GILI TRAWANGAN: THE ISLAND LIFE

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Gili Trawangan is the largest of the Gili Islands – a group of three islands near Lombok in Indonesia, with its counterparts being Gili Meno and Gili Air. Each island has its distinctive personality, and I like how Lonely Planet aptly puts it: Gili Trawangan the party island, Gili Meno the romantic escape and Gili Air the chill-out spot.

We chose Gili T. ’cause it is known to be the liveliest among the three + best for diving! Truly living up to its name, the night is always young on Gili T. with its late night parties and immense social atmosphere bursting with unceasing friendly vibes. Awesome dives we did with Blue Marlin Dive too – reputable, professional, credible and arguably one of the best dive schools on the island.

1. How to get there?

Visitors can travel directly from Bali or Lombok to Gili via speedboats. But be warned of the inevitable waiting time + choppy waters (we saw a couple of terrible vomit cases).

I scoured the Internet for the lowest speedboat prices from Bali and found the best price on Instagram (@gotogili) to my amazement and initial skepticism. You can book that directly here for 2-way tickets at 600,000 IDR/pax (S$60), including pickup and drop off. No advanced payment needed!

Somehow I managed to get the above tickets at 500,000 IDR/pax for three of us – THAT’S LIKE S$10 COST SAVINGS WHICH IS A LOT #sorrynotrich 😛 Point: Try negotiating if there are more than two of you. Can’t vouch for 100% safety but I came back alive.

2. What to do?

Snorkel, dive, party. That’s what everyone says. You wouldn’t want to miss immersing yourself in the clearest of blues and what lies beneath is even more beautiful that you’ll ever imagine. We didn’t snorkel nor party (’cause we’re young, free but not wild #rathersleep #sloths) but WE DIVED 😀 White tip reef sharks, stingrays, turtles, shrimps, crabs, cute little nudibranches and my first time seeing a walkman!

The most memorable dive was my first ever night dive at Meno Wall – hints of fear overshadowed by overflowing excitement to see what the underwater world has to offer at night. It was a completely different feeling and I loved the sense of heightened mystery. Seeing bioluminescence and the corals coming alive was SO AMAZING. The deep dive at Halik – 20 metres visibility with beautiful corals – was personally deemed the best.

Of course there’s way more to do on Gili T. than just the typical activities. For a pretty comprehensive guide do check here out. It would also be nice to:

1) Head to Ombak Sunset for the touristy swing during sunset – great for the perfect Instagram shot and a relaxing ushering of the evening just chilling there 😉

p1020068What you see on social media

p1010988What you don’t see on social media LOL REALITY

2) From Ombak Sunset, walk back towards the main part of the island where the nightlife is happening and look up at the sky along the way. Freckled with stars that shone exceptionally bright against the jet-black night sky made it such a captivating canopy to walk under! 100/100 romantic.

3. Where to chill at night?

We spent only three nights on Gili T. hence I cannot provide a comprehensive guide on every good place to unwind. But the night we had dinner at Tir Na Nog aka. Irish Pub was fabulous! I highly recommend it for its ambience and DELICIOUS PIZZAS.

Loveeeee the vibes:

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p1020082High tables aside, there are low tables too.

p1020081And even a bean bags section looking out into the sea 🙂

p1020077Margarita! So simple yet so good. Loved the thin crust oven-ed well and the tasty flavors of the mozzarella, tomato and cheese blending so well together here. Wood oven pizzas are always a plus for me and this place did it SO RIGHT.

4. What to eat?

Talking about pizzas I’m hungry. But this also brings me to the important question of must-eats. We had meals at cafes, open-air restaurants and local stalls. Cafes’ food were pretty nice but the restaurants served disappointingly mediocre food. 😦

Answer: EAT LOCAL @ THE NIGHT MARKET.

The night market is situated in front of the pier and the buzz starts about 6 pm daily. Hygiene level was a negative (flies spotted) but the taste level was on-point and that’s all I need. Highly personal choice though ’cause I LOVE authentic street/local food best, always.

The most satisfying meal I had was from the corner stall with the gelato stall right behind it. 

p1010908Be spoilt for choice with the variety of seafood/meat/etc you can choose from!

img_5419This was the corner stall I patronized and recommended above. LEGIT GOOD. I loved how the rice served was actually hot and that every stick was freshly BBQ-ed on the spot. Got the beef, chicken and squid – all really well-marinated. Don’t forget the peanut sauce and the super spicy chili sauce as they were DELISH and fantastic flavor boosters.

Why I love street food best: CHEAP + (often) YUMMY (or, yummiest)

Ending the post with more visuals for you 🙂

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img_548517th Sept – 20th Sept 2016; officially advanced open water certified divers with our instructor Sarah 🙂 I can’t wait for my next dive already.

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