After a week in Vietnam, we planned out our trip to Indonesia by travelling the furthest away from the airport and gradually staying in places located closer and closer to the airport each time. We heard amazing stories about the Gili islands and chose to stay in Gili Trawangan for four days and three nights. The Gili islands are made up of three islands, with Gili Trawangan being known for it’s lively and upbeat scene. It’s filled with a huge range of restaurants, clubs, and lounges to hang out at. Lombok is only a thirty minute boat ride from the edge of Bali, and the boats come fairly frequently. So getting to these beautiful islands comes easily!
Gili Trawangan is a small island, that can be biked or walked around with ease. We attempted to bike the entire island, but ended up giving up in the middle due to the heat. Gili T doesn’t allow any type of motorized vehicle on the island, so transportation is all done by walking, bikes and horse buggies called Cidomos.
Since we were staying here for a few days, we wanted to splurge a bit on a villa. We ended up choosing to stay at Les Villa Ottalia. We had our own private gateway and pool. The resort/hotel itself was rustic and so beautiful, with bamboo and light wood decor and colourful flowers everywhere. The only down side was that it was fairly far from the main strip of Gili T, where all the action was.The hotel offered free bicycles that you were able to take at any time and return once arriving back at the hotel. The alleyways at night were dimly lit so it was easy to get lost during night (and during the day if you aren’t pay attention), but besides that we loved our villa.
My four days on this island felt like a complete dream! We made friends with such an array of different people, and connected over drinks, hanging out on the beach, smoking shisha, walking around the island, snorkelling and so on. There was so much to do on the island and so many people to meet. Fellow travellers were all so friendly, and made partying on the island so much more fun. Bintangs were definitely the go to drink of the trip.
We bought tickets to the Jiggy Party Boat, and it definitely did not disappoint. It was started off at 2 in the afternoon and went on until 7 pm, with an after party thrown on shore. The day started off with a ton of drinking and dancing. The boat stopped and people jumped off and swam in the ocean, while others drank their drinks and hung out on the deck. To end off the day, the boat stopped in the middle of the ocean so everyone could watch the sunset. Words can’t even begin to describe how surreal that was!
Snorkelling in Gili is an absolute must, but also bargaining with the boat companies is also a must. If you put your charm to use, you can get a fairly decent price for a private boat to take you snorkelling – avoiding the crowds and way longer trips that public boats offer (though there are some perks to public outings that you may prefer). It’s also important to shop around, there are a number of different boat booths that will give you a range of different prices. Be patient and smart with your boat choice!
Our guide brought us out early in the morning so our snorkelling session was fairly peaceful. Our number one goal was to be able to see some turtles, and we did! We saw three or four of them, but they all swam deep down into the ocean while I was trying to get a closer video/pic. It still was an amazing experience though. The amount of different coral and fish that you could see was amazing. Our guide even brought us to a part where you could see all the different items swept into the ocean.
When in Gili, the dining experiences range from local Indonesian cuisine, corn on the cob from a street cart to Italian dining. Prices fit within everyones budget! The number of lounges where you could sit out on a bean bag, with a Bintang and enjoying the sunset is limitless. The one restaurant that really stuck to me was Scallywags. You were able to choose fresh meat and seafood to grill, with a salad bar filled with a bunch of amazing dishes. I would 100% recommend going there.
The time we spent on Gili T felt like I was in a movie. It was absolutely amazing. I met some amazing people and experienced one of the greatest times in my life. I was in such a daze that I barely took any pictures and videos, but it was really nice to live in the moment like that without a care in the world. Gili is definitely on my list of places to travel to again!