Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Gili Trewangan


There is no pharmacy here so stock up on any basic medication beforehand. Also toiletries etc are much more expensive so again make sure you stock up.

As soon as we got off the boat people asked us if we wanted a room and we quickly explained that we would not pay more than 100,000IR per night. Many told us that we would not find a room that cheap and I eventually agreed to see a room in the village for 120,000IR that  included breakfast. The room was to the same sort of standard as what we had been used to but after our posh room at Nusa Lembongan for 100,000IR per night I was sure we could get better and or cheaper.

I looked around at the various home stays within the village and the cheapest place I found was 90,000IR including breakfast. The room wasn’t great but on my way back to meeting Ian I saw another room that was a lot nicer for 100,000IR, including breakfast which i reserved for the next few nights.

After finding Ian we returned to the village with our bags and I showed Ian the room. We both agreed to stay but when we went to lock the sliding patio doors they would slide wide open, even when locked! We told the owner and were told that it didn't matter because there was no crime on the island. We both disagreed with the owner; there was no way we would be stupid enough to leave our stuff in a room that didn't even have a door that closed!

Whilst eating dinner one evening I overheard a guy telling some friends that all of his valuables had been stolen from his room. So, please be aware that there is crime on the island despite what you may be told, not necessarily committed by the locals but more than likely by other tourists.

We decided to leave and reluctantly returned to the room for 90,000IR at a place called ‘Lucky Rooms’. When Ian went to use the bathroom he noticed that the previous guest had not flushed the toilet after having diarrhoea and it had also splattered all over the bottom of the toilet seat. The stench was almost unbearable and Ian had to chuck a bucket load of water down the toilet to flush it away.

We hired bicycles from our home stay for 30,000IR each and went on a long bike ride around the whole island. There is quite a busy stretch of beach here with sun loungers but there are also a few quieter spots, especially on sunset beach.

Sunset Beach 

After our bike ride we returned back to the room to freshen up but were met with a horrible, stale urine and faeces stench coming from the bathroom. After closer inspection we both came to the conclusion that the bathroom had never actually been cleaned! It was filthy dirty and even had cobwebs and dust on the tiles.

We ended up moving our stuff into the room next door and explained to the owner why we couldn’t stay in the other room, although I’m not sure she really understood. The other room wasn’t much better but at least it didn’t smell bad!

We ate our dinner at a local market as most of the restaurants were too expensive. The market is really busy with tourists and locals and has a nice atmosphere and good food. During our bike ride to get dinner we enquired at a couple of other places to stay and found a much nicer, fan room for 100,000IR including breakfast (pancake and tea/coffee), which we booked for the following night.

We returned to our room for the evening and decided on an early night. Ian quickly feel asleep whilst i stayed up and painted my nails. My side of the bed was pushed up against a wall and whilst lying down on the waiting for my nails to dry I noticed something quickly scuttle up the wall next to me. Straight away I realised it was a giant spider and screamed the place down, scaring the crap out of Ian (who was sleeping) in the process. In fact I was so shocked and scared that I couldn’t even speak for a few seconds to tell him what was wrong!

I may sounds like a drama queen but I have a really bad phobia of spiders and had forgotten they had existed for the past few months until at this point in time when I was abruptly reminded that they do. At this point I’m standing outside of the room watching Ian trying to catch this incredibly fast spider that had by now run five full laps of our room. Eventually he squashes it (sorry to all you spid lovers) and I reluctantly return to the bedroom after asking Ian to search under the grotty bed in case there were any more that may be lurking.

After a broken night’s sleep (yes I know I’m a massive wuss and I even slept with the light on!) we moved to a new home stay just around the corner called ‘Bananas’. I felt really bad leaving ‘Lucky Rooms’  after only one night there, as the owners were so sweet and friendly and I didn’t want to offend them by moving elsewhere, but I just couldn’t stay in that room any longer.

