Gili Trawangan: Crime • Safety • Solo Female • Disasters

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4 min read
by Marlin
June 7, 2023

Considering a trip to the Gili Islands but have concerns about your safety? Worry not! I'm here to address all your worries and provide you with the necessary information.

When it comes to visiting Gili Trawangan, you'll be pleased to know that it is generally considered a safe destination. The crime rate on the island is incredibly low, both in terms of property crimes and violent crimes.

One of the reasons behind this is the strict punishment imposed on criminals in Gili Trawangan. Regardless of whether they are locals or foreigners, the legal system treats everyone equally.

If you're curious to learn more about safety aspects, keep reading as I will also discuss potential natural disasters such as tsunamis and volcanic activities around the islands.

gili trawangan sign
Gili Trawangan sign

Gili Trawangan Crime Rate

The crime rate on Gili Trawangan is kind of hard to put a number on, but according to the locals and the police, there aren't that many crimes happening there.

There are several reasons contributing to this situation. Firstly, in the past, there was a form of punishment known as the walk of shame.

Basically, they would make the criminals walk down the street with tags on their chests saying, I'm a thief, don't do what I did. They don't do that anymore, but they could totally bring it back if they wanted to.

gili islands walk of shame tag
Walk of shame tag

Second reason is that there aren't a ton of people living on the island. It's more like a countryside kind of place, so it's pretty safe and chill.

Property crimes, such as bike theft, are the most common types of crimes on the Gili Islands, with Gili Trawangan being the most affected due to its size and popularity among visitors.

parked bicycles on gili trawangan

Most bike thefts occur at night, and they are typically committed by outsiders who work on the island 'cause the locals don't want to risk getting kicked out. They know better.

So, as long as you keep a close eye on your stuff, you should be totally fine during your time on Gili Trawangan.

Solo Female Travelers

Gili Trawangan and the other two Gilis are generally safe for solo female travelers, but it's important to exercise caution during your stay, especially at night.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when traveling to the Gili Islands as a solo female traveler:

Practice precaution

It's advisable to keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious about trusting strangers. Being vigilant can help you avoid any unwanted incidents during your trip.

Remember that not everyone has good intentions, so it's important to practice precaution everywhere you go in Bali and the Gili Islands.

Don't leave your drink unattended

There have been cases in Bali and Lombok where people left their drinks unattended and ended up getting spiked by strangers.

It's not a common thing on the Gili Islands since the restaurants there don't allow sketchy characters, but it's still a good practice to always keep an eye on your drink just to be on the safe side.

Avoid getting heavily drunk outside at night

The Gili Islands can be quite dark at night, with limited street lighting. It's best to avoid excessive drinking while outdoors, as you may face difficulties returning to your hotel.

If you're lucky, a Cidomo driver (horse-drawn carriage) might be available to take you back.

Skip the wild parties

Gili Trawangan is known as the party island, no doubt about it. They throw parties almost every night.

While it might sound tempting, solo female travelers should think twice about joining in, as it can lead to excessive drinking and potential trouble.

Plus, if you're staying on the west side of Gili Trawangan, getting back there after the party can be a long and dark journey.

Avoid venturing deep into the island

Most of the businesses on Gili Trawangan are situated along the beach, going all the way around the island.

The inner parts are mostly forests and local neighborhoods, and it's best for solo female travelers to avoid going deep into the island.

But if you need to get to the other side, you may want to take a shortcut through the center.

The safest route for this is the Villa Kelapa street, which is commonly used to travel across the island.

villa kelapa street gili trawangan
Center of Villa Kelapa street

Gili Trawangan at Night

Gili Trawangan is generally safe at night, but it's recommended to stick to either the west or east side of the island during nighttime.

It's not advisable to venture to the other side, even though it's considered safe, due to the lack of lighting on Gili Trawangan at night.

gili trawangan main street at night
Main street Gili Trawangan
gili trawangan south street at night
Going forward it's completely dark!

I asked a local about it, and they said there haven't been any reports of violent crimes happening at night.

However, there have been some cases of property crimes, like bikes getting swiped from hotels going down after sunset.

If you're really keen on heading to the other side at night, it's better to go in a group or hop on one of those horse wagons they have there.

They're like the official island taxis and can give you a safer ride after dark.

Police on Gili Trawangan

On Gili Trawangan, you'll find police officers who often gather around the jetty area where tourists arrive and depart from the island.

There aren't many police officers on Gili Trawangan, just a handful of them, like maybe 2 to 5. I saw a couple of police posts, but they didn't seem to be up and running.

police officer on gili trawangan
Police officer on Gili Trawangan

The police officers prefer to chill in places where there are more people, which happens to be where pickpocketing and stuff like that tend to go down.

Gili Islands Tsunami Risk

Tsunamis often happen after earthquakes occur at sea. Bali and the Gili islands can experience strong earthquakes since they're situated near the Indo-Australian plate.

That being said, there is a relatively high chance of a tsunami occurring in the Gili islands. However, based on available data, there have been no recorded tsunamis happening directly on or around the islands.

The most recent tsunami warning for the Gili islands was issued in August 2018 after a powerful 7.0 Richter scale earthquake. Fortunately no tsunami occurred.

Now if you happen to be on the Gili islands and an earthquake and tsunami warning is issued, you have a couple of options. You can either find a high spot to take shelter or sail to the mainland.

It takes about 20 minutes for a tsunami to happen after the warning, but it would take you around 25 minutes to sail from Gili Trawangan to reach the mainland beach in Lombok.

Even if you manage to grab a boat right away, it's unlikely you'll make it in time.

Another option, especially if you're on Gili Trawangan, is to head for the top of the hill, which is pretty tall and could potentially save you from the tsunami.

uphill view on gili trawangan
Uphill view on Gili Trawangan

Gili Islands Volcano Risk

The Gili islands themselves don't have any volcanoes, but there are two volcanoes nearby: Mount Agung in Bali and Mount Rinjani in Lombok.

Fortunately, the distance between these volcanoes and the Gili islands is significant enough that they are considered safe and not directly affected.

The lava flows won't reach the islands, but there might be some ashfall.

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