Gili Trawangan is a gorgeous island paradise
just off the coast of Lombok. There are three Gili islands: Gili Trawangan,
Gili Meno and Gili Air. We travelled to Gili via a fast boat from Lombok
Island. The entire island was surrounded by beautiful blue waters and beaches
with pristine white sand. Coral was quite visible during low tides since
it is protected to preserve the island's original beauty.
The island doesn't allow motorized or electric vehicles,
so we were taken to our hotel by a horse-drawn taxi, meeting a steady stream
of other such taxies and many visitors on bicycles along the way. The tree-lined
street we travelled paralleled the beach and was geared to tourists with
many hotels, bars, shops and restaurants. Some empty lots were filled with
rubble, a reminder of the devastating earthquake of the year before.
The impressive entrance to our Aston Sunset Beach Resort
-- the second largest on the island -- faced the ocean with its beautiful
sandy beach -- a favourite of sunbathers, strollers and swimmers.
The beach was dotted with many tables where people lounged in the shade
of umbrellas and sipped on drinks while they enjoyed the fantastic beach
and ocean scenery. The beach also featured a stage where entertainers and
movies were featured during the evening. The most stunning sunsets are
seen from the hotel's beachfront, attracting visitors all over the island.
The hotel had a large courtyard decorated with a jungle
of lush vegetation and a large pool. Our room was first class.The hotel
advertised fresh water showers in the rooms. These showers were refreshing,
but the water was very salty -- the first time we ever showered in ocean
After dark on our first night we travelled by horse taxi
to a hotel that would serve our meal on the beach on ocean-side table.
The owner of the hotel walked through the sand over to our table. He spoke
with a northern English accent that we were very familiar with since we
had played in his home town on one of our music tours of England.
Years before he had come to Gili as a tourist and decided
to stay. He built a hotel, which became very successful. Unfortunately,
it was partially destroyed by an earthquake the year before we arrived.
He had done hasty repairs and was soon back in business.
We were about to start our meal when a sudden rain shower
sent us scurrying across the roadway to the shelter of the hotel's main
restaurant. The meal was good, conversation lively and we returned to our
room with fond memories of our first day on the island.