A Travellerspoint blog

February 2017

The Gili Islands

Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and lots of Bintang

all seasons in one day 29 °C
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Ahhh The Gili Islands, the bite size pieces of paradise.
All 3 islands are magical in their own way. Gili Trawangan AKA Gili T is the party island, Gili Air the calmer and more peaceful island and Gili Meno, known as the very relaxed honeymoon island.



I stayed at Gili T (of course), where every night is a party with the local people and other tourists. The island is full of fantastic lively bars such as Rudy's, Scallywags, The Jungle Bar, Blue Marlin and many others that do beer pong and even karaoke. One of my favourite bars was the reggae bar Sama Sama which had live music; night and day, really friendly bar staff and lead straight out on to the beach where you can dance the night away. Another favourite bar of mine was the Sunset Bar situated right on the beach, where they had comfy pouffes and fruity cocktails, idyllic swings in the sea and great vibes. As mentioned in the name, it was a perfect spot to watch the beautiful sunsets of Indonesia. Another picture perfect place was Oval Bar. An ambient venue serving cocktails out of coconuts, coffee art teaching, welcoming staff and a great place to chill at sundown.



At the end of the night, all of the bars would close except for one, which would alternate every night. All of the hardcore party people would make their way to the venue and rave on the beach until sunrise, when the bar staff eventually kick you out so they can go home to bed. Quite often, my friend Crystal and I ended up partying with just the locals at early hours because all of the foreigners were too drunk and went home by 3. They certainly know how to fiesta! Maybe they're all on Wonderland's Mushy shakes..
One of my favourite nights was spent dancing on the beach around a fire, the sand all lit up with different colours (no I wasn't on shrooms!), with great company and the best house music. That was where I first met Drew. Everything was perfect until I had to accompany a very confused young lady to the 24hr health centre after she had one drink too many. She said she was searching for her brother but she looked so vulnerable. The health centre weren't too please that I had left her there but at least she was safe!


Moving on from the bars, the beautiful thing about Gili T was like you were stepping back through time when you got to the island. There wasn't any cars, petrol or pollution, everyone got round the island on hired push bikes or horse and cart. You can hear the hooves pounding on the sand roads and the jingling of their bells coming up behind you so had better jump out of the way, quick! They were working horses, pulling a lot of weight which was quite sad to see, but it is a third world country, so I'm not too sure what I expected. They just look like they could do with a good tea break, lots of water and a good feeding.
On the island there are also horses that you can ride on the beach. It's like something out of a dream, watching the silhouettes of horses galloping through the sea water with the sun dramatically setting in the distance.


There were all sorts of tours that you can do from the Gili Islands, which included island hopping to Komodo Island to see the huge enchanted creatures, roaming wild on the beach, snorkelling with bales of turtles at Gili Air, scuba diving including night dives, samba cruises, fishing trips and watersports.
It is really quick and easy to travel to different islands, with boats that go between them daily. Just make sure you try and book them a day or so in advance to avoid disappointment and find out which pier you need to leave from, so you don't end up standing like a lemon on the wrong pier and almost missing your boat, oops!

The beaches on the island were beautiful and very clean. The sand was soft like talc, peaceful and literally the best place to relax off your hangover after a heavy night. If you don't like beaches (we cannot be friends), there was plenty of shopping to be done at the market, street stalls and delicious food being served everywhere and at very little cost. You can smell the grilled sweetcorn sold on the street as the vendor fans the fire and the embers sprinkle down to the sand.

I loved the Gili Islands, even despite the torrential rain we had because we had gone in the monsoon season. The roads got flooded very quickly, so it's a good idea to carry an umbrella and try not to leave it places, like I did. I really liked that umbrella..
When it rains the roads fill up with water really quickly, the drains flood too which is so gross wading in sewage to get to the toilet! Eww!
The rain soon stopped as quickly as it started and the sun was out again shining down on my back while I was on a snorkelling trip one day. Unlucky for me, the sun cream that I had on was not water resistant. The turtles were great and majestic and everything I wanted them to be but carrying my backpack on raw sunburn for the next week was horrendous. Another lesson learned the hard way, ying and yang and all that jazz.
We stayed at the lovely Melati Garden Guesthouse, which was great value, included banana pancakes for breakfast (one to tick off the banana pancake trail) and just a 5 minute walk from all of the action on the island.

If you love beautiful beaches, a great party, goats and swimming with turtles, then you MUST go to The Gilis!

Because, why the heck not?


Posted by Travel__Tease 01:48 Archived in Indonesia Tagged turtles snorkelling sunset beach market monsoon cocktails swing komodo gili_trawangan gili_air gili_t gili_island party_island melati_garden_guesthouse sunset_bar oval_bar sama_sama Comments (1)