Gili Trawangan – a complex island
Dozing off to the sound of the waves gently rolling against the beach, occasionally waking up to the sound of the horses with carriage passing by. Even though it sounds like the intro to “Jingle bells”, that is the only resemblance to Christmas. No cold snow here. The only white is the burning sand.
The only way to cool down is either by jumping (or more softly sliding) in the sea, or have a cold drink. I know, it sounds horrible…. 😉
Gili Trawangan is known to be the party island of the three Gili islands. Walking along the beach road, I can absolutely see why, but at the same time, it does not rule out the aspect of total relaxation. Yes, there are many places where you can party all night if that is what you are after, but many of the beach bars have a more chill ambiance.
To be honest, I was actually a little surprised that it did not feel more busy. But hey, I don’t complain, that was just perfect!
Staying at Casus Dream Hotel only a (strong) stone throw away from the beach, but yet in a quiet back street, was pleasant. They have a pool as well, but we never used it, so quite frankly, we might as well have stayed at Gili Breeze that was our other alternative. Or one of the many other places around.
All along the beach there are sun beds. Some are for the accommodation guests only, while others allow outside guests. Some charge a daily rent for the sunbed (typically 100′), others let you stay for free as long as you eat and drink there. We found the latter option to be the absolute best, and found our place at Villa Unggul.
Biking for sunset
To get the feel of the island, we rented bikes to explore. Our first goal was the “ring road” around the island, but there is also a network of roads crisscrossing the inner part. Plenty of places offer bikes for rent, and we went for the first (but not the best….), paid 50′ each for 24 hour rental, and got going. Most of the way along the sea is bikeable, except for a part of the north tip where you have to get off. The sun was still strong, so we figured it would be nice to have a beer break, cooling down in the shade at Coral Beach.
Time to get going again, pedalling onward, passing both fancy resorts and more down-to-earth relaxed places. Horses were passing, and goats were relaxing under the shade of the trees.
Arriving at Gili Sunset Bar, we decided to settle down on one of the platforms overlooking the ocean. They got me already by combining sunset and bar…
The water was calming down, nicely reflecting the still burning hot sun. My eyes found rest on the peaky volcanoes in the dimmed horizon.
As we found our peace there until the sun had set, we did the shortcut across the island on one of the smaller roads to get back before it was completely dark.
Social local dinner
“Central” is the local food market, and a perfect place for dinner. A few stalls were spread out, and made different types of food. After a look around, we decided on the BBQ place, and ordered different skewers to share. Along with that, we got to choose some side dishes. After ordering, we were told to come back after 15 minutes, so we sat down by one of the tables with a cooling beer, and started chatting with some locals. An experience of my taste!
After dinner there are several options, whether you prefer a relaxing massage, hanging around at the beach, time-out with a movie at the outdoor cinema, or step it up with a party. The choice is yours.