I don’t know how many posts I’ve started with “paradise on earth” but Gili T deserves this post. I’ve been really fortunate this past year to vis lots of beautiful “paradise” places. The latest visit to paradise was in the form of Gili Trawangan. Sara and I read reviews online and received recommendations to stay away from Gili T … it’s an island with a bunch of 18 year olds partying, dirty, and not that many beautiful beaches compared to Gili Air or Gili Meno. We were debating wether to skip Gilis all together (a $60 2 hr fast boat ride from Bali or 7 hour long trip for $12), we’ve seen lots of beautiful beaches in Thailand, why should we go see more, specially if neither of the Gili’s is better than the Thai islands based on the reviews?? We’re so glad we ignored all of that!
Gili T is one of the three tiny islands (commonly known as Gili Islands) on the north east of Lombok Island and 2 hours by fast boat East of Bali. Neither of the Gili islands is allowed to have motor vehicles and they’re all small enough that you can walk each island in no more than 2 hours. We were debating between which island to visit but decided on Gili T because we were told it was the island with the most sea turtles (even when you snorkel).
We arrive to Gili T around 10 am and disembark from our boat. Neither of the Gili Islands have a pier so the only way to disembark is by jumping off the boat onto the beach. You def. get wet and it was a great experience! =)
As we collect our backpack and start walking, we were approached by a mob of sellers trying to stay with them at their guesthouse. They showed us laminated photos and brochures of their guesthouses to try convince us they’re guesthouse is the best. It made me feel like I was in the middle of the Wall Street trading floor or a Sotheby’s auction. We opted to ignore them and kept walking. The reviews and people’s recommendations were becoming a reality. The beach wasn’t that great and the accommodation options were nothing special. We were about to give up looking for the perfect place when a joyful Canadian says: “You guys looking for a room?” At first, we’re unfriendly and say, “Yes … ” with a tone of “Don’t talk to us”. Being in SE Asia for 3 months have made us not trust anyone right away .. Luckily, she understood our hesitation and kept talking to us.
She advised us to go to the north of the island. The beach is beautiful and there are a few great value accommodations. After a 20 minute walk, we arrive to what became our home for the next 5 days, Windy Bungalows situated right on the north of Gili T overlooking turquoise water on a white sandy beach. We quickly learned this is also the best place to spot sea turtles and you can go snorkeling right off the beach. We found heaven!
The next five days included snorkeling, eating fresh grilled or fried fish, scuba diving, swimming, and drinking fresh fruit shakes. The “beaten path” in Gili T is def. not the best when you compare it to other beaches, but once you go outside this typical area, you’ll find gems!
If you ever go to Bali, DO NOT miss the north of Gili T … unless of course you’re reading this in 2025 and Gili T has become a new Kuta.
What’s your paradise? Leave a comment!