The Paradise Of Gili Trawangan

After spending last two months away from Indonesia, coming back to Bali was a dream come true. Bali doesn’t feel the same. It’s not the mysterious land that I arrived to in July last year. It isn’t the foreign mindset and unfamiliar culture.

Feels like “Home Sweet Home.” But better.

A warm welcome at the airport stretched into a wonderful trip to a place that I haven’t had a chance to explore: Gili Trawangan – a small island shrouded in the mystery of acid parties and other whatnot.Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.

Acid parties?!

The first time I heard about the Gilis was from some Australian travellers who were about to set out for days of crazy parties on a boat cruising around the islands. They had already been there a few years ago and couldn’t wait to get back to a place that was 1) near Bali, and 2) full of drugs.

Gili Trawangan - a magic mushrooms island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.
Magic mushroom shacks and the 80s atmosphere rule the northern part of the island.

Drugs in Indonesia? You might raise your brow. After all, the country has super crazy restrictive laws regarding drugs.

Indeed, it does. But in places like the Gilis, where there is no police, it is not so easy to enforce the law. Moreover, business is business and there are many types of tourists that need to be catered to. Some people travel to get wasted in remote locations. No denying that.

Alright, drugs and what else?

Scuba diving! For those who aren’t too keen on expanding their brains with various substances, Gili Trawangan and its sister islands (Gili Meno and Gili Air) have some of the most renowned diving spots near Bali, featuring one of the cutest sea creatures: the turtle!

The scuba diving industry is alive and well on the island. There are many PADI centres ready to take care of adventure-hungry travellers. The great thing is that if scuba diving is not your thing, you can enjoy snorkelling in many places around the island (TIP: ask for best snorkelling spots in a scuba diving centre).

Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.

Moving around the island

One of my favourite things about Gili Trawangan is how transport is solved: no cars, no motorbikes. The only two modes of transport are bicycles and cidomo, aka horse carts. Yes, that’s right: horse carts.

Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.
It’s so much fun to sit behind a horse that has its dung gather right behind its tail. I spare you the picture…

The horses are small, sweet and adorned with bells. Because of this, the island reverberates with the jingle coming from their trotting. They work very hard to earn their living and the rides are somewhat pricey, usually around 75,000 – 100,000 Rupiah, even if the distance you’re covering is not too long.

Lost Is The New Found at Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.
Oh, yes… The sea… Don’t forget the sea. There’s quite a bit of that in Indonesia.

For all these reasons, I felt much more comfortable using a bicycle. You can get them in all of the resorts on the island. They are offered free or for a fee, depending on how far your hotel or villa is from the sea.

Back in the saddle

Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.
“Are you talking to me?”

I was happy to explore the island while riding a bicycle, something that I really enjoyed in Ireland. There’s an overpowering feeling of serenity when you pedal through the mostly unpaved streets that are unbothered by the sound of car engines. The air you breathe is pure. It smells of hot trees, salty sea and the occasional cow dung.

The future of the Gilis

Measuring 3 km long and 2 km wide, Gili Trawangan is the largest of the Gili Islands. The name of the island originates from the Indonesian word Terowongan (tunnel) and the island boasts having a cave tunnel that was built by the Indonesian forced labour for the World War II occupant – the Japanese army. (Click here for directions on finding the tunnel.)

Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.
Gotta love the goats!

The fame of Gili Trawangan has been spreading among travellers for some time now and the island has gone through some serious development. People’s interest is unwavering as the island allows unwinding in many different forms. Whatever you’re after – beach, party, water sports or nature – you can be sure that the island is not going to disappoint you.

Getting there

Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.
Out with the old, in with the new.

The easiest way to get to Gili Trawangan is taking a shuttle boat from Bali (the crossing takes about two hours). Shuttle boats set out several times a day bringing travellers in and out of the Gilis, so moving around can be done with a degree of flexibility.

Gili Trawangan - a magic island off the Lombok's coast, close to Bali.
The island charms with all its might…

If you’re looking for a challenge, you can take a ferry to Lombok and then another boat to Gili Trawangan. The journey will be never-ending but at least it will feel like an adventure.

4 thoughts on “The Paradise Of Gili Trawangan

  1. I was in Gili this winter with my family. At first we get to Bali of course, then rode to gili on boats by easygili. com . Gili islands are nicest place in the world, and I really think so. Oh this hot beaches and cold drinks, orange sunsets. At first we found cheap hotel and went there. Yeah, it is cheap. I think you have to visit this place!

  2. I gonna visit Trawangan again this autumn. When I was there last time I had so unusual feelings yeah.
    Trawangan (later I will say how to go here) is the best place in Gili Islands. This is the biggest island.
    If you wanna relax or have very active vacation, I recommend to visit Trawangan. To go here just visit
    easygili. com and buy a ticket on speed boat. There is nice place for fishing and diving.
    You can rent good bungalow for 100k, as u can see price is pretty nice. And if you
    like cannabis or something like this, just go to any restaurant 😀

    1. 100k for a bungalow is a bit on the low side. I was in Gili Trawangan a few weeks ago and if you want to sleep in a decent and clean place, the cost will be more expensive. Having said that, the price will still be reasonable. Either way, Gili Trawangan is definitely worth checking out 😉

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