Jakarta (ANTARA) - Gili Trawangan Island, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province, is one of the three islands in the northwest of Lombok Island, NTB Province, which is renowned as the "Party Island" of Lombok area.

It is located about 51.5 kilometers (km) from Lombok International Airport. It takes about an hour and 50 minutes to reach the tourism destination.

However, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the area's hotels had not held live music performances due to a significant decline in the number of tourists.

Fortunately, tourism activities have slowly revived recently in line with various relaxing travel regulations for foreign and domestic travelers.

Hence, several hotels in the island began holding parties again.

Apart from partying, people can engage in various activities in the island, such as wandering around by bicycle or horse carriage.

The sightseeing tour takes about 15 minutes around three sunset viewing points -- Pinkcoco, Malibu, and Ombak Sunset points -- with the best time to enjoy the sunset being around 6 p.m. Central Indonesia Standard Time (WITA).

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Visitors can rent a bicycle for around Rp25 thousand (US$1.73) for three hours. Usually, they rent the bicycles at around 5-8 p.m. WITA to look for the sunset.

Meanwhile, the cost for renting the horse carriage (locally called ‘cidomo’) is Rp250 thousand (US$17.31). The vehicles can be found near the Gili Trawangan Harbor.

Tourists can also surf the wave at several surfing spots around Gili Trawangan Island. The best time to conduct the activity is around August to November.

In addition, tourists can engage in snorkeling and visit two other islands -- Gili Meno and Gili Air -- at Gili Islands.

Gili Meno is a destination, with underwater beauty, which is preserved by the local residents. Hence, it is a popular attraction for honeymoon couples.

Meanwhile, the closest island to Lombok Island, Gili Air, is perfect for a one-day visit.

For snorkeling around the islands, visitors can make a direct reservation at the snorkeling equipment rental places or through a snorkeling guide.

Abdul Karim, who has run a snorkeling business for 10 years, recommended three spots for snorkeling: the Romantic Statue, Turtle Point, and Meno Wall on Gili Meno Island.

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At the Romantic Statue spot, visitors can see several underwater couple statues arranged in a circle. They were constructed about 12 years ago.

Meanwhile, at the Turtle Point, or Turtle Heaven, tourists can swim along with the aquatic animals and view the Meno Wall – an underwater cliff, with a depth of three to four meters.

"We often check the condition of the currents and the color of the water at the snorkeling spots. We prioritize the safety of the guest. If the location is safe, we will snorkel there," Karim stated.

The best time to snorkel is around 8-9 a.m. WITA. However, some of the tourists prefer to snorkel while enjoying the sunset at around 6-7 p.m. WITA as long as the weather is safe.

If the visitors are keen to engage in a private snorkeling activity conducted by eight to nine participants, then they would need to pay at least Rp1.2 million (US$83.09) to rent a speedboat, with a capacity of 25 people.

Meanwhile, if the activity is conducted in a large party along with other groups of tourists, then each participant will be charged Rp100 thousand (US$6.92), with a minimum rental duration of four hours.

It includes the fee to rent the snorkeling equipment, including a life jacket, fins, and a snorkel mask.

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Calculating the Vacation Budget

It turns out that having a vacation on Gili Trawangan Island requires a lot of money.

Prangga Aditya Sandi, 25, a local tour guide, said the cost is so high that most visitors are foreigners.

"I think the number of local tourists is only 20 percent (of the total number of visitors). Gili Trawangan Island is one of the (most) expensive islands (to have a vacation)," he told ANTARA.

Thus, how much do you have to spend to go for a holiday in Gili Trawangan Island?

To get to Gili Trawangan Island from Lombok Island, people must go to Nare Bay first.

Leaving for the bay from the Lombok International Airport by using an online car rental service will cost the tourist around Rp268 thousand to Rp300 thousand (US$18.56 to US$20.77).

Meanwhile, tourists coming with a large group can rent a car, with a capacity of 18 people, for Rp2 million to Rp3 million (US$138.49 to US$207.73).

The journey will take about an hour and a half.

From Nare Bay, visitors have to cross to Gili Trawangan Island using a speedboat, with a capacity of about 10 passengers, which can be rented for Rp1.5 million (US$103.86).

Alternatively, if they do not want to rent it, then they can pay Rp350 thousand (US$24.24) for each person.

However, they need to make a reservation at least three days before their arrival date.

The crossing service operates from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. WITA. It takes approximately 20 minutes to arrive at Gili Trawangan Island.

Fortunately, there is an alternative backpacker-style route through Bali Island. One of the advantages of using the route is that the visitors bring a motorbike rented from Bali Island.

Hence, Sandi noted that most foreign tourists choose the route.

It will take the visitors about two hours to get to Padangbai Harbor, Karangasem District, Bali Province, from Ngurah Rai International Airport, Badung District, Bali Province.

They need to spend around Rp381 thousand to Rp430 thousand (US$26.38 to US$29.77) to use an online rental car service from the airport to the harbor.

From Padangbai Harbor, the tourists will have to undertake a four-hour journey to Bangsal Harbor, Gili Trawangan Island, by ferry. The trip costs Rp125,000 (US$8.66) per person.

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Alternatively, the tourists can rent a speedboat from Bali Island for Rp200 thousand (US$13.85) for each person, and the journey will approximately take an hour.

Meanwhile, regarding the accommodation, people can choose among homestays to five-star hotels.

Sandi stated that the most expensive homestay cost Rp200 thousand (US$13.85), while the tariff for the hotels varies depending on the visitors’ choice.

People are recommended to spend about three days and two nights to enjoy the beauty of Gili Trawangan Island.

However, if they also keen to visit two other islands, then they should spend about four days and four nights.

"Hence, the required budget is around Rp2 million (US$138.49). However, it does not include the accommodation and transportation fee. If you include the accommodation fee, it can be around Rp3.5 million to Rp4 million (US$242.35 to US$276.97),” Sandi added.

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Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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