Gili IslandsBetween Nusa Lembongan and Gili Trawangan, I have a taste of island paradise. Sure, you can say Gili T is a horrible place and partly responsible for the downfall of society, but I'd argue that you're only looking at Gili T's party aspect, which is certainly available if and when one feels like imbibing. The island is developed for tourism, but unlike Koh Samui, at least the larger part of the bungalows are tucked inland from the beach areas. Additionally, there is no motorized traffic on the island. Other than bicycles, pony carts are your only option, typically used by tourists.*
There is no denying the beautiful sand, crystal clear water, and positively relaxing scenery along the beaches. Gili T is a time warp. Many arrive intending to spend less than a few days, but two weeks later, they are still lounging in the sunlight. The eastern part of the island that face the other two Gilis is here the action is: bars, shops, restaurants nightlife, young people. The southern part is dotted with luxurious resorts and their accompanying lounge areas sprawled on their respective parts of the beach, which is all accesible to the public, provided you purchase a beverage. Personally, if I had a chance to do it again, however, I would head north after making port on the beach at Gili T. The bungalows are respectable and affordable and the area is only a bike ride away from any of the action in town.
Speaking of bicycles, Gili T was another opportunity for me to ride around on a bicycle and even in the dark! Bicycling is challenging enough over the ravines caused by monsoon rain and naturally occurring mud potholes. After relaxing for one day, it was time to explore the island. Bicycles rented, we set off due north. My original group was in varying states of sickness or traverse of the island, so I started my trailblazing with a group of Swedes. Swedes are a funny bunch. About 15 minutes after setting off, we were forced to push our bikes through a sandy patch. Nearly 400m down the road, we go back to riding, but not before the boys tested out their bicycles. Into the ocean.
On a slightly steeper dune, all wanted to race into the ocean to see who would go the furthest. Competitive in only with things I already have competence and lacking a desire for stupid acts, I stayed back and witnessed this ordeal. I now have this etched in digital video eternity. Three attempts proved that even with peddling hard down the dune, the bicycles came to a complete stop upon hitting water. I was expecting to witness something a bit more epic. So much for that excitement.
Quiet, ridiculous, relaxing, or fun. Take your pick. This is Gili T. Time into the ether.
*The poor little guys foamed at the mouth in the evenings, were without water, and overall weren't in the best of condition. It was scorching hot, so much so, that after getting off the ferry from Nusa Lembongan, I was dizzy and practically incapacitated. Luckily, others in the group took charge to find us a place to stay while I sat and 'watched' the bags (read: tried not to black out). Just getting more tree-huggie.