The Gili islands are a chain of three islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) off the North Western coast of Lombok, the next island to the east of Bali. They are reached from several ports in Bali and Lombok and we crossed over from Padang Bali for a three night trip. The speedboat is pretty rough, so if you’re prone to sickness, take a tablet! Fortunately for me, I was fine!
We’d booked into Broken Compass Hostel on Gili Trawangan, the most lively of the three islands, which could not come more highly recommended. It was recently forbidden for hostels to have more than four beds per room on Gili Trawangan so the rooms are pretty spacious and we settled in and had a wander about the seafront. The island is so small that you can cycle around it in about an hour.
There’s a great backpacker party scene on Gili T, so our evenings were all spent drinking either at our Hostel or Gili Castle (which has a 6m climbing wall which is worth a go on) then heading to the bars on the waterfront for some good old fashioned boozing, making new friends and generally being irresponsible. The days were spent chilling on the beach and on snorkel tours. The first day was over the other side of the island at Malibu Beach Club, enjoying the beach and taking the obligatory photos on the swings in the sea, before watching the sunset, beer in hand.
The second day we headed off on a snorkel trip on a pretty ramshackle glass bottomed (read, window from a house glued to the bottom) boat which took us over to Gili Meno to go sea turtle spotting. We did eventually find a loggerhead turtle moseying about and followed him for a while before he headed for deeper water where we couldn’t follow. We came back to a great dinner at the night market before getting torrentially soaked by rain (a feature of Indonesia it seems).
After a pretty chilled couple of days, we bid farewell to Gili and headed back to Seminyak on Christmas Eve, on a fortunately much smoother boat!
Broken Compass – two pools, bar, fantastic staff, pretty chilled vibe. Private bungalows next door under the same management.
Gili Castle – more of a party vibe, climbing wall and pool.
Night market – Grab a couple of BBQ skewers and a selection of salads for a few dollars and pig out.
Jungle Bar – cheap drinks and everyone will be dancing on the tables by 11pm
Malibu Beach Club – have a classy beer watching the sunset from a bean bag before you get debauched the rest of the night.
Snorkel tour – get out on a dodgy boat
Obligatory swing photo – on the sunset side of the island are plenty of swings to get that oh so perfect instagram photo.
Chill – you’re on a tropical island with no cars. Stafford says relax