THE ISLAND OF GILI TRAWANGAN
There are three main mosques on the island, four local schools and one international Montessori school. Education past junior high school has to be continued on Lombok mainland or elsewhere. The main religion practised on Gili Trawangan is Islam. This is noticeable once on the island with the five daily calls to prayer. Religion plays a central role in the life’s of the local population and visitors should be mindful and respectful of this throughout their stay.
The local population, both indigenous or otherwise, are very welcoming souls. You will have an unforgettable holiday experience on the island, and invariably want to come back time and time again.
Situated off the north-west coast of Lombok lie the beautiful, coconut laden and sun-drenched Gili Islands. These are made up of Gili Air, Gili Meno and of course, Gili Trawangan.
We are located on Gili Trawangan, or ‘Gili T’, as it is more commonly known.
The word Gili simply means “small island” in Sasak, which is the local dialect spoken in neighbouring Lombok. The word Trawangan stems from the Indonesian word Terowongan, which translates to ‘Tunnel’. This is due to the presence of a cave tunnel built by the Japanese in World War 2, who took advantage of the island's hill to install anti-aircraft guns.
Permanent settlement of the islands only began in the early 1970s, before which it was noted as being densely forested, and populated with wild deer. The first settlers were primarily made up of Bugis fisherman and farmers from Sulawesi. They would often use the islands to take respite during voyages around the archipelago. Once settled, the islands were first used for farming coconuts, rice, cassava and corn.
Gili Trawangan is 3km long, 2km wide, approximately 7km around, and rises 30m above sea level at its highest point. It takes about 90mins to walk around the entire island. There are no motorized vehicles on any of the Gili islands; no mopeds, no cars, no buses, nothing. The only form of transport is by foot, bicycle or Cidomo (traditional horse carts).
By the early 1980s, due to the huge rise in Bali tourism, backpackers started to arrive on the shores of the Gili Islands. Gili Air enjoyed most of the influx in the early days, but Gili Trawangan quickly surpassed its neighbour over the coming years, with a much faster surge in development as the primary catalyst.
By the 1990s, Gili Trawangan was starting to make a stamp on the international scuba diving scene, and by 2000 was considered one of the best spots in the world to learn to dive. This is in thanks to its warm waters, calm sea conditions, easy access to multiple dive sites and the development of some world-class dive schools.
As Gili Trawangan moved through the ‘noughties’, development continued, and tourism is now the number one industry on the island without a doubt. With investors pouring in from all corners of the globe, it created a mesmerizing patchwork of innovation and variety of businesses. This gives visitors a fantastic array of choice when it comes to accommodation, dining, nightlife & activities options.