Vegan Guide to Gili Trawangan

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Published July 2018

*At the time of publication Gili Trawangan has been hit by a series of devastating earthquakes in the region leading to loss of life, mass injuries and many people left homeless; our prayers go out to everyone affected by these tragic natural disasters*

Ah Gili islands, you beautiful little Indonesian treasure! Fancy getting your fill of picture perfect white sand beaches and lapping turquiose ocean? Here’s our Vegan Guide to Gili Trawangan, otherwise known as Gili T (these islands are so laid back that people don’t even have the energy to say the whole name). Gili T is part of the fabled ‘Gili Islands’ which also include Gili Meno and Gili Air. We’ve considered visiting for many years, but for one reason or another have never made it. In recent years we’ve been unsure as to whether we would like the islands some of which are well known for their party scene, but also because of the huge development there which shows no signs of stopping. But, here’s the good news, despite the influx of tourists and travellers, the beaches on Gili Trawangan were some of the prettiest we’ve seen and you only need to walk a few hundred meters in either diretcion from the main strip to avoid people.

What we found was a generally laid back and chilled island with enough space to get away from it all; the pace of life was slow, slow, slow…

Beautiful beach in Gili T
Deserted beach on Gili Trawangan

On the one hand, Gili T is a total heaven for vegans (more on that later), on the other though the island’s main form of transport is by horse and cart which caused us quite a bit of distress (and it’s not just Gili T that has these, you’ll also find them on Gili Meno and Gili Air as well as in Lombok). These poor ponies are tiny, overworked, skinny and treated very pretty badly by all accounts. You’ll hear their tinkling bells and they gallop down the main street loaded up with people and luggage. Please don’t be like the lazy and / or uncaring tourists who load themselves (with all of their luggage) onto a cart to be pulled to their location by a very unhappy and poorly treated pony. There are bicycles for rent everywhere or just use your own feet and walk as the island is very small. Well done to all those people who had clearly not been on a bicycle ever, or at least in a long time, even though you nearly killed us with your wobbly unpredictable boozy cycling, we were happy to see you avoiding the ponies.

So, how to get to this intriguing vegan pearl? There are many ways to reach Gili T from either Bali or Lombok; we took the local ferry from Bangsal on Lombok for just 15,000 IDR. The journey over was amazing and we sat amoungst baskets of tempeh and vegetables with frendly smilng locals; the journey back was terrifying and Caryl genuinely thought we were going to die. All in all though it was quick and cheap.

Below you’ll find all the info we could gather during our stay; we hope our Vegan Guide to Gili Trawangan helps you when you go exploring in this pretty little corner of the World.

Gili Tranwangan local ferry
Gili Tranwangan local ferry

The Banyan Tree

The Banyan Tree
Gili Trawangan
Lombok

Opening Times: 7am-10pm every day

All vegetarian cafe with multiple vegan options including smoothie bowls, juices, raw cakes, soups and sandwiches. Just a few hundred metres north from the ferry terminal, The Banyan Tree is the perfect spot to grab a healthy and plant based snack when you arrive.

On our first visit we ordered scrambled tofu with wild mushrooms on toast, a raw blueberry cheesecake and a black lemonade made with activated bamboo charcoal. When we returned we enjoyed their delicious nasi campur where you can choose rice and 3 dishes from the daily selection (tofu, tempe, vegetable sides) and some vegan blueberry pancakes.

They also sell these amazing vegan ice creams which cost an arm and a leg but are sooooo delish.

The Banyan Tree Gili T scrambled tofu
The Banyan Tree Gili T activated charcoal lemonade
The Banyan Tree Gili T vegan pancake stack
The Banyan Tree Gili T bleberry cheesecake
The Banyan Tree Gili T vegan nasi campur
The Banyan Tree vegan ice lolly

Pituq Waroeng

Pituq Waroeng
Gili Trawangan
Lombok

Opening Times: 4pm-10pm every day

If you come to Gili T you MUST visit Pituq Waroeng.

