Lost in Gili Trawangan: A solo backpacking experience [Part 1]

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones  you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”– Mark Twain

Being a solo backpacker is always challenging. Without friends, without families, who always taking care of you if something wrong happen to you. But it could be a lifetime experience that you always can remember. This is my first time experience traveling alone. I give it a try from Lombok to Gili Trawangan island by myself. My host family who live in Praya, Central Lombok (where most of I time I do my research there) always worry about me and they offer me someone to come with me. But, I refused. This map below will explain my start point (Praya, Central Lombok) until my destination to Gili Trawangan island. And you should notice that I’m from West Java, not from Lombok. I only did a little bit research before I decided to go to Gili Trawangan.

My trip from Praya to Gili Trawangan

So, I leave in February 6 at 9 o’ clock from Praya Terminal (A). There is absolutely no transportation from here to Bangsal Harbor (D), so I have to take a mini-bus to Mataram first (B). The mini-bus to Mataram is in white color and it’s so lame and takes time. If by motorcycle you would spent 45 minutes, by mini-bus, it could take 75 minutes because the driver always waiting for passengers until the car is in full capacity. Most people use this transportation to go to the market, so don’t be surprise if the car will full of stuff (boxes, sacks, chickens, eggs, etc.). I was fine with it as long I sit near window. Oh by the way, from Praya to Mataram cost you Rp10,000 (US$1 = Rp9,000)

After I arrived in Mandalika Terminal in Mataram (B), I took green mini-bus to go to Bangsal Port (D). There is no direct transport to Bangsal Port (D), so you have to stop in Pemenang (C). It cost me Rp15,000. Same with the white one, it’s lame and it took me 90 minutes to get to Pemenang. One more thing, the mini-bus pass trough mountainous roads and I saw a lot of breathtaking view from my window. There also a lot of monkeys along the road!

I took off in front of Bangsal Port gate, and I took a walk to the port. It was 15 minutes walk, but you can get by a horse-cart or motorcycle taxi (“ojek”) if you want. And here is the view from the port:

Bangsal Port

Okay, so people in the port can be very annoying, they will offering you a lot of stuffs: hat, sunglasses, fast boat to Gili, food, etc. Well I think it happen in most touristic area. But, the most annoying part is: they thought me I’m a foreigner! So all price is over-rated than normal! That’s not cool! Before I got in to the counter, someone offer me a public boat ticket to Gili Trawangan and he said Rp20,000 in english. I know the public boat to Gili Trawangan only cost Rp10,000 rupiahs, I read it on the price list on the counter. I told her that I’m local, I’m not foreigner, and I’m not stupid. So I move to the counter and buy the official ticket from a nice lady there. The government officially put the ticket price list for public boat like this:

Bangsal – Gili Air Rp6,000 | Bangsal – Gili Meno Rp8,000 | Bangsal – Gili Trawangan Rp10,000

But, if you traveling in group (more than 20), you can charter a boat and it’s cheaper than buying individual ticket. I paid Rp10,000 to go to Gili Trawangan and wait for a boat, I thought it’s a nice boat but then…

This is how the boat look like..

You might want to protect your electronic device and everything that not waterproof. The waves could gone really crazy and it was crazy when I got onboard! Salt water splashed to almost everyone. But it was a fun!! I enjoyed it. When the boat goes fast, I feel great, but when the boat goes slower, I feel sick. Sea sick. Ugh and I hate it! Anyway, I really enjoy stunning view from the boat!

Even the boat is ugly, at least, I can enjoy stunning view like this 🙂

It took me 45 minutes to get to Gili Trawangan island. When I got off from the boat, I feel so sick. But then, wait what?! ATM! Right on my face! Yes, after you got off from the boat, you will see two different ATMs not far from the port. Then, I off to get some lunch. Every step I took, most of people offer me lodging, food, diving service, bike service. I don’t want to make quick decision especially for lodging. I need lunch first because it was already past 12. Food prices in Gili Trawangan are vary. You should always check the other places before you buy something. I eat mixed rice (Nasi Campur) for Rp15,000 but not far from there (about 50 meters), the mixed rice is only Rp10,000. Mineral water price also may vary. For 600 ml, the cheapest one I found is Rp3,000, for 1.5 litre, the cheapest one is Rp5,000.

After lunch, I took a walk around the island by foot. If you’re too lazy, you could rent a bike or get on horse-cart. But I would recommend walking or rent a bike. I don’t think you can stop by to take photos or enjoy the beach if you’re on a horse-cart. Here are some photos I took when I walk around the island:

Some resort in Gili Trawangan
Blue ocean and white sand

This is the first part of my story, the next part I would like to tell you about my experience walking around this island, how I can get a cheap place for stay, how I bumped my knee on coral reef when I snorkeling, how I interact with locals and visitors, accidentally got involved in a drama at Beach Combers, avoiding drugs offer, and how I deal with some foreigners who got drunk really badly because “magic mushroom”, etc. 

To be continue..


  1. Wow those pictures look awesome! Thanks for writing about Gili Trawangan. This is such a great article 🙂 Anyway, if you need more reference about Indonesia maybe you can also visit http://www.jakpost.travel, I also read some informative articles there. I hope it could be useful for you too.

  2. I always liked tourist sites are like islands of Gili. because of the location such as this tend to be comfortable, quiet and a good place to look for inspiration. This course will be preferred by many people who have characteristics like me. been reading your post, I want to make a vacation to the island of Gili again. maybe someday. nice article.

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