I am still reeling from the two weeks I spent in Indonesia, and wishing I had been able to spend more time in Gili Trawangan. We were almost at the end of our amazing adventure, arriving in time for lunch at Villa Ombak and some free time to explore before our farewell dinner cruise.
24 Hours on Gili Trawangan
Arriving on the island of Gili Trawangan, I realized why backpackers and those craving a party atmosphere flock to this Indonesian destination.
Also known as Gili T, it’s one of three of the Gili islands, with Gili Air and Gili Memo being the other two. Gili T is the largest of the three and the most distant, but that doesn’t prevent the snorkelers, divers, and party goers from visiting. Gili T definitely has an island vibe.
This party town stays up late but gets up surprisingly early as well. The boats are ready and waiting to take snorkelers and divers out for an hour or three.
Around every corner you’ll see offers for lessons, dive certification, and tours. Just standing on the pier, I saw a bright red sea star. Snorkeling and diving in Indonesia is one of the biggest reasons people flock to the country. Five minutes in the water and you’ll know why. This shot is from Raja Ampat but the snorkeling is fantastic all over.
I even got my cat fix while in Gili T.
You don’t have to worry about people speaking English. Most everyone does, as well as other languages.
Though most of the people are pretty laid back in Gili T, you wouldn’t know it from the horse-carts that barrel down the dirt road. No worries, they will let you know if you are in the way, and you get used to hearing them well before they approach. Most people are on foot, but if you want to get around a little more quickly, a ride on the horse-cart will take about an hour to circle the island.
Bikes are also readily available, but we’re talking the kind that you peddle, not the kind you’ll see zooming through the streets of other Indonesian areas. On Gili Trawangan, there are no motor bikes or cars, so you’ll either have to walk or rent a bike or pay for a horse cart ride. I thought the prices were reasonable and it looked like fun!
Be sure to check out the many shops, perhaps even spending some time at the hookah bar. Smoking a hookah is one thing I’ve never done, and this would not be my first time. Perhaps on another visit I’ll be more brave as it did look like the almost full house was enjoying it.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink. And the view, well, it’s pretty spectacular.
Drinking is a favorite passtime in Gili T.
I have a feeling there have been some pretty amazing parties on the island…
Just remember to eat! You won’t have any trouble finding delicious food, even right on the street. Well, the dirt road.
Seeing the food makes me want to go back!
And the fruit stands! This is one of the reasons you see boats being unloaded all day long. There is no shortage of fruit on Gili T.
Restaurants are plentiful, and the food is fantastic. In fact, you may want to check out this roundup of Indonesian desserts. They are really like nothing I’ve eaten before. So delicious!
Keep an eye on the signs. Most places want you to remove your shoes. A few have additional instructions. 🙂
The many shops on Gili T offer up sarongs in any color combination you could desire, jewelry, t-shirts and other beachy apparel, as well as home décor, handbags, and backpacks. In fact, backpackers make up a good percentage of the visitors to Gili T. Need a souvenir? You won’t have trouble finding one here.
The one thing you can not miss in Gili T is the swings. Though I say that, I almost missed it. Thankfully, Mike from Mike’s Road Trip was willing to hop on a bike and take the ten minute ride to get to there. As we were bumping down the road, I realized why the guy who rented us bikes offered fat or regular tires. Spend the little extra and go for the fat tires. You’re derriere will thank you later. The smaller tires don’t absorb the shock much.
Arriving at the swings, you will realize the short ride was well worth it. With a stunning backdrop of mountains over the sea, I’ve heard any of the four swings make a stunning photo shoot.
We only saw the first two, but this tree made up for it. I am seriously considering getting this framed for my beach-themed living room.
Being on this trip with fabulous photographers, I learned a thing or two about being prepared. Take scarf or even a change of clothes. I’m still kicking myself for not thinking ahead. I bought the sarong in the photo at the beginning of this post while at Selong Blanak Beach, and only wish I had picked one up earlier. Huge thanks to Mike for being my photographer.
Indonesia has a place in my heart forever. But the people made this trip extra special. Learn more about the traditional games of Indonesia as well as how to spend 3 days in gorgeous Raja Ampat. Check out all the posts by following #TripOfWonders and #WonderfulIndonesia.
The only question left is, where to go next?
Have you made plans for your next adventure?
Many thanks to the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism for hosting me on what was truly a trip of wonders!