Illesteva sunglasses, Triangl bathing suit
Gili Trawangan is one of those places that’s hard to forget. The vibe is just so chilled. Unlike many of the Thai islands, it isn’t entirely taken over by tourists just looking for a party. People tend to go to the islands for a reason – to surf, dive, or do yoga, and it therefore tends to attract a really genuine crowd. Life on the island is easy. You never get bored because there are so many activities to do. The active culture has attracted some great vegan and organic restaurants such as Sayu Cafe, which outside of Indonesia I found pretty difficult to come across.
There aren’t any motorized vehicles on the island which is quite refreshing. It takes about an hour to walk from one end to the other and back, but I rented a bike to explore, beach hop, and watch the sunset by a reggae bar (incidentally called Sunset bar) in the evenings. The locals on Gili T especially are so friendly. They came out to the Irish Bar with us and genuinely just wanted to dance the night away and be our friends. One thing I noticed is most of the bars and diving centres are run by Europeans, Australians or New Zealanders, which is great because I became friends with people who knew the ins and outs of the island. I think that’s part of what makes this island special. Since it’s only recently inhabited most of the people that live there (if not foreigners) have come from Lombok in search of a job. The entire vibe of the island is quite young though, and the Indonesians manage to embrace that really well.
People always ask me if it’s scary to go somewhere solo, but the thing is when you travel alone, you actually end up meeting more people than you do if you’re with a group because you usually stick with that group. I guess being alone made me more approachable, and I got to be selfish in a way. I was more spontaneous, took more risks, and definitely got myself into unconventional situations (such as deciding to go to Cambodia the day I flew out which was never really on my itinerary). I’m not going to lie, not having to consider anyone in my decisions made things a lot more fluid and exciting. I learned a lot about myself too. It was pretty incredible. I’m lucky to have met people in Bali though that travelled through the rest of Indonesia with me, so I never really felt like I was travelling alone. In summary, I can’t say enough positive things about this experience and I would do it again in a second.