Gili Trawangan, Indonesia Jan04


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Gili Trawangan, Indonesia


The taxi we had reserved the previous evening picked us up bright and early at 8:30 AM. We bumped and jostled our way along the narrow road, picking up other passengers along the way. They deposited us at the building that housed the boat company. We paid up our $30 one-way fare, placed our packs among a pile of luggage waiting to get transferred to the boat by the porters, and waited until they were ready to set sail.

When the porters did start picking up the luggage, it was a little sobering to realize that they were almost all women! They took all the heavy luggage and carried it on their backs or heads. It was hard work and we felt really guilty about standing around and watching in spite of being able bodied. For the first time, the realization of how hard these people worked to make a living sunk in.

Before we got into the boat, we were asked to take off our shoes and toss them into a big bucket that was carried on to the boat after we all got on. We had to walk a few feet on pebbles in the water before climbing in. It was a very tiny boat with seats along both sides separated by an aisle. The seats were extremely cramped with not much leg room. I opted out and  elected to sit right in the back so that I could get some fresh air and have some space to stretch my legs. This meant that I was sitting right in front of the motor which was very loud but thankfully my earplug came to my rescue!

The boat sliced cleanly through the water as it made its way away from Bali and towards the islands. I had read some pretty terrible reviews before about how lots of people got seasick on these boats but luckily the water was very calm that morning. It was a really enjoyable little boat ride and we made it to to our destination in good time.

After the boat cast anchor at Gili Trawagan (luckily they stopped at island the first), we were asked to put on our shoes, climb out of the rear of the boat, and walk to the front along the edges of the boat while holding on to the railings. This was fun. When we reached the front, we had to jump off onto the beach.

A few other boats were moored in the same location. The boat staff started to sort out luggage and hand it off one by one to each of us.


One of the people from our next Air BnB place (yes, again!) was there to receive us. He informed us that no cars were allowed on the island, and the only means of transportation were horse carts and bicycles. He had arranged for two horse carts to take the five of us to our hotel. This was the first time in my life that I got to ride in a horse cart, so it was a most thrilling experience! We passed through what was a well trafficked tourist area to a more quiet, rural landscape. The horse trotted along on rutted roads, dodging potholes and other horse carts. After a while I felt sorry for it having to pull a cart full of five humans and our luggage. I wondered why they didn’t team up at least two horses to pull a load like that. I figure they must be a pretty expensive commodity on the island. :|


We arrived at our villa and were greeted with fresh watermelon juices. A welcome thing in what continued to be hot, muggy weather! We picked our rooms, unpacked, got some lunch and made for the beach. Oh yeah, we had our own private beach right on the sea. :) We lay on the deck chairs all afternoon before retiring to the air-conditioned goodness of our rooms. All of that first day was a lazy one. It must have been the heat!


In the evening, we walked to the tourist area and got to witness a brilliant sunset!

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The next day, some of the group went snorkeling and scuba diving. Alas, I couldn’t join them because I cannot swim and the scuba boat didn’t have a lifeguard or life jacket. :( I made a mental note to remedy this so that I’d never get caught out like this again. I was super jealous of their stories of all the amazing fish they saw in those pristine waters. We were reportedly in one of the best spots on the island to go snorkeling. You could even just walk out from our private beach into the water and snorkel with the free equipment from our hotel. The beach was full of dead coral though, which was really difficult to walk on and I gave up after walking on one painful rock after another.

Overall, I enjoyed Bali way more than Gilli. I understand that the other islands like Gili Air are more remote and less touristy, and I would possible have liked those better. I might try my luck on those some day.