Located just off the coast of Lombok, in the Lombok Straits and approximately 35 kilometers from the coast of Bali, is where you will find the Gili Islands. A popular destination for backpackers and those travelling on a budget, these three islands including Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan have seen significant development in recent times to provide an array of accommodation catering to all standards and with crystal clear waters and an abundance of marine life, they are a popular destination for individuals and families alike. Here are a few things you should consider doing when staying on Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three Gili’s.
There are plenty of scuba diving centers where you can learn from scratch or engage the services of a fully qualified dive guide to take you to the most popular dive sites. Shark Point is a popular site and open to all levels of certification but be careful of strong currents here. When diving you can expect to encounter an array of tropical fish including Scorpion Fish, Lion Fish, Octopus and a selection of manta rays. The diving here is considerably better that what you will experience in Bali and if you want to gain an Open Water Certificate it will cost around $600 AUD.
Go on a free diving experience
In recent times free diving has gained some considerable popularity as a recreational activity. Several of the Scuba Dive centers have now added free diving to their list of services. Free Dive Gili is a reputable free dive centre operated by professional free divers with years of experience, it’s a lifestyle sport and the centre has a 25mtr training pool and dive sites only 10mins away by boat. They promote healthy living with a health food café and yoga classes as well.
There are plenty of places you can snorkel whether you’re a novice trying it for the first time or an advanced enthusiast. Just off the main beach, a little north is a great spot to enter the water that way you will drift back to the main beach area aided by the currents. There is plenty of coral and it is healthier the further you are from the shoreline, don’t be surprised if a large turtle gracefully swims by you. A larger coral reef is off the northwest coast however you must walk across a sharp reef to access this spot. Otherwise you can take a boat tour that takes 4-5 hours and includes lunch. Costs start at around $10 AUD.
Hit the Surf
If you’re a surf enthusiast then don’t worry, you will still have a chance to get wet while on Gili Trawangan. On the southern tip of the island you will find some pretty good waves most of the year and best of all the breaks cater for all standards from beginners to advanced. One of the best things about surfing here is there are generally no crowds and you can engage the services of a surf camp with teachers and guides for a week or so from around $300 AUD upwards.
Try some water sports
There’s plenty of water sports to try your hand at whether you’re looking for a little bit of excitement or maybe something a little slower paced, Gili Trawangan has it all. If you want to get the adrenaline pumping maybe try some parasailing, water-skiing, or even wakeboarding which you can expect to pay around $80 AUD for a 30 minute session. If you want something a little slower paced you can rent a local fishing boat and head out beyond the reefs where you might pull in a Mahi-mahi or even a tuna.
Navigate the island by kayak
Located on North Beach, a quieter and more relaxed part of the island is where you will find Karma Kayak. Here you will have the chance to paddle your way around the coastline of the island and take in the abundant marine life. If you’re feeling energetic you can island hop and paddle between the islands of Gili Meno and Gili Air but make sure you check what the currents are doing before attempting this. When taking this activity on be sure to take a life jacket, plenty of sunscreen and fresh water, it’s going to be hot.
Hit the local bars and nightlife
Gili Trawangan has long been known among the back packing community as the party island of the three Gili’s as opposed to Gili Meno and Gili Air. There are designated party nights and work on a rotational system amongst the more popular bars with a curfew of around 3-4am. During peak season you can attend full moon parties held on the southern tip of the island with international DJ’s pumping out tunes until the sun comes up.
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