Gili Trawangan: A little piece of heaven.

I put Lombok on my itinerary last Summer Holiday, although I was only excited about Bali because Bali seems to have everything I need for holiday: Great beaches, great foods, great night clubs, interesting culture and hundreds other reason to go. But it turned out I got a surprise! :)

I arrived at Denpasar in the afternoon of a rainy May, bargained for 80.000 rupiahs with the cab driver to take me to my friend’s house near Sanur Beach.

When I told my friend Cininta about my plan to Lombok, she was very nice to drive me to Padang Bai that night. Padang Bai is the harbor where you can find ferry to Lembar, Lombok’s harbor. I decided to leave all ofmy things in Cininta’s house but some cash, one spare shirt, camera, and of course,bikini!!! :D

It was a 2-hours drive from Denpasar to Padang Bai. I didn’t know it was actually far. It was about 10 pm when we arrived. And we didn’t know that the harbor was quite scary. My man, Bandi planned to take the midnight ferry so we’ve waited about 2 hours. However, I thought it was a bad decision to take a midnight ferry coz we were the only traveler here and everyone seemed suspicious. We walked around the beach in Padang Bai and thankfully found an inn to stay.

The next morning, we were ready to say bye bye to our Lombok plan and looked for shuttle bus back to Kuta. Bandi was bargaining price with a travel agent when a Canadian guy asked me, “Where you’re going?”
“We were hoping Gili, but I don’t—“
“It was GORGEOUS!!!” and he was unstoppable of telling me how gorgeous the island was and his experience of trekking the Rinjani Mountain in Lombok.

However, again, we changed our mind, and til this time, it was the best decision ever!

There are 3 Gilis in the northwest of Lombok Island. Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan. Gili Trawangan is the biggest one and the most visited, so we picked it.

We got quite low price because we’re Indonesian people and could bargain the price in bahasa, but the Canadian guy said some western people could get our price when they’re lucky, including him. It was about 450.000rupiahs (2 persons) for the whole transport from padang bai to Gili and back to Kuta. I will explain later about how to get thereThe ferry was surprisingly comfortable and if the weather is great you could see this the whole day.. I hate long trip but thank god, it’s worth it. The ferry was surprisingly comfortable and if the weather is great you could see this the whole day.

View from the Ferry. It's a 6 hours trip!

Arrived at Lembar, Lombok, we still had to take the shuttle bus from the harbor ro the other side of the island, to Bangsal harbor. But this harbor is only for small boat like fast boat and fisherman boat. We took the fisherman boat and it was pretty cool!

15 minutes in fisherman boat

I will fast forward to the moment when I finally arrived to this awesome Island and the first thing I said was “don’t you think God was reaaallly serious when he created this island?”

A little piece of heaven

The water was clean so we can see shells on the bottom of the sea, the sandy white beaches seem to welcome me when I first stepped off from the boat. The color of the beach was gradation form white-green-turquoise-blue-dark blue. It was breathtaking. I stopped for a while and took a mental picture of that moment.

The first thing we did was renting a bike. well, it wasn’t really a good decision coz it turned out that you can walk around the island for maybe an hour (if you walk fast), and the path was mostly sandy so it was hard for riding a bike.

If you had so much time, you can try my way. I was going half round the island just to find a perfect bungalow to stay. Well, it cost a little bit more but I loved that place, it called Grasia. Most of the hotels or inns are run buy expatriate and Indonesian people works for them. It was a sad fact actually, coz Indonesian government doesn’t really care about our tourism. The funny thing is the local people speaks English very well, I think even better than they speak proper Bahasa. They speak local language (which I didn’t understand at all) with local people, and English with the travelers.

Let the picture tells

The food was average. It was mostly grilled seafood and woods burnt pizza. My favorite was pizza from Coral Beach 1. It was definitely not the best pizza I’ve ever tasted but, on that island, that pizza might be the best. :p

There are tons to do on the island. You can go diving with the diving community, or if you can’t dive, you can take a lesson there. It was about 800.000 rupiahs. Or if you’re afraid (like me), let’s justsnorkel. It wasn’t my best snorkel experience, but Bandi said it was pretty good. Well, Bandi swam way further to the sea so I think he got better view.

view from the hut.

You can also just stay on the small huts and read a book. If you ate in Coral Beach 1, you could stay in the small hut andlay down or just sit there watching the gorgeous beach. You can trek around the island, you can bike, you can get drunk at night or eat the ‘magic mushroom’, which is the must-try-local-mushroom. You get what I mean, right?

This might be the best tip I would ever give to you so listen, don’t eat dinner far from your hotel, coz at night, there aren’t lights at all. WHY? I stayed at the east side of the island and ate dinner at the west side of the island, so when I walked back after dinner (about 7:30 p.m.) to my bungalow the path was REALLY scary! Seriously it was creepy! And remember, Asia has so many creepy ghosts. (I can’t believe I said that). You can take ‘andong’ (a two wheel carriage drawn by a horse) but the cost is 50.000!

Imagine this, at night, complete dark.

So, no! I’d rather walk and took the risk of anything it was. Thankfully everything was ok, but it was the longest walk I’ve ever had, especially in some path where there were no buildings at all. I could only walk as I was blindfolded, hearing the sound of waves and crickets and feeling the grass all over my calves. IT WAS BEYOND SCARY!
So the bottom line,

“Don’t eat dinner far from your hotel!”

How to go there:

  • The easiest way is taking a fast boat from Padang Bai, Bali straight to Gili Trawangan, but the cost is 600.000 per person. It’s one hour trip.
  • Or you could fly from Denpasar to Mataram, Lombok and take a shuttle bus and boat to Gili Trawangan. But I think it would be waaayy more expensive. It will also be a one hour trip
  • Or you can take my way, which is the cheapest way of all:
  1. Shuttle Bus from Kuta to Padang Bai : IDR 60.000 (two hours)
  2. Ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar, Lombok : IDR 31.000 (5-7 hours, depends on the wheather)
  3. Shuttle bus from Lembar –Senggigi – Bangsal (or you can go straight to Bangsal): 45.000 – 60.000 (1,5 hours)
  4. Boat from Bangsal to Gili Trawangan : about IDR 10.000

And going back to Bali with the same route. I got a good deal with paying 450.000 for two persons for a round trip. Try to bargain!

I would like to go back to Gili Trawangan one day and stay there for a month and forget about works and stuffs. Just lay down on the beach, watching waves, and fishermen’s boats come and go…

The night then falls.

Of all the places I’ve gone that summer holiday, Gili Trawangan was the only place I crave for more. Definitely will  go back there! :)

Mental Picture, CLICK

Love, May