Lombok - Gili Trawangan

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October 30th 2016
Published: October 30th 2016
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David here...

We got up early and packed our things before a light breakfast and heading to the harbor to catch the 08:50 island hopper boat. We had thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Gili Meno. It helped that our room at Putri Bungalows was nice and had good facilities, mainly aircon I'll admit, and we left feeling relaxed and happy. Gili Meno feels like a small village where everyone knows each other and is very different to Gili Air which is laid back and relaxed but still caters much more to the tourist trade than Meno. So, onto Gili Trawangan, the party island, described as a backpackers paradise. The island hopper boat arrived and we set off on our way to Gili T, as it is known. All the boats when embarking and disembarking are done directly from the beach so you will get your feet wet but the island hopper is a good way to get around, also fairly cheap at 35,000 Rp.

We arrived at Gili T at 09:30 and made our way to Ani's Bungalow, our homestay while on the island. As it was so early our room was not ready so we left our bags and went out onto the main street to see what we could see. The main drag is full of bars, restaurants and places to stay and is full of people, horse and carts and westerners wobbling around on bikes. We stopped off at Cafe Kayu for a couple of lattes and a slice of cake before investigating the cost to get to our next stop in 3 days time, Candi dasa.

Most places were offering boats at 250,00 Rp, but we found out that cost was for the slow boat that would take 8 hours to get there via Lombok. The fast boat was 350,000 Rp at most places, but we found it for 300,000 Rp. We just did not want to have to face an 8 hour boat journey when it could be done in 3. The place we got that price is near to the Gili Viking bar on the opposite side of the road and has big glass windows in front of it. With that sorted out for 11:00 on Sunday we went back to our room to settle in, shower, and get ready to hit the town.

We'd been reading lots of horror stories about cheap cocktails on the island being laced with Methanol and people dying, so were very reluctant to do our usual of finding the cheapest cocktails during happy hour. We ended up at Red and White, an upmarket wine and spirit shop with a little bar attached as they were advertising 2 glasses of white sangria for 80,000 Rp (around £5) and had a nice view of the sea, Gili Meno and Lombok. The drink was very nice and the place had a lovely vibe about it. When asked if we wanted another, we couldn't really say no.

Another drink later and we wanted to move on and find some beer before we got too drunk on sangria. We ended up buying a couple of big Bintangs from a supermarket and sitting on the beach, watching the sun go down. Again, we ended up buying a couple more beers as it was so nice. We then needed some food and headed to The Roast House. We sat upstairs on the little 4 table terrace away from the street noise. We both ordered burgers and had garlic bread and cheese to start. We're not sure what happened but 4 beers later, with fulI tummies, we left the place staggering a little. The party vibe of Gili T must be in the air. If we're honest, the garlic bread was only OK and the burgers were very garlicky but we really enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere of the restaurant.

We decided that enough was enough and started heading back to our very nice room as it turned out. Very clean, bright and airy with a decent shower, which is one of the small pleasures when travelling. Anyway on our way back we passed a bar playing decent enough music, REM. As it wasn't bloody reggae we decided to stop for one more beer before bedtime. We asked the waiter whether the music was likely to change and he said no, it was going to be rock and pop for the night. We sat down on the beach and drank our beers. The waiter then tried to cater the music for us by putting on some Europe. Unfortunately he picked The Final Countdown... but the 2000 remix which is god awful. We finished our drinks, paid up and headed off to bed. Or so we planned...we stopped to buy some water near our homestay and somehow 2 bottles of beer ended up in our bag as well. We drank these on our porch before really calling it a night.

