Travellers come from all over the world to experience Gili Trawangan. Thrifty backpackers and luxury vacationers alike flock to the paradise island year-round. While on holiday in Indonesia, Gili T is a must-see destination. There are countless activities to do and sights to see while on the island. Depending on how long you stay, it can be hard to fit everything in! Here’s a helpful guide for what to do on Gili T with the amount of time you have.
24 hours on Gili T
If you only have a short time to spend in Gili T, have no fear! It is still possible to find the basics of what the island has to offer within 24 hours.
Swim with Gili T sea life on a snorkel tour
Start with an island-hopping snorkel trip! Ask for tour suggestions at your hostel, resort, or homestay. You can also walk down the main strip of Gili T and find plenty of locals offering snorkel tours. Look for a tour that leaves early, anywhere from 9:00 - 10:00 AM, to avoid crowds of fellow snorkelers. The average tour takes 3-4 hours and costs around 100k IDR.
The best tours hit three main snorkel points. and stop on either Gili Meno or Gili Air for lunch. First, you’ll see the famous Gili underwater statues known as ‘The Nest’. Then, you’ll stop at turtle point where you’re almost guaranteed to spot some turtles. Last, you can swim among schools of fish at fish garden. Make sure to charge your Gopro the night before. You’re going to need it to capture the legendary Gili T marine life!
Catch an epic Gili T sunset
A trip to Gili T is never complete without watching the sunset! To do this, rent a bike for 25k - 50k IDR and head around to the sunset side of the island. The West is home to many beautiful beachfront restaurants and resorts. These laid-back restaurants make a great place to relax and grab a bite to eat after a day of snorkelling.
Most restaurants on this side have comfy bean bag chairs perfect for sunset viewing. Keep an eye out for places with their own iconic Gili T swings to take sunset pictures on! Some spots even have nightly bonfires on the beach or the occasional local drum circle. Sit back, relax, and watch as the sun slips below the horizon in beautiful Gili T paradise!
Party all night with the Gili T Pub Crawl
Experience the best of Gili T’s nightlife all in one night! Every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, the Gili T Island Pub Crawl leads partiers to the best bars on the island. For 250k IDR, you get a free t-shirt, a bucket of alcohol to start, and a free shot at every bar. Along the way, there is live music, drinking games, and plenty of dancing!
If you’re travelling alone, the Pub Crawl is one of the best ways to meet other solo travellers. If you’re travelling with others, it’s a great way to ensure your group has an unforgettable night together. If you’re short on time, the Pub Crawl is the perfect way to get the most out of Gili T nightlife in one night. Registration is from 6:30 - 8:00 PM at Tír na nÓg, also known as The Irish Bar.
Pro Tip: register early in the day and receive a special discount card to use at local businesses!
Stay for the weekend on Gili T
If you have a few more days to spend in Gili T, then you have a few more options of things to do. Take your time and enjoy paradise in-depth with these fun ideas.
Stay below the waves even longer with scuba diving or freediving
If you want to be even closer to Gili T’s marine life, there are two ways to do so. Your first option is to take a fun dive! There are countless dive shops to choose from on Gili Trawangan. The base price for all shops that are GIDA (Gili Indah Dive Alliance) certified is 510k IDR for a single dive. Never dived before? Try a DiscoverScuba Diving course, where instructors will teach you the basics of scuba diving before getting into the ocean. Then your guide will lead you for 30 minutes to an hour among the reefs and sea life!
If you don’t want to commit to the tank and equipment involved with scuba diving, you can try your hand at freediving! A complete free diving course takes two days and about 7-8 hours each day. Certified instructors will teach you how to dive up to 20 meters underwater for long periods of time. They help you train your body to be more efficient with oxygen and remain relaxed underwater. The full course costs 4.25 million IDR with Freedive Gili.
Have the perfect beach day in paradise
You don’t have to go underwater to appreciate the ocean surrounding Gili Trawangan. The island is famous for its crystal clear turquoise water and white sand beaches. For the best beach day, start with a bike ride around the entire island. The island is small, approximately 6km2, and takes about an hour to bike around. Along the way, there are several remote beaches to choose from. Find your favourite view, set your towel down, and soak up the sun from the beaches of Gili T!
Pro tip: There are several tree swings, hammocks, and ocean swings along the island’s perimeter. There are endless opportunities for Instagram-worthy pictures on your beach day!
Spend the week in Gili T
A full week is plenty of time to experience much of what Gili T has to offer. Here are some ways to make sure you hit everything on your bucket list in one week.
