GILI TRAWANGAN, MENO & AIR
Gili Islands Info
Arcing away from the northwest corner of Lombok. The Gili Islands are three idyllic atolls where the sand is still powdery white. The water a clear sparkling turquoise. And the sunsets over Bali’s Agung in the west simply spectacular.
Home to the largest Irish bar on the smallest island in the world. An authentic Japanese sushi restaurant, 3 turtle hatcheries. Ominous sounding dive sites like ‘Shark Point’ and miles and miles of white sandy beaches.
Getting there is now very easy with many options to suit all visitors and and whichever way you choose. You will be guaranteed to see some of Bali and Lombok’s breathtaking scenery.
There are many things to keep you busy or relaxed depending on your circumstances. Gili Trawangan is the most developed and has many top restaurants at the bottom of the main strip. Also a local Night Market that serves food near the jetty for extremely cheap prices.
There is entertainment from live music in the bigger resort hotels, or Reggae at Sama Sama bar every night.
Parties are on at a different bar most nights of the week. The most popular being Monday @ Blue Marlin, Wednesday @ Tir Na Nog, and Friday @ the new Rudy’s. These go on until the wee hours in the very early morning. Full moon parties start late and are on Trawangan and Air and usually go on well past sunrise.
There is a Turtle Sanctuary, Mini Golf, restaurants, bars. Quiet beaches to relax, sun bathing, swimming. Snorkeling, Freediving, Scuba diving, picnics, romantic dinners. Day trips to the mainland, boat trips to Komodo island, a zip slide. And all the usual water sports like banana boat Jet ski, ETC.
– Eco Projects in gili
The Gili Island Dive Association (GIDA) was established. In order to collectively work to maintain standards of safety and diving service on Gili Trawangan. Members meet regularly to discuss and create rules of standards. That must be met in order to keep the diving on Gili safe and enjoyable. All members must meet these standards and work together to resolve problems and help in times of stress.
GIDA members collect a contribution from all divers to be utilized by the Gili Eco Trust in reef conservation, restoration and protection. It is highly recommended that all divers visiting the Gili Islands only dive with centers and resorts. That are members of this organization.
– No motorized transport
Fortunately all three Gili Islands will not permit any type of motorized transport on them. Therefore rely on bicycles or horse and carts, locally known as ‘Cidomos’.
You can rent bicycles from any of the kiosks. Cost from around Rp10,000 an hour, or better value, ask for the daily rate.
Cidomos or horse carts are easily located all over the islands. But tend to hang around the harbor and busy spots. Arrangements can be made if you are staying in a more remote place on the island. For instance a late ride home… Haggling is the norm, and always agree a price before your journey.
Although originally discovered by backpackers in the mid eighties, and a reputation as a party destination. The Gili Islands now boast themselves as a great destination suitable for families of all ages.
Various new hotels and boutique bungalows now cater for children and offer good discounts, some have baby sitting services. And with lots of activities on the islands families are sure to enjoy their holidays to the full.
– Swimming and Snorkeling
Masks, fins and snorkels can be rented by the hour or day. From any of the dive shops or the kiosks in the street.
The best place for snorkeling and swimming is along the main beach areas in front of the hotels.
On Gili Trawangan the best place is a few hundred meters to the right from where boats pull in. This area is known as Goodheart.
Glass bottom boat snorkeling trips around the three islands are available and cost around 50,000rp per person. You can see all types of marine life just by snorkeling including the turtles. But please be careful not to touch the coral.
Note; Please don’t try to swim between the islands. As the currents in the channel can be unpredictable and very strong.
Please also DO NOT walk on the coral or touch any marine life whatsoever.
– Money matters
There is now 7 ATM machines on Gili Trawangan located at Hotel Vila Ombak. Blue Beach and next to the Blue Water fast boat office.
All the dive shops and bigger hotels accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards at a set 3% bank charge. Cash advances at 10% are available. In many places most of the time but all relies on a rather shaky phone connection.
Money changers will cash traveler’s checks and currency but at a lower reduced rate than on the mainland.
All three Gilis islands now have their own PLN electric generating stations. However due to the increased number of visitors the service is occasionally interrupted and when the power goes out.
IT GOES OUT
When the island is very busy sometimes the island’s generator cannot cope with the spike of usage. In the peak seasons this can be put under strain particularly late afternoon and early evening.
A number of businesses have their own generators such as the larger hotels and restaurants. Dive centers and mid range hotels so as to avoid the problem. And usually power cuts or ‘mati lampu’ only last a few hours. But occasionally can last a few days.
There are a number of internet cafes. Situated all along the main strip on all three islands. Although now on Trawangan it is very easy to get Wi-fi in almost all places. It may not be a very stable connection. But Gili Trawangan has the best, Gili Meno in the harbour area and at the Ozzy shop on Gili Air. All charge approximately the same, (around Rp400 per minute) although all operate at different speeds.
For telephone calls the best place to use is the Wartels. All islands have one, on Trawangan, it is located next to the art market. On Gili Meno in the village and on Gili Air near the harbour behind Villa Karang.
– Crime, safety and health
Generally there is very little crime on the islands, however no where is 100% free. As with any where in the world you travel its best to leave your valuables in your room. And ideally in your hotel safe. If you do have any problems on the island report them to the Head of the Island (Kepala Desa) at the Satgas office.
There are small basic clinics on all the islands that can deal with minor problems. There is now a Doctor on call 24 hours at Villa Ombak on Trawangan, where they have a small pharmacy also. And now a dentist near the harbor.
For any serious injuries or illness there is the main hospital in Mataram, Lombok or Bali. Has some very well equipped international hospitals like SILOAM.
– The Wallace line
Alfred Russel Wallace, the so-called father of animal geography. Formulated his ideas on evolution by natural selection while observing and collecting wildlife in the islands of Southeast Asia. He was particularly impressed by the sudden difference in bird families he encountered. When he sailed some twenty miles east of the island of Bali and landed on Lombok.
On Bali the birds were clearly related to those of the larger islands of Java and Sumatra and mainland Malaysia. On Lombok the birds were clearly related to those of New Guinea and Australia.
He marked the channel between Bali and Lombok as the divide between two great zoo-geographic regions. The Oriental and Australian.
In his honor this dividing line, which extends northward between Borneo and Sulawesi. It’s still referred to today as Wallace’s Line. The very first island of the Australian region is Gili Trawangan.
Paradise Islands Travel
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www.Lembongan-Hotels.com – bungalow rooms, hotel accommodation and villas.