When I think of vacationing, less explored destinations allure me more as these destinations are less crowded and aloof. I prefer a road less travelled literally. One such location that falls into this criterion are Gili Islands, located just off the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Here one can find a group of three islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Among the three, Gili Trawangan is the largest one while Gili Air is the smallest. Generally people would visit either Bali or Jakarta as they are the popular destinations of Indonesia, but if you are a lover of unchartered destinations or wish to have a remote island experience then definitely Gili islands is the preferred travel destination.
Past many days I and my spouse were craving to go somewhere, so my love for the unknown drew us towards the Gili Islands. We started our journey to Lombok by boarding the airplane from Delhi to Malaysia and from Malaysia to Lombok Island. After reaching the beautiful island of Lombok we took a speed boat to our destination. Huge expanse of white sand beaches and coral reefs welcomed us.
We were then transported to our hotel, Ombak Sunset by a horse cart which charged us 50,000 rupiah (500 INR). We visited Gili in January, which is one of the best months to visit this place. Other favourable months are February, October and November.
Gili has no automobiles and motorized traffic; therefore travel is generally by foot, bicycle, bikes or by the horse drawn carriage known as cidomo. Gili has abundant marine life and beautiful coral formations. You can have one of the best diving and snorkeling experiences while in these islands.
Next day of our stay included visit to the beach. It was raining and felt awesome along with my partner. After spending some memorable moments at the beach, we went back to our hotel.
Then came the moment which we thoroughly enjoyed – our visit to the most iconic spots of Gili Island “The Datu Swing”. After spending some time, we both decided to let our hair down as dusk descended and so headed towards a club and danced all through the night. Gili Trawangan or Gili T is also good for party animals as it has a good party scene.
Next day we decided to explore the island throughout the day. After enjoying a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel we first went for sea paddling. It was a thrilling experience to paddle along with Manta rays (a fish variety) and sea turtles. Grabbing some good memories with us we went back to the land and witnessed there “Presean”, the Stick Fight tournament which is a customary combat between two randomly chosen fighters with sticks and shield. It was afternoon by then and we felt the need to relax for sometime and so decided to return back to our hotel.
After rejuvenating ourselves, we again went out in the evening to explore the local market. We saw there some local exotic fruits like mangosteen, rambutan (local lychees), dragon fruit etc. Our hunger pangs then drew us towards the restaurant where we were served Nasi Campur, which is a classic Indonesian rice dish that has an assortment of vegetables, eggs, little meat, tofu, peanuts and fried noodles.
After sufficiently satiating our appetites, we happily moved on to our next agenda, which was to join a good bar in the evening. Gili T has wonderful bars with good live music. We went to a famous bar called Sama Sama where we enjoyed brilliant live reggae music.
Next morning we were supposed to leave the wonderful place and head back towards the usual humdrum of our lives. That very thought obviously made us sad, but the memories of this spectacular island which we were going to carry back with us were just so wonderful that it somehow overpowered our gloom. Due to time constraints we had to cut short our visit this time, but we loved the place so much that we are sure to return for a longer vacation next time to further explore it to our contentment.
– Suparna De