Become a certified scuba diver
Unlock a whole world of underwater adventures by getting scuba diving certified! If you have zero diving experience, you’ll want to start with your Open Water Diver course. The course takes three days to complete. It combines dive theory, pool skill sessions, and four open water dives. After the course, you’ll be able to plan and execute a dive down to 18 meters with a certified dive buddy. The full course costs anywhere from 5.8 - 6.2 million IDR. Getting Open Water certified is a great introduction to the world of scuba diving!
If you already have your Open Water certification, you may want to level up. You can go for your Advanced Open Water training during your week in Gili Trawangan. This course also takes three days to complete. It involves theory, skills practice, and four adventure dives. Some adventure dive options include a Deep Dive to 30 meters, a Navigation dive, and a Night Dive. A full Advanced course costs anywhere from 4.8 - 5.2 million IDR. But be careful. Completing your Advanced course can lead to a life-long love and passion for scuba diving!
An extensive look at Gili T nightlife
Gili T nightlife is unique in the way that each night features a different bar. All bars are open until midnight. Then, each night of the week, a different bar is open until the early hours of the night. Each featured bar has a different vibe, making each night fun, new, and exciting. Since you’ll be on the island for a full week, you may as well try them all!
Monday is Blue Marlin, a dive shop by day and wild bar for drinks and dancing by night. Tuesday is Jiggy Bar, known for their DJ, dancefloor, and beachfront dance space. Wednesday is Irish Bar, the favourite night of the week for local expats and business owners. One of The Irish’s owners is the singer in a rock band, which plays live every Wednesday night. And, yes, they have Guinness.
Thursday there is no party night and all bars close at midnight. This is to show respect for the local Muslim community, whose holy day is Friday. Friday night, the party is back on at Sand Bar. They have a huge stage with live bands and a large dance floor. Saturday is Sama Sama, the island’s reggae bar complete with live rasta tunes all night long. Sunday is Evolution Bar where you can transition from beer pong to dancing the night away with ease.
A whole month on Gili T
Spend a month on Gili Trawangan if you want to live that island life to the fullest! Here are some ideas of things you can do in a month on Gili T.
Stay active with a gym or yoga membership
There are more than enough ways to stay active on Gili Trawangan. If diving, walking, and biking around the island isn’t enough exercise for you, get a gym or yoga membership! There are a handful of free-weight gyms on the island. Some are air-conditioned, others have large fans to keep you cool while you workout. All gyms offer monthly memberships for long-term users, ranging from 300k - 400k IDR. If you only want to drop in a few times during your month on the island, there are multi-day passes as well.
There are also several yoga studios scattered around Gili Trawangan. Many offer traditional yoga classes either in a studio or on the beach for sunrise or sunset. Some studios offer airo yoga where you hang from swings during your practice. You can also try SUP (stand up paddleboard) yoga out in the ocean if you’re feeling extra adventurous. Drop-in classes range from 100k - 200k IDR depending on the class type. If you’re staying for a month, most studios offer monthly packages. If you’re not sure you can commit to a full month, get a discounted multi-class package instead.
Get involved in making the island a better place
When you live on the island for a month, it’s important to give back to the place you call home. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get involved on Gili Trawangan! There are several organizations on the island in need of volunteers.
Gili Eco Trust leads weekly beach clean-ups to help with waste management on the island. Even if not on a guided beach clean up, it is always helpful to clean up any plastic you see in the sand or ocean. Gili Eco Trust is happy to educate travellers on ways to go plastic-free and reduce plastic waste. Learn what you can and play your part!
Cats of Gili is always accepting walk-in volunteers to help care for their furry friends. They host cat sterilization clinics to help with the overpopulation problem. If you are a vet planning to come to the Gili islands, they are always in need of medical supplies and qualified vets.
If you can’t give your time but still want to help, all organizations accept donations as well. In the month that you’re here, do your part to make the island a better place!
Become an underwater expert by starting your Divemaster
If you can’t get enough of the ocean, you might want to get your Divemaster while you’re on Gili T for the month! Most shops have a handful of Divemasters at a time learning their way below the waves. Spend your days spotting fish and swimming among the beautiful Gili reefs. A full Divemaster course costs 19 million IDR including all the study material you’ll need. It takes 4 - 12 weeks to complete your Divemaster, so you might end up sticking around for a few months!
Living on Gili T longer than a month
The longer you spend in Gili T, the harder it is to leave! It is a small island, and the sense of community is strong. There is a vibrant, fun, and involved expat population that lives on Gili Trawangan. They are some of the most fun and welcoming people you’ll ever meet. Most of them came to Gili T, fell in love with island life, and chose to call it home. It can happen to anyone. It can happen to you! Enjoy Gili T with the amount of time you have. But prepare to fall in love with island life and never leave!