Travails of Gili Trawangan

After a few days in Seminyak, Liam and I booked transportation to get to Gili Trawangan, one of the islands off the east coast of Bali. The ride was our first real taste of Balinese drivers. A white minivan picked us up at our hostel and we squeezed in along with other backpackers. Then, the driver wove us in and out of lanes (mostly riding the line and not choosing one lane or the other). Luckily, we were squashed in near the back and didn’t witness the terror from the front seat.

When we reached a big roundabout in Kuta, the driver stopped beside another white minivan (presumably from the same company, but who really knows?). After some discussion, a few people and their bags were shifted from one van to the next. We didn’t get much of an explanation, but I gathered that the drivers were consolidating passengers so they didn’t have to drive to multiple locations.

Anyway, we continued driving toward Padang Bai, where people herded us like cattle to a restaurant/booking and check-in office. Again, we weren’t briefed on what was happening, but the driver told us to get out, get our luggage off the van and then check in. While we did this, various guys transported them to the dock. Liam and I were a bit wary as we weren’t sure whether we’d see our bags again. I know, I know . . . you shouldn’t think the worst of people, but you should also be on alert, especially if you’re traveling on a budget on your own. You really can’t afford to lose all your stuff!

Once everyone checked in, we walked to the dock where we boarded the ship. Along the way many vendors tried to sell us snacks, drinks, fresh fruit and sun care products. Even while sitting inside the boat, people tried to sell us things through the window.

The boat was cramped and hot. The ride to Lombok, where we stopped to allow a few people off and more people on, and to Gili Trawangan was pretty rough. When we finally arrived at Gili T, we disembarked by exiting from the back and side-stepping around the outer edge of the boat to the front. Then, we stepped on a rickety wooden ladder and leaped down to the beach trying to avoid the water.

But, I must admit that the long hours of travel to get to Gili T were definitely worth it. The sandy shores were white and laden with oodles of boats. The narrow streets and alleyways leading through the island only supported horse and buggies and bicycles. No cars. No motorbikes. Perfect island paradise.

The weather on Gili T was hot and sunny. Liam and I looked forward to lounging in the sun on the beach. We were chuffed that the shore was so clean, especially after the hazardous wasteland that we found in Kuta. Gili T appeared to be a grand choice, and we were both quite happy that we decided to check it out.

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