From Lombok (see my previous post), we rode a boat going to Gili Trawangan. We stayed here for two days to explore the island/s and snorkel ( yey back in the water!)
The Gili Islands are a group of islands located Northwest of Lombok. This archipelago is composed of three islands, Gili Trawangan (the biggest and busiest one), Gili Meno and GIli Air. During our visit, we stayed mainly in Gili Trawagan, and even on a short stay, we were able to do so many things. Here are five things that you can add in your itinerary in case the Gili Islands are part of your next travel adventure.
GET THE NEEDED R & R
People normally get away from the city life and travel to a remote island to forget about the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. Even for a short time (maybe just a weekend), all of us want to free our minds of emails, financial reports and client meetings. Yes, everyone deserves a needed rest and relaxation for some time. Gili Trawangan can be a perfect place for your R&R dream!
We stayed at Villa Ombak and I must say, if you want to experience a luxurious life in the island, this place is highly recommended. Welcome drinks were served the moment we stepped on the jetty (I think this is the fanciest welcome drink-presentation I had so far). I stayed in a villa complete with an outdoor toilet and bath (oohlala, some might feel uneasy about it, but I didn’t mind AT ALL).
If you don’t feel like heading to the beach, you can just hang around the hotel’s pool or just hop on a hammock and read a book.
Aside from that, the hotel is complete with a spa, bike rentals and a restaurant (by the beach) is you don’t want to stress out thinking where to eat.
FOOD TRIPPING AND NIGHT LIFE
Lombok and the Gili Islands are both known as the next Bali, in fact like bali, you can find loads of tourists walking around the island (although not as crowded). Due to its booming tourism industry, a lot of fancy restaurants can be found along the pedestrianized path of the island. I have tried The Scallywags, which can be found in both Gili Trawangan and Air. We also tried Natya, which is a cute restobar. Take note: Because these restaurants cater mostly to tourists, expect to pay a very touristy price as well ^^
If you are on a budget or somewhat drooling for something very local, you can definitely find some treasures in the island. Just a little detour from the touristy path, we found a small restaurant selling an authentic soup dish called ‘Bakso’.I got a bowl for only 10,000 IDR (less than a dollar/usd). It is filling and yummy!
After a filling dinner, while the night is still young, you can head to the nearest bar and P-A-R-T-Y. There are a lot of bars and clubs which are side by side each other along the main-east road. Our group did the exact thing. We went to a bar called Sama-sama. It is known as a reggae-kind of bar so you’ll have a lot of reggae tunes being played while you either show off your moves on the dance floor or enjoy the music over cocktails or a bottle of Bintang (Indonesia’s local beer).
WALK (OR BIKE) AROUND THE ISLAND
The most interesting path way to walk around the island is the main road along the east side. This is where the main jetty is located. You can find several shops lined along the main road. Bargain shops for beach wears and water sports apparels, fancy and local restaurants, spas and massage places, and number of tour companies and dive shops. If you are lucky, you might also catch an outdoor movie screening.
There are no motorized vehicle allowed in the island so you can see most of the people walking or renting a bike (occasionally, there are some who hire a horse carriage, especially for traveling long distances).
CATCH BOTH SUNRISE AND SUNSET
In Gili Trawangan, you’ll have an access to both east and west side of the island. This means, you’ll get a full view of the magical sunrise and dramatic sunset.
The best place to catch the sunrise, is through the main jetty. We woke up around 5am (good thing we stayed at Villa Ombok – The jetty is just outside the hotel), and we were awestruck by the beautiful sunrise complementing the scenic landscape.
Meanwhile, you can view the sunset in two locations. One is along the Sunset bar, located at the southwest part of the island (this is a very famous spot – so it can get packed). Another famous spot is at Ombak Sunset, where you can hop on a swing (called Datu Swing) and enjoy the dramatic sky (perfect for instagram!).
DIVE, SNORKEL AND LOOK FOR TURTLES
Although I have been talking about things to do in Gili Trawangan, one of the best things to do when visiting Gili, is to actually get out of it! Hop on a boat and go in between islands and dive (also snorkel if you can’t dive). You’ll see diverse and thriving marine life around the peninsula. If you are lucky (well a lot of people are if this is the case), you’ll be able to spot some sea turtles.
Gili Islands completely surprised me. Although it’s always been known as the lesser version of Bali, it does offer a lot of things which everyone who is dreaming of an island getaway can truly enjoy.
Are you dreaming of having your own island getaway? Where are planning to go or where have you been? Share it to us in the comments below.
This post is in collaboration with The Tourism Ministry of Indonesia
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