Should You Still Travel to The Gili Islands After the Earthquake?
The Gili Islands, before the August 5th earthquake that struck Lombok, were a slice of Paradise. Filled with people day and night, gorgeous blue water, and beautiful underwater life. After the earthquake, there has been much uncertainty about the future of the islands, and whether it’s safe to visit them. Having scoured the Internet for information to no avail, we decided we just needed to figure it out for ourselves.
We arrived in Gili Trawangan on September 14th, 2018 not really knowing what to expect. Having been opened back to the public just two weeks ago, I was unsure of the state of the island. There were rumors about power outages, lack of clean water, and subpar conditions. Once we got here, we were finally able to decipher the truth from overdramatic news stations.
First Things First
Yes, there’s a lot of destruction. The moment you step off the boat from Lombok, you can see the remnants of buildings that once lined the beach. There are lots of diggers on the island working to remove rubble and rebuild the buildings that have been condemned. With that said, however, the island is BACK!
What to do in Gili Trawangan After the Earthquake
Where to Eat, Sleep, and Drink on Gili Trawangan:
Despite the destruction, there are plenty of places open and ready to offer you an amazing time! Many hotels, like Pesona Beach Resort, Gili Teak, and GiliFit, have been inspected and deemed safe for visitors. Restaurants that were destroyed, like Pearl of Trawangan, have now set up their tables on the beach to still welcome guests giving you a gorgeous backdrop for dinner. Furthermore, if you’re a vegetarian you WILL NOT run short of affordable options! Gili T, not the island of crowded parties it used to be, still boasts some great bars that offer live music, delicious drinks, and a great atmosphere. Our favorites so far have been Sama-Sama, Irish Bar/Tir Na Nog, and Lava Bar!
Water Sports in the Gili Islands:
The underwater life at the Gilis is amazing. Gili has the bluest and clearest water in the world, and an abundance of water sports available to make the most of it! You can go on a glass bottom boat tour, snorkeling, Parasailing, riding on a banana boat, and island hopping on kayaks and paddleboards. If you’re looking for a great place to go diving, you cannot miss the Gilis! We had a chance to dive with Dive Central Gili, and loved it! They took us to Halik Reef, just a 10-minute boat ride away and felt like we were in the movie Finding Nemo. We saw tons of sea turtles, Clownfish hiding in the anemones, Moorish Idols, and other enormous schools of fish. There were hundreds of different species! The corals along the shelf are very colorful and more vibrant than I ever thought corals could be. We even got to see a GIANT lobster hiding along Halik shelf!
Other Activities on Gili Trawangan:
The Sunsets in Indonesia are something out of this world. Go watch the sunset at the Exile Bar or Malibu Beach Bar and take a picture with the famous swings! You can also watch the sunset cast an INCREDIBLE shadow over Bali and Lombok’s mountainous terrain and volcanoes. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, Gili Trawangan does not disappoint. Azure Spa and Gili Spa are two great options if you want to treat yo’ self for massage, or facial. There are a couple of great Yoga Studios, like Free Dive Gili and Sunset Beach Yoga that will work your body and spirit on the beach. Go horseback riding with Stud through the beach, or rent a bike for the day and explore the entire island! No matter what your travel style is, you’ll find something you love on Gili Trawangan.
Is Gili Still Worth Visiting?
ABSOLUTELY! Between all of the delicious food, incredible activities, and laid-back island atmosphere, I don’t understand why people haven’t been flooding back in after the earthquakes. Hearing stories of pre-earthquake Gili T makes me grateful that I came now. The locals here have told us that Gili has returned back to its roots, and all of the businesses are a big family. Tours have turned into private tours because of how quiet the island has become, which makes it an amazing place to get away from it all and relax. We’ve now been here for almost a week and have not run short of things to do. We also haven’t felt unsafe for a single moment. The island has created a new normal and has embraced the peaceful piece of paradise they now have.