The little party paradise called Gili Trawangan is only a 2-hour ferry ride away from Bali. With a 600K IDR (Rs 2,800 or US$ 42) return ticket to Gili, even the ride to the island is considered a part of the experience.

Relaxed in Gili Ithaka | Ithaka

As soon as you get to Gili Trawangan, you’ll immediately know why it’s called a party island. The way from the ferry through the beach is filled with beach bums chugging beers and making merry. This vibe is widespread across the island. Gili T is filled with people who share one common emotion – partying. So leave all worries outside the island and simply party the night away.

Sama Sama Reggae Bar PartyIthaka | Ithaka

The island offers some great services to party-goers – for example, if you decide to extend your stay on the island once you get there, your ticket can be easily modified for free.

Gili Trawangan is a tiny island, which will take you all of 30-45 minutes to explore. The best way to explore the island is by renting a bicycle during the day. You can rent a cycle for as little as 25K IDR (Rs 120, or US$ 2) a day, and ride around the winding lanes lined with scuba diving schools, restaurants, and loads of clubs.

Girl Riding CycleIthaka

The nightlife here is not centered in one particular area; you’ll find plenty of places across the island that have parties going on all night.

An EXTRAJOSS shot is probably what you’d want to start your night with in Gili T, before you plan to go partying. It’s supposed to be four times stronger than Red Bull, and will give you the zing you need for a fun night out. Now I know why parties on this island last till 5am.

Extra Joss sachetImage via Imgzzang1882

Gili T has a notorious nightlife, with everything from pub crawls to live performances and loud EDM music. The EDM music is found on loop no matter when you go to Gili T, but Sama Sama Reggae bar will surprise you with something fun for sure – it’s known for live music performances by locals. Fancy dancing on tables? Then check out Jungle Bar.

Guy taking shotsImage via Jiggy Boat Party

In Gili T, you’ll find shots for 30K IDR (Rs 140, or US$ 2), a pint of Bintang beer for 35K IDR (Rs 170, or US$ 2.5), and cocktails for anywhere between 90K and 100K IDR (Rs 475, or US$ 7). The island’s infamous mushroom shakes can be had for as little as 250K IDR (Rs 1,190, or US$17). That’s probably all you need to join the crowd and dance on the table tops.

Gili T is a party-goer’s haven – don’t be surprised to see girls picking up gigolos every night here.

Party in GiliImage via Jiggy Boat Party

If all this dancing isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to consider going on a pub crawl. From 7pm to 11pm, you can make stops at a bunch of clubs, drink and party to your heart’s fill, and get an overall power-packed experience.

I met a friend from the hostel post-breakfast one morning, and he mentioned that he was heading to a “Jiggy boat party”, which happens only on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 1pm to 6.30pm. It didn’t take much to convince me to join him. I bought a ticket for 350K IDR (US $30, or Rs 2,065, with one drink included), but I’m told that a lucky few might even score a last-minute deal and get the same ticket for 100K IDR (US$ 7, or Rs 475).

Gili PartyIthaka | Ithaka

The boat was basically a fun yacht, and extremely nice. It had an indoor and outdoor deck. The outdoor arrangement had bean bags to lounge about on, and seats at the edge of the boat. Midway through the boat party, the boat docked at sea – our cue to jump into the ocean.

Jump into the Ocean Image via Jiggy Boat Party

Throughout, the DJ kept spinning some insanely good electronic and hip-hop music while people partied non-stop. I made some great friends on board, who I went with for an after-party as well.

Scuba diving in Gili is something you don’t want to miss out on. For about 1,500K IDR (Rs 7,200, or US$ 104), you’ll manage to get yourself three dives of 45 minutes each. 

Gili Coral LifeIthaka | Ithaka

Tip: Earn yourself an extra 10% off if you book your dive through the hostel you’re staying at. Most hostels have tie-ups with certain dive schools, and are more than happy to give you a little discount.

Scuba diving in GiliIthaka | Ithaka

How To Reach Gili Trawangan

Buy a return ticket to Gili island from Bali. They’ll pick you up from either your hostel/hotel or from the tour operator’s office where you bought the tickets. Make sure to research a couple of tour operators before you make your purchase, so you get the best price. Anything around 600K IDR – 700K IDR (Rs 2,800 or US$ 42) is a good deal.

Ferry to Gili from BaliIthaka | Ithaka

Alternatively, you can take a cab to Padang Bai pier, from where ferries operate to Gili Trawangan. This is actually a costlier affair as you won’t be sharing cabs (and, hence, costs).

Where To Stay In Gili Trawangan

I stayed at the La Boheme Sister hostel for 5 days at 180K IDR (Rs 855, or US$ 12.5) per night. They have polite and friendly staff, and made my stay extremely pleasant. You’ll want to book your hostels or hotels sooner rather than later to ensure you get availability, as most places book out soon.

La Boheme Sister HostelIthaka | Ithaka

If you’re traveling solo, like me, it’s best to pick a popular hostel, where you’ll get to meet other travelers. Other hostels to consider are Gili La Boheme and Gili Beach Bum Hostel. The latter is a party hostel and a little on the pricier side, though (190K IDR, or Rs 900, or US$ 13).

La Boheme Sister hostelIthaka | Ithaka

Ithaka Experts Recommend

  • Avoid Gili islands during the wet season (between November and March). Being on an island with stunning beaches on a cloudy day with high tide is a bad idea.
  • Buy your alcohol from local wine shops. Not only will it save you a lot of money, but you can pre-game before you go out to party.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, try a mushroom shake. It’s very easily available on the island for 250K IDR (Rs 1,190, or US$17).
  • Make sure you eat a big meal before you go for the Jiggy boat party, as there is no food served on board.
  • At the Jiggy boat party, jump off the boat only if you know how to swim. Life jackets are not provided