In Padang Bai we met up with the Semaya One cruise team who would be in charge of safely getting us across the strait and over to the island of Gili Trawangan. I had first heard of Gili T last summer when a friend I had made on my last Beach Travellers trip had posted on her blog about her fantastic time there and boy did it ever look like paradise. The first thing I saw when we got to Gili T was the white sand beach, palm trees and perfect turquoise water (aka heaven). The boat ride had thankfully been uneventful but it was nice to be back on land and we made quick work of finding our hotel amidst all of the chaos on the main strip. We would be spending the next four nights at Tir Na Nog, a lovely little hotel complex with a swimming pool and an Irish pub (of course). After some resting up we set out to find a spot to go for a swim. What was supposed to be just a short stroll ended up being a walk around the entire island with a few failed attempts at actual swimming. All the spots that we tried to swim were both too shallow and the bottom was full of sharp coral, aka not much fun. For dinner that night we had a lovely BBQ dinner at Scallywags just down the road from our hotel. Since we had napped that day neither of us were that tired after dinner so we wandered down the main strip to see what there was to do at night on Gili T. On our walk earlier in the day we had noticed a few restaurants offering shisha so we decided to check out the cheapest one and had a great time just relaxing on the beach under the stars.
We managed to finally find the main beach early the next morning and spent the rest of it lounging in the shade reading and swimming in the warm tropical water. For lunch we decided to check out a luxury resort that offered the privilege of using their facilities to any paying restaurant guest. We lounged around on the beach chairs for a bit doing some more reading (I managed to finish the new Veronica Mars novel, which is awesome for fans of the show) before heading over to check out the fancy pool that had its own waterfall. In the evening we walked around to a bar on the other side of the island to watch the sun set over Bali while chowing down on some of the best spring rolls I have ever had. After a super cheap pasta dinner we decided to check out the local movie theater which was showing Pulp Fiction (one of my favourites) and offered free popcorn with your ticket.
For our second day in Gili T we decided to do an all day snorkeling trip which we signed up for at our hotel. We set out to the Northern tip of Gili T for our first snorkel spot over a shallow coral reef teeming with fish. The second spot was off the North East coast of Gili Meno where we jumped in the water and then followed a Balinese guide down the edge of the reef for about 150 meters. Our guide was super awesome and would dive down to show us different marine creatures and then tell us about them. The best part of the whole day was when we came across a big sea turtle not far down bellow the surface, our guide even swam down to try and get him to swim up to us but that failed. After the turtle disappeared we hopped back in to the boat and headed over to Gili Air where we disembarked for lunch. After a quick lunch we got back on the boat and headed over to the East coast of Gili Air for our last snorkel spot. All in all the Gili islands offered some of the best snorkeling I have done to date (even better than the Great Barrier Reef). Back on Gili T we hit up an indian restaurant for dinner before heading out for a night on the town where we played beer pong against a couple from Germany and checked out Gili T’s own (very small) full moon party (they’ve got nothing on Koh Phangan).
Most of our final day was spent recovering from the night before and I don’t think we ventured too far till past noon. When we finally did decide to face the day we chose to rent some bikes from our hotel and bike up to a restaurant on the North East tip of the island. We had a lovely lunch with a very friendly cat before continuing on to bike around the whole island. After a quick jump in the pool we headed out for dinner and then back to the movie theater, this time to see 21 Jump Street. The next morning we got up super early in order to watch the sun rise over Lombok which was so peaceful. After the sun was up we went for one last visit to the Turtle sanctuary to say bye to the baby turtles before biking back to our hotel.
We had one final free breakfast at Tir Na Nog before meeting back up with the Semaya one crew and boarding our boat back to Bali.