Why not try…? Glamping in the Gili Islands
By Elizabeth Sharma
There’s no shortage of jaw-droppingly beautiful places to stay on the idyllic island of Gili Trawangan in Indonesia. The Gili Islands are three palm tree-packed islands located just off the northwest tip of Lombok, Indonesia. Gili Trawangan (or Gili T as the locals call it – we love that, it sounds so gangster) is the largest and most popular. A quick 30-minute boat ride from Lombok will set you down on a white sandy beach dazzling against a turquoise sea.
Gili T has by far the largest amount of accommodation especially mid range to top end luxury villas and the only five star resort on all the islands (popular with in-the-know honeymooners). Much is written about the raving party scene but the vibrant nightlife is not as hyped as it sounds. Don’t worry, there are plenty of places to party and the locals love to join in. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the busiest days and the beach parties are supposed to finish at 4am, although this does seem to be a guideline more than anything.
Where to Stay
If dancing with your feet in the sand until the early hours isn’t your cup of ‘Gili Island Cocktail’ (the local, pretty lethal, speciality) there are places you can go for the serenity of a desert island. Escape the lively bustle of the bars and backpackers and escape to the east side of the island – try booking a luxury tent at La Cocoteraie Ecolodge.
Set in a peaceful coconut grove, this gorgeous retreat is hidden from the beaten track, but offers all the mod cons you could desire: air-conditioned tents, comfortable double beds, a private bathroom and yes – power sockets too! So you can enjoy your home comforts AND get back to nature which is EXACTLY our idea of the perfect campsite.
Eight tents are situated in a sun trap garden, complete with a bar and snuggly sunbeds. The beach is a two-minute walk away (if you can drag yourself away from the luscious loungers) and you can rent a bike to make it around the rest of the island. Be warned – if you are making your way back at night you will need to be semi-sober; there are no lights on this side of the island so you’ll be given a head torch and told to follow the fluorescent marks on the coconut trees… fans of the TV series Lost will be in their element! Luckily, we did make it back in one piece, and the added adventure just added to the charm and excitement of the place.
Rates vary depending on the time of year, but a one-night stay in July set us back only £42 – and it was worth every penny. When you arrive on Gili T just ask a horse-cart to take you to La Cocoteraie – it should cost around 75,000 IDR (Sounds a lot. It’s about £4).
Getting there from the UK
The cheapest flights to the nearest International Airport, Praya, from the UK start from £550 on KLM with at least one stop.
Also UNMISSABLE on Gili T…
+Wilson’s Retreat has a stunning infinity pool, you can just drop by for an iced cocktail and a dip.
+Visit the night market for a taste of local cuisine and a great atmosphere.
+There’s a lot of diving on offer, if this is your thing it’s the ideal place to see wild sea turtles in turquoise waters
+No holiday is complete without an Irish bar – Tir Na Nog’s silent disco, every night from 11pm, is a favourite with party goers and passportstamps.uk