The Beautiful Islands of Gili Trawangan, Pulau Gili Meno and Gili Air
Part 1 of a 3 part blog series
Off the north-west coast of Lombok Island in Indonesia are three small islands named Gili Trawanga, Pulau Gili Meno and Gili Air. Gili means “small island” as they are definitely small islands with very little development but great for sightseeing, snorkelling with the turtles and fish in the warm clear waters and having a few cold drinks while watching the world go by. Islands cater from backpackers to honeymooners just pick the right island and you will enjoy what they have to offer.
Part of our reason to go to the island of Lombok was to be able to venture out and see these three amazing islands and swim with the turtles. We love the beach and water so this definitely was an easy decision to make to go.
Getting to these islands is pretty easy. You can either go by speedboat, local fishing boat or take a car to the most northwestern tip and catch a boat from there. Depending on where you are staying in Lombok will depend on the travel time. To get anywhere in Lombok does take time so plan ahead. We recommend booking the day before or even earlier if you want to guarantee the day you want as it is a popular day trip from Lombok. Most hotels will have booking options and also lots of vendors along the roads and beaches selling their services. If you have time and they are close compare prices and options as they do vary.
We were staying at the Qunci Villas and we booked through them, they didn’t have any markup and they were using the local boats which were right next to Qunci.
The morning of the trip was just perfect as we found with all our days in Lombok, calm water, blue sky and a slight breeze. We started off with a lovely breakfast by the seafront (check out our other blog on Qunci Villas) then to reception to be taken to our boat.
We had a boat driver and a guide who could speak good English so on the way to the islands we were able to chat about life, the islands and living in Lombok. In all our travels we love to chat with the locals to understand their life.
Especially in areas that are not Westernised, it’s amazing how different life is and you get to really appreciate life and getting to know the local people and their customs.
Our first stop was Gili Trawanga, the largest and most developed of all three islands. Gili Trawanga is a very social island with plenty of bars and parties each night but you can head to isolated beaches on the island to get some quiet time before doing it all again the next night.
As we got closer the water got clearer and clearer and the colours were amazing you just wanted to dive in. The beach was white and sparkling but pretty busy as we were going into the main area.
There's a good variety of accommodation on Gili Trawanga, with some quality hostels, bungalows and homestays on the main strip on the eastern side of the island and a large choice of international restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, click HERE for accommodation options.
Cars are forbidden on all three Gilis, but Gili T's main strip can become quite congested with foot traffic, bicycles and horse-drawn carts.
Gili Trawanga it’s a bit like heading back in time, but The western side of the island is much quieter and occupied by high-end resorts. The southwestern point of the island offers sunset views, and the popular nightly food market on the eastern strip sells barbeque dinners.
If you are not into parting we still recommend to go and have a look with all the little shops and bars on the street and along the beach, apparently it’s the world’s cheapest and safest place to learn to dive. As we jumped off the boat we headed along the streets checking out the area, shops and trying some of the food and cold beers, life is pretty relaxed here.
After about 40 minutes of venturing around, we go back on the boat and headed out to the middle of Gili Trawangan and Pulau Gili Meno and went snorkelling, plenty of fish to see and some coral. They have dropped a manmade statue in the water for tourist to take photos etc. Which was great fun, though after talking to the guide the local Muslim community is not happy due to the fact the women figures are naked.
We, however, thought it was a fun spot and a great opportunity to get loads of fun underwater pics. Greg had loads of fun considering his swimming background, he could live in the water.
Check out our next blog (part 2) on Palau Gili Meno to see where our adventure took us next.
Until our next journey, talk soon Charlotte and Greg.
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