Lombok had recently gains its popularity among us Malaysians and I have listed down top 3 things to do in Gili Trawangan at Lombok. Their famous island Gili Trawangan is one of a prefer destination and regard as a MUST visit island destination. Among the 3 little island, Gili Trawangan which is the biggest among 3 of them and sits on top of the list where it is known for happening night life, food and resort. The other 2 known as Gili Air and Gili Meno which is more well know for folks that prefer quieter and not much activities. The resorts in those islands are prefect for honeymoon. This 3 island also now know as the hidden gem of Bali/ Lombok in Maldives version.
Oh well, what are the 3 things to do in Gili Trawangan?
During in the afternoon, its pretty quiet where all activities are focus on:
park yourself at the white sandy beach, sunbathing, enjoying the hot weather, coconut next to you and .. . .
Or like some others, read a book under a shady area or sit inside the crystal clear sea water. .
or biking around the island as it takes only less than 1 hour to take one huge round.
When comes to late evening where everyone is moving around again to find the perfect spot for sunset viewing. You need to cycle to the west coast of the island as there are alot of resort do offer bean bags, or other seaside bistro that offer perfect seating while you just sit there and enjoy the music.
As above is Hotel Ombak Sunset Resort which is well known for their famous sunset with bean bags and also Swing in the Sea.
I found my love for this seaside bar which is 3 minutes cycling before you reach Ombak Sunset Resort. If you coming from the south, then you will reach this place first.
spend two of my sunset over here, with its great service, and also in love with their DJ spinning, summer Jazz EDM kind of music.
Perfect sunset that overlook the volcano in Bali.
Transportation in the island:
To move around the island, there are only three ways as there are no vehicle permitted in this island.
1) by cycling (depends on your resort as both my accommodation provides free bicycle to their guest). Bicycle rental can be rent per day as cheap as 50,000 rupiah.
2) by foot, walking around if you stay around the dock, which is the most busiest and concentrated area.
3) by horse cart, which is their taxi for the island.
1) Diving & Snorkeling are the most common things for travelers to do here as they have have a very interesting underwater world.
By Snorkeling it is best advise to wake up as early as 7am to start do your snorkeling as I was told during that period, fish are the most active. I have seen tons of different fiesh and they are by a huge school of different fishes. I got to see a school of squid and a few turtles too. Do swim to the edge of the island where the area have different types of fishes as there is where the huge cliff of the island into the ocean where the locals called it ‘The Drop’. I did my snorkeling on the north east and let the current push me down to the dock area, then I walk up to the edge and head into the sea and do that. Repeat that a few rounds as you will get to see different things.
Do take your safety as the main caution, as the island have crazy sea current! [there is even a huge WARNING sign, do not attempt to swim across to another island even though you are a olympic swimmer!]
2) Island Hoping to different island for views and snorkeling is another thing to do.
3) Water Sports
When it hits night, the whole island on the east coast whereby the dock area is had turn 360 where all bars and restaurant came alive. Tons of seafood restaurant along the stretch, ranging from cheap (USD 10 per head) to expensive (USD 50 per head) restaurants.
The party in this island start as early as 9pm but ends around 12am or 1am (for weekend). Famous to the locals which is The Sama Sama Regge Bar or another one which is Tir Na Nong (Irish Pub)
Beer here is cheap, ranging from 15,000 (RM3) rupiah to 40,000 (RM15) for small bottle of beer Bintang and 30,000 (RM10) rupiah – 100,000 (RM30) rupiah for big bottle of Bintang.
To grab food here there are a few recommended ones, which is the Night Market that starts from 6pm Daily at the market square in front of the boat pier on Gili Trawangan. Few varieties of food you can get from here such as fresh fish, seafood, Sate of all kinds, different rice and noodle dishes, vegetables, grilled corn on the cob and much more.
Pretty well known in the market is their Nasi Campur, one that many peeps recommend is a stand near the entrance which is closest to the pier. Nasi Campur is a typical Indonesian rice dish with vegetables, eggs, some meat, tofu, peanuts and fried noodles.
