Gili Trawangan is a small island about 15 minutes by boat from the Lombok mainland. It can also be reached in around 2 hours by fast boat from Bali. Being quite a distance from major medical facilities it can be a worry for some people. But we assure you there is nothing to be concerned about as long as you are sensible. Here are some ways to stay safe and healthy and make the most of your adventure while you’re on Gili Trawangan. We’ll also tell you what to do if you do happen to run into any trouble.
In recent years a number of 24-hour clinics have opened on Gili Trawangan. This means you can get treatment for minor injuries, illnesses and also be assessed if you have a more serious accident or get really sick. Thankfully the risk of injury is seriously decreased because of the lack of cars or motorbikes on the island.
Divers will also be happy to hear that there is a hyperbaric chamber in Harapan Keluarga hospital in Mataram. This hospital can be reached in around 1.5 hours from Gili T. Harapan Keluarga also offers a good standard of care if you need treatment for illness that can’t be handled on Gili Trawangan.
One thing to watch out for is tainted alcohol. Some alcohol served on the island is from black market sources and there have been cases of it being tampered with. If you are drinking cocktails and taste or smell anything suspicious tell your friends and bartender immediately and get to one of the clinics. Some of the other signs of tainted alcohol are the sudden onset (after drinking very little) of blurred vision, dizziness and vomiting.
Another worry can be coral cuts that can get infected very quickly in the tropics, especially on your feet and legs. Make sure to clean any cuts and scraped thoroughly with clean water and antiseptic. If they become red or inflamed, you might need a quick trip to the clinic to have them cleaned or even get an antibiotic. It’s not a bad idea to have a basic medical kit with you including antiseptic, plasters and some pain killers.
Safety in the Water
The Gili Islands have beautiful crystal clear water, which is great for swimming. However, you should be aware that there are strong currents in certain areas. Although it may look pretty easy, you should never try to swim between the Gili Islands. They are farther than they look and the currents are extremely strong.
Snorkeling is a favourite pastime on Gili Trawangan. It is easy to get to great spots directly from the beaches. If you are renting equipment, test it before you head out to make sure it’s in good condition and doesn’t leak.
If you choose to go out on a boat trip to snorkel, make sure the area you are taken to is suitable for your capabilities. Some snorkeling spots have strong currents and you can tire quickly and drift faster than you realize.
Finally, never swim if you have been drinking. It might seem tempting to have a dip after drinks at a beachside bar, but when your judgment is impaired by alcohol it is extremely dangerous.
The Gili Islands are generally very safe and there is very little crime. However, with so many tourists, parties and plenty of drinking, there is bound to be some petty crime. Like anywhere in the world it’s advisable to leave valuables in a safe in your room. It’s also a good idea to only take as much cash out with you as necessary.
You should also try to walk home with a friend late at night, following the main path where there are other tourists. Women traveling alone are generally fine, but as anywhere in the world, should take precautions to not end up in vulnerable situations.
Foreign travel often means about of stomach upsets for tourists. The Gilis have some great restaurants and cafes, but the risk is always there. You might even want to try some of the delicious local dishes in the night market in Gili Trawangan. The food is fabulous but hygiene standards may not be as high as you’re used to.
Travelers diarrhea usually only lasts a few days, and is best treated with plenty of liquids, plain foods and rest. However, if you have diarrhea and/or vomiting for an extended period of time you’ll need a check up to make sure it’s not something more serious like typhoid or a parasite.
Fun, Safe and Healthy Travels
Gili Trawangan is a fantastic place for a holiday and is probably one of the safest places in Indonesia. As long as you keep your wits about you there is really nothing to worry about. Is there anything you might worry about while holidaying on Gili Trawangan? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.