Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Ten things you should know before heading to Gili Trawangan

Since I got home from Indonesia in August all I've told people is that they HAVE to go to the Gili islands. A short boat ride from Bali, the island is full of life, adventure and fun and it's a must if you are in Indonesia.

1. You can barter down your boat fare.
We were having a few drinks at a restaurant in Seminyak when we got chatting with a waiter/travel agent. We mentioned Gili T and he said he would give us return transfers for 650,000 IDR each ($65 or 30 quid) instead of the usual 1,200,000 IDR fare. We saw people who paid more and people who paid less so you can always try your luck and haggle down.

We went with Semaya One cruise.

2. And the boat won't always be on time.
I was waiting on Gili Trawangan for two hours to catch the boat back to Bali - I won't complain thought, it wasn't exactly the worst two hours of my life!

3. Don't let the harbour fool you.
I thought the harbour was a bit messy and a bit of a let down but walk 10 minutes down the path and you are in Indonesian paradise.

4. Be very aware of Arak and mushie shakes.
Arak is an south east asian drink that comes from palm trees and tends to be really cheap. Don't be drawn to it by the price tag though as this stuff can be lethal due to uncontrolled amounts of alcohol. Also be aware of 'happy' shakes that are laced with magic mushrooms...No-one wants a medical emergency on a desert island.

5. There's a lot of sales people on the beach.
This can be annoying for some but Jody and I weren't really bothered. Just be polite and say no thanks and they tend to leave you alone. The guys we spoke too were really nice and loved trying out their cockney accents on us.

6. But in the proper shops they won't haggle
So on the mainland you can probably get those nice Ray Benz sunglasses for at $2-3 but they don't play that game on Gili T because where else are you gunna go? All the shops have the same kinda price so you can't try the whole 'it was cheaper next door' trick.

7. The island only takes 2-3 hours to walk around.
The island has 3 modes of transport: foot, bike or horse and cart. Unless you have loads of luggage, take a nice walk to your hotel because it really won't take long and that way you give a poor horse a break from taking you ten minutes down the road.

PS When you hear the horse and cart bells coming stand to the side because they don't stop for no-one.

8. There are locals on the island so be respectful. 
Although Gili Trawangan is a pretty commercial island now, there are still people who live there full time and have lived there for a while. Be respectful, don't be too loud around there homes and don't be a dick and make a mess on the roads and beaches.

9. The pharmacy is quite expensive.
Jody had to go to the pharmacy for some lip balm (he's obsessed and couldn't wait to get to the mainland) and ended up paying $25 bucks for a tub of Vaseline. He's crazy I know. Make sure you takes some bits and bobs with you to save you some money (Plasters, paracetamol, condoms, mosquito spray and the like).

10. You might not want to leave.
36 hours on Gili T wasn't enough for us and we found ourselves seriously considering staying another night despite the risk of missing our flight back to Perth. We heard some chicks saying they'd ended up staying there for two weeks instead of two nights so don't have too much of a fixed schedule.

Gili Trawangan truly is a beautiful place although the amount of young backpackers there may put some people off. If you can look past that you are bound to have a wicked time and go home with some pretty sweet memories.

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