Whether you are still at home waiting to start your holiday of a lifetime or have just stepped off the boat onto the golden sands of Gili T, you may be wondering, “What does this little bit of paradise have to offer?” Well, a whole lot – so there is no time to waste! We’ve put together the top ten activities to participate in whilst on this paradisiacal island of diving and dancing. Of course, we’re a bit partial to some pastimes. (Seriously, the diving is nothing like you’ve ever seen before!)
With over 60 dive shops on Gili T all selling diving at the exact same price (Gili Trawangan rules!), the array of options may seem a bit overwhelming. Well, at least you don’t have to worry about the money side of things? But the real value of this arrangement is that it allows each diver to choose a dive shop based on what kind of diving they enjoy, little unique extras each shop offers and the crew’s personality! So if you are a backpacker who enjoys some of the finer things in life (like chic, boutique accommodation at budget prices!), then Compass Divers is the shop for you! Being the newest dive shop on the island, opened in June 2017, everything is brand spanking new and of excellent quality, including the staff there! ;)
Ok so you may think that Bali is known for incredible yoga, but Gili Trawangan has a pretty significant yoga scene for such a small island. There’s also a unique way to ‘yoga’ here: looking high up on the North of the island while simultaneously looking into the sea. Now you can’t get any better than that, huh? Several free morning yoga sessions dot the island, and multiple companies offer yoga retreats on the quieter side of the island. Who wouldn’t want to spend a few days finding inner peace? Plus, watch out for the yoga program coming soon on our rooftop!
With a mix of local warungs offering Nasi Campur and Mie Goreng, you’ll find out very quickly how delicious the local Indonesian cuisine can be. The local night market on the main street is open from 6 pm every evening. There you’ll find Indonesian style rice, vegetables, tofu, peanut satay and the famous chilli sambal. You’re also in for a treat with the freshly caught seafood kebabs along with the original beef and chicken dishes! Want some western food? Well, you can find that too! Alongside big BBQ style restaurants and the nearby kebab shack for those late night munchies, Gili T has a great selection of food -no matter the occasion. And for those of you who aren’t meat eaters, the island has plenty of veggie/vegan options with specialities such as vegan ice cream and selections of raw vegan cakes!
Did you know that motorised vehicles are prohibited in the Gilis? It’s true, everyone either walks, cycles or gets a horse and cart to get around the island. Pretty cool, yeah? So grab yourself a bike! It’s the smartest choice to make as soon as you step on the island. These wheels are going to take you everywhere. From some of the most beautiful beaches to the tropical coconut trees in the centre of the island and beyond! If you feel up to it, which you definitely should cycle around the whole of the island beachfront. You’ll see how the island’s social landscape changes from party! party! to quiet chilled corners filled with yoga retreats and beautiful bungalows. If you find yourself racing your mates around the island, the 4.5-mile perimeter can take as little as 40 minutes. But if you want to stop off and see the sights, you can spend an entire day – even getting to catch the sunset as the finale.
Sunset and Sunrise
The Gilis are known for their beautiful sunrises and sunsets. With sunrises best seen from the South and the sunsets ideally viewed from the North, it is easy for you to pick a spot and go every day for either, or both! The beautiful setting for the sunrise starts around 6 am. Sit on the beach facing Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani and watch the sun come up over the beautiful mountains. Or for the sunset, head North (or as we call it – the Sunset Side) where quirky bars with bean bags and hammocks are ideally placed for your evening view. Grab a pina colada and maybe a nasi goreng as you watch the sunset over gorgeous Bali’s Mt. Agung. You will never be disappointed. Even if there are a few clouds, this will set the scenes for a very dramatic, pink sky!
Woah! How did partying show up so far down on the list?!! Well, that’s because there is a whole lot more to do on the island than party. But yeah, the party vibe on the island is pretty epic. Let’s be honest; if you tell anyone you’re going to Gili T, they will assume you’re taking a short vacay to dance, take vodka joss and party to your heart’s content. Enjoy house music parties on Mondays at Blue Marlin or Wednesday nights at the oldest bar and restaurant on the Island, Tir Na Nog aka The Irish! With amazing cocktails (hello, espresso martinis!) and a brilliant selection of music, the vodka joss (invented there!) will keep you dancing all night long. And, of course, you won’t want to forget Saturday nights at Sama Sama. If you’re into live reggae music, or just live music, get yourself down there – it’s a must do!!
After all the partying and cycling around the island, you’re going to need a rest. What better way to “rest” than to get a traditional Indonesian massage? Some techniques commonly found in Indonesian massage are skin rolling, which is grasping the skin between the fingers and thumbs and rolling the skin while moving the hands, using the fingers to pull up on the muscles quickly and release and cupping the hands while drumming them over the back of the legs and back. The Indo locals love to “crack” the neck, fingers and toes: the louder the sound, the more pleased they are. The Kecak dance serves as inspiration for Balinese massage technique. They’ll slide the elbow along the side of the spine while shaking the hand thus vibrating the back. It looks scary but is quite pleasant to experience. With the help of the lovely ladies all over the island offering a whole range of massages that come at an array of different prices, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Kayak/ Stand Up Paddleboard
Kayaking or stand up paddleboarding is a great way to get about on the sea. Take your snorkel and mask, available for hire alongside the kayak or board of your choice, and find yourself at Turtle Point duck diving with the fish. You may even get the perfect GoPro video of some local turtles. Not only can these activities take you to beautiful snorkel destinations around the island, not to mention the Instagrammable circle of statues near Gili Meno, but they are also a great form of exercise. Team up and get fit with your new friends who may be fitness enthusiasts, too. There is even such a thing as SUP yoga! Imagine getting home and telling your friends that you’re now the master of headstands on a paddleboard!
Beach Clean/ Turtle Conservation
Maybe while you are here, you may fancy giving something back to the island, or even something back to our planet, both on land and under the sea. Every Friday you can join a beach clean, guided by the Gili Eco Trust, situated up the road from the night market and almost opposite Compass Divers. Check out where they are planning to clean the beach that week and head over to receive a bag to collect trash and recyclables. The clean up begins an hour before sunset, and as the sun begins to set, we all head back to receive a free beer as everyone settles down to catch the sunset’s colours. Maybe a beach clean isn’t your thing, but the thought of cooing over baby turtles sounds great? Well, on the beachfront you can do just that. With the high amount of tourists who come to the island, it’s been found that protecting baby turtles for up to six months increases a turtle’s survival rate. And when they are bigger, stronger and more likely to survive, they are sent happily back into the sea.
Beach and Tan
Last, but certainly not least, what does everyone really go on vacation for?! The beaches and the envy-worthy golden tans! Fortunately, Gili T has plenty of beaches. In fact, the whole perimeter of the island is a beach, so take your pick. The only difficult decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to sit on a bean bag, hammock, swing or just the classic sunbed. Life can be hard sometimes. While we do experience afternoon showers from December to March, the sun makes regular appearances all year long. So whenever you decide to come over, you’ll be going home twice as dark and twice as happy!
So now all you have to think about is how you’re going to find time to fit in so many activities!? Well, we suggest a couple of days getting Open Water Certified diver at Compass Divers, a couple of days to relax and another day to split between a beach clean up and evening party! Sorted! It’ll be the best week of your life, and we cannot wait to see you here.