A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to travel to the Gili Islands off Lombok Island. Yes, that is in Indonesia indeed. If you are trying to figure out where in the world I meant, Gili is east of Bali island.
Getting there was a long affair. We first departed from KLIA2 via AirAsia towards Lombok. Upon arrival at Lombok, we took a van all the way to the jetty. This took about almost 2 hours on winding roads.
We hired a speedboat to take the group to Gili Trawangan. You can opt to take the public ferry as another alternative if your group is smaller. The boat ride was pretty uneventful and very quick (about 20 minutes).
On the island itself, we took horse carts around. I guess that is what gives Gili Trawangan a bit of a charm. There aren’t any motorised vehicles on the island. Just bicycles and horse carts with the occasional battery-powered bikes. This makes the island a little charming and filled with extremely fresh air.
The entire island itself is purely meant for tourists and all you have there are resorts, hotels, backpacker inns and super clear waters. I mean crystal clear.
Our group consisted of 8 adults and two kids so we decided to book a whole villa for ourselves which included our own private pool. It faced the beach and the villa had bicycles and snorkeling equipment for use. We could just grab the equipment and run straight to the beach and after walking for about 30 metres we would have reached a nice reef area to see.
We had amazing clear blue skies throughout our 4 days at Gili and most of the time was spent lazing in our own private pool or trying to find a new snorkel spot outside at the beach. At times we would take a 30-minute walk to town to find some food to eat.
A quicker way would be to cycle into the town especially if you are buying stuff there, the basket on the bikes would come in handy.
Along the road, you would chance upon some interesting bars selling “mushroom” infused drinks and “special” cigarettes.
Most of the food you would find at Gili would be catered for tourists, so that means the usual burgers, pizza and seafood. Once in a while you get a small joint serving local food such as soup “buntut” and some “nasi goreng”.
At night, you can always head to the main city square located next to the ferry terminal where there are many stalls open serving local food.
Gili to me is a nice place to get away and relax without being totally disconnected. You can roam on Maxis over there and internet connection is available at most restaurants as well as at the hotels. Price-wise is still cheaper than Bali and you get to relax a little bit more.
There are plenty of beach activities (kayaking, paddle boating) as well as plenty of dive sports. If you want to party, Gili offers a variety of clubs and even party boats.
If you have kids, Gili is also caters well for them but better if they were 1.5 years old and above. If they are older, even better as they would have been able to enjoy the beach and the activities.