pretty difficult.
Gili Trawangan Recommendations
Surprise, surprise we booked an Airbnb – real shocker there! However, the Airbnb we did pick was amazing – maybe the best deal I’ve ever made on Airbnb. We stayed at the Golden Villas, we were super lucky that they were doing an opening offer on a new villa so we got it for worryingly cheap! But the guys that run it are amazing, they sort you out with bikes to get around, they’re there to help with everything. Plus, the villas are insane!!
Although that would be my personal recommendation, there are so many hostels, Airbnbs etc. to choose from and the majority at really amazing prices. So have a gander, find what suits.
This is probably my favourite recommendation from the trip. Conveniently, it’s less than 100m away from the Golden Villas!
Pituq Waroeng is a cafe/restaurant that is completely vegan, although we had meat eaters and their reviews are just as good as mine – I promise. All of the food is epic, and I mean all of it – the potato pancakes on the breakfast menu are particularly delicious. The place itself is also a delight to be in – very Bali.
This is my only specific food recommendation, but there are so many restaurants. The beach is full of them, as well as the rest of the island so you can easily walk around and take your pick!
My tip when it comes to picking a restaurant would be to see if it’s busy. If there’s people there, you can trust it’s probably going to be good. If it’s empty, there’s more often than not a reason. We abide by this, and we had some not great meals as a result.
The night markets are super warm, but super worth it. You can grab food, you can walk through the stalls – it’s a great place to be and explore in the evenings.
You can do this by yourself and rent gear on the beach (50,000IDR I think for flippers & mask – that’s less than £3!), or you can book a trip. It’s completely up to you!
We rented gear the day we got there and I managed to find a sea turtle right in the beach! So you definitely don’t have to go on an organised trip. HOWEVER, there are a couple of sites around the Gilis that people tend to want to go to. So we did also opt in for a snorkelling tour too. Our trip included Turtle Point (even more turtles!!), Gili Meno Statues (see image) and some sunken Vespa scooters that make for a great photo!
One thing I learnt – don’t touch the turtles!! It can be harmful and isn’t necessary.
These were all pretty fun things to do, and I would definitely recommend doing a trip if you want to see a little bit more on a short trip.
We used Snorkelling Gili, they were really great and quick to respond. We had out trip booked within a few hours, if that.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to Free Dive, there’s no better place than the Gilis. For one, it’s a lot cheaper to do it out there and ou get to see some pretty amazing stuff at the same time! Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time on this trip, but I definitely will be doing it VERY soon!!
Similarly, it’s a great place to learn to Scuba Dive – for the same reasons.
The sea’s pretty calm so surfing isn’t really an option, at least not when we were on Gili Trawangan. Paddle boarding, however, is a great option. It’s a super nice way to chill out and see the islands from a different perspective – but PLEASE WEAR SUNCREAM! (Sorry to sound like a parent haha)
A lot of places do pop up cinemas in the evenings on the beach! It’s the perfect way to chill out at sunset and relax into the evening. Again, there’s so many places that do this I would just suggest looking at what’s playing and going where has the best film for you.
A lot of these kinds of places are on the south west of Gili Trawangan. I wouldn’t recommend the north west, as much. But if you cycle down the south west corner and round to the south you’ll find loads of super nice places!!
If you are looking for a bar (Gili T does have a bit of a ‘party’ rep) then Sama Sama is by far the best. It’s a reggae bar with a live band, playing a mix of reggae songs, and reggae covers of classics. For one its huge and airy, which is always a bonus. But on top of that it’s a fun vibe, with good music and cheap drinks.
Final recommendation is get a bike. They have carts on the islands that are pulled by horses, but I would really urge you NOT to use them. The horses are visibly uncomfortable and exhausted. Get a bike and cycle round, it means you can be super flexible and get to wherever you want, whenever you want!
That was a lot, but I hope it was helpful!
Have an epic day!!
(P.S. If you would like to take a FREE look at the Digital Business System that we use, simply click here!)
I will leave you with this adorable picture of my new turtle friend: