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23 Cool Things to Do on Gili T, as Tried By Me

I spent six days on Gili T, or Gili Trawangan to give it its full name. The beautiful paradise island attracts party people, scuba dubas and snorkel lovers as that’s pretty much all there is to do there. I like to think that despite my injury, I made a good effort at doing all the cool things to do on Gili T and would like to share my new found knowledge with all my beautiful readers.

I can’t lie, or pretend to be cultured, the week has consisted of too many Bintang beers, sitting on the beach or in bars, food at the night market and drinking games that only ended to go to the clubs. 

Gili T is pretty cheap, but the trouble for me was that it was so cheap I consumed more, totally cancelling out the cheapness. Standard behaviour. I spent around £200 for the week, accommodation, beer money, food and all. Here’s how…

1. Stay at La Boheme for a cool hostel and to meet people.

Cool Things to do in Gili T

2. Don’t stress about finding the best price for scuba diving.

There’s a cap of $35 for everyone. Just chat to people and go with one you like.

3. Take a day trip to Gili Meno or Gili Air, or both.

Exploring Gili Meno

4. Do yoga at the Yoga Palace.

You get a discount if you stay at La Boheme as it’s just opposite.

5. The snorkelling trip that’s advertised everywhere on the island is actually pretty shit as you don’t see much and you’re packed onto a boat. I’d still recommend it though as it’s cool to get out on the water and dive in from the sides.

Cool things to do on Gili T

6. Watch out for steps.

Don’t stub your toe worse than you’ve ever stubbed it before at Sama Sama Reggae Bar, like I did. Meant I couldn’t do anything but drink and eat for the week. Terrible.

7. Don’t pay to get on the daily boat party, find the right people at night by this bar and you can get a band to get in free.

Where to find the boat party in gili T

Where is Gili T?

The Gili Islands are made up of three islands off the coast of Bali and Lombok in Indonesia. There’s Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. I spent all six nights on Gili Trawangan, affectionately known as Gili T. On day four I decided to take the boat over to Gili Meno – a paradise island more popular with honeymooners than party people. It was stunning. I just lay about reading The Bell Jar for the second time and eating my new favourite lunch, Nasi Goreng – spicy rice with egg on top and prawn crackers on the side.

To get around Gili T you can either walk, like I did, or use one of the horse and carts. There are no cars on the island so the only traffic sounds you can hear are the horn of the guys in the cart. These are pretty scary when you’re walking round at night though – the horses suddenly appear eerily in the distance. Reminded me of the Woman in Black film.


8. Eat huge burgers at La Petit Grill.

Or the falafel, or the veggie curry, or the Nasi Goreng, it’s all good. They also have happy hour between 6 and 8 and you can get cheapo beers and cocktails with tapas.

9. Hang out at the treehouse at Kuta Bar.

Cool things to do on Gili T

10. Watch the nightly turtle show at the Lombok Grill.

I didn’t actually get to do this but apparently the turtles all come up as the sun sets and you can see them from the restaurant.

11. Rent a cycle and explore the island. The ones that charge 30k probably don’t have brakes so you might be better off paying 50k. I randomly saw this reggae band having a photoshoot.

Explore the island

12. Chill out in the day at The Surf Bar.

They were playing Tracy Chapman when I went. Loved it.

13. Go there at sunset too. We played Frisbee as the sun went down and they pumped out some minimal techno tunes. In those minutes life was brilliant, even more so than usual.

Cool things to do on Gili T

14. Find the nightly party.

There are loads of clubs but every night there will be one particular one that holds the party. It will be crazy.

One of the best nights on Gili T was spent in a treehouse overlooking the beach at Kuta Bar. The six of us from the hostel had a few beers on the go and ended up chilling in there for over 7 hours just watching the sun set and playing games. Some nights were spent drinking the hostel and others at the ridiculous amount of bars and clubs that line the beach at the front of the island.

15. Eat as many desserts as possible at the night market. Us three girls agreed the donuts were some of the best we’d ever tasted.

Gili T things to do

16. And get some fresh fish or meat.

You can pick what you want and then it’s all cooked to order.

17. Chill out at the nightly cinema at Villa Ombak. Free popcorn!

Villa Ombak open air cinema

18. Drink from a coconut from the stall at the top of the island.

Not only will you really feel like you’re on a desert island, it’s also good for you.

19. Spend all your spare money on jewellery, or bikinis, or I heart GT tshirts you’ll never wear again. There are actually some really nice shops.

Things to do on Gili T

20. Just relax. There’s virtually no crime on Gili T and if anything goes wrong the facts are brought to the village head who decides the punishment.

Check out this tourist mug who was forced to do the Walk of Shame on Gili T after robbing another tourist last week.

21. Sit on the beach bean bags lining the beach and read a book – no need to even buy a drink at most places, unless you feel too guilty.

Cool things to do on Gili T

22. Eat at Kaya Café. I had a delicious halloumi and quinoa salad with a smoothie.

Perfect for lessening the guilt of all the huge Bintangs I was drinking.

23. Watch the sun set at Exile Bar. I had fish fingers here too and they were huge and delicious.

Cool things to do on Gili T

I had a brilliant week on Gili T and was sad to leave but excited to get away from all the delicious temptations the island offers. If you’re ever in Indonesia I’d definitely recommend adding it to your list of things to see and do.

Gili T is an awesome party island, as I’ve said, but if you’re over that way I’d strongly recommend you go to Gili Meno too. Getting from Gili T to Gili Meno is easy.

How to get to Gili Meno

The easiest and most popular way to get to Gili Meno from Gili T is to walk down to the harbour, to the white building next to the fruit shop, and buy a ticket. The Gili Island Hopping ticket is 35k one way (£1.81) and 70k return. Any maths minds out there will see there is no saving. But if like me you manage to lose the return ticket on Meno, you get to pay 105 instead.

The journey from Gili T to Gili Meno takes around 30 minutes and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with views like this…

How to get to Gili Meno from Gili T

How to get to Gili Meno from Gili T
The Gili Meno to Gili T island hopping boat also goes to Gili Air afterwards.

You can bring all your luggage on the boat to stay on the island, or you could just go as a day tripper, like I did. It leaves at 9:30am and comes back at 3:20pm – the perfect amount of time to get a feel for Gili Meno.

Things to do on Gili Meno

How to get to Gili Meno from Gili T

How to get from Gili T to Gili MenoNot much! And that’s the beauty. I walked round the circumference which took an hour. Then I saw a man collecting flip flops off the beach so decided to help with the clean up. Then I sat in a hut on the beach for a few hours reading and eating Nasi Goreng. There were some good waves and I saw a few dive shops too but the whole point of Gili Meno is to relax, take in the beautiful paradise surroundings and chill out. I’m getting real good at that.

how to get from Gili Meno to Gili T

Getting back to Gili T from Gili Meno

How to get to Gili Meno from Gili T

I was at the harbour where I was dropped off at 3pm. Just enough time for an ice lolly to lick while I was waiting. The boat was dead on time at 3:20pm and it took about 20 minutes to get back to Gili T.

Easy and as you can see from the photos, well worth it!

Visiting Gili T

With the lack of decent Wi-Fi, cool people and basic living it reminded me a little of my Tao Sailing Experience in the Philippines, although I don’t think anything will ever be quite the same. After six days I decided it was time to move on and Lombok was calling. Just 12k for the boat (70p) and a quick motorbike ride and here I am to spend the last few days of my Indonesia jaunt chasing waterfalls and hopefully hiking volcanoes.

Has this made you want to go to the Gilis?

How to Get From Gili T to Gili Meno
Just a Little Update on My Week on Gili Trawangan

21 Comments

  1. by Mstraveltipsy on March 26, 2015  1:07 pm Reply

    Oh how I miss Gili T. However it looks like it has changed a lot since I was there, think the last time was in 2009 or something. I presume it has gotten even more touristy. It really had it charm in 2006 (the first time I was there) when it wasn't that many people around. Gili Meno and Air wasn't even possible to go to, nothing there. I would go back though.

    • by Vicky on March 26, 2015  2:14 pm Reply

      Yeah quite a few people said it had changed a lot in just a few years. I loved it, but I'm sure if I went back in a few years it would've developed a whole lot more. You could see them building more hotels on Meno, so that could be the next one to get the backpacker treatment!

