Full moon and magic mushrooms

Gili Trawangan Travel Blog

 › entry 194 of 658 › view all entries
Sunset on the boat to the Gilis

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Markus (Finland), Eero, Matti, Antti, Jarkko, Jere (Finland)

'Welcome to Paradise' were the first words we heard as we stepped off our boat onto the sandy beach at Gili Trawangan. Having just seen a memorable sunset, been stood on a beautiful beach and then walking past some trendy small cafe/bars set on the beach, it seemed a pretty good term to relate to.

The Gili's, which consist of 3 islands, Trawangan, Meno and Air, are known on the backpacker circuit for their great beaches, vibrant underwater life, chilled out atmosphere and drugs. Within seconds of lugging our backpacks towards the strip of guesthouses just down from the jetty, we were bombarded with offers of weed, whilst most eating establishments and small shops were openly advertising magic mushrooms.

Me, Jere, Markus, Antti, Jarkko, Matti and Eero at poker night
Although drug penalties in Indonesia are severe, Gili Trawangan passes under the radar, as there are no police on the island and the community basically regulates itself. As any good backpacker would do, we had timed our stay to coincide with that of a full moon party, which was to occur 3 nights later!

Our first night was spent watching the movie Evan Almighty, which was screened on a huge plasma screen, set beside a hotel swimming pool. To be honest, the humour didn't appeal to me all that much, a bit too Americanised for my taste. The evening developed a little further at Rudi's Bar, with the consumption of a few beers and by this stage a few of us decided to buckle and give the mushrooms a dabble. To our disappointment, there was no effect for any of us, so we chilled out in the bar and hit the hay a little after midnight.

Markus catching a wave

Monday was a day of exploration, walking around to the south and east beaches to do some sunbathing and snorkelling. Although the Gili's came highly recommended for snorkelling, it really did pale into comparison with many other spots in Asia. On top of this, the dive operators were clearly set out to cater for package or short term toursists, thus they were pricing their dives at an optimistic $35. It certainly put me off from donning my scuba gear during my stay here, although they still manage to capture plenty of others, most of whom you hear telling the stories of 'my dive master said this is one of the top 5 dive sites in the World', which is surely the most overused and unjustified (in most cases) comment that flies around diving circles in this part of the World.

Julia practices to do a surf board promo!

In the night time, the boys decided to organise a poker tournament and im proud to say that the English man, yours truly, came out victorious, leaving the 6 Finns in his trail and collecting $30, which paid for the bike debacle in Kuta! To celebrate, Markus, Julia and I went to sama sama bar and met Hannes for a few drinks, before heading onto a club until the early hours.

Markus was banging on our door on Tuesday morning, itching to hit the beach to do some surfing, and i had foolishly agreed to go down with him to take some photos. We hit the south beach where the waves were really crashing in, not realising that this wasn't really the best spot to be surfing. This soon became apparent, as the two of us were smashed into the shallow coral bed, time after time.

Markus, Julia, Jarkko, Eero, Antti, Matti and me at sunset
The only plus point was that i got a couple of decent shots, Markus caught one good wave and his board just about stayed in one piece. We retreated back to the beach, bloody and battered, but feeling pretty exhilarated. After an afternoon nap, the group headed down to the beach to take in a brilliant sunset over Bali, with Gunung Agung forming the perfect backdrop.

With the sun set, it was time for the full moon to appear, and as an added bonus there was also a lunar eclipse! The 8 of us sat enjoying it all from Rudi's bar, whilst munching on a tender barracuda steak. Another round of drinks were ordered and Matti's Bintang Beer came out so cold it was frozen. Returning it to the bar, the barman looked at the beer, looked at Matti (knowing he was a Finn) and said 'Its ok, you live in snow, you can drink that'.

Lunar eclipse
This sent us all into fits of laughter, before the barman eventually went off to get a liquid beer for him!

Down on the beach, a bonfire was raging and a DJ playing, as the night began to hot up. To add to our bintangs, we went and sat on the beach and smoked a hookah pipe, then decided that we really did need to give the 'legendary' mushrooms another try. Once again there was no effect and we were to be again left disappointed. Not to get too down about things, most of us made up for the disappointment with more bintangs and by the end of the night, Antti and Eero were fast asleep on the beach, and the rest of us were rolling around in the sand. It was a lot of fun to say the least!

