Feeling sorry for ourselves and cold from our Aussie “winter”, we decided to book ourselves a trip Gili Trawangan. We had seen photos of the snorkelling and beaches and we didn’t have to look any further. We also heard it was the turtle capital of the world, as if we weren’t convinced enough!
Found in Indonesia off the coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands are comprised of 3 little islands of paradise. Gili Meno and Gili Air are the smallest of the 3 islands, drawing honeymooners and couples with it’s white sand beaches and fewer people. Gili Trawangan is the biggest of the islands and is also nicknamed the party island. Each night you will find a hotel that hosts a party, but bars and restaurants all around the island are filled with people ready to have a good time.
Coming from Australia, our easiest route was to fly to Bali (Denpasar) and catch a fast boat over, which took around 2 and a half hours. If you can fly into Lombok, it’s a much quicker boat ride (7 minute fast ferry), and knowing how rocky the boat ride was we would consider flying to Lombok next time! Be warned, bring sea sickness tablets! We came across with Gili Getaway, it’s slightly more expensive than the other companies but is much more comfortable and is known for running on time, and they also pick you up and drop you off to your hotel in Bali. Check their website for up to date times of departure and arrival.
Once you are on the island you will quickly notice there are no cars. You can easily walk around the island, hire a bike or catch the local taxi (a horse version of a tuk tuk). A friendly word about the horses, have a look at the condition they are in. Some horses are not treated well by their owners and often overworked in the heat, so we instead chose to walk everywhere. Also a word of advice, the horses don’t stop for anyone! Listen out for their horns and move out of their way!
Where to Stay
With so many places to choose from, we chose to stay at the Blue Marlin Dive Gili Trawangan, and what an amazing choice it was! It was super close to the ferry terminal (meaning an easy walk with our bags), it has great food, really nice accomodation and pool and the staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful. They also have one of the most reputable dive centres on the Island and they offer an introduction to diving, which meant I could try diving without committing to the whole course and Kristy could do a refresher dive. Most places on the east side of the island are relatively cheap, ranging from hostels and home stays to little hotels. Around the south and west parts of the island it becomes more expensive with some really nice couple-oriented hotels away from the bustling pedestrian streets of the east. We love to use booking.com to find accomodation, we always find great deals and can use the map to figure out the best locations!
Where to Snorkel and Dive
Literally, anywhere! You could walk into the water off the island and find something to look at. There are endless companies selling snorkelling tours for around $10AUD and they take you to beautiful spots on each of the islands, and for such a small price we couldn’t say no! When I discovered how much I loved diving, I did my Open Water Course at the Blue Marlin Dive and we were treated to some amazing dive sites! We were spoilt with turtles, so many types of fish and coral, a sunken pier and did we mention turtles?! We saw 8 turtles on one dive alone! Some of our favourites were Shark Point, Halik and Turtle Heaven. It was also really cool to dive Biorock because you could see the conservation work the island is doing to rebuild coral and sustain the underwater environment.
Snorkel Boat Tour:Diving:
Where to Eat
Again, anywhere! We were overflowing with nasi and mi goreng, but there is also western food available. It is relatively cheap to eat on the island, with meals being as cheap as $4AUD in some places. It is also safe to have ice in your drink in most places, they freeze bottled water for us with Western bellies. At night the streets become beautifully lit with lantern filled restaurants, so enjoy a stroll along the ocean and pick your favourite! If you want something a bit different, I found a restaurant called La Dolce Vita which was suggested to me by one of our Dive Instructors. It’s a little Italian restaurant near the night markets where you can get baguettes and piadinas which were absolutely delicious (and cheap)!
Where to see Sunset
The south end/west side of the island is where you want to get for sunset. Around 4.30pm you will notice people riding their bikes and heading that way to chill out for a drink and find a comfy bean bag to catch the sun setting into the water. This part of the island is also where you will find swings and hammocks in the water for all those photo opportunities!
To say we all had a blast would be the understatement of the century! This destination ticks off so many boxes…
Warm weather. TICK!
Turtle spotting. TICK!
Friendly locals. TICK!
This will definitely be a location we will return to in the near future so until then we will continue to pinch ourselves when we look through our pictures and footage that we were lucky enough to capture! And speaking of which, after going through the thousands of images and hours of footage, our Gili Islands video is officially LIVE! Enjoy!
sampai Lain waktu!
Emily and Kristy xx