Gili Trawangan, or simply Gili T as it's often abbreviated, is the largest (but not by much) and most visited of the three Gili Islands off the northwest shore of Lombok, and has earned the title of ‘Party Island’ amongst the world’s travelers.
Once a backpacker’s haven, discovered in the 1990's – with basic beach huts and simple bars, serving concoctions that offered ‘free lunar transport’ – Gili Trawangan has undergone some dramatic changes over the past five years and now caters to a decidedly more upmarket crowd, often with family in-tow, all seeking that tropical island experience with the luxuries of home.
Despite its party vibe and the growth of recent years, Gili Trawangan retains a truly chilled out vibe and unadulterated feel. This is basically due to the physical constraints of the tiny size of the island limiting indefinite development, the fact that no motorized traffic is allowed anywhere on land and the local village government rules restricting building height to below the tree line.
Aside from the laid-back beach culture, the main draw of the island is scuba diving, with a number of professional dive centres offering courses and fun dives to all ages. Gili Trawangan accommodation choices start from budget guesthouses through to a large selection of mid-range beachfront hotels, going all the way up to resort-style hotels and luxury villas.
It’s highly recommended to book your accommodation Gili Trawangan in advance during the peak season (Jul-Sep and the Christmas/new year period) to ensure you don’t end-up sleeping on the beach! There’s a wide variety of restaurants along the beachfront, offering everything from local street-food to high quality international cuisine, along with some of the freshest seafood BBQ’s around. And at the end of the day – when you’re done soaking up the sun or diving to new depths – there are plenty of bars to quench your thirst, with weekly party nights to keep you dancing to the early hours.
For the quieter areas to stay and relax, simply head to the west or north of the island where some of the newer boutique resorts are found along exclusive stretches of beach. There are gorgeous views toward Bali and it's volcanoes in the distance, ideal for amazing sunsets. At low tide on the west coast you can enjoy fascinating rock pooling in the broad shallows, seeing all kinds of marine life hiding just beneath the calm surface.