There is an ATM machine at the south end of Gili Trawangan next to Hotel Villa Ombak. This is a far better option than using any of the local dodgy money changers, who will give unfavourable rates for both cash and travellers checks. A number of places will give cash advance on credit card swipes, but charge 10% extra for this service. All the larger accommodations and the better fast boat services take credit cards, though many charge an additional 2 – 3% for payment by card. Gili meno and Gili Air do not yet have any ATM machines.
The Gili islands are not a shoppers paradise. However there are plenty of small outlets selling sun-screen lotion, snacks, drinks, mobil phone top up cards, basic medicines, sunglasses, shorts, T-shirts etc, but prices are higher than on Bali and Lombok. There is also an art market on Gili Trawangan where Lombok handi-crafts can be bargained for.
Tap water is undrinkable (very saline), but the local brands of bottled water are of good quality and very cheap. Please re-fill bottles from the large dispensers provided by many accommodations, rather than adding to unnecessary plastic waste. Waste disposal is a serious environmental issue on the Gili Islands.
There is no natural fresh ground water on the Gili Islands, and piped water from Lombok has yet to arrive (though it is expected soon). The better accommodations buy freshwater that is brought to the islands by boat – as such, it is a precious commodity, and to be used sparingly. Showers are generally saltwater, with the better accommodations providing an earthenware jar of fresh water to rinse off after showering.
The local community ensure that theft and crime is almost non-existent on the Gili Islands – with such small communities it is difficult to get away with anything, and local justice for thieves etc can be severe. There are no uniformed police stationed on the islands – the local security force is the SATGAS, whose office is near the harbour on Gili Trawangan. However, using the in-room safety deposit boxes provided by most hotels is always wise.
There are two health clinics on Gili Trawangan – the better one being at Hotel Villa Ombak in the south, and another in the village. For more serious problems you’ll need to get to Mataram on Lombok or Denpasar on Bali. Hospitals in Denpasar have de-compression chambers for divers who get the bends.
Plenty of places sell local SIM cards and pre-paid top-ups for mobile phones on the Gili Islands. These will work for international calls and texting. In room IDD telephones are only available in the more upmarket hotels. There are two or three internet cafes dotted around, offering slow but usable connections, and an increasing number of accommodations now offer wi-fi (eg Scallywags Resort, Beach House. Hotel Villa Ombak). As in most small communities in Indonesia, there is a WARTEL (“Warung Telecommunikasi) which provides full telephone and fax services. This is located near the harbour on Trawangan.