I live in a city of sky scrappers, polished roads, lavish restaurants, extravagant man made architectures and amusement parks. Why should I go out when people flock in Singapore as if a dream destination? I have different dreams, I want to go away from this madness. I would love to spend time on a place where no roads, no cars , no industries, time stands still, and man and nature walk hand in hand!
Gili Trawangan is one such lesser known place away from madness.
What is Gili Trawangan?
Gili Islands is a group of three small island near Lombok, Indonesia. Lombok, known as Bali’s little sister is off the east coast of Bali. Mainly inhabited by Muslim people these islands are still not hub of commercialization. Gili Trawangan is the biggest of all three, followed by Gili Meno and Gili Air respectively.
I caught a speed boat from Bali and came to Gili T. Island has a small private harbour. Speed boats would normally put a make shift plank to disembark the passenger. Harbour is filled with tourist as speed boats run during first half of day, when sea is calm. I got my heavy Forclaz backpack and started searching for a cheap stay option. Finding Hotels/Home-stays/dorms is not very difficult if you haven’t already pre-booked. I do not generally pre-book if I have time to explore and find accommodation. That is why I try to reach my destination for the day in early half of day. Speed boat drops on the east coast of island and that is where most of stay options/restaurants/bars are located. West coast is dominated by expensive beach resorts. Home-stays range from 150K IDR to 250K IDR depending on AC availability and Breakfast inclusion. Breakfast served is simple bread butter/jam or pancakes with coffee.
Water is pretty clean on entire Island
What an awesome setting to view sunset
With a population of less than 1000 people, Gili T. is a small island. Since I wanted to take a leisure walk across the island with numerous photography breaks, I decided to explore the island on foot. and It took me nearly 2 hours to traverse through the outer periphery of island while taking frequent photography break. Option of hiring a bicycle is also available. Alternatively one can take a horse cart to move around the island. There are no motored vehicles on Island. Unbelievable!
Carrying water bottle and some snacks is good decision as it generally quite hot during day time.
One of many beautiful beaches on the island
Afraid not if you forgot some beach essentials
Gili T showed me the best sunset of my life. I will suggest to view the sunset from west coast (somewhere near Aston Beach Resort). Walk to west coast will take nearly 30 mins from east coast but worth a walk. Almost on all four days I stayed in Gili T I made sure to view the sun getting into sea besides Bali’s Mount Agung. What a spectacular view. I can cross seven seas to get this view!
Where to Eat in Gili Trawangan?
Night market is the best place to eat. Market is a paradise for Sea food lovers and had lots of BBQ options. I could not find any vegetarian option, so I had to skip the local food and rely on “Pesona Indian and Sheesha Restaurant”. Pesona offered mouth watering India food, amazing Sheesha and Bintang. Restaurant has awesome ambiance and offers couch sitting which were however, not very clean. Rates were competitive and I almost had dinner here on all days I stayed in Gili T. A vegetarian meal set me back by 40k – 60k IDR.
Night Market/Warungs are the best place to enjoy local delicacies
Pesona Restaurant served some amazing Seesha and Bintan
Beer Pong? Anyone?
And yes, you can fly as high as you want 😉
Where to Stay
There is no dearth of stay options in Gili T. Where a backpackers lodge start from 80K IDR, you can stay in luxury resorts from 1500K IDR.
Signboards will help you locate your homestay/hotel
How to reach Gili Trawangan
Lombok has its own international airport, Bandara Internasional Lombok. Airport is 40km south-east of Mataram (and 20km north of Kuta Lombok) in Central Lombok. However frequency of international flight is less and tickets are expensive. So flying from Bali to Lombok is a cheaper option. A flight from bali to Lombok will set you back by 550K IDR approximately, depending on how early you book. If you are only heading to Gili T, I will suggest you to take next option.
You can take a cab from Bali Airport to Padang Bai harbour, it will charge approximately 300K IDR. From Padang Bai harbour you can take a public ferry, which is cheaper but take 5 hours to reach Lombok or you can take a faster AC speed boat directly to Gili T. A speed boat will charge you 250K IDR to 650K IDR depending on your bargain from Padang Bai. Booking a return trip can be make the deal sweeter.
Speed boat start at around 9AM and leave till 1PM.
I will recommend taking the speed boat if you are not too tight on budget.
Warning: Indonesia is not known for best maritime safety standard and numerous cases of boat mishaps can be found on internet.
Please try to go for reputed companies only. I took speed boat from Marina Srikandi and found services satisfactory. If you pre-book with them check if they can arrange pick up from Bali airport http://marinasrikandi.com/
Though prebooking is not mandatory. You can show up at Padang Bai harbour and get a ticket.
A public ferry will take you from Sengigi to Gili Trawangan in 2 hours for 10K IDR or a speed boat takes 30 minutes, but will be costlier.
If you are heading to Gili T., please check “What to do in Gili Trawangan“
I booked a “Three day trek to Mt Rinjani” from Gili T and returned to Gili T for couple of more day, before I headed to Kuta, Bali.