I find that the Nasi Campur stall in the middle of the market offers much more varieties and the texture and colour do look more tempting compare to the rest. At other booths you should definitely try a their freash seafood, depending on their cathc of the day such as Red Snapper, which costs estimated about 100,000 rupiah (RM 33)
As for mine, I order their large skewers of squid, fish cubes, that and it serve complimentary rice, and 2 choices of vegetable. Loving it as this stall is at the first where most people recommended. Well marinated squid and fish and unpack their special chili sauce is perfect! this portion is 80,000 rupiah (RM27)
If you are a morning person and need some coffee, I was introduce by the local that Kayu Cafe serve one of the best coffee (which using Illy beans) and breakfast.
Their menu sure look do perfect and many variety to hunt for, from sandwiches, toasties, and healthy range. Their coffee is decent enough to cover your caffeine fix.
Next will be another location that I was introduce by the local and hotel operator is this place known as Roast House that serve one of the best food in the island which proclaim by a few people in this island, with another restaurant next to it (which is the same owner).
Serve one of the best roast chicken as to me they are decent enough, not too dry as the sauce do bring the taste down alittle on the seasoning. Do check them out. This outlet is located on the ally directly next to the famous night market.
I am a happy guy as right after my Mount Rinjani hike, I just need a resort to chill and rest and I found this perfect place that charge a very reasonable price at 600,000 rupiah (RM200) that have your own private pool.
Love the whole setting of the resort as it sits in the heart of the island, with this place known as Les Villas Ottalia which you can make your booking through AGODA. Standing by its own out from the wolf pack, with its natural surroundings high coconut tress, small plants all around with the local villages is just perfect.
This resort is 15-20 minutes walk or estimated 1.1km walk from the pier. One of the option you can take the horse taxi to come here. Best of all is that the hotel do provide complimentary bicycle to move around.
For the next 2 nights, then I move to Galway Bay Homestay which I book thru Airbnb. My room is decently big as it do comes with kitchen and 2 bottles of complimentary beer from the owner (David). The room is only price at 300,000 rupiah (RM100) per night.
Serve along with healthy breakfast and if you feel that you are still hungry, the owner is more than happy to serve you another portion. Their muesli and wild honey set breakfast is to kill for.
Love how he set his own mini community as every one in his place do know each other, as they have a mini gathering sessions at his another property at 5pm daily if you are keen to know more friends.
As I cycle around, other accommodation which I think pretty decent and worth to check it out is as below:
* Have to take horse cart
1) Villa Ombak
(West Coast – Sunset area : Resort )
1) Ombak Sunset Hotel
2) Aston Sunset Beach Resort
3) Coral Flora Villa Beach Front (if you have bigger budget)
Budget: (walking is from Dock)
1) Guava Garden (10 mins walk)
2) Green Banana Home-stay (5 minutes)
3) Jati Village
4) Aaliku (2 minutes walk), Galway Bay – 10 minutes walk & New Lumbungs (same owner and recommended)
**** Peak season starts from June – Sept – do make your booking before you head there as most of the accommodation are fully book!
There are 2 ways to head back to another island one which is Bali or another is Lombok (the main island) either by private speed boat or as below thru public boat transportation.
The difference which will be:
1) Private boat which will cost around 300,000 rupiah (RM100) to Lombok with estimated 10-15 minutes ride at a fix schedule
2) Public Boat which will cost around 15,000 rupiah (RM5) to Lombok with estimated 45 minutes boat ride at a non fix schedule. The boat will only depart if they can accumulate 45 public passenger.
Good bye Gili Trawangan, you are a lovely island and a recommended place for those who do not prefer too noisy yet still quiet at the same time. Well balance out.
hence these are my 3 Things to do in Gili Trawangan.
Estimated that I spend per pax for this trip in Gili for 4days 3 nights around RM 600 (including accommodation, meals and boat transfer only)
Next I will be sharing about Lombok and if you do hike, Mount Rinjani is a must.