I have quickly learned that preparing your travel itinerary ahead of time can save you a lot of unnecessary stress and money on Advil for those sure-to-happen headaches. Finding and booking a place to stay is one of the things I make sure to do ahead of time when going on a shorter trip.
Depending on the time of your visit to the Gili Islands, I would highly recommend booking ahead of time during their high season. We figured that most accommodation would be sold out, however, we were surprised to have multiple locals approach us when getting off the boat asking if we needed a room. We didn’t look into details regarding the price, area, or set-up since we already had something booked. However, I suppose it is good to know that you can head over there without any real plan (though doing this during high season would not be the wisest decision, unless you enjoy sleeping on the beach).
Agoda is a great place to source accommodations throughout Asia. They offer everything from budget to luxury, boutique hotels to hostels. The one thing I really like about Agoda is that you pay for your accommodations ahead of time, that way you don’t need to worry about it upon arrival.
In Gili Trawangan, we decided to book two different accommodations; one for the first two nights that was a bit more than budget-friendly and another for the next two nights that was very reasonable.
We first stayed at Brothers Cottages, however, we initially booked at a place called Ozzy Cottages and Bungalows. When we arrived at Ozzy, they told us all rooms were booked and we would be moving down the street to a different accommodation. Having traveled South East Asia on a budget, I wasn’t entirely surprised (though I was thoroughly annoyed). I would have thought that if you were paying a bit more for a room the accommodations would be a bit more organized. Guess not.
Overall, our stay at Brothers wasn’t terrible, but I also can’t say it was worth the money. For most of the bungalows along the main road, you are paying for location – right by the beach. Our room was small – a double bed with a mosquito net and two drawer sets. The washroom was located just outside the room where it was half open concept. Initially, I thought the idea of an outdoor washroom was really cool until I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes if I had to use the washroom at night or when I took a shower. There was also no soap provided, which proved to be a theme throughout Gili T.
We moved inland for our next stay at Coral Voice Homestay. It was a moderate walk to get to the main strip and beach, but worth it when we considered the price. We were placed in a just-finished room that was very modern and spacious. Initially, we thought this was great – much nicer than our previous cottage. Later in the day, as it became darker out, we went to turn on the lights only to realize that they had not installed lights and that there were no blinds on the floor to ceiling windows. This posed obvious problems. For the first night, we stacked up our front patio chairs in front of the windows in an attempt to conceal as much of our room as possible and had to use the bathroom light to guide us. Fortunately, the second day they installed blinds, but were not able to install lights for whatever reason. I guess sometimes you get what you pay for.
Overall, I would recommend staying a bit more inland when booking your accommodations in Gili T, especially if you’re looking to budget. You can save quite a bit of money and I found it interesting to be more immersed with the local culture. There were many obvious downfalls at Coral Voice, but that was solely due to the rooms being newly built. There are also quite a few high-end accommodation options as well, if you do so fancy. These accommodations were mainly located on the other side of the island or in the southern bit. Most places include breakfast, but, oddly enough, not hand soap for the washroom so be sure to bring some! Earplugs would also be a smart idea if you don’t want to be woken up each morning at 4 am for the Morning Prayer.
My other adventures in Bali:
Two Nights In Kuta
What To Expect From Accommodations In Ubud
Wandering Ubud: The Streets, Markets, & Rice Fields
How To Survive The Monkey Forest In Ubud, Bali
5 Things No One Told You About The Gili Islands
The Many Sides Of Gili Trawangan: Bicycling Around
Sunsets And Night Markets: Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan: The Beach