Gili Trawanagan is one of three tiny islands off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. It’s a paradise of white sand beaches, cool accommodation and beachside bars — but where are the best beaches on Gili Trawangan? We cycled around the island during our honeymoon to find out — and I returned in 2022 to see if it’s still a great place to visit (it is!).
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Where Are the Best Beaches on Gili Trawangan?
The Port / Main Village
Arriving on Gili Trawangan you’ll immediately be greeted beautiful blue water and a white sand beach. It can get a little hectic in this area but the beach is surprisingly clean for such a busy place. There are heaps of boats coming and going through, so it’s probably not the best place to swim.
There are lots of places to eat, drink and sleep in this area but I can imagine it being really loud at night. Gili T is famous for its night life so you’ll want to stay further away from the main drag if you’re after a proper sleep.
Gili Trawangan in 2022
I wrote this post after my 2018 honeymoon to Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. I returned recently in July / August 2022 and nothing has really changed. The beaches are still as stunning as ever and it’s a lot quieter. Locals I’ve talked to reckon the number of tourists is at 30% to 40% of pre-pandemic levels. It’s not dead by any means, just a little quieter. It’s a great time to visit!
Surf Point (South East)
Heading clockwise around the island, our next stop was Surf Point, a stretch of stunning white sand with wavy water lapping at the shore. This beach is clean and ticks all the paradise island boxes.
There is plenty of shade thanks to the abundance of trees and the beach is nice and clean — a great place to relax for a while without having to spend money at a restaurant.
Slightly further Around (South East)
The beaches on Gili Trawangan don’t really have names, so I’ll do my best to tell you where the best ones are. The section just before and just after Surf Point is, in my opinion, Gili Trawangan’s best beach area. The sand is clean, soft and white (with a few bits of coral, as all the Gili Islands beaches have) and the water is that brilliant shade of blue that only the very best island destinations boast.
There used to a be a good (and cheap) beachside restaurant around here, but I tried looking for it during my August 2022 trip and it was gone. There are a few others around though, as well as some nice looking resorts.
The sunset side (west)
The beach gets a little rougher as you make your way round to the sunset side of the island. The beaches are still nice but they can’t compare to the ones I just mentioned.
You’ll still want to spend some time on this side though, as watching the sunset while sitting at a beachside restaurant or bar is a quintessential Gili T experience. There are so many to choose from — we went to a couple close to our hotel (and the hotel’s own restaurant) and the view was great (although the food at the places we ate could have been better).
Between the sunset side and the main village (north east)
We’ve almost circumnavigated the whole island in this post — hopefully it wasn’t as exhausting to read as to actually do (it was such a hot day when we cycled around Gili T). The last little section, rounding the sunset side of the island and down towards the port / main town area has some good spots. The beaches aren’t quite as nice as the ones around Surf Point — few beaches in the world are though.
Where to Stay on Gili Trawangan
For such a small island there is a huge number of accommodation options – from basic backpacker affairs to 5 star luxury villas. Location isn’t so important on Gili T as everywhere is easily reached on a bike. We’ve highlighted some hotels and resorts on Gili Trawangan with great reviews in the areas with best beaches, check them out. W
We stayed on the sunset side, which is convenient as we didn’t have to ride home in the dark after watching the sunset. We were invited to stay at Villa Gili Bali Beach and it was the ideal honeymoon spot. There are only 5 rooms and it feels far more like having your own private (almost) rental home than a hotel. The poolside area is perfect for relaxing and the rooms are luxurious and stylish. We loved the design of the place and the staff were friendly and unobtrusive. No wonder it’s one of the most highly rated places to stay on Gili Trawangan according to Booking.com and Tripadvisor (and now me).
FURTHER READING: Check out Gia’s review of Villa Gili Bali Beach!
Getting around Gili Trawangan
There is no motorised transport on Gili T, so getting around on a bicycle is definitely the way to go. It’s cheap (IDR 40,000 a day) and you can get to where you want to go pretty quickly. There is thick sand in some places so you’ll have to get off and push your bike (the interior roads are fine though). You can also take a cidimo (horse and carriage) — I’ve heard mixed reports on how the horses are treated but we didn’t see anything untoward.
READ MORE: Travelling to the Gili Islands? Check out my Gili Islands travel guide!
Getting to Gili Trawangan
You can either take a fast boat from Bali or Nusa Lembongan which takes a couple of hours or a public ferry / land transport / another boat to the island which apparently takes a whole day (but is a lot cheaper). We arrived from Kuta Lombok but departed on a fast boat which cost us IDR 350,000 each. It’ll be a lot more expensive in high season and even more expensive if you book online, so haggle hard when trying to book the boat in Bali (it’ll be cheaper if you book a return ticket too).
You can get between the three Gili Islands quite easily — there are public boats running (although not that often) and private speed boats. It’s worth checking out Gili Meno and Gili Air even if you don’t plan on staying the night as all the islands have different vibes (although the beaches are very similar).
Is Gili Trawangan Clean?
I read some recent reports online that said Gili Trawangan was quite dirty and had become a bit of a black hole. We didn’t think that was the case at all. The beaches were mostly clean (except for some sections that you wouldn’t want to stop at anyway) and the town / interior are no scruffier than anywhere else in Indonesia. In fact it has one of the cleanest and most appealing port areas I’ve ever seen in Indonesia.
Are you excited about visiting the beaches on Gili Trawangan? Let me know in the comments below!
I was hosted by Villa Gili Bali Beach during my stay in 2018. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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