The following day was obviously one of hangovers and recollecting what the hell had gone on.

Markus with a face full of smoke on the hookah pipe
It was decided that other than drinking juices and eating food, we would have another poker night. This time a Finn did manage to win and Eero took home the spoils, whilst i finished a respectable third.

Up until Thursday evening, the only real highlights of the day had been some snorkelling. In fact, the evening was also petering out, when Markus and I decided that we were going to give the mushrooms one last chance. Now don't get me wrong, i'm not this crazy drug addict, who's scoring something every night, far from it, but i just wanted this experience which so many others had raved about. The fact we'd already tried twice, just kind of increased this desire! Anway, third time lucky, and i must say it was well worth the wait. Its a hard experience to describe and something which distorts your perception of things around you - in a good way.

Jarkko, Me and Antti at the full moon party
It made me laugh, it transformed shapes and made objects move and gave a feeling of wonder for the World. With so many stimulii around such as the sea, sand, wind, moon, trees etc etc, yet perfect seclusion, it was a great place to do it, and i understood what all the fuss had been about.

The next two days were spent doing what most people do on the Gili's, basically nothing :) Sunbathing, a spot of snorkelling and getting stung by jellyfish, games of Ludo, plenty of fruit juices in cafes by the beach and of course watching some footy games on the big screen TV. Leeds continued their great start to the season with yet another victory and of course, this was enough to send me euphoric! After a week of great enjoyment, it was finally time to leave and it was also goodbye to the majority of the Finnish guys who were heading back to Bali, whilst Markus had foolishly decided to stick around with the 'odd couple', namely us.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Sunset on the boat to the Gilis
Sunset on the boat to the Gilis
Me, Jere, Markus, Antti, Jarkko, M…
Me, Jere, Markus, Antti, Jarkko, …
Markus catching a wave
Markus catching a wave
Julia practices to do a surf board…
Julia practices to do a surf boar…
Markus, Julia, Jarkko, Eero, Antti…
Markus, Julia, Jarkko, Eero, Antt…
Lunar eclipse
Lunar eclipse
Markus with a face full of smoke o…
Markus with a face full of smoke …
Jarkko, Me and Antti at the full m…
Jarkko, Me and Antti at the full …
Sunset at Gili Trawangan, with Bal…
Sunset at Gili Trawangan, with Ba…
Gili Meno with Gunung Rinjani in t…
Gili Meno with Gunung Rinjani in …
Eero and i playing a hand of poker…
Eero and i playing a hand of poke…
Markus, Hannes and I in the club a…
Markus, Hannes and I in the club …
Markus waxes his board
Markus waxes his board
Waves crashing in at the south poi…
Waves crashing in at the south po…
Markus on his way out to catch som…
Markus on his way out to catch so…
Markus surfing off the south tip
Markus surfing off the south tip
Stacked it!
Stacked it!
Markus happy with his days work
Markus happy with his days work
Sunset at Gili Trawangan
Sunset at Gili Trawangan
Matti, Antti, Eero, Jarkko, Me, Ju…
Matti, Antti, Eero, Jarkko, Me, J…
Sunset with Bali and Gunung Agung …
Sunset with Bali and Gunung Agung…
Full moon party!!!
Full moon party!!!
Antti smoking the sheesha, Jarkko …
Antti smoking the sheesha, Jarkko…
My turn on the sheesha
My turn on the sheesha
So relaxing
So relaxing
Jarkko and I wowing the crowds!
Jarkko and I wowing the crowds!
Markus a little dubious over whats…
Markus a little dubious over what…
Julia and I at the full moon disco
Julia and I at the full moon disco
Fire dancer at the full moon party
Fire dancer at the full moon party
Jarkko performs a karaoke hit
Jarkko performs a karaoke hit
Markus, Jarkko and Eero giving a k…
Markus, Jarkko and Eero giving a …
Jarkko chilling out in a waterfron…
Jarkko chilling out in a waterfro…
Pufferfish seen whilst snorkelling
Pufferfish seen whilst snorkelling
School of fish seen whilst snorkel…
School of fish seen whilst snorke…
School of jacks seen whilst snorke…
School of jacks seen whilst snork…
The east side of Gili Trawangan
The east side of Gili Trawangan
Markus and i in fits of laughter o…
Markus and i in fits of laughter …
Julia not so impressed
Julia not so impressed