It’s an early morning somewhere in April 2008. I’m making my way from Kuta to Padang Bay to catch the early ferry to Gilli Trawangan. An island nearby Bali and one of the best places to visit – so I’ve heard.
There aren’t any cars, just bicycles. Not that many hotels, a quiet place, upcoming for sure but a nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of Kuta. We are talking almost 10 years ago, I didn’t know better than to stay in Kuta back then.
It is early but the sun is already out, being her strong and present self she makes this morning a pretty hot one. The 13-hour ferry trip is intense. The boat is packed and dirty. I spend most of my time on deck eating sunbeams until it almost burns my skin.
The ferry takes me to Lombok. After crossing beautiful and green Lombok in a small minivan over land, I take a slow boat to the Gili’s.
I’m excited, it is my first time visiting an Indonesian island other than Bali. This must be fun.
It is funny how long boat trips can make you end up with “friends for life” while you are traveling. Especially when you are traveling alone people seem to approach quicker.
By the time I got off the boat I had already agreed to share a room with a tiny Swedish blond girl with an enormous backpack. This girl became my new roommate during my days on the island.
Besides sharing a bed, I didn’t spend much time with her. Most of the time I was by myself exploring the island on a bicycle, hunting quiet beaches and sharing smiles with local people. She was hunting men and sharing mushroom shakes with other travelers.
Back then there was an entire side of the island still pretty untouched. No hotels, restaurants or signs of tourism to be found.
Nowadays, Gili Trawangan is one of the busiest and most crowded islands around Bali. It’s like the Ibiza of Bali. The number one party island.
Whenever I’m close to Trawangan – because I’m visiting one of the other islands I look at it from a distance and I reminisce of the days I spent there as a young traveler on my bicycle.
Depending on the wind direction I sometimes even hear the party music coming from beaches, making it’s way to me while traveling with the wind. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back to this place.
I never drank a mushroom shake. A bucket in Thailand was about the wildest thing I’ve tried when it comes to party traveling.
So to be honest, Gili Trawangan isn’t really inviting to me these days.
I remember being at one of the quiet beaches I had discovered. Sunbathing topless with nobody around, scribbling down little poems in my notebook and staring at Mount Agung in the distance. I wonder if it is possible to relive moments like that on the island nowadays.
I’m kind of curious how things are on Gili Trawangan these days. I’m a little scared to go back as I love the memories I have of this place and I’m afraid to get disappointed.
Did you go to Trawangan recently? I’m super curious about your opinion on this place. Share your experience in the comment section below so I can read it.