Things to do

Gili Trawangan Hill Viewpoint

Scenic Lookout at Gili Trawangan

    Gili Trawangan Hill is a natural feature best known as a scenic viewpoint near the island’s quiet south-western beach. It’s noticeably away from the beach bar-lined main roads of Trawangan’s east coast so, apart from the serene beaches, the hill is one of the great natural features that you can enjoy as a break from the island’s dining and partying scene.

    With a relatively easy trail through forested terrain, you'll find some interesting sights during the short, 15- to 20-minute hike up. The hill provides the prize of a bird’s-eye view over the blue sea surrounding the island and the silhouette of the Rinjani mountain range on the main island of Lombok in the distance.

    Gili Trawangan Hill at a glance

    The hill is a historically significant (but often overlooked) landmark on Trawangan. It bears silent witness to when the island once served as a World War II-era naval base, a POW detention site and a strategic lookout post.

    Midway up the trail, under the thick foliage, is the run-down remnant of a Japanese machine-gun bunker. Odds and ends of tunnel systems the Japanese were well known for are said to vein throughout the hill. Trawangan itself means ‘tunnel’ in the local tongue.

    Gili Trawangan Hill's seaside access

    The quietness of this side of the island gives it a rather desolate and eerie vibe. Some locals believe that malevolent spirits dwell here, only to be amplified by tales surrounding several tourism development projects that never saw the light of day, due to all sorts of misfortunes of those involved.

    One of the remains includes a sheltered timber platform overlooking the blue waters that look as though it was meant to become a cool sea-view restaurant. Now the structure serves as a stopover for cyclists for cooling off with the beautiful view as a bonus. This is also the starting point for your climb up to the Gili Trawangan Hill viewpoint.

    Discoveries at Gili Trawangan Hill

    As you climb the few flights of stairs that lead you into the nutmeg forest, not far up is a small Hindu rock shrine, draped in a yellow sash and a weathered parasol. The terrain levels a few more steps to the side of Gili Trawangan Hill and your eyes will soon become fixed upon a small, peculiar shelter.

    Peering inside, there are 4 rocks written with Arabic numerals at each corner of what seems to be a burial. There are no readable inscriptions, but it's very likely to be of a leader or someone very important. If you ask the locals, most haven’t dared to climb up the hill themselves to find out.

    Moving on to a higher elevation and out of the shrubbery, great sea views come into view. The best time to visit is at sunrise or sunset, with the most majestic golden daybreak over the peaks of Rinjani. Halfway up to the peak of Gili Trawangan Hill, under thick tree shades and tangled in roots, are the crumbling remains of the Japanese gun bunker.

    The peak of Gili Trawangan Hill

    The trail shortly opens to a vast and level grassy area, with the prized seascape in view. This includes the silhouettes of Mount Rinjani and the mountain range on neighbouring Lombok in the distance, the tiny fishing boats on the shimmering waters and the curving bay.

    An equally breathtaking view is on the other side of this field when the sun sets over the eastern horizon. With clear all-round views, one can only imagine the winning edge the Japanese troops had from this scenic vantage point.

    The hike from the hill base up takes only 15 minutes. The Gili Trawangan Hill is within only a 10-minute bike ride from the nearest hotels around Gili Trawangan’s so-called Sunset Point area, such as Hotel Vila Ombak and Aston Sunset Beach Resort.

    Gili Trawangan Hill Viewpoint

    Location: Gili Trawangan, Lombok

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveler

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