Twelve hours of hell; two boat trips and two long shuttle bus rides (a trip which resembled us being smuggled into a country) we arrived in paradise. Three small islands approximately 2 ½ klms in length perched off the larger island of Lombok in Indonesia. Known as the ‘Gili Islands’ we chose Gili Trawangan as our base. Arriving on a traditional wooden longboat with another 40 travelers ram packed into it we got our first glimpse of what’s known as “Paradise Island”. Unbelievably milky clear blue waters surround it with visibility up to 20m below through this mesmerizing sea. The reefs around the Island through to The Flores and Komodo Island are known to be the best dive spots in the world. This became evidently clear with the majority of the economy on this small Island being based on scuba- diving and the many film crews arriving for their nature documentaries. After years of being enthralled by them I was actually here to witness one of the best spectacles nature has to offer for myself. The Island is surrounded by coral sand with dry bush land set off it. There’s one main street with many funky little bars that light up the Island at night with many colorful lasers of reds blues and greens dancing in the darkness.
To eat the majority of places are all lit by candlelight which does cause a problem for reading menus; but hey we are in Paradise- it doesn’t matter. And this is the relaxed attitude you adapt when staying here. With no motorized vehicles allowed on the Island- transport being horse and carriage ( “clip- clop” ) and no police you realize everybody here is for a good time. There’s no bitter taste of alcohol ridden brawls or crimes in the air because of the good spirit the Island creates. Everyone here realizes how lucky they to be here- the locals are extra kind and with these excellent entrepreneurial ideas such as the local cinema which all you have to do to go in and watch a film on the beach is to buy one drink; its ingenious!
Trust me- with up to 800x more biodiversity than The Great Barrier Reef in Australia it does not even compare to this place. Which is why the Lonely Planet recommends you bring extra- funds for staying as once you are here you will never want to leave... I certainly don’t want too!