A Guide To Gili Trawangan (Part 2)

Our Private Beach Hi Lovelies, I have been feeling a little bit of the holiday blues now that I am back in to the full swing of nor...

Our Private Beach

Hi Lovelies,

I have been feeling a little bit of the holiday blues now that I am back in to the full swing of normality after my most relaxing holiday to date.

As you will know if you read my Part 1 'It's Bali Baby!!' I just returned from a retreat to Bali and the Gili Islands with my partner and his family, and after a huge interest about Bali over on my snapchat (@jenuineblogger), I shared with you my recommendations and tips for anyone travelling to Bali.

I also promised to share some insight on my experience to the Gili Islands too with this 'Guide To Gili Trawangan' post. So rather than inundate you with loads of info all at once, I thought it was best to share both experiences over a two part series. Therefore, those travelling to only Bali, or only the Gili Islands can find what they want to read, although most people would get both islands in on the one visit, depending on their time (I had nine nights - 5 in Bali and 4 in Gili T and that was plenty if that helps).

I have simplified it all as best I can so its an easy read, I hope you enjoy.

The Gili's and Getting There

The Gili Islands are made up of three small beautiful islands fringed with white sands and palm trees; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. I stayed in Gili Trawangan (Gili T), the largest of the three and most popular for all tourists. When I say 'large' you can still cycle around the whole island in under an hour! In fact, the word 'Gili' actually means "small island".

Gili T is the place to be and stay, you can hire a boat taxi any time whilst there and check out Gili Meno and Gili Air, which are much smaller and quieter.

There is no motorised vehicles on the island, and to get around you can either walk, rent a bicycle from any of the hotels (there is literally bikes everywhere) and they averagely cost $7-$15 per day.

There is also lots of horses and carriages, which I personally wasn't a fan of. I saw one horse on my first evening foaming at the mouth, after carrying people and their luggage around the island (the poor horses were doing this all day long, back and forth in the heat) and he looked ill to me. After trying to speak to his owner to give him some water (who pretty much ignored me), I  went looking for a bucket myself to give him some water because worryingly the owner didn't have a bucket,.Unfortunately, I couldn't source one and felt helpless.
I can tell you, I didn't pay to get on any more horse and carriages again, and when leaving I stubbornly carried my two bags and wheeled a suitcase in 30 degrees heat for 15minutes to the jetty, refusing to acknowledge any of the guys scouting to take me for a cheap fare.
Anyway, I got chatting to an animal rights activist in my hotel who also didn't agree and was going to write to the government, so that made me a little happier. This was my only downfall of Gili Trawangan, but don't let that turn you off this beautiful island, personally I just felt that the poor horses were overworked.

Fast Boats
Getting a fast boat from Kuta to Gili T (still take 2.5hrs) and costs approx $80-140 return (depending who you book with). You can book your fast boat tickets at www.gilibookings.com, an online booking service offering easy reservations with the leading fast boat operators, or alternatively you can book them in Bali easily. We booked with www.giligetaway.com and paid $140 per person, which from chatting to people on the island was most definitely the highest price for sure, most people had paid $80 return fares (aww well, they saw us coming ha!). 

The Gilis Are For Everyone

Although they have been previously popular mainly with backpackers, the Gilis now attract tens of thousands diverse travellers every year - serious diving enthusiasts, sun seekers looking for the perfect beach getaway, families, couples and singles of all ages, there is something for everyone.

  • Gili T being the most developed and popular of the three, with the greatest range of activities and facilities. Gili T is the place to be and stay in my opinion, then you can hire a boat taxi any time whilst there and check out Gili Meno and Gili Air.
  • Gili Air has a relaxed, laid back style and is that bit more popular with families and couples. 
  • Gili Meno is the quietest, perfect for really getting away from it all. 

Choose the island that suits you most, or even better still it's easy to combine an island-hopping holiday to sample the best of all three!

The Hotel I Stayed In - Pearl of Trawangan

The Reception
Private Beach
The Main Pool
The Main Pool
Outdoor Shower
Standard Room

This hotel was beautiful!! No, like honestly! Think pearly interiors, featuring stunning pearl lights, bathroom accessories and ornaments, it was simply beautiful and so unique (in fact these images don't do it enough justice.

The bathrooms were outdoors (I didnt know how I felt about this at first) but after a day and having your shower in the fresh air was so refreshing, the bathroom was my favourite feature (I know you're wondering 'Can people see you?', and the answer is no, not at at, it's very private with high walls). The bathroom in fact really made it for me, all bamboo and peal interior, so impressive.

If you are going to Gili T, I honestly would highly suggest staying here, it is in the liveliest part of the island, only 2 minutes from all the bars and restaurants but is also so quiet on its own private plot of land away from it all.

You can check out the website HERE. We booking using Booking.com (always go with them, best deals around)

Restaurants and Bars

The view from Top Deck Restaurant

Most of the restaurants offered freshly caught seafood, and full BBQ service where you can see the chef prepare and cook your meal on the BBQ, it was just fab! (I'm such a foodie). Two of my favourite restaurants to definitely check out were 'Scallywags' and 'Top Deck', they are next door to each other, and don't worry you don't need me to tell you where they are, you won't miss them, like I said the place is tiny.

The bars are all very chilled out and relaxed, some with bean bags or mats on the beach, lovely for watching the sun set. Then for the late nighters that like to party like myself, you have the bars on the street with live music, theres even an Irish bar called 'Tir Na Nog', ha you literally can't go anywhere in the world without there being an irish bar around, LOVE it!

Shopping and Activities To Do on Gili T

Diving With Sea Turtles
Turtle Bay

Let me start by saying shopping ain't cheap (clothes shopping that it) so don't expect to come to Gili T to shop. I was quite surprised to find such a tiny remote island with top boutiques and big surf stores like Roxy and Billabong, which we all know aren't cheap. If you love to shop, you have to go to Bali which you can read all about HERE .

Activities include:
  • Walking
  • Riding bikes
  • Horse riding (which you know how I personally feel about)
  • Kayaking
  • Yoga (a popular choice on the beach for the sunrise)
  • Massage and body treatments (seriously make sure you get a couple of massages in your time here, there's hardly anywhere else you will go on holiday cheaper so make the most of it)
  • Glass bottom boat trips (I did this one - we went snorkeling in a number of locations including turtle bay where we saw a giant sea turtle, the coolest part was it brushed right past me in the water, allowing me to look it right in the eye and touch its shell, now this turtle was bigger than me! You could get in luck too)
  • Scuba diving with an array of sea life - barracuda, green and hawksbill turtles, mantra rays,  reef sharks and I was told even the occasional leopard shark
  • Snorkeling
  • Party island hopping
  • Swimming, relaxing and sunbathing. 

    Sounds great doesn't it? It sure was one of the coolest little islands I've ever been to. 

    Have you been before? What is your favourite thing about Gili T?

    Have any questions? 
    Leave a comment below, I promise to get back to you all.

    Lots of Love,




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    1. very informative post Jen! I can tell you put so much work into it.Your pictures are gorgeous and love the sound of your hotel. The horses made me sad though x www.beyoutyfulyou.com

    2. Love this blog Jen.. I can't wait to go traveling again.. I will be posting a post about travelling while pregnant during your first and second trimester please do check it out .. www.maddywilks.blogspot.com keep up the great job xx


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