Gili Trawangan Island


It’s always with a little sadness that I’m sitting here on the last day for this location in the gorgeous sunny Island of Gili T, Indonesia.

A short 3-day visit, flying in from Brisbane, Australia and staying 1 night in Bali and then transferring from Padang Bai to Gili T via fast boat to meet up with a couple of lifelong friends, Chanelle & Nelson (who are NZ based).

We’ll come back to Bali in my next post but, focusing on this leg of the trip, the fast boat was only a couple of hours.  A couple of hours of chatting to fellow travellers and soaking up the local brew, Bingtang – A refreshing and surprising not too heavy beer that you will find absolutely everywhere, and enjoy the amazing views as we passed the east coast of Bali and onto the Gili Islands.

On arrival, I was met by one of the busiest beach ports I’ve ever witnessed – The boats only operate during the mid part of the day so if you miss the last boat, you have to find camp for the night, but right now, it was rush hour and I had arrived in the thick of it and as I disembarked the boat I was surrounded by a swarm of sun-kissed holidaymakers and luggage eager to board and head off to make the most of the day at their next destination…

The sun was scorching, the pale gold sand glared as the glistening sapphire ocean rolled up onto the beach.  I had to meet my friends and ditch my heavy suitcase fast – Normally I’d travel light to a place like this but having visited Auckland and Camped in Australia I had a lot of excess baggage for Gili T and I watch enviously as backpackers breezed over the drag marks my suitcase had left…  Do yourself a favour, travel light or buy clothing here – it’s so cheap and fit for purpose.

As you get off the beach, the first thing you notice is the main road.  The only one that goes the circumference of the island upon which you won’t see any motorised vehicles. After the main development of the area, the government, to preserve the eco-system and environment, banned the use of them.  So, watch out for donkeys with carts and bicycles coming up on your six.

Crossing carefully, shops and restaurants line the road and I ducked into the first appealing place that sold Bingtang to chill out of the sun, get my suitcase out-of-the-way and wait for my friends to join me.

They’d only been here 2 days and already they were looking a mix of golden and rose – they both get burnt very easily!  SF500 anyone?!!

Moving on, they showed me to our villa – The Gili Villas Indonesia. A beautiful 2 bedroom self-contained villa with an outdoor lounge, bar, kitchen and pool.  All this for the 3 of us for the next 3 days…!! An absolute sanctuary and definitely recommended…


So, in addition to relaxing and bouts of excessive drinking, things to do are:

  • First, the thing you’ll want to do is let this guy know that you are coming, Rudy – our guide for the duration of the visit.  he helped with translation and haggling and he has a lot of area knowledge including contacts so he can pretty much get you in touch with the right people for whatever it is you’re looking to do.
  • Food for me is one of the best things about travelling so add these to your to-do list:
    • The evening Fish Market
    • Indonesian Cooking at ‘Sweet & Spicy’ cooking school.
    • Venture into the back streets for hidden restaurants and bar
    • Find the famous ‘Pizzeria Regina’ – the best Stone Fire Pizza you’ll every taste.
    • Get the best burger on the Island at ‘Le Petit Grill’ – some people say it was slightly over priced. I didn’t as it was very tasty. definitely not disappointed.
  • Activities
    • Catch a donkey to the other side of the Island to catch a sunset that sets the sky on fire.
    • Diving with the Manta Dive Centre
    • Massage on the beach

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