The largest of the three islands, Gili Trawangan attracts the majority of visitors, it is around thirty minutes boat ride from the northwest mainland of Lombok and regular daily fast boats depart Bali directly to Trawangan island and all boats stop off at Teluk Nare on mainland Lombok as part of the return journey.
You could use public boat cost around IDR 15.000/oneway from Bangsal Harbor to Gili Air if you come from Bali you also could book public Fast Boat which cost around IDR 870.000/oneway.
The beaches of the Gilis are still powdery white, the water a beautiful clear blue and they are positioned perfectly for sunsets over Bali’s Mt Agung and sunrise over Lombok’s Mt Rinjani. Thirty years ago the Gili islands were uninhabited and only discovered by the seafaring Bugis people from Sulawesi. It was only a matter of time before the more adventurous backpacker types discovered the islands and developed Trawangan into a hippy party paradise destination.
Gili Trawangan now identifies itself as a great holiday destination suitable for families of all ages. Various new hotels, luxury villas, and boutique bungalows now cater to children and offer good value. Some have baby-sitting services, and with lots of activities on the islands families are sure to enjoy their beach holidays to the full.
Unique to the Gilis all forms of motorized transport are still not allowed – meaning the only way to get around is on foot, by bicycle and in pony carts known as Cidomos.
One sign of change is the recent introduction four ATM machines on the three Gili Trawangan to be found at Hotel Vila Ombak and Coral Beach.
It’s possible to follow the beach around the perimeter of the island in around two hours on foot. The most popular stretches of beaches are `Goodheart’ (the main stretch) and `North Beach’ where the best snorkeling is to be found.
All dive centers and many shack operations lining the beaches rent snorkeling equipment for around IDR 50,000 for half a day.
Hawkers are not so much of an issue on Gili Trawangan as in Bali; you’re likely to attract a friendly conversation from the locals rather than a hardcore sales pitch.
Beware of strong currents and do not attempt to swim between any of the islands.
With over twenty-five dive sites surrounding all three islands there are opportunities to dive any of the Gilis regardless of where you base yourself.
Most visitors stay on Gili Trawangan for the facilities and make the short hop out to the dive sites. Each dive school has its own fleet of traditional outrigger boats that ferry divers offshore to the walls and reefs where the best diving is to be found.
Aside from the obvious lure of snorkeling and diving, sunbathing and bar-hopping, Gili Trawangan has a fair amount of distractions to keep visitors both amused and entertained throughout the course of their stay.