IN GILI, getting a nice accommodation can be a tricky riddle.
You can never expect what awaits you when you place your bookings via online booking sites.
What's important is to stay focused on affordability. Off-the-beaten track
I have travelled quite a few times in the past and they were mainly backpacking excursions. View photos here: Gili Trawangan: A slice of heaven in the Sea of Bali
If you prefer less-touristy locations or off-the-beaten paths in Gili Trawangan, you could try the places my companion, Ain and I chose.
We chose Gili Inlader, a guest house tucked in the modest northern area of Gili Trawangan. The remote location offer privacy, the property itself offers top-rate service and an atmosphere free from pretension. READ PART 1: What no one tells you about Gili Trawangan
The first day of our stay was the beginning of our fun adventures. We found ourselves cycling in circles, thanks to our poor amateur navigation.
The property is located approximately 2.5km from the main road but for us that day, the distance seemed to have multiplied. Phew!
So, yes ... carry a map! No amount of you staring into your smart phones for the oh-so-reliable Waze to get you around the island can beat the reliability of a good ole' map.
Case in point: I purchased a local SIM card complete with Internet package. But, alas my phone coverage got weaker as we ventured further inland.
It was a real challenge, I must say. What's the worst that could happen, I asked myself?
Just then, Ain’s bicycle chain broke because of the gravel roads. What an adventure! Gili Inlader
We stayed at this little property which boasts four huts known as Gili Inlader.
The property features standalone wooden huts overlooking a tropical garden. The room is pretty basic yet it is cozy, clean and comfortable for you to chill. The staffs too, are friendly and courteous, you'd feel right at home once you check in.
We paid RP350,000 (RM104) per night and guests get to use the bicycles for free.
If you’re looking for a little hideaway in Gili Trawangan, this could well be the right place. You can even hear the geckos chirping or clicking at night. Don't worry as you'll get accustomed to it and you can be rest assured of a good night slumber. Les Villas Ottalia
On our last night, we checked into Les Villas Ottalia. It cost us RP 862,500 (RM258) per night. Yes, it was a tad expensive but we just needed to give ourselves a treat on our last day in this paradise.
The Les Villas Ottalia is a boutique villa surrounded by greenery -- a soothing place for relaxation. We particularly loved the location as it is strategically nestled in the middle part of island, away from all the hustle and bustle of the other activities on the island.
A slow stroll to the main area is highly recommended. Complemented by the lush visuals and interesting sounds, it is quite a sight to behold. If you prefer an alternative mode of transportation, the 2km journey on a bicycle can be pretty awesome too.
The only setback is the lowly-maintained bathroom. Ain and I were appalled to see so many cockroaches in our unit. It was a huge disappointment and not worth the high price tag.
We heaved a sigh of relief since we opted to stay there for only one night. Attractions and activities
Gili Trawangan is mostly about water activities.
Just as any other vacation islands, you'd find more activities to do than just snorkelling and diving. You can opt for the stand-up paddle boarding, water-skiing, wake-boarding, surfing, kayaking or parasailing - you name it. The list is endless so it is just up to you what you want to do.
Our first activity was snorkelling! I noticed water sports activities here are a dime a dozen. Our snorkeling package, inclusive of a gear and a mask only costs Rp100,000 (RM30).
We were told to stand by at 10.30am. Since my companion is a morning person (like yours truly), we got up at 8am for breakfast. Couldn't have gone on an empty stomach.
Our snorkelling session was slightly dreary. We were disappointed with the corals and did not catch a glimpse of a sea turtle as promised by the guide. Oh well ... perhaps it was not our lucky day. Nightlife in Gili Trawangan
The nightlife in Gili Trawangan knows no boundaries.
After our snorkelling trip, we spent the evening walking along Jalan Pantai Gili Trawangan, the main road of the island.
We stopped at Evolution, a bar which offers 'live' music. We were enamoured as it had a good mix of songs. And the crowd made up of multi-nationalities were sporting enough -- singing and dancing -- throughout the night.
We bummed into a couple of Malaysians. We also met Josh, an Indonesian who told us that the nightlife atmosphere on the island is a massive draw as different bars would host their respective parties every night.
This means, everyone would end up at the same place, at some point.
On our third day, we decided to chill and soak in the sun on the white sand beaches.
Nothing beats lying on the beach, sipping cold juices for relaxation.
Strolling around the island is a must-do activity.
On the fourth day, we cycled to the northern side of the island, exploring the nature before heading out to watch the sunset, which is another must-do item on your list!
Watching the sunset here is a spectacular experience.
We were overwhelmed when we found a swing in the middle of the ocean at Hotel Ombak Sunset. People literally, queue up here for a Kodak moment: Iit is almost customary to have a picture of you sitting or standing on the swing on Instagram or Facebook. An advice: The best spot is at Paradise Sunset Bar, so try to reach there before 5pm.
It will be the best 30-minutes of all sunsets you've ever experienced!
So, you fancy dining under the stars?
Fret not, as the island offers numerous restaurants with beautiful and romantic setups. Lovebirds and honeymooners, take note of the best romantic getaway specially catered for your loved ones. The final leg of our trip
Since we had ample time to venture into a massage parlour, we tried one before we bid adieu to GIli Trawangan. We were impressed. A nice aromatic full body massage for an hour, for as low as RM30?
I wouldn't miss this for the world.
The massage parlours here charge differently. You can get from as low as RM30 to RM90, for an hour of full body massage. If you’re looking for a nice ambience, go for the higher price, it is still worth it. Things I never thought would be useful in Gili
Personally, I think this is very important: Carry a torchlight or headlamps
, as there are no street lights in certain areas.
Get yourself a printed map.
Some areas in the island has poor phone signals and practically no Internet connection. Surprise, surprise!
Idyllic ... so, need I say more.
Gili Trawangan is much more than what I have read and heard about.
What caught my eye were the major differences between the inland of Gili Trawangan and its main centre of attractions.
As we moved further inside the island, the atmosphere became more laidback and serene. Wooden cottages, mosques and little shops and villagers milling about doing their daily routines -- were a delight to watch.
It was like stepping into another time zone!
In a nutshell, Gili Trawangan offers more than just an idyllic getaway.
Ain and I felt at home as the island offers a friendly vibe.
The locals -- young and adults -- were so accommodating and welcoming.
Gili Trawangan, you have been wonderful. As I concluded this final part of my Gili trip, I have started planning for a second visit there.
I shall return, dear Gili ...
* This is the second part and the final installment of the writer's Gili escapade. She has already planned to return there.
** She is also planning on a backpacking trip to another exotic island in the region.