GILI TRAWANGAN is one of the islands to the northwest of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) which is known to offer a beach trip experience as well as a party so it is known as a party island in the Lombok area.

This island is about 51.5 km from Lombok International Airport Lombok Zainuddin Abdul Madjid and takes about 1 hour 50 minutes to get there.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic had caused most of the hotels not to hold live music because the number of tourists who came was also drastically reduced. Recently, tourism activity has slowly revived, along with various relaxations for foreign and domestic travellers from the government. Along the island, several hotel parties began to open their party rooms.

Actually, apart from partying, there are various activities that you can do while in Gili Trawangan, one of which is traveling home by bicycle or choosing the “Ferrari Lombok” alias wagon.

This sightseeing tour takes about 15 minutes by passing three sunset viewing points, namely Pinkcoco, Malibu and Ombak Sunset. The best time to enjoy the sunset is around 18.00 WITA.

You can rent a bicycle for around IDR25,000 for three hours. Generally, tourists rent bicycles at 17.00-20.00 WITA while hunting for the sunset.

While the wagon or cidomo in the local language, is charged IDR250,000 to just get around the island. You can find these wagons near the Gili Trawangan harbor.

For those of you who like water tourism, you can try snorkeling and then go around two other islands in the Gili Islands, namely Gili Meno, a destination with an underwater charm that is preserved by local residents. Most tourists who come are married couples on their honeymoon.

There is also Gili Air, the closest island to Lombok, so it is generally an option for a one-day visit. Most of the travelers come there with their families.

To try to feel the sensation of snorkeling in the Gili islands, you can directly make a reservation directly at the rental place or through a guide. Abdul Karim (27), a snorkeling business activist in the last 10 years ago, provides three spots for snorkeling, including the Romantic Statue on Gili Meno, Turtle Point and Meno Wall.

At the Romantic Statue spot located in the Gili Meno area, you can see statues of several couples underwater that form a circle. This statue was made about 12 years ago for the special tourism needs of honeymooners.

After the romantic statue, you will be taken to Turtle Point or Turtle Heaven to see turtles and Meno Wall or cliffs with a depth of 3-4 meters (down).

“You can be picky around the spot. At least 3 snorkeling spots. Sometimes check for currents, the color of the water is cloudy or not. We prioritize guest safety. If the location is safe, then snorkel there,” said Abdul Karim, who is also the captain of the 03 Dara ship.

The best time to snorkel is around 08.00-09.00 WITA. Sometimes, there are also tourists who want to snorkel while enjoying the sunset, which is around 18.00-19.00 WITA as long as the weather is supportive.

The cost of snorkeling depends on the number of people and the nature of your activity, private or not. Speedboats with a capacity of 25 people if rented privately around 8-9 people, require a minimum cost of IDR1.2 million.

Meanwhile, if it is public or in conjunction with other tourists, a fee of IDR100,000 per person will be charged with a minimum rental duration of 4 hours. This fee includes snorkeling equipment such as a life jacket, fins or frog shoe and a snorkel mask.

If you like surfing, then visiting Gili Trawangan can be the best choice because there are surf spots that are recommended there. According to Sandi, the best time to visit is August-November because at that time, the waves are suitable for your surfing activities.

Budget to go and enjoy Gili Trawangan
Vacationing to Gili Trawangan turns out to require a lot of money. Prangga Aditya Sandi (25) is one of those who admit it. The man from Sembalun, East Lombok who works as a tour guide said that it was so expensive, most of the people who visited there were only foreign tourists.

“For local tourists, you could say 20%. Expensive. Gili (Trawangan) is one of the expensive islands. So how much do you have to spend for a vacation to Gili Trawangan,” he said.

If you choose the airplane mode from Lombok Zainuddin Abduk Madjid International Airport, it will cost you around IDR268,000-IDR300,000 using a car via transportation services that are accessed via a mobile application.

However, if you are with friends or a group, according to Sandi, you can rent a car, for example, with 18 people at a cost of around IDR2-3 million.

The journey from Lombok airport to Teluk Nare, about 1.5 hours with a distance of approximately 67.2 km. From Teluk Nare, you need to cross to Gili Trawangan using a speedboat. You can rent this vehicle at a cost of IDR1.5 million or pay IDR350,000 per person. You need to make a reservation at least three days before your arrival date.

The speedboat with a load of about ten people began serving passengers at around 9:00 to 22:00 WITA. It takes approximately 20 minutes to arrive at Gili Trawangan. If you think the cost of this trip is expensive, then you can choose the backpacker-style route, namely through Padangbai, Karangasem, Bali, which are ferry ports for sailing to Lombok and Gili Islands.

One of the advantages if you choose this route is that you can bring a motorbike rented from Bali and most foreign tourists do this.

“Most of them bring motorbikes, rarely use planes (from the airport in Lombok). From Bali, rent a motorbike and take them to Gili Trawangan,” said Sandi.

It will take you about two hours to get to Padangbai from Ngurah Rai International Airport. You need to spend around IDR381,000-IDR430,000 when using a car via transportation services that are accessed via a mobile application to get to Padangbai.

From Padangbai, you need about 4 hours to Bangsal Harbor, Gili Trawangan by ferry. The cost required to take the ferry is around IDR125,000 per person.

Another option is to use a speedboat from Bali at a cost of IDR200,000 per person and a travel time of approximately 1 hour. For lodging, there are homestays to five-star hotels. Sandi said, the most expensive homestay was charged IDR200,000. As for hotels, it varies depending on your choice.

The recommended time of visit for those of you who are backpackers and want to enjoy Gili Trawangan is about 3 days 2 nights. However, if you intend to visit two other dykes, such as Gili Meno and Air, it is advisable to spend about 5 days and 4 nights.

“The budget is around IDR2 million, not including hotels. If you include hotels, it can be IDR3.5-4 million (not including accommodation from Teluk Nare or Padangbai),” said Sandi.

If you look at one of the online accommodation providers, the rates for hotels in this area vary from IDR100,000 to IDR2 million per night. You can adjust it according to the budget you have. [antaranews/photo special]