Gili Islands - is this really backpacking?

Indonesia's flag
Asia » Indonesia » Lombok » Gilli Trawangan
June 2nd 2015
Published: June 2nd 2015
Edit Blog Post

When the boat pulled up to Gili Trawangan we where all excited about some good beach time and a wee slice of paradise.

For the price of a hostel, Sou, Camilla (who i’d met in Bali) and I managed to book a wee posh room at a resort that fortunately for us had no other guests so we could make full use of the pool and sound system. The downside was it was North on the island and what I thought was a 15 min walk turned out to be 30 mins - with backpacks and on a toasty 32 degree day. It did test my ethical strength as the only mode of transport is horse drawn carts which I did not want to use. So we had no choice but to have a beer stop mid way to make it bearable.

We spent our first few nights on the island up staying in the North and we all enjoyed a wee slice of tranquil and luxury. But it was a tad of a mission getting back from the nightlife down in the middle/south with Sou in a near fatal accident when a coconut crashed down right next to her as we cycled back in the dark one night.

Gili T offered me my first taste of a Full Moon party. Much smaller numbers than that of Thailand but most of the island came to the beach in the south to party. I also got a shot at learning to do a wee fire performance. I’m perhaps not a natural but 100% for effort!

We moved into the hustle and bustle of the island and joined the lovely Cat and Laura at their digs - Bale Sasak. Great wee place with the boys who run it being good banter! More guitar playing and singing ensued and we hit the town for a wee night out. Sama Sama is the bar of choice - very cool live reggae music and great for a beer and a dance.

The night markets fed us great food and for a cheap price. We had to remind ourselves we weren't on holiday and meant to be backpackers so was good to save a wee bit of money. We also spent the day out on the boats island hopping around the waters to take part in some excellent snorkelling. The waters are crystal clear and we saw a range of fish and managed to swim close to some giant turtles. Very cool indeed. And all for about £3!

Back at Bale Sasak - Andy who runs it was having his birthday. In his early 20s he told me rather than have a party he uses the money he’d spend to go back across the water to his hometown in Lombok and he invites children from the local orphanage to have lunch at his house and gives them presents. Now I hope he wont mind me sharing that but I was really taken aback at a young person being so caring and selfless and it made me think of my own actions.

The following day Sou left for surf camp back in Bali and Cat, Camilla and I headed for Gili Meno - honeymoon island. If i’m honest I was quite disappointed with the beaches at Gili T as there was a lot of washed up coral and rubbish kicking around. Although it wouldn't put me off going back as it’s such a fun place. Meno however was white sandy beaches and like what I imagined these lovely islands to look like. And the one thing each of these islands have is the cheeky charm from the locals. Always joking around it's hard not to smile.

My last day was coming to a close as I decided to go on a 4 day/night boat trip to go photo hunting Komodo Dragons! I was sad to leave - the guys at Bale Sasak where a lot of fun, the banana pancakes pretty epic and I had such a laugh with the girls I'd met. But good things must come to an end and I was starting to learn to say goodbye to people even though it still felt hard.

Morning came, goodbyes where had, backpack on and I'm back at the beach waiting to meet the group i’ll spend the next 4 days with.

My thoughts on Gili Islands - if you're over in Bali make the effort to come over. Gili T (the largest island) is great for night life and has the big buzz than the other 2 islands, Gili Air is the middle sized island and is a good half way house. Beaches also nicer than T but more chilled and laid back than it's partying sister. Gili Meno - smallest of the island and in the middle of T and Air. Very pretty and very quiet. All seemed to be couples however I did some a wee hippy commune that looked great and would have stayed a night or 2 there had I found it sooner!

So all in all - Gili - you’ve been gorgeous.

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


10th September 2015

wonderful write up
Wonderful write up and amazing pictures. Best sunset of my life was on Gili Trawangan. No doubt i returned to Gili T after Rinjani trek, though not initially planned. You have a new follower :) You can read my experience from Gili T at
27th April 2016

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!

Tot: 2.668s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 10; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0382s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 3; ; mem: 1.4mb