ISLAND HOPPING TO GILI TRAWANGAN, LOMBOK

SUNSET ON GILI TRAWANGAN

ISLAND HOPPING TO GILI TRAWANGAN, LOMBOK
DATE:5-7 SEPTEMBER 2016

Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are three smaller islands located off the west coast of Lombok.

The speed boat ride from the jetty in Lombok took about 10 minutes. On Gili Trawangan there is no motorised vehicle. People get around on foot, bicycle or horse cart. We needed two horse carts to take us to our hotel which was 1.2 km away.

ABOVE: HORSE CARTS ON GILI TRAWANGAN

I knew Nik had booked a villa for our stay on Gili, but had thought it belongs to a hotel. Baruna Villas turned out to be a private property consisting of two large houses with a swimming pool in between. “Our villa” has two spacious bedrooms on the ground floor and another one on the upper floor. Two house keepers cum butler stay in the room next to the kitchen. Hanif went straight to the swimming pool for a swim and the others except their Papa joined in, too. Joanna, Baruna Villas’ manager introduced herself soon after I came out of the swimming pool. We chatted briefly.

ABOVE: BARUNA VILLA

Gili Trawangan’s main street is narrow with restaurants on the waterfront side and accommodation and shops on the other side of the street. Horse carts and bicycles going in both directions and pedestrians share the dusty dirt road. The restaurants offer both local and international cuisines. Tour operators offering boat hire, snorkelling and scuba activities are plenty. You might like to compare prices to get the best deal. The tourists we came across were mainly young Caucasians. The central area that stretches 1 km to the left and right of the main jetty is a busy and very popular, the happening part of Gili Trawangan, I’d say.

STREET SCENE-GILI TRAWANGAN

STREET SCENE-GILI TRAWANGAN

On Monday morning, Nordin, the housekeeper and his two colleagues prepared our breakfast. We were served fresh fruit juices, scrambled eggs and toasts. The previous evening Nik had paid a small deposit for our snorkelling trip. Having paid the remaining amount to make up a total of 1.1 million rupiah, we went to collect our life jackets, breathing apparatus and fins. We booked a private tour opting for a glass bottom boat.

COLLECTING OUR SNORKELLING GEAR

COLLECTING OUR SNORKELLING GEAR

The water was very clear, clean and serene. At our first stop all the boys jumped into the sea led by our skipper. This site is well known for turtle sighting. Nik remained on the boat happy to make video recordings of his sons. I wanted to get into the water, but was contemplating. The five youths stayed in the water for some time. The twins felt a bit sick after the first session. Hilmi had a throat infection and both of them were not comfortable with the face masks. At the second site, I decided to go into the water but stayed close to the boat, holding on to the ladder. I, too, was not at ease with the mask. I saw some small blue fishes, black ones, corals and a jellyfish. Hanif felt better after he barfed and his twin did, too a short while later. Our children love the water and enjoy snorkelling, however they do not get the chance to do it very often. All in all we went to three sites near Gili Meno and Gili Air. Each son made a dive under the boat to have a photograph or video taken through the glass floor. According to Hazmi and the twins, there were more fishes in Pulau Payar (near Langkawi), a popular snorkelling site in northern Malaysia.

CRYSTAL CLEAR WATER AROUND THE GILI ISLANDS

CRYSTAL CLEAR WATER AROUND THE GILI ISLANDS

ABOVE: SNORKELLING FUN

CYCLING TOUR OF GILI

READY TO GO ON THE BICYCLES

READY TO GO ON THE BICYCLES

Later in the late afternoon we hired bicycles and went for a ride around the island (Gili Trawangan). It is cheaper to hire a bicycle for a day than by the hour. From the main road near Baruna Villa, the “happening” part of the island stretched may be 2 km. Along the way we made several stops, not because we were exhausted, but they were “Pokemon stops”. All my boys were caught up with the Pokemon Go game craze and they were making good of their leisure time. The track along the perimeter of the island is about 6.8 km according to Hilmi. We completed the whole track in about 1.5 hours. Other than the Pokemon stops, we also had a long tea break. All along the road there were various kinds of accommodation from star-rated hotels to back packers’ lodgings, bars and food stalls. ABOVE: ROUND THE ISLAND ON BICYCLES

Some stretches of the road were sandy and we had to get off and pushed our bikes. Otherwise it was an easy track.

ABOVE: PHOTO STOPS ALONG THE WAY

BIKING VIDEO :

Food in Lombok was definitely better and cheaper than in Gili. I am not sure what brings people to Gili. Perhaps Gili Trawangan is attractive for the younger people for the variety of options available. There is the lively night life, fun-filled day activities or one can simply opt for a quiet retreat by the beach or at the hotel. For the Europeans, Asian destinations are definitely very affordable.

Nik and myself find Baruna Villa an ideal place for our family vacation. As each family member grows older, the children move out and carry on with their adult lives. While Nik and myself on the other hand, age gracefully, going for a family holiday with our sons is indeed a rare and treasured opportunity. It is filled with moments to cherish.

BGT PHOTO GALLERY

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