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I’ve long been a friend of , the New York City-based hub of online travel videos. I’ve only done some minor projects with them, and so I was very excited when they commissioned me to put together two “What to Do in Gili Trawangan” videos.

These were a challenge for me. I have a background in filming and editing thanks to my time working as an underwater videographer. I love being behind the camera, and in front of the editing suite. I’ve enjoyed making my music-video style films from Iceland and Hawaii, but that’s not really the kind of content that Tripfilms commissions. Still, the idea of appearing on film made me cringe! So I compromised and decided to do voiceovers instead. Unfortunately, those still make me wince — I just don’t think hosting is for me! No matter what I do I can’t seem to seem natural. I think that I was trying to avoid sounding like an over caffeinated Minny Mouse, but I kind of swing the other way and sound like a baritone who took a couple Valium. Ah well, it was a fun experiment… but I’m not sure if I’ll do it again unless I can get someone else to do the narration for me. Gili Trawangan is a joy to film in though, and I shot some truly great footage — if I do say so myself!

Click the small HD icon in the lower right corner for best quality

Believe it or not, this is my very last Indonesia post. I wanted to share some final photos from my time on Gili Trawangan, as some of my shots reflecting every day life didn’t seem to make it into any posts this time around.
Surely I’ve shared some photographs of colorful rainbows and local markets, but you can’t fault me for wanting to post these one last time, can you?

I don’t ever want to forget my time on this little island, where horses and bicycles are the means of mass transit.

A place where justice is taken to the streets in a method that seems to be from another century.

A place where home is made of four thin walls and a thatch roof.

An island where little creatures will be your new roommates, whether you invited them or not.

Where time is marked by the call of the mosque.

Where “a quiet night over at your friends’ place” translates to “sunset drinks on your pals’ houseboat.”

Where a tough day at the office means a strong current at the dive site.

Where happy people come to play.

Till next time, Gili Trawangan.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the videos! Any advice for
acting/sounding more natural on camera?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Last chance! I know you guys are like, shut up already about this darn survey! But for those of you who haven’t filled it out yet, there are just a few more days to have your voice heard!

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59 Comments...
  • Krystle
    October 4 2013

    What a great post, Meihoukai! You did an excellent job on both videos (on both the filming and the commentary). Loved the photos as well. What an amazing experience…
    Krystle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      October 4 2013

      Thanks Krystle! I appreciate the feedback!

      • Gina Jarusinsky
        November 4 2013

        Hi Meihoukai, I just found your website really helpful ! I love the video’s , nice ! I can’t wait to get there. I’ve never been to Lombok or the Gili’s so I’m really excited. Your information has helped me relax, just chill about the details of this trip. Now to figure out where to stay while We’re there? any clues ? ideas ? heading there in a wk , stopping in Bali then over to your paradise ! Thanks again for making this adventure fun…I’m smiling.

        • Meihoukai
          November 7 2013

          Hi Gina! I really enjoyed staying at Hook’s Guesthouse. Check out my post on the costs of Gili Trawangan for some photos šŸ™‚

  • Amanda
    October 4 2013

    I also enjoyed the videos! The commentary was good and there was nothing wrong with your voice…..the background music is another story though…..looking forwards to visiting Gili!

    • Meihoukai
      October 6 2013

      Unfortunately it is very difficult to find music that has the correct license for commercial use :/ I definitely struggled with that!

  • Carl Parkes
    October 4 2013

    I have visited Lombok but didn’t sidetrip to the Gilis, instead rented a moto in town and attempted to ride around the island, which is impossible. The final villagers were amazed I was still alive and the moto was intact, but next time, I’ll just go to Trawangan. I was updating Indonesia Handbook for Moon Publications…

    • Meihoukai
      October 6 2013

      I have friends that have motorbiked around Lombok, so the roads must have improved since then! šŸ™‚

  • Carl Parkes
    October 4 2013

    Oh, I also wanted to mention I’ve been on national TV several times in regard to my various guides to SE Asia and most of them were bad, especially the 6am interview here in San Francisco due to a roaring hangover and the strangeness of the TV interview room downtown. The Arthur Frommer interview for Travel Channel was much better, but I was sober and it was a lovely afternoon in Sausalito on the waterfront facing the bridge. Learning how to interview and do voice overs is a learned technique, so relax, get wild and don’t give up. I think you have a future in travel videos!

