I can't actually believe how much time has passed since I was in Bali living it up with one of my best friends, with the serious lack of Melbourne sunshine I'm wishing more and more that I was back there! If you've read my Bumper Guide to Bali, you'll already know my highlights and top tips for planning a trip to the island, but now I want to focus on one amazing part that you simply cannot miss out on. Gili T is probably one of the most talked about Asian islands other than the party islands in Thailand. It's the place of tropical dreams and we've all dreamt of sitting on those beautiful sunset swings at one time or another. Just a short boat ride off the coast of Bali, it's just so close it wouldn't even make sense to not spend a few days exploring the island when visiting Bali - so here's my top 20 reasons to visit:
- It's completely different to Bali - you can escape the noise, the traffic and the commercialisation of the main island for a few days of back to basics island fun.
- SEA TURTLES! You can snorkel with countless sea turtles, a dream come true! Gather some friends and hire one of the guys on the beach with a boat for the afternoon - much cheaper and better value than the organised trips with 30 travellers to every one turtle.
- Those sunsets - Gili T sunsets are some of the most renowned in Asia and trust me, the pictures don't even do the real deal justice. Head for the swings for that perfect Instagram pic!
- Hostels - there's a great selection of hostels on the island no matter what type of trip you fancy - some of the best/recommended ones include Gili Castle and La Sister Boheme (where I stayed) in the centre of the island - both have good access to the whole island and come with lots of extras.
- With no traffic other than tiny little carriages pulled by donkeys, you're free to explore the island on foot or by bike and it can be done in just a few hours.
- Snorkelling, other than sea turtles there is so much to see - some of the best snorkelling I have done around the world with so many fish and amazing underwater sights.
- Food - there was such a fantastic array of restaurants and places to get great food on a budget across the island. Don't forget the Gili T Night Market for the freshest seafood and Indonesian favourites, and make sure you check out my favourite vegetarian restaurant with some incredible health food options - The Banyan Tree.
- Partying on Gili T is a heck of a lot of fun, people always seen to get so much wilder when they're partying on the beaches in an island paradise. From starting out with beers and bonfires on the beaches with my hostel, to raging at the bars like Sama-Sama Reggae Bar, Rudy's Pub, Evolution Bar, Sunset Bar and many more. My favourite nights were the ones when I ended up partying with the locals in the streets on my way home.
- Reggae bars are scattered across the island filled with locals - I had a few great afternoons sat chilling, singing old songs as someone played the guitar and playing with the baby goats that live all over the island.
- Even if you don't fancy partying your way around the island, Gili T is an amazing place to go and enjoy surfing/yoga/diving, or just relaxing on the beaches, with several hostels and hotels dedicated to this purpose. Do your research when you plan accommodation and make sure you end up a one appropriate for your trip.
Gili T was an amazing week I won't forget in a hurry - right now sat here in Melbourne thinking about the 10 hour shift I'm working later, I'd give anything to be back there. If you're thinking of going on holiday to Bali, make sure you include time on Gili T as it was one of my highlights of the whole month I spent over there. When it comes to booking your trip, I would really recommend booking it on arrival - by booking the boat on the spot and just booking one night's accommodation ahead of time you can end up saving a lot of money which is just more beers! By booking the hostel (La Sister Boheme) when we arrived, we were given a discount island rate that others who had pre-booked online didn't get. Obviously if you are going peak season, it's more important to ensure you have a place to stay and that not everywhere is booked out. If you're planning a trip and have any questions - leave a comment below and I'll get back to you!
Have you been to Gili T? Where did you stay/eat? What tips would you give to future travellers?