White sand beaches with turquoise waters? Check. Sexy party scene? Check. Amazing views to go clickety-click? Check. Opportunities to foodgasm? Check. Check. Check. With these things in mind, I hopped onto the maiden Air Asia flight to Malaysia for my honeymoon that took me halfway to an exotic destination that none of my friends had heard of - Gili Trawangan.
The Journey Begins
When I first saw the Gili Islands, they looked straight out of a fantasy movie with the azure waters of the Indian Ocean dotted with islands that look like little gems. Gili literally translates into little island. The Gili Islands are a sight to behold, whether it is from 35,000 feet or when you stroll on their beaches without a care in the world.
The islands are a group of 3 - Trawangan, Meno and Air. While there is no doubt about the beauty of the three, Trawangan has become more popular with the tourists due to more sightseeing opportunities and its vibrant nightlife with parties going on till 4 am. Majority of holidayers here are Australians, British, or Indonesians who have come island hopping from Bali or other islands that are famous cousins of Gili islands. Very few Indians can be spotted here and places are usually not that crowded which just goes to show that Gili still remains one of those non-commercialised, unexplored places where only vacationers who want to stay away from the typical crowded ‘beach holiday destinations’ like Andamans, Phuket, Mauritius, Maldives, or Jakarta venture to go.
So what did I do and what can you do once you land up there?
Do nothing. Yeah, absolutely nothing. You are there to holiday. Those endless selfie sessions can wait. Spend the day lazing around at the beach and enjoying the food. Many hotels organise entertainment programs for the guests in the evening including fire dance, movie screenings, etc. These aside, you can just grab a beer in one hand and laze on the beach, watching the picturesque sunset even as the buzzing nightlife of the island takes over from the serenity of the day.
Unlike other beach destinations, what's best about this place is its unbridled natural purity. There are no motorised vehicles on the island (ahhhh...peace at last!) and the only means of transport are horse carts or you can move around on bicycles.
Spend the next day having a sumptuous western or Indonesian breakfast as the coastal climate whips up your appetite into a frenzy. It is a good idea to have the breakfast buffet at your hotel while gazing at the cool morning view of the beach.