Gili Travangan has been the place I wanted to return to for the longest time. I stumbled upon the Gilis in 2013 by absolute chance since the people I was travelling with wanted to go and I immediately fell in love completely. If I ever experienced love at first sight, it was with this island. I only had ten days in Bali and spent four of them on Gili T and I have wanted to go back ever since. When I was booking my return to Bali, I knew I wanted to give myself a graduation gift of my own: I wanted to learn diving and I wanted to do it in the Gilis. I stayed ten days on a miniature island, you can walk around in an hour and a half at a leisurely pace and I would not have wanted it any other way. I spend five days in a tiny quirky hostel, diving by day and drinking at night, I had the most intense hangover in a long while and then moved into a beautiful bungalow with an outdoor shower and went to bed at 10. I loved doing both of these things and felt so welcome and happy here throughout my ten days. I have always been an island lover and I guess the Gilis will forever be one of these magical places for me, you always want to go back to. Especially after the tragic earthquake in August the islands need visitors more than ever. They are too small to sustain agriculture or a full-fledged trade economy so tourists are crucial for the locals. Please, please don´t think you cannot visit after the earthquake and if you can please donate or volunteer while you are on the islands.

Where to stay

I stayed in two very different places on Gili and I loved both. I kind of hate the traveller vs. tourist debate and don´t think you are a better person for staying in an eight bed dorm than a person, who enjoys a little luxury. I actually like aspects of both ways of travelling. You will have a very different perception of Gili dependig on where you stay, but as with the long lasting soft vs. hard taco debate: Porqué no las dos?

I spent my first five days in Gili at La Boheme Sister. It is a very quirky hostel with loads of activities, a bar and daily tours. Out of all the hostels I stayed at, I feel like this one was the most social with an array of activities from snorkeling tours, sunset walks to bonfires by the beach. The staff here is so fun and lovely, so happy to help and always up to do something. There are free pancakes for breakfast as well as original coffee from Lombok, a lovely outdoor area with hammocks and a bar with very reasonable (dangerously cheap) drinks. There are deals for diving courses as well as snorkeling trips, so if you have not booked your diving course that may be an option to save some money. I stayed in the rooms without aircon for a night and would highly recommend opting for aircon, but did love that there are always only three people per room. I met so many great people here, including the staff and had an absolutely amazing time. There is a partner hostel on the island, that also has a pool and is a bit larger, but is further away from the beach so it depends on your preference.

For the last two days I upgraded quite a bit from my eight Euro a night dorm room to a private bungalow with an outdoor shower and a pool. Manta Dive is as the name suggests a diving school, but also has beautiful bungalows and private rooms. The garden with the pool is absolutely gorgeous and I felt like an absolute queen here. The 55 Euros a night also include a delicious breakfast with really good coffee and while that may be a bit of a splurge it was so so worth it and is way beyond what you would get for the same price in Europe. The resort also has a little restaurant with quite good food and obviously you can book your diving courses here as well.


I have mentioned various discounts at both of the accommodations I was staying at. Logically I did not use either of them and booked my PADI Open Water course at Trawangan Dive. I am still so so happy with my experience and would book with them at any given point. I did my Open Water, a three day course to qualify for diving up to 18 meters. You get to dive four times in the ocean during those three days. Your cours also includes pool training and theory. I have dreamed about breathing underwater since I was a little girl and I have loved every single second of my course. I was honestly so giddy and excited, that I never ever got anxious under water for even one second and I am also sure it was thanks to my lovely diving instructors. I also loved how gentle and caring they were with the reef and how much of my course focused on conserving and saving the intricate sea life in the gorgeous coral reefs around the Gili islands. 
I was so lucky to do my course all by myself since no one else started with me, meaning I got one on one teaching throughout the entire course. On top of my four included dives, since I booked online I also got to do another Fun Dive, so definitely make sure you don´t miss out on this. All up my three day course and the Fun Dive cost me 350 Euros. And honestly if I did not know I had to safe some of my money for my time in Australia I would have happily done my next course immediately. If you love the ocean, exploring and feeling like a mermaid diving is an absolutely wonderful experience. Especially in Gili were you are pretty much guaranteed to see turtles, the water temperature is always around a breezy 27 and the fish are just beyond gorgeous.

Where to Eat

Next to diving and going out the main thing I did in Gili was eating. I assume nobody is shocked by this at this point. For such a small island Gili Trawangan offers an intense amount of great places to eat, however being the creature of habit I am, I mainly returned to the same places again and again.

Kayu Café - Everything I tried at this health food café was beyond delicious. Especially their bagel was absolutely mind-blowing and their baked goods were absolutely divine. We returned at least three times and even stopped here for snacks before we boarded the ferry. 

The Banyan Tree - Another vegetarian health-based restaurant and again every dish I tried was so so good. I loved the nourish bowl with the saté sauce and I am pretty sure the crushed avo has saved my life (literally since I was suffering from the worst of all hangovers when I sat down for lunch).

Casa Vintage Beach - A beautiful spot for cocktails at sunset, but also for really really good food. The owner is lovely and the decor is just so beautiful. There is lots of seafood, which was apparently good according to my friend, but also lots of great alternatives for fish haters like me.

Ocean 2 - Beyond cheap dinner even though the quality is debatable. Try to avoid the bacon here and you should be good. The free salad, soup and fruit bar is what convinced even me to return and it is pretty hard to argue with 3 AUD pizza and 2,50 AUD pasta.

What to do

If you do not want to go full on with diving there are multiple day long snorkel trips around the three islands. You can also rent your own snorkeling gear, but obviously you get to nicer spots on a boat.
Gili T is famous for its parties and I had some great nights out on the island. There are certain bars, that turn into clubs on certain nights, but it always varies so you may just want to ask in your hostel/dive shop. Be slightly vary of the local alcohol and maybe try to stick to bottled drinks just to be safe.
Sunset watching is another favourite activity and obviously nicest from the Western shore. There are loads of little bars for this purpose only, but you may also want to climb the little mountain one night and enjoy more of a panorama view. The Western side also usually gets hit by the wind quite harshly so as crazy as that sounds on a tropical island, make sure to bring a sweater. 

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2 Kommentare

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