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About Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan Lombok is one of the three Gili Islands of Meno, Trawangan, and Air, situated off the East coast of Bali. Famous for their laid-back atmosphere, white sand beaches, crystal clear seas, and, of course, turtles - lots of them! The islands are surrounded by a fringing reef that supports a huge diversity of marine life, making diving off Gili Trawangan and snorkeling year-round activities.

The Gili Islands were first populated by fishermen from Sulawesi, and no one is too sure exactly when they arrived. They first settled onto Gili Air due to its larger natural harbor and more fertile soil (being so much closer to Lombok’s Mount Rinjani volcano means they get more rain – hence the name ‘Air,’ which means water in Indonesian). Tourism first started in the 1980s, mainly coming to Trawangan first due to its proximity to the better dive sites. Since then, the number of visitors has increased each year, and Gili Meno and Gili Air are slowly catching Gili Trawangan up in terms of infrastructure and the choice of accommodation and restaurants.

Local law on the three Gili Islands prohibits the use of motorized transport. Instead, everyone goes by foot, by bicycle, or by ‘Cidomo’ (traditional horse and cart). Being a predominantly Muslim island means that we ask our visitors to be respectful of local customs – especially when it comes to clothing. As there are many mosques on the island, you will hear the call to prayer – usually five times a day, but can be more during religious festivals and Ramadan.

Many visitors to the island ask about environmental impact, sustainability, animal welfare, and recycling initiatives. These are all very important topics for the island, and not enough is published to explain the invaluable work being carried out by the Gili Eco Trust on a daily basis, both on land and in the sea. Click here for further information on the Gili Eco Trust.

Biorock technology is a way of incorporating science, engineering, and nature, championed and created by the Gili Eco Trust. These structures attempt to reverse the destruction we notice on our coral reefs. This damage can come from El Nino coral bleaching, storm and wave damage, careless diving practices, boats dropping anchors, and even the massive schools of bump head parrotfish that patrol the reefs feasting on coral and pooping out the fine sand that makes our much-desired white sand beaches.

Bale Sampan Boutique Bungalows has worked closely with the Gili Eco Trust over the years, and as the location for some of the best snorkeling on Gili Trawangan, we want to protect our coral reefs as much as possible and create a safe snorkeling area for our guests.


In recent years, we have submerged two main Biorocks in front of Bale Sampan café/restaurant •taste•. One is in the shape of a “sampan” (a small boat), and the other is an octopus. These structures are essentially metal cages acting as an anode. Nearby is a titanium cathode fed by an electrical charge from the Bale Sampan Café. This small charge creates an electrical field, undetectable by humans or fish, that stimulates the growth of calcium-based coral onto the structures. This electrical charge is reported to increase natural growth rates by as much as 5 times. Healthy coral provides a home for small fish which, in turn, attracts bigger fish and a thriving underwater environment. This means we can have healthy reefs in a few years instead of decades. This growth can be spotted by the eagle-eyed by the small bubbles that are given off that indicate the structure is working and the coral is growing.


As the diving on Gili Trawangan is such an essential part of the character of the island and the people who live here, it is important that all the bungalows on Gili Trawangan keep giving back to the island and keeping her beaches beautiful and her reefs healthy.

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