Thursday, 21 March 2019

Indonesia: visiting Gili T in your thirties

Ask any backpacker doing the SE Asia route, and Gili T will be on their list.

Gili Trawangan, or Gili T - a small island off the coast of Lombok - is without a doubt the party island of Indonesia. So going here in my late twenties / early thirties, I was a bit apprehensive as to what I might find. Back in 2011 I saw it for the first time and as a twenty three year old, I thought I had found ~the one~. But now, all night partying til the early hours is not my thing. Who am I kidding, it sounds like some kind of hell!

And in the years that passed between my visits, Gili T had boomed. Hostels, hotels, restaurants, even clubs... it wasn't the most serene of places back then, but now even less so. 

That said, we did enjoy our time on the island. In hindsight we should have visited Gili Air, but at the tail end of our six months travelling round SE Asia we were pretty skint and Gili T definitely offered a more affordable experience. 

How we got there
We arrived by boat from Lombok - I don't actually remember much about this trip, but I think we went over on a locals boat as it is such a short journey! We bought our ticket from one of the shops on the main drag in Kuta, Lombok and a minivan collected us from our accommodation and took us to the port. Pretty standard stuff!

Where we stayed
We really lucked out here and got a beaut bungalow at Gili Breeze for £27 a night - our own private bungalow with big double bed, semi-outdoor bathroom and a decked patio to enjoy our breakfast on. When we visited Gili Breeze had just opened, but I can see now they have an outdoor pool and jazzy reception area - it looks even more blissful than when we were there! Location wise it was perfect for us; just back from the main road and in a slightly quieter part of the island, but just a short walk from the beach and bars/restaurants.

What we did
The short answer to this is... not much! As I mentioned earlier, this was right at the end of our six month trip and we really wanted to chill out as much as possible before we had to return to reality. And chill, we did!

One morning we walked round the island - despite being the largest of the three Gili islands, the circumference of Gili T is just 6km. It only took a couple of hours, including a drink stop half way. There are a handful of cliche photo opportunities en route; swings looking out to sea and the like. 

Where we ate / drank

Night market - a Gili T institution and well worth a visit. We ate her two of our three nights as it was cheap and has a great atmosphere! (TripAdvisor)

Eagle dive - a great spot off the beaten track for chilling out on a sun lounger with a steady flow of drinks. 

Manta dive - good sarnies and chill spot. We also ended up drinking here one evening until the early hours - and subsequently losing our credit card. A good night, indeed! (TripAdvisor)

Kafe Kecil - we stopped here for drinks a couple of times, but apparently it also does good pizza. It's also opposite the cutest shop. (TripAdvisor)

Little Italy - a hidden spot we stopped at for ice cream and a drink mid-afternoon. (TripAdvisor)

Pesona - beautiful curry and sheesha lounge. Every time we walked past this place was packed so we were chuffed to get a spot on our last evening. The dahl was fab! (TripAdvisor)

Kayu Cafe - a picture perfect spot for a coffee whilst waiting for our boat to leave the island (sob!). (TripAdvisor)


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