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downundergal Gili Trawangan - A travel report by Kerrie
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Gili Trawangan,  Indonesia - flag Indonesia -  Bali
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downundergal's travel reports

Gili Trawangan - Hidden Hideaway

  21 votes
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Trawangan is one of three small idyllic islands located to the north of Lombok and is the place to come if you love to snorkel, dive, lay on the beach and chill out at the end of the day mingling with other travellers and locals.


View from the Beach House
View from the Beach House
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three islands and the furthest from mainland Lombok. Large is only a relative word here as it is only 3 km's long & 2 km's wide. One of the best things about the island is that there are no cars only cidimo's(pony traps). Trawangan is also known as the party island. Yes, the island has got bars that turn into nightclubs but I personally do like a little action when the sun goes down so it suits me perfectly. The island is Muslim and before visiting I had read that the local's were very conservative about showing bare skin but the reality is a little different. Although topless & nude sunbathing is frowned apon the locals are tolerant towards bikini's & bare arms & so on. Because it is such a big dive destinataion they are probably a little immune to it. When we asked the kid's where we were staying they replied it didn't worry them and that although they were Muslim it was not offensive. The main jetty is in the middle of the most developed strip of town. To the left away from the best part of the beach are most of the restaurants, bars, hotles & losman(local houses with rooms to rent). To the right is the main sandy beach & the best snorkellingthat can be accessed by walking straight into the water over some very sharp rocks.

Favourite spots:
View of the main street.
View of the main street.
Hanging out at the beach soaking up the sun and watching the passing parade whilst every so often going in for a snorkel is the best way to pass the time here. We found the current was always pretty strong so we entered the water from an old abandoned fishing boat and let the current sweep us left to right until we came back to shore, walked back up and did it all again. What's to see? Load's of stuff including a big old turtle that peridically swam by and so tame you can touch him. So many fish such as Moorish Idols (like Scar in Nemo), many varieties of Angelfish huge Triggerfish and although the coral was killed off in El Nino there were still some beautiful soft corals a little further out from shore.
One coral bombie was guarded by a big pugnacious damselfish who would come out every time we passed and nip us. Not bad for a 5cm fish!


What's really great:
Main beach
Main beach
We also went diving with Dream Divers who were great. The first dive was off Shark Point down to 23 metres. We also dived off the Air wall off Gili Air. The highlight was a beautiful six foot long banded sea snake! The ambience of the island is the best part. It's very laid back and you meet many different people. There are virtually no hawkers, the few that are there come over from Lombok. When you first arrive all the locals that are hanging around offer to help you. If you have come from other parts of Bali you think they are trying to sell you something but are just being friendly. Once you have been there a day they know you & many of them make a point of coming out to say goodbye when you are leaving! Theft is another pleasant surprise. When we inquired about leaving valuables in the safe we were told it was safer in our room & nothing would be touched. The island has it's own laws to deal with thieves.

Sights:
Local
Local "cidimo" transport
Other than the ones below the water there are no sights. We hired a bike and road around the island which was hard work on the sandy trails but there was nothing much to see.

Accommodations:
Room at the Beach House
Room at the Beach House
High season is June - August. We arrived the start of September & were still a little pushed to find something decent enough to stay in.
We opted for the Beach House near the far end of the main restaurant strip & the opposite end of the main beach.
The Beach House had just been renovated and the six rooms were beautiful Open air Balinese bathrooms so you showered under the stars. Decorated with natural stones they were elegant & understated. The beds were comfortable & the rooms airconditioned, each had their own terrace at the front with a resident ginger moggie coming by every day for a chin scratch.
The prices are highly variable & come back to supply & demand & how hard you negotiate. We paid 350,000R abd during the time we were there had dropped down to 250,000, whereas the week prior they were 500,000.

Hangouts:
Fire twirler at the big party event!
Fire twirler at the big party event!
There are four venues hosting the party night, one on each night of the week. You will find it easily enough they always had their sign out and when they crank it up you just follow the noise.
Trawangan is the smallest island in the world hosting an Irish pub!
While we there there was a big party for the owner of Dream Divers complete with a (lame) live band. The highlight was a fire twirler who was fantastic. We had a great night as all the kid's where we were staying came out and partied on til 2.30am with us.

Restaurants:
Some of the variety of fresh fish on display for dinner
Some of the variety of fresh fish on display for dinner
We tried to eat in a different restaurant every night as the kids out the front of each trying to persuade you to come in soon got to know you as you wandered past.
The selection is large and varied and we didn't have a bad meal while we were there.
Beach House Restaurant - imported Australian Sirloin Steak, bangers & mash and fresh fish. The stuff you miss when travelling.
Juku Restaurant - had to have the fresh lobster 650gr for 103000R.
Blue Marlin Cafe - served a great killer nacho.
Nasi Goreng is available anywhre & always good.
Wine was around 18000 for a glass. Beer was cheap, around 10000 for a small beer or at happy hour same price for a large.


Other recommendations:
Sign out the front of the Irish Pub.
Sign out the front of the Irish Pub.
To get here. We flew from Bali to Lombok first with Merpati Air for about $37 AUD. Luggage allowance is just 10k's each. From there we spent a few days on Lombok and hired a jeep so we drove down to the main port at Bangsal. Or you could take a taxi. You need to carry your gear about 500m from the carpark to the port or take a cidimo.Our guide book said there was a boat at 8.30am & 4.30 pm. We arrived at 8.30 to find that there was no longer a morning boat. We then had to wait for a public boat at 8000R each. What happens is the boat waits for 25 people ( or more if they fit them) to purchase a ticket until they leave so try to get there in the morning. We were underway at about 10am so it wasn't too bad. The crossing took 45mins & was smooth except for about 10mins. That was a good day.
Coming back we took Dream Divers speed boat straight off the beach to their private jetty on Lombok, connected with their bus to the airport for $11US. Next time I would do this both ways.

Published on Sunday October 31th, 2004


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Fri, Nov 04 2005 - 02:15 PM rating by delfster

hi kerrie,
i just read your report... and even that i live in indonesia, i haven't got the chance to get there. it's on my list... and definitely after reading your report... gili is climbing up the chart. thanks for sharing it.

Wed, Nov 17 2004 - 10:25 AM rating by bineba

Sounds like a fantastic place to go. Great report.

Sabine

Mon, Nov 01 2004 - 03:58 PM rating by lockwoman

Hey,
I was in Gili Air in July, and I absoulutely loved it! it was the perfect ending to a 6 month trip... relaxtion and no motors!

Sun, Oct 31 2004 - 09:29 PM rating by bootlegga

The sign outside the Irish pub is one of the funniest I've seen in a long time!

Sun, Oct 31 2004 - 10:12 AM rating by gloriajames

well written report.. enough to entice one to visit.

Sun, Oct 31 2004 - 07:52 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii kerrie,
nice to read your report on Trawangan,infact i am very facinated by bali .
hope i will be there some day .
ravi

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