  • Kirsty
    October 5 2013

    15,000 monthly readers!! It’s just keeps going up!! Your doing Amazing! Xx

    • Meihoukai
      October 6 2013

      Thanks Kirsty! I check my stats on the first of every month and it’s so exciting šŸ™‚

  • Kirsty
    October 5 2013

    Also….your narration was fab! No one likes hearig their own voice though (hearing back the Scottish accent is the worse thing ever I think!) you should def do more šŸ™‚ x

    • Meihoukai
      October 6 2013

      Ha, awww… I am always so comforted when I hear that accent šŸ™‚ Makes me think of all your lovely people!

  • Amanda @ Wayfaring Panda
    October 5 2013

    Meihoukai, you had me a little worried when I read your intro to the film, but you were fabulous! The commentary sounded very natural. Don’t sell yourself short, you have more talent than you give yourself credit for!

    • Meihoukai
      October 6 2013

      Thanks Amanda! That is very sweet and I appreciate it šŸ™‚

  • Caroline
    October 5 2013

    Great videos Meihoukai! Your voice sounded very natural – I know what you mean though, I absolutely hate hearing recordings of my voice!

    • Meihoukai
      October 6 2013

      Thanks Caroline! The positive feedback is really heartwarming!

  • Dave
    October 6 2013

    I spent the summer there in 1998. Met the manager of Blue Marlin dive shop on Koh Pei Pei in Thailand while on a 2-week vacation. A friend who went there suggested to the manager (Alina, is she still around?) that I go back with her, build there website and in return dive for free for as long as I wanted. Ended up back home in Brooklyn 4 months later. Trip of a lifetime.

    • Meihoukai
      October 6 2013

      Alina is indeed still around! Glad to hear you have such happy memories in Gili šŸ™‚

  • Dave
    October 6 2013

    I would be grateful if you could put us in touch. My email is in the comment for fields, thank you, that would be one heck of a reunion.

    • Meihoukai
      October 8 2013

      Dave, unfortunately I don’t have her info! I only met her around the island and I just checked, I can’t even find her on Facebook through our mutual friends. Sorry I couldn’t help!

  • TammyOnTheMove
    October 7 2013

    I hate hearing my own voice too, but you don’t need to worry about anything. The videos are great! You should do more actually.
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    • Meihoukai
      October 8 2013

      Thanks Tammy! They are a TON of work so we’ll see how many I really do put together. Luckily Anders loves doing them so once he joins me you can definitely expect more.

  • JenniferMP
    October 7 2013

    Great videos! That was the only one “improvement” i suggested in your survey and im so glad you’ve been listening! I just love seeing your pictures and the videos really make me feel like im there with you!

    • Meihoukai
      October 8 2013

      Thanks Jennifer! I do love filming and editing. Just need to get used to the speaking bit šŸ™‚

  • Chriszy
    February 25 2014

    Hi Meihoukai,

    Will be visiting LOmbok next month, and thingking to stay in Gili T. WHere’ is the best place to stay for 2 nights ? Any advice about the cost from Lombok airport to the island?

    Thank you

    • Meihoukai
      February 25 2014

      Hey Chriszy! There are a million little homestays all over Gili T — I loved both Hooks and Koi Gili. Unfortunately I never flew into Lombok Airport, so I can’t help you there. I’m sorry!

  • Daisy Wong
    April 30 2014

    I am thinking about going to Bali in September hoping to stop in Gilli (not sure if it’s easy to get to) and learn how to dive since I didn’t have the time in Thailand. Any suggestions or dive shops recommendations in Gilli T?

    Thx, Daisy

    • Meihoukai
      May 2 2014

      Hey Daisy, it’s definitely easy to get to… just a speed boat away! I did my diving with Big Bubble, but since I left they have changed location and management. I would check them out just have a stroll down the main strip and see if anything catches your eye šŸ™‚

  • Ary Raditya
    July 15 2014

    i love your pics, that was great, hope i can go to there soon

    • Meihoukai
      July 16 2014

      Hope you can, too, Ary šŸ™‚ Good luck!

  • Eka Zahra
    September 9 2014

    Hi Meihoukai..
    What a nice article. Thank you for writting of Indonesia, my country.
    There’s another island or place that really beautiful too..like Lombok, Lake Toba, Bukit Tinggi, Raja Ampat..

    • Meihoukai
      September 9 2014

      I have been to Lombok and loved it! The rest I hope to hit up next time šŸ™‚ You have a beautiful country.

  • Tobye Whitman
    November 27 2014

    Hi Meihoukai!

    I’m headed to Gili T for Xmas this year – and CANNOT WAIT. Do you have recommendations on where to stay? I think I’ll book in advance because I assume it’ll be extra busy during Christmas (tons of Aussies?).

    Thanks!

