Gili islands are the most popular tourist destination in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. The popularity of the Gilis began in the 1980s and 1990s. During the time, the Gilis in Lombok are established and now they provide an array of glamour options. Today, some Gilis, especially the popular ones, are very relaxed and laid-back. They have so many beachside cafes, bars and restaurants with various menus, from local to international. Read more
Trawangan has a huge range of eating options from simple local warungs up to fairly grand places serving inventive modern cuisine. Many of these are attached to hotels or dive shops, and are not independent restaurants as such.
Budget places are thinner on the ground that they used to be, but still not hard to find. If you really want to watch the pennies, do as the locals do and eat in the local warungs inside the village, or at the night food market near the beachwalk south of the jetty. These serve the usual range of Indonesian staples: fried rice, fried noodles and bakso (meatball soup); on the night market, you will also find seafood (marked up for tourists’ wallets, though), pancakes, snacks, desserts, and even beer. The push carts and few “warungs” on the main beachwalk are overpriced as much as twice compared to Bali or Indonesian cities (for example, selling sate ayam on the street for Rp 20,000 or nasi padang for Rp 22,000). Barbecued fish is excellent here and every evening many of the better restaurants fire up the charcoal. The deal is that you chose your fish – red and white snapper and trevally are especially good – and it is grilled on the spot. Be very careful with locally produced spirits, especially arak. It can contain methanol and has caused many cases of serious injury and even death (as recent as new year 2012/13) among tourists and locals alike. If you suspect that what you’ve been served is not what you ordered, take it back. Sticking to western owned and managed bars will reduce the risk. Read more
There are some lovely walks to be had on the island, although the perimeter coastal track is perhaps not as scenic as those on Gili Meno and Gili Air. A leisurely stroll all the way around will take 90-120 minutes, depending on just how leisurely you are. The hill in the south can be easily reached by taking one of the tracks that lead west or southwest from the back of the village. Dawn and dusk are the best times to climb up here. The sunset views back towards Bali are quite lovely, and in the mornings the sun rises over majestic Mount Rinjani on Lombok. On the top of the hill lie the remains of a World War II Japanese gun bunker. Read more
The easiest spot to find some productive snorkelling is off the main beach, north of the boat landing. Enter the water approximately in front of the Almarik hotel. If you start north of the beach (about where you can see seaweeds growing at low tide roughly level with Gili Meno’s northern extent), and go with the current back towards to the most crowded sunbathing area, you will likely need to kick only when you want to stop to look at something. The healthy corals are around the area where the wall drops off and the deeper water begins. Nearer the shore you will find only dead coral. Turtles can be seen often, and also the occasional trigger fish amongst the more common reef inhabitants. At low tide it is difficult to get in without reef shoes. Always watch out for potential waves that can push you into the coral that are just below water level. A better coral reef is off the northwest coast, but you have to be very keen to go through the hardship of getting out there. The only access to the reef involves walking over a substantial area of dead, sharp coral, and back again when you have finished. If you are a keen snorkeller the effort is worth it, and you are very likely to have the waters to yourself. Small, purple jellyfish are sometimes plentiful around the island, and they seem to love stinging snorkellers. The reaction is one of considerable irritation, but the stings cause no serious harm. Alternatively, you can take a snorkeling boat tour. Most trips take 4-5 hours with a lunch stop in Gili Air. The costs start at IDR 100,000 and come with mask, snorkel, vest, and fins. Read more