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Live Your Dream Life in Paradise - Gili Trawangan-Style

Gili Trawangan has a rich tapestry of nationalities and cultures living here. It’s a glowing example of how people from all walks of life can co-exist in a happy and friendly environment. The sun is shining every day and there are dreamy sunsets every night. White sandy beaches surround the island, as well as a magical underwater world to explore. Sound appealing? Thought so. And that’s not even the half of it! There’s a wealth of other benefits to living in a place like Gili Trawangan. This article will give you the information and confidence you need to live the dream in Gili T.


(Please note that the information provided below is aimed at foreign workers, not Indonesian nationals)


Gili Trawangan resorts and dive sites from above
Come and live your best life in paradise!


What jobs can I do on Gili Trawangan?


That depends on two primary factors.


Firstly, what you studied and trained in. You can only find work in Indonesia within an industry you already have experience. You cannot get a job in a sector you have never worked in before.


Secondly, foreigners can only get jobs in roles outlined in the most up to date work regulations. As of June 2020, there are 12 jobs foreign workers can do, 9 of which are Managerial positions. Foreign workers can not apply for high-demand jobs which Indonesian nationals can do. You cannot work as a bartender or waiter/waitress, for example.


Basically, foreign nationals are only given work opportunities which require a unique skill set. These are usually roles in management or roles which Indonesia is in short supply of.


Gili Trawangan is a popular island for tourists. It is full of beachfront resorts, unique bars & restaurants, and tons of dive shops. This only leaves a few job roles available on the island, including:

- Dive Instructor

- Hotel Manager

- Marketing Manager

- Chef

- Operations Manager

- General Manager

- Guest Relations Manager


Four girls that scuba backrolling into Gili Trawangan turquoise blue waters
Most of Gili Trawangan's Expats Work in Diving

What are the general requirements to get a job in Indonesia as a foreigner?


In general, you need to have proof of education in the field you want to work in. This should be at the college or university level. You must show 5 years of relevant work experience for the proposed job position. An Indonesian company must also sponsor you and provide a job reference for the role. Most companies will help with the Working VISA (known as a KITAS) application process.


There are other requirements to consider. For a full rundown, you can visit your local Indonesian Embassy website.

How much do jobs pay on Gili Trawangan compared to Europe?


The simple answer, when comparing dollar for dollar, is much less. But, when you consider the reduced living costs in Indonesia, there is more of a balance than you might think.


When applying for a job, you might be surprised at how low the salary is. It is easy to get disheartened if you have never lived in Indonesia before. If that's the case, you'll be relieved to learn that expenses are much, much lower in Indonesia as well. Take a look at the outlined living costs below for a better idea of your earning potential.


Five festive friends pointing at the camera on a night out in Gili T
Make Friends with the Thriving Expat Community in Gili Trawangan!

What are the living costs on Gili Trawangan?


Living costs can vary in paradise, just like they can in Europe or Australia. It depends on how you want to live. But here are some approximate costs of essentials (and not so essentials) in USD.


Monthly Rent: $200 (less if sharing)

Monthly Electric Bill: $40 (often included in rent)

Monthly Water Bill: $25 (often included in rent)

Monthly Phone Credit: $20

1 Meal (Local Food): $1

1 Meal (Restaurant) $6

1 Juice (Restaurant) $2

1 Small Beer: $2.50

1 Small Water: $0.35 (Or, buy a reusable water bottle and use free refill stations located around the island. Saves money & reduces single-use plastic!)

Transportation: ZERO (there’s no motorized transport)

Bicycle: one-time purchase between $30-150


A girl snorkeling with the turtles in Gili Trawangan
Are you ready to call the turtle capital of the world your new home?

Why should I choose Gili Trawangan?


Gili Trawangan has hundreds of expats who have made the island their home. And for good reason. It is the perfect blend of so many positives, all rolled into one fantastic living experience. The local population are warm and friendly. There are countless examples of friendships spanning decades between locals and foreigners.


The climate is very agreeable, especially if you’re from the UK. It enjoys hot weather throughout the year, with a short rainy season which doesn’t impact on the quality of life at all.


THERE IS NO MOTORIZED TRANSPORT! This is a huge plus for both inhabitants of and visitors to Gili Trawangan. To not have the constant hum of traffic in the background is priceless.


There are also plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. There are stunning views of volcanoes on both sides of the island and jaw-dropping sunsets. There are amazing snorkelling and diving, plus fantastic restaurants and alluring nightlife. Gili T also enjoys excellent connections to Bali, if the island ever feels too small.


A pretty pink Gili T sunset behind an iconic Gili T swing
Never Miss a Gili T Sunset when you Live Here Permanently

This all sounds great. How do I get started?


How to get started depends on what you want to do. But the most popular entry point to a life on Gili Trawangan is through a holiday visit. Almost every expat that currently lives on the island first travelled here as a tourist. Almost nobody decided to move to here having never tread foot on the island beforehand.


So, come and pay the island a visit. Spend some time feeling the island out. Hunt down some expats and ask them anything you want to know about life on the island. You can easily find them at most dive shops and popular Gili T nightspots. They are a friendly and welcoming bunch, and it won’t take long for you to work out whether Gili T is the place you.


If you decide to live on the island, a good way to meet the expat community is by immersing yourself in the diving scene. The majority of expats here either instruct at or manage dive shops. They meet new tourists often and are also connected to non-diving expats. Plus, you'll learn the ins and outs of diving and gain a lifelong hobby exploring the underwater world!


A large group of friends partying on Gili Trawangan
Join the Crazy Group of Gili Trawangan Expats!

If you’re not a diver, your best bet is still to ingratiate yourself into the diving community. They spend their days swimming with the fish and their nights drinking like fish, so look for them at the pub after hours! Expats at the bigger dive shops will likely know of any job positions across the island. Failing that approach, simply contact any business you’d like to work for and see what they respond with. Most larger businesses will have job openings every 6 months or so.


The most popular trail to the better jobs on the island goes a little something like this:


Tourist > Divemaster > Dive Instructor > Dive Manager/Hotel Manager > General Manager > Investor/Owner


We hope that’s whetted your appetite for life in the slow lane. It’s a beautiful tropical paradise we live on and we love to share it. Come and check it out for yourself, it might just become your forever home!

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