I spent a few days in Gili Trawangwan last November. It’s part of a small chain of islands, and while I was planning the trip, most blogs and YouTube videos said they were a must-see. I booked a cool looking AirBnB and said, “What the hell, why not?”
It was a bit of a process to get to the fast boat from Ubud, because of a small miscommunication hiccup. I had a really nice taxi driver that booked it to get us there. The fast boat was actually a fun ride. There was a movie showing below the deck, but we went up top to watch the scenery instead. I swear, the sun was on a new level in Indonesia.
When I got to the island, the Namaz Prayers were playing over loudspeakers. I’m pretty sure the majority of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, so there’s praying five times a day toward Mecca. I walked through the back alley ways and dirt roads absolutely lost trying to find our AirBnB. It was like being in a different world.
First observation once I got used to the loudspeakers? The roads weren’t asphalt. Next observation? No cars. Third observation? Watch out for the horse drawn carriages. They had bells attached to them, and I could always hear the hooves before they were anywhere close to us, but damn they were fast.
Our AirBnB was pretty sweet. It was this little hut, bungalow thing that had an outdoor shower. It also came with a furry friend. I named him Luca, and he helped with breakfast every morning. I’m not a milk drinker, so I was only too happy to share with him.
I biked or walked everywhere. There were a ton of bars, restaurants, and clubs right next to where the fast boat dropped us off. I think I walked maybe a mile or two that first afternoon just to see what I could see. I got some burgers and took in our surroundings.
One things that was hilarious? There were signs everywhere saying “magic mushrooms”. I’m not exaggerating, just about every bar offered them in shakes or just by themselves. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen that before.
I did end up at a bar one night where I met the coolest people. Two were from Spain, another couple was from the U.K., and then there were two more guys from Texas and somewhere else. We all sat together, drank, and traded traveling stories. The bar owner came a chilled with us, too. We ended up on the beach looking at all the constellations. There were more stars than I’ve ever seen, because there was barely any light pollution.
I had such a wonderful time there. I actually ended up watching DeadPool 2 on the beach one night. I also heard the most amazing singer one night, and went dancing. I did have the unfortunate experience of having fake wine. It was gross. I guess if you don’t see the bartender open the bottle of wine, you’re not supposed to drink it. There’s some issue there with fake alcohol that I don’t really understand. But I do know what a Cabernet Sauvignon is supposed to take like… that was not it. The only properties it shared with wine, was well, the fact that it was red.
The islands had kind of recovered from a huge earthquake before we got there. There were very few street lights unless you’re were near a resort or by bars and restaurants. Turns out riding bikes at night with only an iPhone to light the way is kind of thrilling, but I know the people that live there need power. I really hope the community is doing better by now. I was a little sad to get on the fast boat back to Ubud, because it seemed like the weekend flew by. It was so much fun!