Everyone who goes there says the same ‘‘it’s paradise’’ – they say it because its true. Welcome to Gili Trawangan.
// May 2015 //
1. Backpack. Book at least 3 nights at the infamous Gili Backpackers hostel for a guaranteed meeting of legends of your holiday/ your travels / your life. The hostel boasts dorms and privates, a bar, a pool complete with a mega tower to jump off if you dare, breakfast fit to heal you from the night before and a big communal area to make it easy for mixing in with everyone. Known as ‘‘The best hostel in the world’’, you won’t want to leave.
2. Treat. If you have cash to splash you don’t have to look far from where the ferry docks for 5* luxury – resorts are scattered all over the island and though I didn’t step foot in any of them, I dreamt of many of them! Decide on your budget and search google to pick your palace.
3. Dance ’til dawn. Spend a night at a Surf Bar party, ask the barman who looks like Simba from the Lion King to make your drinks! The Dark Moon party we visited on a Thursday night back in November was amazing – a great party packed with an array of fun havers and a DJ that kept everyone dancing that until sunrise.
4. Relax. Spend a day “professionally lounging” at Horizontal Bar on the beach front. Make the most of the “comfiest bean bags in the world”. Get your treasured ones and new friends around you for numerous Bintangs and endless laughs.
5. Explore. Drag yourself away from Gili T itself and go on a glass bottom boat trip for the day (100,000 IDR / $10 / £5). Our boat saw an 8ft shark, turtles, loads of fish and a shipwreck. It’s a perfect place for snorkeling and diving. We crossed to Gili Air, another glorious little island, for lunch. We went out on a stormy day, pretty scary at the time but looking back we were in no danger, the locals who run the trips know what they are doing.
6. Take in the night. Skip a night on the strip and stargaze from the Gili Backpackers “watch tower”. Climb the “tricky steps” to the top, lie back and watch the world tick by the for the night with a Bintang in hand. Shooting stars aplenty to be seen over Gili T, as the stars fade the sun comes up, every sunrise is as special as the last.
7. Savour. Eat at Scallywags on the beachfront, Lucy had Mahi Mahi fish and I had Butterfish. For once we both ate really slowly to make it last – it was divine! Truly one of the best meals of my life and that’s saying something, it was a steal at 300,000 IDR / $30 / £15. The view is to die for too, you won’t want to leave your table in a hurry.
8. Ride. Rent a push bike and explore Gili T, check out the swing in the ocean and head for the Sunset Bar as evening draws in. Keep a look out for the islands horses being washed in the ocean by their local owners. One of our friends did a night ride and came back with a tattoo of a bike on his side, he had such a good time he wanted to save the memory forever!
9. Unwind. Get a full body massage (160,000 IDR/ $16 / £8) at a spa on the beach front, there are loads of luxury places to choose from .. take your pick, lay down, relax, listen to the sea while your body gets a well deserved pamper.
10. Live like a local. Eat the street food at the night market, the range of choice put on by the friendly staff at the Green Cafe is amazing !! Dirt cheap too, we loved it (20,000 IDR / $2/ £1).
11. Buy. If you’ve got cash to splash go shopping in the boutiques that line the beachfront track. Although you can shop cheaper in Kuta, you’ll get better quality items on Gili T – definitely worth the investment if you can afford it.
12. Party. Go on a Drunken Monkeyz boat party, with a reputation as “the best boat party in the world” it certainly delivered! As soon as we stepped foot on that massive wooden “pirate ship” we knew it would be a day for the memory bank! If you like house music and love dancing you’re in for a treat, we missed sunset we were so lost in the party. So damn good we did it twice!
13. Getting there and away. Use the faster, more expensive ferry to Kuta. It takes a few hours but you get what you pay for. Leaving the island is hard enough as it is – make your journey as quick as painless as possible!
14. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You will want at least one week on Gili T. Whether backpacking or staying in luxury, give yourself at least 7 nights to absorb it all. If you have time to play with start at Gili T and explore more of the islands on day trips, planned tours and boat days out with locals.
Gili Trawangan undoubtedly stole a piece of my heart, it is simply a slice of life you won’t want to part from and in doing so you may already be planning your return. Small and unspoiled Gili T has something for everyone. It’s a must-do for anyone who can get there – make it a priority on your bucket list – paradise won’t let you down.
| Photographs by indoneslad.com & drunkenmonkeyz.com |