  2. by Emily Ray on March 26, 2015  1:29 pm Reply

    Gorgeous photos, Vicky - what camera do you use? Makes me want to jump on the first plane out there, gah! x

    • by Vicky on March 26, 2015  2:12 pm Reply

      Thanks Emily :) It's just my iPhone 5, which sadly is no longer with us after a water injury. Hopefully I'll get something to replace it soon!

  3. by Jenia on March 26, 2015  2:23 pm Reply

    So neat - I am bookmarking for our future visit to Indonesia :)

  4. by Alexandria on March 26, 2015  8:51 pm Reply

    It's definitely made me want to go, this is an awesome guide. I'll have to keep all of it in mind! I'm not sure how I feel about the head of the village deciding on punishments. I mean it's cool but quite a bit strange for me.

    • by Vicky on March 27, 2015  1:42 pm Reply

      Ha, I think it's a great idea! I don't think it happens very often there which kind of shows that it works. Loved Gili T. I can see it from where I am in Lombok :)

  5. by Sally on March 27, 2015  4:54 am Reply

    Gili T Was amazing! your post has made me want to go back! La Boheme was the perfect hostel.

    • by Vicky on March 27, 2015  1:43 pm Reply

      Yeah, it was great there. I met so many people and the owners were really cool. Loved the free pancakes!

  6. by Dan Lawrence on March 27, 2015  8:41 am Reply

    Looks great, was it Digital Nomad friendly as in WiFi freely available in most places or was it limited availability or had to pay for it etc ?

    cheers
    dan

    • by Vicky on March 27, 2015  1:46 pm Reply

      Hey Dan, I've actually found Indonesia really difficult with Wi-Fi. I wouldn't recommend Gili T for a long time if you need to work. It kept cutting out in the hostel and there was a few places around with WiFi but I wouldn't recommend them if it's important.

      • by Dan Lawrence on March 27, 2015  1:52 pm Reply

        Ok thanks Vicky thats really useful info!!

        I need to put in few hours work online each day, then rest of time on the beach preferably
        So looking for that dream location , super cheap, super chilled, lovely beaches, people, food, low crime etc etc BUT with reliable & fast WiFi :)
        Should you, or have you, discover/ed such a place pls do let me know? :)

        Happy Travels !

        • by Vicky on March 28, 2015  8:56 am Reply

          Hey Dan, I know a lot of people go to Chang Mai – but yeah, no beaches. Otherwise another popular place is Ubud in Bali, but you're still an hour from the beach. I will let you know if I do find somewhere as I'm also looking for somewhere similar for next year. I was recently in the Philippines and loved it, but I need to test out a few islands as it fulfilled all the other requirements apart from the fast Wi-Fi so far.

          I'll keep you updated!

          Vicky

  7. by Graham Franklin on March 27, 2015  12:48 pm Reply

    That sunset at the Exile Bar looks seriously cool, not so sure about the fish fingers though lol

    • by Vicky on March 28, 2015  8:57 am Reply

      Ha, they were deelish! Not like a crappy Birds Eye fish finger but a big chunky fresh fish in delicious batter x 5. Maybe I should've said 'goujons'.

  8. by Jen on March 31, 2015  10:09 am Reply

    Aaaa you make me want to go back sooo bad! I think a did a fair few of your points. Hope you are enjoying India... my fave place! xx

    • by Vicky on April 4, 2015  4:10 am Reply

      Thanks Jen! Yep enjoying it so far – ups and downs! Just met up with my friends so today should be a good day :)

  9. by Claudine on April 20, 2016  9:01 pm Reply

    Hey Vicky ! Thanks for your tips. It's making me want to go even more. I'll probably be there next November by myself and the La boheme hostel seems really cool to meet fellow travelers ! :)

    • by Vicky on May 1, 2016  3:10 am Reply

      Oh brilliant news. Still to date my favourite hostel experience!

  10. by Hafid on August 29, 2016  7:07 am Reply

    Hi.. My name is Hafid live in Makassar South Sulawesi Indonesia.
    It is interesting blog.
    Have you been to South Sulawesi ?

    • by Vicky on September 7, 2016  1:39 pm Reply

      No, not yet! Hopefully I'll get there one day but not yet. How is it over there?

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