Located only a few hours by fast boat from Bali this Indonesian isle is famous for its nightly parties and stunning beaches, Often referred to as the party island or simply Gili T.
Having recently returned from Bali and spending some time on the popular Indian ocean island of Gili Trawangan I wanted to share my top tips of how to spend your time while travelling.
A humble offering of insight to the life of the local turtles surrounding the islands, This little spot plays a huge part to the local wildlife numbers. Nesting does not happen on the Gili islands, the guys who run the site actually rescue the eggs from the island of Lombok where it is considered a local delicacy. They allow the turtles to hatch as naturally as possible given the circumstances and allow them a safe home while they grow (to 10 months) before releasing them in to the wild. Often the public are invited to such an occasion, normally happening in September of each year and for a small fee can release them. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the conservation programme and the allowance of the public to be involved, however speaking to a few of the workers changed that by advising how little they would be able to raise if this was not an occurrence. Please give generously when visiting and take the time to read the information board they have provided to explain the necessity of the programme.
Lookout View Point
Located in the southern part of the island this view point will take you to the highest point of the island, and give you an incredible view of the sunsets you will grow to expect while staying on the islands. A steep but short walk will take you to the top of the hill and opens into a clear grass area where you can enjoy a sun-downer or two before the sun settles behind the sea. Be sure to leave quickly afterwards as it will become dark very quickly.
There are two paths you can take to get to the top of the island. I recommend coming from the south path which is more of a scramble up and is located next to the stud horse farm and then come back down the path near happy house as this has more steps (although if it was like anything when we travelled some of the steps are inaccessible so you will need to detour from the path a couple of times.
Sunset At The Exile
If like me you don’t always want to have to work for the rewards I highly recommend getting yourself to The Exile. Located on the southern tip of the island this little beach bar was my favourite place we stopped. After cycling past and see the fun bean bags and colourful umbrellas I was sold. Approaching the beach I saw they had a sea swing and my day was complete! With a great Indonesian menu and cheap drinks I was happy in my pink bean bag and spent the whole day watching the world go by and waiting for the sunset.
After a day at the bar, with lunch, soft drinks, Bintangs and sunset snacks our bar bill was only 270,000 (£15 between the two of us)
Cycling around the island is the best way to get around, and is the best way to avoid the horse and carriages on the island. Hiring a bike can start at 25,000 (£3) for 1 hour but you are able to barter your way down on a full day cost. We paid 100,000 (£6) for us both for about 30 hours of hire. We didn’t feel the need to barter further than that and were happy with the price we paid. Please remember they do need to make some form of a living!
Cycling around the island is super easy, pick whether you would like to start north or south… then go! There is one main road that takes you around the whole island and in an hour/ hour and a half you’ll be back to where you started. Don’t the scared about travelling down the side streets all roads will take you to the beach and you’ll be able to catch your bearings.
The best beaches for snorkelling are located in the north of the island avoiding the boat paths, And the more popular beaches along the west coast of the island are best for sunbathing and something a little more peaceful.
Where else in the world would you expect to have high serviced beauty saloons and rock bottom prices than in south east asia, and Bali/Gili will not disappoint. You have your pick of the salons along the east side of the islands all offering similar prices and services you really are spoilt for choice. I treated myself one rainy afternoon to a pedicure, manicure and full body massage for only 250,000 (£15)
Sama Sama Bar
One of my favourites along the east coast, Sama Sama have a nightly reggae band for your easy listening. Perfection to me is nothing more than a cool beer and a beat to sway to. I loved the atmosphere in this bar and my favourite for a couple of evening drinks.
Movies On The Beach
You have a few choices for the evening movie entertainment schedule with Villa Ombak (located on the east coast) Jessica’s Homestay (located on the east coast) Think open air cinema screens with bean bags, fresh popcorn and free of charge wave sound effects. Each of the hotels advertise the offerings of the day and normally have 2 nightly showings.
Gili T Night Markets
Just opposite the harbour are the nightly night markets of Gili T. A foodies delight, these markets are set up daily from 7 until 10 pm and where you will find the cheapest food on the island. With fresh Indonesian dishes to choose from be sure to grab yourself a seat at the communal dinning benches and soak up the atmosphere.
Treat yourself to a real Boho evening of Sisha at a few bars along the east coast strip. Aptly named horizontal is bean bags and low tables ideal for those looking for a couple of drinks and some fun flavoured shisha. Another popular bar is Pesona further south along the east coast.