    • Meihoukai
      November 28 2014

      Hi Tobye! I don’t know if the places I’ve stayed even have websites, but you can find a summary here. Hope that helps and happy travels!

  • Zita
    January 7 2015

    Hi Meihoukai,

    I’ll be doing an impromptu visit to Terawangan at the end of the month to dive. Can you recommend a cheap but nice home stay and a dive center that are close to each other and preferably facing the beach please? šŸ™‚ Thank you!

    Anyway I’m the same girl that have dropped a comment your blog before asking about Rinjani remember? šŸ˜‰

    Zita

    • Meihoukai
      January 8 2015

      Hey Zita, the good news is the island is crazy small so basically everything is close together, and all the dive shops face the beach šŸ™‚ The home stays do not — they generally are slightly inland. This post has info on the two guesthouses I stayed in on the island. Hope that helps!

  • Cuni
    February 6 2015

    Hi Meihoukai,

    I’m indonesian, and i just know that the thief will be punished by “show” them around in the street in Gili. Haha.

    I suggest you to visit borneo, komodo island and papua.
    Have fun!
    Cuni recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2015

      Yup, I saw the perp walk take place once on Gili Trawangan! Was quite the sight to see. I look forward to returning and seeing more of Indonesia someday!

  • kusuma dewi triyana
    March 3 2015

    I am very proud of your visit to Indonesia , I love the pictures and videos you website and i like it.

    • Meihoukai
      March 4 2015

      You have a beautiful country! Thanks for having me šŸ™‚

  • Francesca
    April 16 2015

    I’m off to Gili Air to do my DM in October, reading this post got me so excited!
    Francesca recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 17 2015

      I’m so happy to hear that, Francesca! Have you read all my DMT posts?

  • Gyan
    May 7 2015

    Meihoukai, lovely photos!

    But I must say, you seem to love the place because of its horses, markets, bikes, and general – “from another time” – laid back feeling, but then show contempt when their punishment style is also from the same mindset and era. It’s hard sometimes to put your self in others shoes but important when traveling.
    Gyan

    • Meihoukai
      May 7 2015

      Hi Gyan, perhaps I did a poor job of expressing myself because I certainly did not feel contempt over the style of punishment in Gili Trawangan. I certainly marveled at it quite wide-eyed as it is a million miles away from what I’ve always known! But that is indeed why we travel.

  • jason
    July 8 2015

    Wow super inspiring. A friend showed me your site and I am thinking of going to Indonesia to do my divemaster certification and this gorgeous little island seems like an awesome spot. thanks for the writeup!
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    • Meihoukai
      July 9 2015

      I’m so grateful I chose Gili Trawangan to do my divemaster. Some of the happiest times of my life! Good luck and happy diving, Jason.

  • Julian
    November 2 2015

    Great post! Im looking forward to go there in a few weeks time…Lets just hope the fire will be under control then
    Julian recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 4 2015

      Indeed! I couldn’t believe when it was affecting airport closures all the way up here in Thailand. However, from my understanding the fires are in a different part of Indonesia and are not affecting Gili Trawangan.

  • David
    November 28 2015

    Love Gili T! One of the best Islands in the world! NO Cars, just dirt walking paths for peddle bikes! If you looking for a true island to hang out and enjoy life Gili T is it! The diving is also 5 stars!
    David recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      November 28 2015

      I miss it terribly! Would love to head back and visit again someday…

  • yocta
    December 11 2015

    nice post, I wish someday I can visit one of Gili.

  • jackson groves
    June 4 2016

    Wow I can’t believe that guy being paraded through the streets. Another world!

    • Meihoukai
      June 10 2016

      I know. One of the things I love about travel and living abroad — having my eyes opened to how diverse this world can be!

  • Ekaterina
    August 18 2016

    Hi Meihoukai,I’m visiting Gili Trawangan this September, what bars can you reccomend to go at night?

    • Meihoukai
      August 18 2016

      Hey there! The bar scene changes so fast anywhere that I’d be afraid of offering an out of date recommendation. But the good news is Gili is teeny itty bity tiny, so basically just stroll around the streets and see where the party is šŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Indah Susanti
    September 10 2016

    I have been thinking to visit Gili islands again and gave the underwater experience there for the second chance. When I was there, I saw the corals were ruined šŸ™ although there were plenty of turtles around the islands, overall it was still a good experience. Thanks for the post and you took good video šŸ™‚
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    • Meihoukai
      September 11 2016

      There is indeed a fair amount of coral damage throughout the Gilis and Southeast Asia at large. Hopefully it is an eye opener for the people who dive and snorkel there to take conservation seriously! Thanks for commenting.