Gili Trawangan - Island escape

The Gili Islands are a group of 3 tiny islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air – in Indonesia, near the coast of northwest Lombok Island and very close to Bali - very I am located right now.

Decision was made - I am visiting Gili Trawangan. That is the biggest island out group of Gilis. Before my arrival I heard rumours here that after the earthquake there is nothing to do and that there is really no good reason to visit it. But stubborn as I am, I decided to have a look at it anyways and see it on my own. And just so you know - it was completely worth it!


Small warning; there are NO cars or motor bikes on the island, be ready for biking in the sand, because there are no regular asphalt roads - being in shape helps a lot, oh let me not forget about electrical ones, but haven’t seen them a lot. Other option to choose is going around with a horse carriage. These are the only options you have. For choosing the last one, you can bargain for the price. But if you ask me, try to ride a bike - I feel sorry for those cute little ponies to carry around all this heavy people and luggage. There are many places where you can rent a bike, sometimes they can be provided when renting a villa as well. 

There is so many activities on the island and I am pretty sure you can find something for yourself. When walking around you will get all sorts of offers from locals and get informed fast about all the possibilities. “Scuba diving, boat trip, mushrooms, party boat, mushrooms (again), all sorts of water sports, yoga…”. I was spending 3 days on the island and to be honest I could stay longer. 

where to stay in gili trawangan?

hotels and villas on gili island

First day I was staying at Coco Cabana Resort - amazing spot, great part is made out of bamboos. I felt like I was in a fairytale. Very cosy with a typical Indonesian interior, very helpful staff and a big pool whenever you feel the need to cool off! Breakfast was delivered right into my room, eating on a balcony with a view of a palm trees - what more can you ask for? 

magic mushrooms in indonesia / gili trawangan

I am pretty sure a lot of you heard about magical mushrooms growing on Gili islands. While walking around, a funny local guy asks you if you want some “magic mushrooms”?  You don’t know what to think.  Aren’t drugs extremely illegal in Indonesia runs through my head. The answer is yes, you really don’t want to be messing around with drugs during your visit in this beautiful country. Gili Islands in Indonesia are a strange safe haven for magic mushroom use.  There’s not really a police presence here, and I’ve never heard of anyone getting arrested for drug use while on Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, or Gili Air.  - Magic Mushrooms are NOT legal in Indonesia, but that’s what makes the Gili Islands so different.  When you come here, these rules don’t really apply. It is up to you, what you decide. Just make sure you read all about it before deciding what to do.


scuba diving in gili trawangan

compass divers gili

o instead of mushrooms I have decided to go scuba diving, quite enough of a adrenalin for me. My biggest wish was to see turtles under the water and as I heard there are many around Gili’s. It is hard to decide which scuba diving company to choose and my choice was Compass Divers Gili and I really do not regret it. Very professional team with a great energy. First we had some lesions in the pool to learn the basics and to get to know all the safety instructions. After all of the infos provided to us, I was eager about going into the water.

Like I said my biggest wish was to see turtles and just at the same second that I got into the water, there was the first one. My heart was full of joy! That was just a beginning of the experience . Under water everything is so different. Your breathing is more calm, your thoughts are more clear and the world is surreal.. I was blown away. The other thing that was great was, they have an amazing photographer with a high quality equipment - great pictures guaranteed! 

In the beginning it was very hard to control your moves under water, it feels like you have no control at all - so it is very important to follow the rules and to be careful about the pressure and to communicate with instructors. No, I didn’t mean verbally of corse :D  There are certain signs to use so you can understand each other.  I had some issues with the pressure but I am ignoring that, because this is just waaaay too beautiful not to do it again!  And can’t wait for it!

gili trawangan after earthquake

While exploring the island you can notice there are really many buildings ruined from the earthquake, some people lost their homes and jobs and had to rebuild everything from scratch, so don’t be surprise to see a lot of it under construction, including roads and buildings. We can help them increase the economy by visiting this beautiful island where you can just press the reset button, reconnect with nature, because everything is so calm and easy. I could describe this island as an island of contrast as well. At one point you can see locals living in the small houses together with all the animals, chickens walking around, goats and cows on the road and on the other side there are beautiful luxury villas and beach clubs. I personally think it it’s good to experience contrasts like that, it gives you a lot to think about.

villa insana - gili trawengan island

The rest of my trip I was staying in Villa Insana. Well this is really another level of home stay. Very modern, still made a lot out of wood, heavy industrial wood, which is my favourite btw, beautiful interior, staff 24/7, pool, big screen TV, great kitchen - in case you like to cook, not my cup of tea but anyways :D, amazing breakfast  and this list could go on and on and on. I am crazy about good food, why am I bringing this up? Because the villa is partnerd with a restaurant BanyanTree and you can order anything from their menu as well or just visit them! It is a vegan place, but trust me even my friends who are not vegans were enjoying the food to the fullest. I need to promote vegan/vegetarian life more often. There are verity of  options people don’t even know about and it really tastes delicious. 

Villa Insana is a perfect place to stay, especially if you are not planning to move around a lot. This villa has all you need, there is no need to even go out, but it would be a shame not to. 

In the end let me say something about the transportation from Bali to Gili’s and back.  Maybe you already know but traffic is terrible in Bali. If it is possible just use a motor bike, because otherwise you are just stuck in traffic all the time. I am staying in Seminyak in Bali and this time there was no other option but to use a shuttle to the fairy. It took me cca 2 hours to get to the harbour and then another 2 to get to the Gili Trawengan. It costs cca 450k IDR including shuttle and a fairy to Gili’s, both ways. Prices are negotiable, don’t settle for the first price they offer you. Sometimes owners of villas and hotels on Gili’s can help you out with drivers, because they do have a lot of connections with locals. 

Well my mission was to see the turtles and what can I say - mission accomplished! Next time I will visit the rest of the Gili’s and let you know all about it. 

Till next time…