So, after 2 sangrias and 6 bottles of beer each, we woke up the next morning with mild hangovers. Breakfast of fried noodles with a fried egg on top turned out to be exactly what we needed and was a delicious meal to start the day, our best breakfast yet. To complete the set, we decided to walk round the whole island after reading that even though Gili T is the biggest of the islands it would still only take about 2 hours to walk, which it did. It was a pleasant but hot walk following the coast. Not much more to say really, it is more built up than the other islands with a lot more resorts and facilities, which meant we could stop to pick up water more often. Once back in the main part of town, we had a light lunch at a little Indonesian place called Juku Marlin. The beef rendang and chicken curry were surprisingly spicy and very tasty. I also had an Avocado milkshake which was a little odd but not unpleasant. Along with the lime milkshake I had with my Martabak the other day, one of the more unusual shakes I've had. Papaya is the next on my list. After relaxing and freshening up back at the room for a bit, it was time to hit the town again, hopefully with a little more restraint this time.

We went back to Red and White for a glass of sangria before buying a big bottle of Prost each, another Indonesian beer that is better than Bintang in our opinion, and settling on the beach again to drink it. As it was getting dark our thoughts turned to food. We ended up at the Gili T night market where we had spring rolls, samosas, corn fritters, a pile of barbequed fish and meat on skewers and a couple of beers. Most people think the night market is very cheap, and it is for the veggie stuff, but becomes more expensive when you get to the meat stalls. Still, we left feeling full and happy from the experience.

On the way back to the room, we stopped off to buy a barbequed corn on the cob with chilli butter from a hawker (very tasty and healthy). While there we got chatting with a German couple who were on a 3 week holiday in Indonesia. It was nice to chat to them about our trip and their plans and our love of Germany. After saying goodbye we headed back to our room to settle in for an early night. That strange thing that happened the night before happened again while buying water and we ended up with one more beer on our porch before settling down for the night.

Our final full day in the Gilis started with tasty fried noodle breakfast again before we headed on out to the beach and some more snorkeling. We had read that the best place for snorkeling was in the North of the island, past the Coral Beach 2 resort, so that was where we headed. We found a place with sunbeds so settled down and I went to hire a set of mask and fins. 40 Rp for a full days use is pretty good value and the norm in these parts. I quickly got set up and out into the sea for 20 minutes or so. We'd decided to get a single set of gear as Suzanne doesn't really use the fins, so we would take it in turns to go in the water, hopefully spotting turtles. I returned to shore having failed to see a turtle but did see lots of marine fish. Not as good as Amed, but still good fun. When I got back to our spot Suzanne informed me that it cost 100,000 Rp for use of the sunbeds. We promptly packed up and went to the bar next door, ordered 2 Mango juices and used their facilities for free. We ended up having 5 drinks, all nonalcoholic, while snorkeling. On my last trip out, I was fortunate enough to spot a Green Sea Turtle and was able to follow it for a good 10 minutes before anyone else showed up.

After the beach, we went and had a game of mini golf, where I regained my champions crown from Suzanne. The final score was 51-58, so quite a close game really. We celebrated my victory with 'a few beers' at the 19th hole before heading back to the room to freshen up and get ready for our evening plans. At 17:00 we walked over to the west of the island to catch the sunset. We bought a couple of beers from a nearby cafe and drank them watching the sun go down. It truly was a beautiful evening with the sky many colours all being reflected off the sea. For food, we had planned on going to a highly rated Indo restaurant however we passed it on the way to the beach and it was playing terrible music, so we took the decision to have pizza at Regina pizza as it had received such good reviews. We would've liked to eaten local but there are so few well reviewed local places on Trawangan. Anyway the meal was stupendous. Suzanne had the salami with chili and I had a Calzone. Both were the best pizza's we can remember having in a long, long time, and not just in Asia. Feeling full and sleepy, we got back to our room and settled down for the night, ready for moving on to Candi dasa in the morning.

We both really enjoyed the Gili islands, the best part of Indonesia so far. Suzanne preferred the atmosphere of Air whereas I liked the facilities and choice of Trawangan. We both feel that coming here was well worth our time. I would say 2 final things; I really am finding the heat, constant stickiness and sweating a little tiresome. Aircon and cold showers are my new best friends. I am also sick and tired of hearing "long hair, long life". I must have it shouted at me at least 10 times a day, usually before being offered drugs. I've been offered magic mushrooms, marijuana and even cocaine while being on the island. If that is what constitutes a party in these parts... leave me in the corner with a beer and a Regina pizza please.

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