Take the fast boat from Panang Bai to this quaint little island off of Lombok. Anywhere you go in Bali, someone will try and sell you a boat ticket promising the ‘best price’ and ‘fastest boat.’ There is definitely no shortage in supply there. However, if the weather is really bad, they will shut down the whole operation for many days, if need be. We didn’t have any problems with this, but I did hear that a week earlier people were getting stuck. Each one-way boat ticket ended up costing 300,000 rp (30 USD). I know that you can get a much better deal round trip, but we wanted to fly out of Lombok instead.
Getting off the boat, we were greeted with various horse-drawn-buggies. I use the word horse lightly…they were more like hard working ponies. I felt bad for the animals, but the concept was still just so darn cute. There are no cars allowed on this island, so everyone catches a horse-drawn-buggy, rides a bicycle, or walks.
Gili T has something to offer everyone. If you come looking for good nightlife, there are definitely places to get your party on. If you are looing for some peace and quiet, you can find that as well. The vibe here is quite different from Bali…it’s very Jamaican. Everywhere you go, you will find reggae music playing. Most of the Indonesian males go for a Rastafarian look, right down to their fros and dred locks. Also, this is the only island in Indonesia that Marijuana is legal…how fitting.
What to do?
Scuba Diving- There is an abundance of diving companies on this island. We started with Trawangan Dive and ended up moving to Mango Dive after our first not-so-impressive dive experience. Mango Dive was a much better option for us. They were much more personal and organized. I can definitely recommend them as a great company for diving off this island.
Snorkeling- You can either pay for a boat transfer to a good snorkel area, or just go right off the beach for free (minus the nearly non-existent snorkel equipment rental fee).
Beach- always a great way to pass the time. The water is a wonderful temperature and there is no current or undertow.
Bicycle ride- rent a bike for dirt-cheap and cruise around the island.
Where to Stay?
We stayed in a place called Coral Beach II Bungalows, not to be confused with Coral Beach Bungalows (they ran out of names?). We actually tried to move after the first night, due to loud music keeping us up past midnight (yep we’re getting old), but quickly reconsidered after realizing the prices. For our accommodation, we payed 450,000 rp (45 USD), which seemed like a bit much for what it was. However, we soon realized that all the prices there were significantly higher than they were back in Bali…I guess that’s small island life for ya. The cheapest of options seemed to be about 450,000rp. If you plan on diving, you can get a discount with the dive-accommodation packages…so definitely keep a lookout for that!