Gili Trawangan: Indonesia’s Party Island

Bintang on the Bintang


It was an exhausting trip to Gili Trawangan (commonly referred to as Gili T). We left at 1000 am and were told we would arrive around 0130 pm. After some initial delays the minivan didn’t leave on time. We drove and got to the harbour late and then waited for an hour and a half for a fast boat. When that wait was over the actual boat ride took a long while; first making stops at Lombok island and Gili Air island, finally we arrived around 0500 pm. We booked into a place called Wonderland Hostel. It seemed to have great reviews online but didn’t have much of an atmosphere when Pat and I were there. Though the first night was a blast, we spent hours jamming with some local guys and some other people celebrating the departure of two girls who had spent 3 weeks at the hostel. There were 2 acoustic guitars, an acoustic bass guitar and an empty water jug as a drum being played in melodic harmony. Those guys could jam to any song, it was a blast to sing, dance and play along.

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Similar to that of other Indonesian cities Gili T always had one bar that would turn into the hot spot around 1230 am. Usually it would become so packed there was barely any room to dance. Often we would just walk to the corner store to pick up some beer and would have a great time dancing on the street.
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We became island famous. People all over were singing the Bintang song. The catchy chorus ‘Bintang on the Bintang, Bintang on the Bintang’ was simple but made for easily freestyle rapping. Pat and I would always go to the same shop to pick up some Bintang beer. Any time of the day or night, we would get spotted by one of the guys working and would pick one up. The guys working at the shop worked most days and only have three or four days off per month. They were good people and would sing along with us.
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On a gorgeous sunny day we booked a snorkelling trip that stopped in three different locations and included the equipment rental for 100,000 IDR ($10 Canadian). We became friends with a few Canadians Marc and Leah. It was a ton of fun, we saw four or five massive sea turtles, a fish that was at least 4.5 feet long and group of big fish feeding on a school of small fish. There were fish everywhere, the vibrant colours of the fish and the ocean life were breathtaking.
Catching the sunset with some good friends (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
Catching the sunset with some good friends (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
We stopped for lunch on another of the Gili islands named Gili Air. On the ride back we were passed by a large fast boat and it created a wave that looked like a tsunami. Our glass bottom boat had already been leaking a small amount after hitting some coral earlier in the day. The wave was parallel to the boat, Pat had his hand just outside of the boat and it got soaked. We were inches away from taking in a serious amount of water. I was afraid for all of my photos and electronics because I didn’t take my dry sac bag. Thankfully it passed and we made it with no further issues.
Swinging life away during sunset (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
Swinging life away during sunset (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
Days went by easy during our time on the island. We switched from Wonderland hostel to another named Broken Compass, it was a better atmosphere for meeting people and had a pool. We had already paid for our stay at Gili Castle so we moved over there the following day. The party hostel on Indonesia’s party island. Seemed like a match made in heaven for us guys. There was a rock climbing wall built beside the pool so once you get to the top (or not all the way) you are able to jump into the pool. We met loads of good people here and ran into friends after friends who we met travelling in the previous cities in Indonesia.
The Bintang has become a staple of the trip with the boys. Pat and I decided to get a tattoo one day. We got the same star shaded similar to that of the Bintang beer star on the left calf. We went to Gili Tattoo near the night market and had to get it done that night at the tattoo artist was headed to Bali the next day. After walking down the street and trying to withdraw money from nine different ATMs we finally found a Mandiri bank machine that worked and had money. It cost 2,000,000 Indonesian rupees ($200 CAD). It was expensive and definitely not in my budget but looks good, so no regrets.
The tattoo artists from Gili Tattoo and the Bintang boys (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
The tattoo artists from Gili Tattoo and the Bintang boys (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
The beach was nice to lounge out on. We took bikes to the other side of the island for sunset with some friends. Nothing can beat sitting in hammocks and on swings taking it all in. The only worry in the world is deciding what I want to order for dinner. In the evenings after 0700 pm we would often head to the night market for dinner. It was cheap, local, quick and tasted great. You would pick everything that you want and they would tell you the price, usually $3-4 Canadian dollars for a big meal.
My favourite place to get dinner at the night market (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
My favourite place to get dinner at the night market (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
We spent our nights on Gili T partying. As we walked back from the sunset, Pat, Josh, Adi and a few other friends could hear the music from a bar. The bars are all built mostly outside, with two portions separated by the street, one on the ocean side with the other on the mainland side of the road. Where we stopped in the dance floor was built with sand. It didn’t have anyone on it. I cannot recollect what song was playing but it was catchy so we all headed out to the dance floor. Within minutes we had the whole place rocking, a bridal party had come out along with many other people smiling, laughing, dancing and sweating. It was a great night and fun way to spend the last one before splitting off from the guys.
The beauty of the sun setting never gets old (Gili T, Indonesia, 2016).
The beauty of the sun setting never gets old on Gili T (Indonesia, 2016).

After Chris and Pat left I got a nice private air conditioned room in a quiet place for one night to try to get some sleep as I was headed to Mount Rinjani in the morning to hike the volcano. It is higher than 3700 meters and is both challenging and stunning. It is a 3 day trek and should be a good way to detox from all of the partying.

2 thoughts on “Gili Trawangan: Indonesia’s Party Island

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