It takes you 1.5 – 2 hours by car from Lombok International Airport to reach Bangsal port—where wooden boats are lining up, ready to transport you to Gili Trawangan. For the car-ride, you can choose between two routes: either passing the monkey forest or Senggigi beach. If you’re in a hurry to catch a boat to Gili Islands, you better choose the monkey forest route as it will save you more time (and you can take pictures of the monkeys along the way!).
Every half an hour, there will be a boat leaving from Bangsal port to Gili Trawangan. You can buy a ticket for IDR 10,000 (or around US$ 1.2). The boat will carry tourists, locals, as well as bicycles and vegetables. In around 20 – 30 minutes, you’ll reach Gili Trawangan.
Gili Trawangan is one of three islands in Gili, the two others are Gili Air and Gili Meno. If you prefer to have a more secluded atmosphere during your stay, Gili Air and Gili Meno will be a better option. Gili Trawangan is relatively more lively, with rows of cafes, restaurants and bars, that open for 24/7.
Gili Trawangan is a small island. You can go around the island for 2-3 hours by bike. Cidomo is how the locals call their most ‘lavish’ mode of transportation: horse cart/wagon. Usually it will cost you IDR 50,000,- per trip (US$ 5). Apart from horse cart, you can either rent a bike for a day, or simply walk around. There’s no car or motorcycle in Gili Trawangan. The air is definitely not being polluted by motor vehicles’ exhausts, but you just need to get yourself used to the smell of horse’s feces 😀
If you don’t mind to get your feet soaked in mud, walking around the village early in the morning can be a bliss. Just watch your step and be mindful to the sound of cidomo approaching from in front/behind you, then step aside. The people in the village are very polite and friendly; you won’t get a stare/impolite comments though you’re a girl strolling around by yourself. If you smile, they’ll nod and smile back.
Here are some of the gorgeous views I captured during my morning walk:
There are no police officers in Gili Trawangan. According to the Cidomo driver, having police officers around make people think that the island is not safe. Usually, the locals will catch the robbers/pickpockets by themselves, beat them up to teach them a lesson, and then they will be humiliated by being ‘paraded’ all around the island. Does this kind of law-enforcement work? Probably so. My friend lost her wallet in the afternoon, and later in the evening, a Cidomo driver actually returned the wallet back to the hotel where we stayed.
Along the beach, you can find stretch of restaurants, cafes, and bars.
If you’re into organic and healthy food, you can stop by at Egoiste; and if you’d like to enjoy the best grilled seafood in Gili Trawangan, drop by at Scallywags after 6 pm, and pick your own lobsters/fishes (the restaurant is open since early morning, but the grilled menu will only be served after 6)!
Don’t forget to enjoy the famous Gili Gelato for dessert afterwards; you can find their ice-cream counter along this stretch.
If you’re into psychedelic experience (unfortunately, I got high only by looking at the ocean!), magic mushroom (Psilocybin) is sold free in small shops/marts. A bottle of ‘mushroom juice’ (the size of small mineral water bottle) is sold for IDR 200,000 (US$ 23). In bars and restaurants, they are also offering marijuana quite freely, especially to foreign tourists.
The Internet connection
Should you need to connect the Internet, there are lots of cafes/restaurants with free wi-fi access. But I should remind you: it won’t really work. If you really need a relatively reliable connection, go to the Internet cafes. You rent a computer and the Internet connection for around IDR 24,000 per hour (US$ 2.8).
What can I say? This is one of the reasons why people come to visit Gili Trawangan at the first place 🙂 Should you like to dive, go visit Trawangan Dive (find Graham if he’s around)—and they’ll help you with everything: from planning your diving trip to preparing all the equipments needed.
OK, seriously, I want to go back! 🙂