Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three Gili islands and the most developed. Believe it or not but these islands were uninhabited up until 30 years ago when the seafaring Bugis tribe from Southern Sulawesi came along.
Trawangan was soon after put on the backpacker trail as a great place to relax and party away from the crowds of Bali.
Today Trawangan has still kept its reputation as the main place to party in the Gilis however recently it has started to attract families with the development of a five star hotel and boutique villas.
Accommodation is plentiful ranging from budget to luxurious beachside villas. Most of the accommodation can be found on the east coast of the island however if you are looking for somewhere a little more peaceful then the northern coast of the island will probably suit you best with the odd scattering of villas amongst the palms.
Most people come to Trawangan for the great diving and there are numerous dive centres where you can learn or further your PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) experience. There are some great dive sites around the Gilis that all the operators will surely let you experience. A few of the favorites would be Shark Point and Manta Point.
Gili Trawangan is unique in that it has a turtle hatchery on the East coast and you can visit this place free of charge and see the young turtles before they are released back into the natural environment.
Things to Do
If you feel that lazing around on the pristine white sand all day is a little lethargic then there are numerous things you could do on Trawangan.
Snorkelling is the cheapest way for you to see some of the great coral off the coast and if you are lucky you may even see turtles. Most beachside hotels rent snorkeling equipment for a small price.
Cycling is a great way to explore the island and you can cycle round the circumference of Trawangan in a little over an hour. At times the track around the island turns into sand so you may find yourself pushing rather than riding. Bike rental is plentiful, once again on the eastern side of the island.
Scuba Diving as stated earlier is one of the top activities to do here with numerous operations facilitating your needs.
Horse riding is a wonderful way for you to explore and Stud Stables located at the southern end of the island will be happy to facilitate you.
Kayaking is a great way for you to explore the surrounding reefs and even a few people venture across the channel to neighboring Meno to live the castaway dream. Please be careful as the currents in the Gilis are very strong.
Island Hopping Boat Trips are probably the most popular way for you to visit all three islands and can be a great day out with snorkeling at various sites. Usually the captain of your boat will stop for lunch on Air or Meno. The best way to do this would be to arrange a price with the owner of the boat beforehand.
In recent years Gili Trawangan has become a great place for fine dining. As well as the beach side restaurants where you can have simple Indonesian food made for you there are now some high quality places just south of the village The Beach House and Scallywags have a great seafood buffet in the evenings where you choose the fish you want and have it grilled on the outdoor barbeque while you enjoy a lovely glass of wine on the beach.
Whatever you choose to do on Gili Trawangan there is something for everyone.
Food and Drink
GilI Trawangan has a great selection of restaurants to choose from. The most popular without doubt would have to be the seafood buffets located just passed the village. Scallywags and Beach House both offer great seafood and you can relax with a glass of wine while listening to the waves gently lap at the white sand.
If seafood is not your thing then there are other numerous possibilities. Why not try some of the local Indonesian delights, Nasi Campur being a mixture of vegetables, fish and even chicken all served to you on a banana leaf! The restaurant Khayangan is a great place to try this. Gili Trawangan even has international food from Japan, Italy and even India. The Indian restaurant is highly recommended.
If it is just snacks you are looking for then Trawangan has two bakeries one being French. Here you can have sandwiches made to order and even concoct your own fruit shake. Villa Ombak has a great restaurant where they serve up anything from fried rice to Australian steak. The options on Trawangan are great and you will never have to go far to find a great meal.
Trawangan is reknowed for its parties and if you are looking for some music to the dance the balmy evening away, then there are several places that will tempt you. The Irish Bar is a popular spot with the backpackers and things usually kick off around 11 pm. The bars on the island take it turns each night to hold an evening so you will have the choice.
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