Why is it that these paradise islands attract me so much? The color of the sea turns me into a greedy little b*tch: “i want it NOW”. My reaction is almost physical. Some people get ecstatic about shoes or chocolate, well, I start drooling over white sandy beaches. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you: the Indonesian Gili islands. This is island porn (get the tissues out).

Paradise backdrops, that’s what these 3 tiny islands are about. Located next to Lombok, they’re only a 1,5h boat ride away from Bali. The arrival is spectacular. When anchoring, you jump off the boat and walk through the crystal blue sea. Modes of transport are simple: you walk, cycle or catch a ride in a horse carriage. There are no paved roads, nor cars, but ironically you do find all kinds of luxury accommodation, jacuzzi’s and restaurants. I remember eating one of the best pizza’s ever there (although I now realize I might have been a bit paradise-high).
Gili islands - cinema beach hut - www.daysontheroad.be

Rent a private cinema hut on the beach

The Gili’s are all about relaxing. It’s probably not the ideal location for ADHD’ers, surfers or culture lovers. I’m talking out of experience. One of our friends is a surfer with the relaxing ability of a grasshopper on speed. We had to invent stupid tasks to keep him entertained. Don’t expect to find a lot of authentic stuff here, everything is designed to accommodate tourists. I call it a ‘hoola hoola’ destination. Let me explain this with the main activities:

Sit / lie on your lazy ass 
Believe it or not; Gili Trawangan has cinema beach huts. They have old-school tv’s inside, showing several movies. The video menu is painted on the outside of the hut. The islands have several nice beaches. You can walk out of your cabin and onto the beach. It’s the perfect place to read a lot and if you want to get all weird: you can even sunbathe next-to several small swimming pools.
 
Drink / gulp down cocktails
There are some beach bars that light up bonfires at night. You can chill on huge cushions, it’s all very laid back. Cocktails are affordable and the scenery is exotic. There are gigs and parties each night.
 
Walk / swim a little
A lot of people go snorkeling or diving. There are turtles and some exotic fish around. I did such trip and liked it, but no snorkeling trip has ever leveled my experience in Australian Great Barrier Reef (think: Finding Nemo x 100). You can walk or cycle around Gili Trawangan. There is a ship wreck at the south side of the island.
A big part of the Gili’s is still undeveloped, but that’s changing fast. The fact that it’s located just next to tourist-infested Bali, isn’t necessarily a good thing. Tourism will eventually kill this destination. Foreigners are buying stretches of land, because the islands have a huge potential. I guess it’s only a matter of years before Gili Trawangan becomes the next Phi-phi island.

It’s not cheap to get there (around 100 euro with a fast boat), but I found it worthwhile for a few days. Pray for good weather when you sail there. The road (sea) might be bumpy. My boyfriend – who secretly believes he’s a rough viking – puked his guts out. 

Gili islands - no surf - www.daysontheroad.be

Not much surf…

Gili islands - Bintang - www.daysontheroad.beGili islands - dusk - www.daysontheroad.beGili islands - asking for directions - www.daysontheroad.beGili islands - beach chilling - www.daysontheroad.beGili islands - beach bars - www.daysontheroad.be

These islands have what I didn’t find in Bali: postcard beaches. I feel it’s a must do when you are in the neighborhood:


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