In my last post I mentioned that I got a bit restless during my relaxing stay in Amed. I mean, I love my fiancé very much but at some point you reach the limit of how much romance you can handle. So we decided to go on an adventure to the Gili islands. The Gili islands are a group of three small islands near Lombok: Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. These paradise refuges are just an hour’s boat ride away from Amed, three from Sanur (but make sure to choose the fast boat). Trawangan is the largest of the three known for it’s lively nightlife and numerous scuba schools. Meno is for people seeking a romantic escape and Air is a combination of the other two. As a romantic escape was the exact opposite of what we were seeking, we headed to Gili Trawangan, or just Gili T.
It really started out as an adventure. We had pre-booked our spot on the boat via our hotel and just had to pay in the “terminal”. Unfortunately I suffered from a shortage of local currency and naturally payment by card didn’t work. I asked for an ATM and the woman in the “terminal” pointed me to a very small man who would show me in the direction of an ATM. What I didn’t realize was that the ATM was located in the next village and I would have to endure a near death experience to get there. Imagine a scooter, me (not the smallest girl with a height of 176 cm) wearing a long skirt and flip-flops, indonesian traffic and a small indonesian man with a waist the size of my thigh. So the small indonesian guy jumped on a scooter and indicated I should get on behind him. I was afraid the front would tip over when I placed my western welfare tush on the seat behind him. I tried to hold on to the scooter but the guy kindly took my arms and placed them around his waist. I was no longer just afraid of falling off, I was also terrified of literally crushing this innocent man’s waist and killing him. But off we were and at a considerable speed at that, me holding on for dear life and the driver proudly waving to all his friends as we flew by the balinese jungle on the serpentine roads. But I survived and returned to the “terminal” feeling rich with four million in cash on my person.
So I paid our tickets and moved from the desk to the terminal area, which can also be called the beach. There were three signs in the sand indicating a place to leave your luggage depending on which island you were heading to. At departure, a group of local women, and not the youngest damsels either, grabbed the luggage and literally threw it up on their heads in a perfunctory manner, carrying it to the roof of the boat. The passengers embarked the vessel from the front by removing their shoes, walking through the warm turquoise ocean, climbing a ladder and carefully tip-toeing around the side of the boat to finally enter in the back. And off we were. On the way we even got to see a dolphin jump in the ocean!
Gili T is the biggest and most lively of the three islands with an estimated permanent population of about 800. Still you can walk the sandy circumference of the island in around two hours. When arriving here, you cant help but to be amazed by the breath-taking view that welcomes you. The white sand sparkling in the soothing sun, the sound of turquoise waves slowly rolling ashore, the upbeat music, the cute little ponies with their cute carriages. Ponies are the only way to get around using some kind of horsepower, no motor vehicles are allowed on the island. This results in a relaxing and peaceful, since the noise pollution is minimal. We walked along the main road, passing numerous restaurants, scuba diving schools and massage parlors. If you’re into diving this is the place for you. Lonelyplanet ranks it as one of the world’s top 10 learn-to-dive destinations as the warm, clear waters around the island are home to more than 3500 marine species.
We hadn’t booked a hotel in advance. January is low season and hence there very many rooms available. We found a nice little get away just a stone’s throw away from the main road but still somewhat cheaper. It felt like we were the only customers, even though you could see that some of the rooms were occupied. We were told that Gili T is a party island and even though the party scene isn’t really our thing, we chose this island after staring in each other’s eyes for days in Amed. And sure enough, we saw a fair share of party brats vacationing on daddy’s platinum card, but still it offered just what we needed after Amed: nightlife. We had a beautiful dinner followed by delicious cocktails on the beach admiring the breathtaking view of the warm sun slowly merging into the pinkish turquoise eternity.
Even though the tourism was very visible everywhere and the atmosphere was by no means genuine and authentic, I still fell head over heals in love with the island. It’s the prefect combination of chillaxing, interesting activities, breathtaking views, lovely weather and lively nightlife. I’m definitely going back some day to visit all of these magical little refuges.