New room at Bananas

We spent our second day here on the various beaches. Most people would hang around on the beach near all the busy restaurants and bars but we were keen to find a quieter spot away from all that. We ended up finding a more secluded area and Ian went snorkelling for most of the day while I read my book on the beach.

Diving tip:
Save your money and dive at Nusa Lembongan instead of the Gilis. Everything that you see diving in the Gili Islands you can see whilst snorkelling. If you can dive to 30m then you may get lucky and see some sharks but even after speaking to a dive instructor at Gili Trewangan, he told us not to bother diving here, especially after we had been diving at Nusa Lembongan because we would probably end up being disappointed.

That evening we went to watch the sunset from Sunset Beach. It sets right behind a mountain point and looked incredible. There are three bars on the beach, the first called Sunset Bar (this one is the busiest) another called Pleasure Bar and the one right at the end, set on some decking but with no name. This bar only opened for 3 hours during sunset time.

Ian and I bought a Bintang from the shop as it was much cheaper than buying a beer from any of the bars. Once darkness fell we did however stop off at Pleasure Bar for one last beer, as they had a roaring fire and the clear nights sky made the stars look incredible.

On our final day here we enjoyed another hot and sunny day at the beach and later that evening booked a boat ticket for 25,000IR each to Gili Nemo. We were riding our bikes back to our room when I suddenly heard someone shout Ian’s name. We turned around to see Pete (the guy we had met on the boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan) standing there out of breath after running after us. He was at a bar with Janet and so we decided to join them for a quick drink.

It was really good to catch up with them both, especially after a random chance meeting. Our ‘one drink’ soon turned into many more and before we knew it we were riding home at 3am eating a large bag of crisps along the way.

Although I had a good time on Gili Trewangan I was a little disappointed.  I found the island to be really overpriced, from food and drinks to the diving and accommodation. A dive here costs 370,000IR compared with 280,000IR on Nusa Lembongan. Considering it is the ‘quiet’ part of the season I would have expected prices to have been cheaper. Also, people don’t like to bargain with you, they would rather the restaurant/bar/room be empty then lower their prices. Although many of these places appear to be owned by westerners so I doubt the local workers have any input.

Before arriving here I had heard that it was a huge party island and I was thinking it would be like Koh Phi Phi, but as it happens it was pretty quiet and if you don’t want to party then you can easily avoid it.

Even though the island is already catered heavily towards westerners, there is still a lot of re-development going on here. I can only imagine that sooner or later it will sadly be a clone of Kuta. There are too many of Kutas’ ugly traits here already.

Finally, if you do have the money, then you could really splash out and treat yourself here. Some of the rooms available are absolutely amazing and the standard of some of the restaurants is also very high. One place I wanted to eat at was called ‘Scallywags’. It looked so warm and inviting, decked out in pretty fairy lights with a simple beachy interior. However the prices, for us, were way out of our budget range.

Boat from Nusa Lembongan to Gili Trewangan

We enquired about prices with a few different people but every time we were quoted 600,000IR each for a fast boat. We then decided to try and save some money and get the slow boat from Padang Bai to Lombok and then another boat from Lombok to Gili Trewangan.

After doing researching online and gaining quotes for the boat transfers we realised we would be better off getting a fast boat as it was more or less the same price and would only take 2hrs. We managed to negotiate a deal with the owner of Two Thousand Bungalows (located next to Ketut Losmen where we were staying) and bargained his original price of 500,000IR down to 410,000IR.

For journeys where you have to get various boats/cars make sure you ask for a receipt detailing your travel itinerary and your payment.

We were ready to leave at 7am as requested and got a lift on a bike to the boat. The boat itself was only small and carrying cargo back to the mainland. We ended up waiting on the boat for 45minutes because one tourist was late arriving!

We reached our first destination after 1hr on board the boat and were then escorted to a waiting van that drove us for 20 minutes to Padang Bai. From here we boarded a larger and very nice fast boat to Gili Trewangan.