We both agreed it was one of the best meals we’ve eaten for a very long time. Flavour, presentation, vibe, taste, staff, location, value for money, portion size and sheer deliciousness all combined and make us able to make this bold statement.

We ordered coconut satay lilit, tempe and terong, corn fritters, beefless rendang, red rice and a side of sweet and spicy crispy tempe. The total cost was just 114,000 IDR which is around 6 GBP or 8 USD, it was all fantastic and we couldn’t fault a thing.

Pituq Waroeng
Tempe wraps at Pituq Waroeng
Vegan food at Pituq Waroeng
Vegan rendang at Pituq Waroeng

Pituq Cafe

Pituq Cafe
Gili Trawangan
Lombok

Opening Times: 3pm-10pm every day

After the fantastic lunch at Pituq Waroeng we headed to their sister restaurant for dinner and to be honest were disappointed. The dishes we ordered were nowhere near as good as the other restaurant (don’t you just hate that?); they lacked flavour and were very oily.

We had cauliflower nuggets that were served with sweet chilli sauce but didn’t eat them as they were so oily. Our other choice was a rosti served with beans and salad; it was a bit of a weird combination of greasy fried potato and salad (sadly also not very good, oily and tasteless in fact). Perhaps we didn’t choose the right dishes but in our opinion the food at Pituq Waroeng is far, far superior.

Vegan food at Pituq Cafe
Cauliflower nuggets at Pituq Cafe

Bale Sampan

Bale Sampan
Gili Trawangan
Lombok

Opening Times: 7.30am-4pm every day

As one of the only options on Happy Cow listing vegan options we thought we should check it out. The cafe doesn’t have a big selection but it does have a number of clearly marked vegetarian and vegan items on a kind of DIY section of the menu. There are also bungalows if you need somewhere to stay for the night.

We went for breakfast and ended up leaving without eating. The staff didn’t really understand veganism so when asking questions about things that weren’t labbelled (like the sauces) it all got a bit confusing. It all seemed a bit slow and when we ordered we were told there would be an extra 30 minutes to wait for some items. No hungry vegan wants to hear that. Argh.

Bale Sampan on Gili T
Menu at Bale Sampan

Pondok Santi

Pondok Santi
Gili Trawangan
Lombok

Considered to be the finest luxury resort on the party island of Gili Trawangan, Pondok Santi is about as far removed from late nights and partying that you can get; it’s located in a huge, verdant, ocean front estate that provides a perfect escape for those who enjoy the finer things in life or anyone who wants some really good vegan food.

The menus have a number of vegetarian and vegan options for breakfast and dinner but the chef and his team are happy to prepare vegan ‘off menu’ dishes upon request. We loved our fusion dish of vegan pesto spaghetti with tempe and vegetable skewers.

Here you can read our detailed vegan friendly luxury hotel review of the wonderful Pondok Santi.

Spaghetti and tempeh at Pondok Santi
Smashed avocado on toast at Pondok Santi

Other Vegan Guides to Gili Trawangan

Here is our Vegan Guide to Lombok and please enjoy these othe useful online resources about vegan travel and vegan food in Gili Trawangan, including the vegan friendly listings from the vegan travel ‘bible’ AKA Happy Cow.

Our Earth and Us – How to be vegan on Gili Trawangan

My Five Acres – The best Gili Islands restaurants for vegans, vegetarians and mindful eaters

Journey Era – Gili Trawangan vegan and gluten free guide

Gili Divers – Being a vegetarian or vegan on Gili Trawangan

We’re heading back for sure so would love to know of anwhere we’ve missed so we can visit them out next time…

Vegan Food Quest in Indonesia

2019-02-24T06:28:03+00:00

One Comment

  1. SanctumDive January 20, 2020 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Thank you for this detailed information! This is some of the highest quality content I’ve ever come across….

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