Imagine staying on a small tropical island that has the most vibrant beach with ombre blue water. Deep blue, a gorgeous sky blue, to the cool aqua color eventually reaching the soft white sand. An island so small you can bike around the entire thing in 15 minutes. Where motorized vehicles aren’t allowed and horse drawn carriages, bikes, or your feet, are your only modes of transportation. Where the street is lined with palm trees to one side and the inviting water on the other. That island is Gili Trawangan or what some people named ‘Paradise.’
While Sean and I were planning our trip to Bali, everyone told me, “you HAVE to go to The Gili Islands!” So, that’s what we did. The Gili Islands are 3 small islands off of Lombok. While many people visit the Gili Islands from Lombok, there are many speed boat companies that leave from Bali and get you to Gili in about 1.5-2 hours.
After an hour drive from Ubud to the pier, we were on our way to what everyone described as “the best part” of their Bali trip. I’ll be honest – I have to disagree. Sure, it was beautiful but we really should’ve done more research on the best island for us.
Gili Trawangan is considered “the party island.” Oh man, that doesn’t even cover it. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good time, but going to this environment after a peaceful 4 days in Ubud, takes a toll on your mind. I felt so relaxed and zen while in Ubud.
We stayed on Gili T for 2 nights. We rented bikes and rode around the entire island 3 times, watched the sunset, drank too many Mai Tai’s, ate a significant amount of fried calamari, and spent 10USD to rent lounge chairs right on the water with free access to a pool. Sounds magical right?! Those moments were worth the mayhem that also took place.
The boat ride in was horrible! Sean fought back sea sickness like a champ, we walked around this tiny island for 2 hours in the middle of the day (SO HOT!!!) looking for our guesthouse that NO ONE knew about, I busted my toe open and could barely walk, our bikes got flat tires, our AC unit wouldn’t turn off so the room felt like Antarctica, our romantic sunset spot was actually next to the sewage system being dumped into the water – that’s just funny now (that explained the smell). And on the morning of our departure from Gili T, our boat was 3 hours late, we shared sea sickness, then the boat motor died for a few minutes and that is actually the worst feeling when you’re fighting back the urge to personally feed the fish!
The island was breathtaking and I’m glad we went but had we done more research we probably would’ve gone to the even smaller island, Gili Air. I wouldn’t change anything from this leg of the trip because we were still on vacation abroad together and that in itself is more important than any mishap. Minor things tested our patience but nothing pushed us over the edge. It was all part of the experience.
If you are planning to visit The Gili Islands, I recommend going. But I encourage you to do research about the vibe of the islands and wait to book your accommodation. There are so many new hotels and guesthouses popping up that you’ll be able to find something in your price range that also fits your comfort needs.
Also, don’t forget dramamine.