For a solo female traveller the idea of a non-stop party with most people taking mushrooms or other drugs sounded, although fun, not necessarily where I should set up camp. From conversations with long-stay residents of the islands as well, it is important to be aware that the Gilis, and especially Trawangan, have a very serious Crystal Meth problem. As happens in areas that are exploited for a party scene by foreigners, problems like this arise rather easily from a lack of education and exposure not accompanied by explanations. Meth hit the islands through partying foreigners and from locals seeing the great high it brings, it therefore became a local drug of choice as well. Drug awareness though isn't very prevalent on the Islands or throughout most developing countries. Locals seeing foreigners coming for a few days and using Meth all the time made it seem like something that is part of daily existence for some, rather than understanding that possibly at home these people rarely use it. Now many young people on the Gilis use Meth simply to get through their day.
To get to Gili Trawangan I took the public ferry as I had did with Gili Meno. Trawangan is the farthest of the three islands form Lombok and therefore the cost to get there from Gili Air is 40,000 IDR one-way or 80,000 IDR return. The same ticket office will sell you the ticket as the one that sold me my ticket to Meno, located at the start of the concrete pier leading out into the water from the port. The boat leaves at the same time as the one to Meno as well, 8:15am, and returns to Gili Meno and Air at 4:00pm.
To the Right: This is the public ferry ticket office on Gili Air
We found a great spot by the water for breakfast with a menu 1/3 of the price of most others along the main strip of businesses. Looking at many menus we realized Gili T was slightly more expensive than Gili Air; Gili Meno though was still the most expensive.
General impressions of Gili T were not that good from any of my group, and this is not because we don't enjoy a good party, this is because we had all spent at least a week in a place where you are able to quietly relax during the day and then party at night. On Gili T, the days are busy and hectic. I would advise only staying one or maximum two nights and make sure that there is something worth while going on during those nights to make it worthwhile.
It was a bittersweet, rather early bedtime. You could easily get stuck on the Gili Islands, as it is hard to muster up the will-power to keep moving when you are so laid back and over-rested. However, I knew I was on a tight schedule and so I gathered all my strength and committed to leaving the next day.
1. Take the public ferry while island hopping as it is cheap, popular, and reliable
2. Only stay one or two nights on Gili T, if you must, and plan to do so when something specific is going on to maximize your time there
3. Really shop around for cheap food
4. Take 2 hours out of your day to walk the entire island…. though do so in the morning or evening because it gets hot quick