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Cost of living in Gili T as a digital nomad

Cost of living in Gili T (or Gili Trawangan), Indonesia as a digital nomad in December 2022

Are you wondering how much it would cost to live in Gili T for a few weeks? 

I had the pleasure of living in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia for 3 weeks as part of my digital nomad journey around Southeast Asia. And I kept track of all of my spending (literally ALL of it!). From credit card charges to cash spending, I made sure to document how much each meal, shopping, accommodation, transportation, and everything in between costs. Mostly as a way to keep track of my spending and budget while living abroad, but also to be able to share my experience and knowledge with you. 

Obviously, each person would probably spend different amounts based on their habits. But as a budget traveler, living off of my savings, and traveling slowly around the country, I tried to spend as little as possible but still be able to sightsee, eat delicious meals and enjoy my life abroad.

I separated my spendings into 10 categories. Some of these categories are everyday spendings, and some are things I spent extra money on or aren’t really a cost of living. Below the table, I explain each one in more detail.

Gili T cost of living

Necessary flights- $0 USD

I usually have to fly to the destinations I live in when I’m abroad, but because Gili T is a small island close to both Bali and Lombok, there’s no airport to get to it. Which is why I didn’t spend any money on necessary flights to get there.

The only way to get to Gili T is by boat, which is an expense I included in the Transportation category. But do keep in mind that you will have to fly to either Bali or Lombok to get to Gili T. This flight cost is definitely gonna vary depending on where you’re coming from and if you’re only buying a one-way ticket or a round-trip flight.

Extra flights/transportation – $0 USD

While in Gili T I didn’t really spend money on extra transportation because the island is super walkable. But you can easily take a horse carriage ride to your hotel or rent a bicycle to explore the island and it won’t set you back too much. I’m not sure how much the horse carriage rides are, but renting a bike costs around $3 – $4 USD for 24 hours.

Bike around the island

Transportation – $52 USD

I tend to walk a lot in the cities I live in. Partly to save some money on my transportation costs, but also because I find it the best way to get to know a city or town. And thankfully Gili T is a super walkable island, so I didn’t need to spend any money on transportation. My only transportation costs come from the boats I took from Bali to Gili T and back.

Fast boat to and form Gili T

Long-term accommodations – $191 USD

Long-term accommodations are the hotels or Airbnbs I stay at for most of the time I’m in a city. In this case, I stayed at a pretty cool hostel called Gili Beach Bum Hotel. The hostel was right behind a bar, literally in front of the beach, and close to plenty of restaurants and mini-markets. I booked it for 21 nights, and my experience was very positive.

Gili Beach Bum hostel

The hostel and bar staff were super friendly and welcoming. They help you book activities and boats back to Bali, provide a simple breakfast for free every day, and do housekeeping every 2-3 days. Also, the rooms were very spacious, with only 3 to 4 beds, and the bathrooms are big enough for everyone. This long-term accommodations expense will vary depending on the type of place you stay at (like staying at a hotel, apartment, or hostel) and if you’re sharing the cost with someone else.

Gili Beach Bum hostel room

Hotel getaways – $0 USD

Sometimes I’ll stay a night or two somewhere else when I’m visiting a city. But while in Gili T, I didn’t stay at any other accommodation so I didn’t spend any extra money on this.

Food – $280 USD

Food is definitely one of my biggest expenses but definitely a necessary one. I honestly try to eat as much local food as possible, and I sometimes try to go for something “cheap” from the menu. But other times I would just get what I want regardless of the cost. With that being said, the average cost of my meals was around Rp 75,000 [$5 USD], with most of them not surpassing Rp 150,000 [$10 USD]. Part of this cost also includes a few beers or cocktails I would have with my meal, as well as non-alcoholic drinks like water, coffee, and smoothies. 

Night Market

Alcohol – $305 USD

As I mentioned in the food category, some alcohol costs were just added to the full meal, not individually. But whenever I would go out for just a drink or actually documented the alcohol cost separately, I added it to this category. Alcohol in Gili T is pretty cheap compared to most western countries. Most cocktails are around Rp 50,000 [$3.50 USD] and local beers go for around Rp 35,000 [$2.50 USD]. Normally my alcohol spending is pretty low, but because it’s so easy to make friends in Gili T, and there’s basically a party going on every night, I definitely spent a bit more going out and stuff.


Shopping – $44 USD

My shopping expenses mostly came down to souvenirs, toiletries, and a few local clothing items and accessories. Since I’m aware I have limited space in my suitcase I don’t go too crazy with my shopping. Most of the things I bought were necessary things like shampoo and conditioner, and a few bathing suits and bracelets.

Gili T shops

Activities – $192 USD

There are a lot of budget-friendly things to do in Gili T. You can actually read my blog post about it HERE. But my biggest expenses in activities came from a scuba diving lesson (which is a MOST DO when visiting Gili T) that came out to $63 USD, and a bamboo-style tattoo I got for around $64 USD. Other activities expenses included snorkeling gear, bike rentals, massages, and playing mini golf.

Bamboo tattoo in Gili T

Other travel expenses – $63 USD

This category is for everything else I spent money on while in Gili T during December, or travel-related recurring monthly payments I have to make regardless of where I am. These include things like my travel medical insurance, phone and internet data, laundry, and visas. 


So, since I didn’t have any flight expenses, extra transportation expenses, or extra accommodation expenses while in Gili T, my cost of living in Gili T during December comes down to $1127 USD for 21 days, or around $54 USD per day.

Found this post useful? Do you have any questions about the cost of living in Gili T?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Chill at the beach

April 13, 2023

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