Gili Trawangan is one of the three Gili islands near Lombok. The other two islands are more couple orientated so I headed to the more ‘party party’ island and it was just that. The strip where you get off the boat is jammed with backpackers and tourists, countless bars and restaurants and even shopping. Leaving the main strip it becomes a lot more rural, there are no cars on the island and the most exciting way to get around is by horse and carriage. I came to this island in September 2015, the weather was beautiful and I traveled from mainland Bali by fast boat, Scoot Cruise was my boat of choice, they are a bit pricier, however, I had used them before several times and found them to be very reliable.
I stayed at a local homestay called Little Woodstock, I was a bit apprehensive about staying at a homestay especially after making my way down the dusty back streets and being presented with a huge brick wall. My fears were almost realised when I went in and found four English backpackers verbally abusing the man running the place and threatening him.
I was shown to my room which was a bamboo hut on stilts, It was cosy and clean and one of the guys running the place even carried my luggage up the stairs. Every night, while I was out to dinner, a member of the family would put down my mosquito net and spray my room, I am allergic to mosquito bites so had asked for extra care on my room and they were happy to do so. They even waited up for me one morning until 3am so that the property would be secure and they knew that I was back safe. In the mornings I had a cooked breakfast of my choice with teas and juices, this was all included in the price.
I could not believe how lovely these people were, they had truly beautiful souls and wanted to make my trip absolutely perfect. I felt completely comfortable leaving my laptop, SLR and go pro in the room and usually, I would refuse my room being cleaned but I felt very safe in this homestay. When it was time to leave they had even gotten me a key ring with my room number on to remember them by and I love having it on my keys as it reminds me not to judge people on first impressions.
I am always surprised at how kind Indonesian people are, I have never been to a country where I have met such amazing people. After a brief trip to a family run chemist, I could not believe it, I tried to pay them way more than the price (Indonesian Rupiah is in millions and if you are as bad at maths as me it’s a tricky currency) and they nearly had a heart attack. The father of the family told me I need to be more careful with my money and this really touched my heart, you can read about another experience I had with Indonesian people in my upcoming post about Labuan Bajo.
Early in the morning, you can hear people calling to prayer which I found enchanting although it will keep you awake especially when staying in a bamboo hut like me. So to avoid wandering the streets like something from the walking dead then make sure you bring some earplugs and maybe an eye mask (these also come in handy for long bus/boat/plane/train/donkey rides).
Make sure you see the beautifully decorated horses and also the main street with all its umbrellas, it’s such an unusual sight and you will hear the carts coming a mile off with all the bells that are attached. Since visiting the Gili Islands for a second time I would like to recommend not to take a horse-drawn carriage as the horses are often abused and not receiving the right treatment regarding their health. Some owners even feed the horses Red Bull to enable them to work faster and longer.
Hire a bike and explore the island, with the bike you can stop wherever you like along the way. One word of warning, the roads are really bad and while you won’t feel that bad while you are riding be prepared to not b able to sit down the following day! Maybe a week if you’re as unfit as me… I hired mine from the lovely homestay where I was staying, it was pretty cheap for the whole day.
After leaving my bike and taking a short walk on the beach I came across a local man washing his beautiful horse. I watched them for a while as it was such a lovely scene I could not believe my eyes with the water and the mountains. After a while, he noticed me and came over to where I was sat on the sand.
To my amazement, he knew I had been watching and offered me the chance to ride the horse. I took the opportunity and after riding bear back up and down the beach he told me to go out into the water. I had only ridden a horse on a few occasions and suddenly I was galloping through the ocean, something I could have only dreamt up. It was such a perfect and amazing experience that I will never forget.
Of course, I had to get the obligatory swing shot in the water. There are a few swings however the really famous double one belongs to Ombak Sunset. Being as impatient as I am once I found the swing I could not wait until sunset so I enjoyed a day swing and then carried on exploring. There were not that many people around and the shallow water made it perfect for me to set my timer and race through the water! Oh, the problems with solo travel.
I really enjoyed Gili T, I know some people would suggest the other Gili Islands and I hope to see these later this year, however, I can highly recommend this one especially if you are traveling solo or with friends, there is plenty of nightlife and a lot going on. There is even a bar with an outdoor cinema screen! I met some fun people to party with on this island and it was a nice change from most of the day activities that I had been doing alone. If you enjoyed this post then check out my post about Bali, Indonesia or Ubud, Bali I would love to hear about your experiences on this unusual island or if you have been to the other Gili islands!
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