When we got off the boat at Gili Trawangan I looked at Jody and said 'Are you f*cking kidding me?'. What we thought was going to be an island paradise turned out to be full of drunk kids on gap yahs, people trying to sell you shit and a littered, coral filled beach that didn't look particularly inviting.
After 15 minutes of walking round I regretted everything I said and took it all back and hoped that the island would forgive me.
Gili Trawangan is technically part of Lombok and lies 35km West of Bali. To get there you have to drive around an hour to Padang Bai (that's from Seminyak or Kuta) then take a 45-60 minute fast boat to the island. This can cost anywhere between 600,000 - 1,200,000 IDR ($60-120) return but shop around - We got ours from a waiter who acted as an agent for a tour company for 650,000 IDR each.
We were picked up by the tour company at 6.30 am (Did I mention the tour companies tend to pick you up from your hotel?) and it took around an hour to get to the bay (not including the time we sat outside a hotel waiting for some other travellers to wake up). As a sufferer of sea sickness the hour long journey was ok - Let's just say I didn't throw up but by the time we got there I was ready to get off.
As explained previously, don't be fooled by the scruffy harbour!
Gili Trawangan is similar to Bali - Plenty of stalls with people wanting to sell you stuff BUT it's not quite as manic as Bali. Oh and there is hardly any haggling. There are no cars either - You have the choice of walking, cycling or going by horse and cart. It only takes two and a half hours to walk the island so we didn't bother renting anything as we were only there for 2 days, one night.
The island is a compete mixed bag of crazy backpackers, couples and families and there is something to do for everyone. Budget hostels, mid range hotels and luxury villas, the choice is yours.
As for things to do? Explore the stalls, coo over the baby turtles at the sanctuary, eat at one of the delicious restaurants, snorkel and dive the reefs, get a boat over to Gili Air and Gili Meno (the quieter sisters of Gili T) or party at one of the many bars.
All I say is don't let the hordes of backpackers put you off, Gili Trawangan is worth the visit. It's pretty easy to find your own slice of paradise there. you just have to be patient. Walk around the island (away from the harbour) and the shops, hotels and bars start to thin out - Eventually you will find a blissful haven where you can tan in peace.
We spent 2 days and one night on Gili Trawangan and didn't want to leave. We already have plans to go back at Christmas (fingers crossed) and explore the other Gili islands.
Have any of you been to Gili T? What are your thoughts? I know it's a love it or hate it kinda place!