Somewhere in the middle of relaxing beach getaway, and holiday treats, sits a tropical island paradise in the heart of Indonesia. Gili Trawangan offers much more than sun soaking with the latest novel or cocktail.

Just a two hour boat ride off the Eastern coastline of Bali, Gili T is the largest of three Gili Islands. Gili Meno and Gili Air exude a slightly more peaceful ambience than Gili T, but what makes this island different from anywhere else in Indonesia might surprise you.

On Gili T motor vehicles are forbidden, making the dynamic instantly different to other tropical islands in the World. When motor vehicles are removed, a relaxed, quieter environment takes place.

lombok, indonesia

Transport on the island is either by foot (the island is just 15km in total size with majority of activity condensed to two areas), or by horse and carriage. Horses are beautifully decorated in colourful head wear and bells, illuding to being part of a modern day fairy tale, and truly removed from the 9 – 5.

Exploring the islands perimeter, it’s evident swimming, bathing, or relaxing is available everywhere. Some areas have rocky reefs, some white sandy stretches, some more secluded than others, and some areas are shared with turtles.

Gili Trawangan is currently running a turtle conservation project, with an objective to increase turtle population. As such, there are plenty of turtles swimming alongside humans, and there are smaller turtles in a hatchery open for public viewing. The best places to swim with turtles on the island are on the north coast, starting near Karma Kayaks or in front of Villa Almarik, to Horizontal Bar.

When dusk settles the island changes in mood. Moving from eclectic, quirky hippy, Gili T becomes a haven of entertainment. Seafood restaurants line the sand, live bands play inside huge bars, and with magic mushrooms legal here, it appears artists have decorated the landscape to be a visual stimulus. Statues in trees appear, glow-in-the-dark bars become visible, decorated walk ways show, and many are unnoticeable before dark.

Arriving onto the island by boat, and being greeted by decorated horse and carriages, it’s immediately clear this island is different. You won’t see hotels on the beach, and you won’t see reserved sun loungers lining the sand.

You’ll see emerald coloured ocean beckoning you to dive in, and a youthful energy of carefree, excited travellers exploring playfully. For the effort of a 2.5 hours boat ride from Bali, the experience is like no other.

gili trawagan indonesia

Currency

Indonesian Rupee is the Island’s local currency, and there are plenty of ATM’s available.

Travel

There is no airport on Gili T, and no motor vehicles so transport to and from the island is by boat.

To reach Gili T from Bali, take a ferry from the Serangan Pier. Blue Water Express and plenty of other ferry companies depart around 8am, and although tickets can be purchased online in advance, it is not necessary to do so.

Visa

A free 30 day visa is stamped into passports at the airport, before moving off shore to the Islands, however it is required that a minimum 6 months duration of passport is valid. The closest airports are in Lombok and Bali.

Best Place To Stay

Kelapa Luxury Villas is a standout on the island and not to be missed – facebook.com/KelapaVillasGiliT.

Best Time To Visit

The rainy season is between November and April, but unlike other parts of the world this can simply mean a short downpour every couple of days, with blue sky and warm weather between. The best time to visit is between July and December.