Gili Trawangan is somewhat overrated. Yeah I know, that’s probably not the kind of introduction you expected to read for one of the most marketed and promoted “island paradises” in Indonesia – but that’s just how I feel about it:
The island itself is actually quite beautiful, you have white sand, crystal clear water and the amazing views of nearby Lombok with all its hills and even Rinjani volcano in sight on a clear day.
However, the problem is that there are just far too many tourists on this small island that you can drive all around with a bicycle in less than 45 minutes. And most of the tourist facilities are located on the east coast anyway – too bad that that’s also where the countless of boats pick up and drop off passengers all day long. Means you cannot really take a relaxed swim without being annoyed by all the boats.
But anyway, today we are talking about the nightlife, and Gili Trawangan has by far the best options for drinking, partying and meeting girls (compared to the other Gili islands).
But here comes the next drawback I have to tell you: While it’s well possible to hook up with a drunk British girl in Sama-Sama or Evolution Bar, Gili Trawangan is definitely not a great place to meet Indonesian girls. Pretty much all of the local ladies I saw in the bars were accompanied by some guy they’ve met in Bali (or on the dating site).
Gili Trawangan Nightlife Overview
That’s a quick one this time: 90% of all nightlife spots on Gili Trawangan (bars, clubs, massages) are located on the East Coast along the Beach Promenade between the Ferry Pier and Pearl Beach Lounge in the south. That’s also the area where I’d highly recommend you to book your hotel in, so you can conveniently walk everywhere.
The West Coast hasn’t much of interest at all – except from a couple of romantic sunset bars around The Exile Resort.
Girly Bars / Night Clubs on Gili Trawangan
Don’t expect any sort of “hostess bars” on Gili Trawangan – you won’t find one here. For that you better go to Jalan Legian in Bali or Blok M in Jakarta.
Instead there are plenty of “regular” bars along the Beach Promenade on the East Coast. Sama-Sama Reggae Bar is the place you can see in the picture above, it’s the best place to party on “Gili T”, probably because they have daily live music starting from 5pm. And it was the only bar where I saw like half a dozen of single Indonesian girls sitting, drinking and waiting for something to happen (getting approached by some foreigner I guess).
Other popular bars / night clubs on Gili Trawangan which are well visited almost every day are Jiggy Booze Bar and Evolution Bar. The latter is famous for its 10-15 beer pong tables – check out my video below. If you are lucky you may see some nice Indonesian girls in these bars, but like I said already they’re often together with another foreigner.
So just walk along the Beach Promenade and see which place looks promising.
- Prices: A Bintang will cost just about 40k in these bars, which is pretty good if you keep in mind that you are on an island, and a very touristic one, too. Be careful when buying spirits or cocktails, as the Gilis are known for their fake liquor. So if you think 50k for a Gin Tonic sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
Happy Ending Massage on Gili Trawangan
The good news is that there are more than 20 different massage salons spread all along the Beach Promenade, but they are all regular spas and you will have a very hard time to find a girl who accepts your tip to give you a happy ending.
The Gilis just aren’t really a sex destination, so I wouldn’t even bother about the massages here at all.
- Prices: The standard Balinese Massage (= Full Body Massage with oil) costs 150k in most places.
Sunset Bars on Gili Trawangan
The perfect place for a date in Gili Trawangan are the scenic sunset bars on the west coast of the island.
Malibu Beach Club (picture) and Sunset Bar are the most popular places and well visited every day, but there are also several other, smaller bars you can relax and enjoy a cool Bintang as well. This is one of the few things you really shouldn’t miss on the Gilis – and it’s one of the few beaches where you don’t see lots of boats all around.
Note: You can walk there from the hotel area on the East Coast – it just takes about 20-30 minutes (and it’s a beautiful walk anyway with lots of nice views of the ocean and Lombok island in the background).