Budgeting can be easily done on Gili Trawangan, simply because Indonesia can be travelled pretty cheaply. However, due to Gili T being a tiny little island, this means most things have to be imported from neighbouring islands, such as Lombok and Bali. Thus making everything on all three of the Gilis slightly dearer.
Not to worry though, we have the most important parts of your holiday sussed out and have very kindly listed the secrets of how to stay on Gili T with a strict-ish budget. And of course, those top two are food and drink!
Eat local food
Whilst you are in Indonesia, why not try out some of the local meals that have been traditionally made on the island of Lombok for 100’s of years. Not only is it cheaper than the Westernised meals that you can get on Gili Trawangan, but there is such a big variety in ingredients, spice and taste!
A couple favourites are:
If you are a bit of a picky eater, no fear! Gili Trawangan has plenty of local Warungs (restaurants) where you can pick and choose which ingredients to eat with your rice, this is locally known as Nasi Campur, meaning mixed rice. You will see the “stalls” all over the island, where seven or eight bowls of food are presented behind a glass window, where you get a bowl of rice and choose from the many options, for example, fried tempeh, curried tofu or chicken, mixed veggies, long or short eggplant, beef rendang, fried corn, noodles, peanut and shredded coconut and a personal favourite curried Jackfruit. Not forgetting the famous Sambal, this is a fresh chilli sauce that is likely to blow your head off if you have too much at once but will send your tastebuds crazy for more. Every Warung has different options and there will always be something for everyone to eat.
Use loyalty cards
You can find loyalty cards all over the island, just check at the bar or reception for one. Normally you can get a whole coffee or pizza for free if you go enough times to places like Reginas pizza or Cafe Kayu and these places are top notch! Or if you are wanting to go somewhere with a bit more variety Broken Compass Bar and Restaurant have a little bit of everything on the menu, sometimes offering a free dessert with any main meal and they too have a loyalty card, giving you 70k off of your meal. Places like La Favela, Tir Na Nog and Tiki Grove offer weekly discounts on food and drinks, so take a look at the days you plan to stay on the island and indulge where the discounts are.
Book accommodation with free breakfast
If you take a look on Booking.com or Hostel World you’ll be overwhelmed with the number of hostels and hotels that include a free breakfast on Gili Trawangan, it is probably harder to find accommodation without, I guess we are all just so thoughtful like that! So really, when you are looking for accommodation, first make sure they have free breakfast and secondly take a look at what they have and if it takes your fancy.
At Compass Divers Hostel and Broken Compass Hostel, we have a choice of two meals for breakfast, either homemade toast with butter and jam, with a side of fruit or you can opt for something a little sweeter and try our delicious pancakes with honey and lime and a side of fruit too. If you want something a little more filling for your adventurous day ahead we also supply a full breakfast menu, from omelettes to smoothie bowls, bacon buns, granola and wraps for a small price too!
Drink Lombok coffee
Lombok coffee is the traditionally made coffee from Lombok, it is grown there, therefore is a lot cheaper than Bali coffee or anything from the coffee shops. Most hostels supply it during breakfast for free, so get your coffee fix in the morning ahead of your day! If you are a 6-7 cups a day kinda person, then dive shops like Compass Divers, Manta Dive and Uber Scuba offer it all day for free if you are diving with them. You can also buy bags of Lombok coffee from any store on the island for a very small price too, if you have a kettle in your homestay or bungalow, then why not pour some local coffee?!
Use water refill stations
Be eco-friendly, hydrated and save money all at the same time! A large bottle of water on the island costs you 15-20k, not much, right? But think of the impact it will have on this tiny island if everyone bought two or three plastic bottles a day, that’d accumulate to thousands in a matter of hours! We are not saying don’t drink water, you wouldn’t last very long, but the island has a refill my bottle system, where most dive shops and hostels can refill your large bottle of water for 5k. HOW CHEAP IS THAT!? There is also an app called refill my bottle which tells you exactly where you can refill your bottle, so you’re not wandering around looking for your next drink. Easy-peasy right? Yeah and think of all the marine life you’d be saving by drinking out of that one bottle.
Drink during happy hour
Happy hour means discounted drinks! Here are a few of the best on the island for you take a look at.
Broken Compass Bar and Hostel: 6-8pm every night, extended happy hour on Wednesdays Pub Quiz. Discounts on small and large Bintangs and two cocktails for 80k.
The Jungle Bar: 8-10pm every night, discounts on shots, beers and mixers.
Tir Na Nog- All Monday long, mojitos for half the normal price!
Le Pirate: 5-7pm every night, discounts on their cocktails.
Your night doesn’t have to be ruined because you can only have “just the one”. ;)
With your food and drink sorted, don’t forget to check out Compass Divers on Facebook and Instagram to book a spot in their hostel or have a look at their menu.
We also have more budgeting on accommodation and diving in Gili Trawangan. Don’t miss it if you are planning to come over soon, we’ll have it posted on our Facebook and again on our website. See you soon!