Keep Fit! The Ultimate Guide to Running in Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is synonymous with both vibrant nightlife and excellent diving. But after years of living a party lifestyle, the tiny paradise island seems to have developed a healthy conscience. Lots of cafes and restaurants these days have added vegan and vegetarian items. There seem to be more and more fitness classes popping up weekly as well. From fully furnished gyms to sunrise yoga classes, there’s now a diverse range of fitness options.
But we’re here to discuss one of the purest forms of exercise; good old fashioned running!
Running is easily accessible, very adaptable and can be done almost anywhere in the world. This is how you can get the most out of running during your stay on Gili Trawangan.
Running on Gili Trawangan
Our favourite form of running on Gili Trawangan is outside. There's nothing quite like taking in the island's beauty whilst exercising. But, it is hot and humid for most of the year here in paradise. So, to avoid extreme temperatures, timing your runs appropriately is very important.
Island Running Conditions
The best time to run for the coolest (and least crowded) conditions is just before sunrise. The earth cools over-night and the sun is still a while away from creating too much direct heat at this time. Sunrise is at around 6:30am for most of the year. By 7:30/8:00am it already starts to get too warm for a run.
The second best time to run is at sunset. It tends to be slightly warmer than a morning run. This is because the ground is still warm from the day's sunlight and can still emanate some amount of heat. It’s also busier on the roads between 5:30 - 7:00pm during sunset hours. That said, the gorgeous sunsets offset this added heat and commotion, making for a lovely end to the day.
Any earlier than 5:45am or later than 6:30pm and light becomes an issue. The ground is uneven and sparsely paved, so it is not recommended to run outside of daylight hours.
If you decide to run in the day (outside of sunrise and sunset times) be prepared for exhausting heat. Unless it’s overcast weather, the sun is unrelenting. Be sure you are well hydrated before you start and drink fluids often. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, and be prepared to sweat!
If it is too hot, or in the very unlikely chance that it’s raining, then there are other running options available. You can always go to one of the island gyms and use their treadmills. GiliFit gym is our favourite choice. It is fully equipped with the latest equipment and has trained professionals on-site. All gyms on the island have daily drop-in, weekly, and monthly rates to accommodate the length of your stay.
Gili Trawangan is just under 7km around using the running “circuit”. The ground is primarily hard concrete but includes stretches of deep sand.
Running shoes are definitely advisable due to the uneven ground. Due to the hot conditions, you don’t need to wear much else, but it does help to prevent too much sun exposure. Men tend to run/jog in shorts and shoes only. Women tend to wear running shorts and a sports top.
GPS works here, so running/fitness watches or phone apps are able to track your progress with no problems.
The terrain is almost entirely flat with only slight inclines for short periods of time. There is the option for hill runs if you so desire, and these can be quite challenging.
The most obvious and popular route to run is the main road which loops around the entire island. There are several other options depending on your desired run length and intensity. Some routes provide more shade and most of which provide fewer traffic obstructions.
In the next section, we’ve detailed several good routes with a map to help with orientation.
Gili Trawangan’s Best Running Routes
Below is a map showing several routes of varying distances on Gili Trawangan. The route name colour reflects the route colour on the map. You can find descriptions below:
Full Island Loop (7km) – This route is self-explanatory and is not marked on the map. The loop is just under 7km. You only need to look out for a few hundred metres on the northeastern tip of the island. Use caution at this point to avoid the path which has fallen away into the ocean.
Southern Loop (6km) - Start anywhere on the loop (see map). You will follow the island ring road, only cutting across the island at some point via 'Kelapa Road'.
Northern Loop (4km) – Take in the beautiful north coast of the island on this route. Use' Kelapa Road' as a cut through to provide a short loop of just over 4km. Be advised that this route has deep sand.
East Coast Main Street Run (2km) - This is 2km one-way route along the main east coast strip of Gili Trawangan. Exit your beachfront resort room at Tír na nÓg, turn left, and run straight to La Moomba Beach. Run back to make it a 4km run, or walk back and stop for a coconut at one of the island's many restaurants!
Western Loop via STUD (5km) – Start at Pearl Sunset and run to 'Kelapa Road'. Head inland and continue for about 1km. Then, turn right along 'Jalan Manta', just after Chockers Restaurant. Head across the interior (see map) towards STUD stables located on the west coast. Turn right at the beach and run back to Gili Teak – This is just over a 5km loop.
Western loop via Sunset (4km) - Start at Pearl Sunset, head clockwise to Kelapa road and turn inland. Turn right after Chockers restaurant onto 'Jalan Manta'. Continue until you hit a T-junction and turn right. Follow the zig-zagging path/s back to the beach/sunset area, turn right and you’ll be back at Pearl Sunset.
Hill Run – Located just behind STUD horse stables on the west coast of Gili T is a set of very steep concrete stairs. They lead from ground level to the top of the highest point on the island. The stair route itself is very short but demanding. When combined with a normal run, is a great high-intensity finish with a killer view to boot. Alternatively, some people do several runs up and down the stairs. But, even at a medium intensity, it’s a gruelling challenge.
Going on holiday to Gili Trawangan doesn't mean you have to ignore your fitness routine. There are several opportunities to stay fit while enjoying the island's beauty. Running is a free, invigorating, and sometimes fun activity to add to your Gili T bucket list. We hope the above guide is a useful tool to help you plan your next trip to Gili T!