Is Gili Trawangan with children relaxing?

Gili Trawangan is an Indonesian island near Bali and Lombok, once famous among locals and visitors for its party scene, but the destination has changed over the last few years. Backpackers who once partied on the beach a decade ago return to Gili Trawangan with children now to relive those glory days with children in tow. But is it really the best idea to visit Gili Trawangan with children?

Most families have a few basic requirements of their destinations, including:

1. A clean and safe environment. Dangerous streets filled with trash or even broken glass littering the beaches will keep parents caring for their children rather than enjoying the vacation as a family. They should be relaxing in lounge chairs rather than treating their children’s wounds. 

2. Good food. The importance of good food can’t be overstated, as food poisoning is never fun, as we learned firsthand in India. The food should be mild enough to suit the children, with options beyond junk food.

The Samba Cafe' is right on the beach - Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

The Samba Cafe’ is right on the beach – Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

3. Hotels with connecting rooms, or three beds in one. These always make it easier to travel with children. Three-year-olds suddenly require much more space than you might imagine, but are nevertheless still too young to have their own room.

4. Small waves. Many children aren’t fans of larger swells as they may get run over. Once again, the parents need to stay by their sidesthe whole time.

Gili Trawangan is still famous for its world-class parties and open-season atmosphere for drugs. Although you can find drugs on the island, they aren’t omnipresent, haunting every corner like some parents might fear. I wouldn’t bring a 16-year-old with me, but for children too young to go out yet, it’s definitely safe.

For me, the biggest advantage of visiting Gili Trawangan with children is: no cars! There are only bicycles and horsecarts to rely upon, so the chance of being run over is severely reduced.

No cars on Gili Trawangan - Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

No cars on Gili Trawangan – Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

In comparison to the beaches in Bali, the shore on Gili Trawangan is like paradise. The beachese are white, sandy and trash-free, characterized by gentle swells. They’re perfect for children to play in the water or build sand castles. Many beach-adjacent restaurants offer sun loungers, so parents can sit, relax, read and sip at tropical drinks while the little ones entertain themselves within shouting distance. The restaurants cater primarily to tourists. Accordingly, the menu is comforting for westerners far from home, offering salads alongside extensive Indonesian, European and Australian options.

Beautiful beaches on Gili Trawangan - Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

Beautiful beaches on Gili Trawangan – Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

In the southern part of the harbour, there are more family friendly hotels comparted to the party-centric region catering to backpackers in the north. We stayed at the Samba Villas, specifically built for families. The rooms are often interconnected or feature up to four beds. The homey family villas and the devoted service make the Samba easily one of best hotels on Gili Trawangan.

Gili Trawangan is still the island with the most tourists, so Gili Air and Gili Meno are more suited to travelers seeking quiet retreats. Decide which to visit based on your own preferences. For the widest range of shops, restaurants and activities, Gili Trawangan is the place to be. Gili Air is quieter, featuring fewer tourist-friendly hang outs but more remote, beautiful beaches ideal for snorkeling. Gili Meno is the quietest of them all, more for honeymooners than anyone else. Take a look at our guide to see if traveling to Gili Trawangan with children is right for you, or if you’d prefer another of the Gilis. It’s hard to go wrong.

The main street around the island on Gili T - Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

The main street around the island on Gili T – Copyright by ants-in-our-pants.com

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14 Responses to “Is Gili Trawangan with children relaxing?”

  1. Gili Trawangan looks very relaxing. I love taking my son with me on vacation. I would be worried about him if he wasn’t with me so I doubt I would be able to relax. Thanks for sharing!
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  2. Thank you so much for this post! I am always on the prowl for a good vacay spot with young children, we have five so it’s a big deal 😉 that being said, not sure how we can afford plane tickets for 7 😉 ha ha.

  3. I haven’t heard of Gili Trawangan before as it is not as frequently featured as other tourist spots in Indonesia. Nonetheless, the place looks totally beautiful! The beach looks like a paradise with clean water and white sands.

  4. This has to be a pretty sweet vacation to be able to visit such an awesome place like Gili Trawangan as a family, with your kids. That’s memories they will always be able to remember and cherish for the rest of their life. I don’t know if my kids would behave enough for a vacation like this, maybe when they get bigger, but not now, they would complain too much.
    Natalie recently posted…Pick-a-Palooza Guitar Pick Maker Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    • Why would your children moan? We found out that it doesn’t matter what age they are. If the parents are relaxed it’s normally fine.

  5. This is the first time that I heard of Gili Trawangan in Indonesia. I always heard about Bali..it’s good to know that there”s another beautiful place to go to when in Indonesia. Thank you for this review and tips especially for those with kids.
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  6. Gorgeous post and location. I have always wanted to take my young children for a holiday in Thailand… the beaches there were amazing, but Bangkok is not the greatest place for small kids. This location seems better, and just as beautiful with blue oceans and white sandy beaches. I am just guessing that the food was also superb! Gotta love being able to drink the coconuts with a straw.
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  7. Oh my God this place is heaven.I badly want to go there. Islands are always beautiful.I love the fact of clean and good food. Definitly I will go soon. Bali too is one of the destinations I wanna visit.

  8. I’m a pretty modern gal, but I would love to visit a place that has no cars. It would be interesting to see only bicycles and horse carts. As far as safety though, I’m terrified of horses and would worry about my little ones getting trampled.

  9. I’m intrigued by this post in so many ways. I guess I would be considered one of those parents who 10 years ago was solo traveling and I do love taking the kids back to places I loved. But with perspective. Thanks for sharing the parts of this island that are and are not great for kids. And also the insight on how it might not be great for teenagers with free reign.
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  10. Gili Lombok is one of the tourist sites are eager to see. unfortunately until now could not do it. hopefully this year. I think, this place is very exotic and beautiful. the natural environment that is very refreshing and accommodation that not inferior to Bali, it will be a nice holiday. Especially if you can do with family and children. it looks like this will be a pleasant tourist location for children. nice post.

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