Gili Trawangan is a tropical island just a few degrees south of the equator making it prone to high temperatures and strong UV rays. In fact the sun is so strong that during the middle of the day it can reach a UV index of 12 (11+ is rated extreme on the UV index). Due to the strong sun, it is essential that you are prepared to protect yourself with the right sunscreens, clothing, and precautions. To get you ready for your trip, here are our top 5 tips for avoiding sunburn on Gili Trawangan.
In the heat and on the beach you may want to wear as little as possible, but there are times it is much better to have a light coverup. You may feel comfortable riding a bicycle around the island or taking a walk on the beach but your shoulders, neck and head are catching the harsh sun and you will quickly burn without a hat or shirt. Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities on Gili T, but without proper protection you can end up very sunburned. With your back and bum floating at the surface of the water, it can very quickly burn without a rash guard or shirt and sunscreen for protection.
Sunscreen is also essential when you are on the Gilis. SPF 50 is the minimum you should be using to block the very strong UV rays on the islands. Reapplying regularly is also important, especially if you are in and out of the water.
You will need a good supply of sunscreen if you are staying a number of days on Gili T. Some bigger brands you can find on the island but if you choose to use a reef safe sunblock you may need to take extra with you as it can be difficult to find.
Stay in the shade
Gili Trawangan has some lovely palm trees along the beach and also shaded groves along the island’s paths. Villa Almarik also has some beautiful shaded areas by the pool where you can read a book or take a little nap. Sunstroke is serious and can land you in bed or even hospital, so take breaks in the shade often.
Staying hydrated in the heat is crucial. Whether it’s water or coconuts fresh off the tree, your body needs to replace the sweat it’s losing to stay well in the tropics. If you are in the sun for long periods during the day, even in the water, you will need to drink at least double the recommended 8 glasses of water during the day. The easiest way to check if you’re hydrated is by the colour of your urine. If it is a strong yellow or orange colour you need to drink lots more.
Avoid the midday sun
Follow the lead of the locals and enjoy some downtime in the middle of the day. From 12 until 2pm it is too hot to do anything comfortably so just rest, have lunch, take a nap, and avoid the heat of the sun. It’s much more pleasant, and safer for you to be out earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon.
It can be really tempting to spend all your time in the sun, especially if you come from a colder climate, but we promise it isn’t worth the pain of sunburn, sunstroke, or even permanent skin damage. Take care of yourself in the sun and don’t overdo it. We’d like to hear if you have any other sun protection tips in the comments box below.