The Gili Islands are located off of the North West Coast of Lombok, Indonesia. They are famously known as 3 very small and very safe islands. Over the last 5 years, tourism has boomed on the islands and naturally where there are more people, there are more issues.
There is danger in all parts of the world and although most of the time Gili is full of sun, fun and everything fantastic, unfortunately there have been reports of petty theft and assaults on the Islands over the years.
When you become the victim of a crime, usually it is through no fault of your own. However, there are some measures that you can take in order to lower the risk of something less fortunate happening to you whilst travelling abroad.
We have put together some tips on how to keep yourself safe during your time on the Islands:
When you are going out for the night make sure that you lock away your valuables. If you are not returning home for a few hours, this leaves an opportunity for someone to steal your belongings. Lock your valuables away in a safety deposit box or a locker at your accommodation. Also remember to lock your door prior to heading out and also when you come home at the end of the night.
As you would anywhere else in the world, when you are withdrawing money on the Islands, be mindful of where you are making the withdrawal and also the people around you. Some ATM’s in Gili are more public than others. Therefore, just keep your wits about you and try to stick with the ATM’s on the main streets. Please also remember to cover your PIN number whilst inputting it into the machine. Even if there is no immediate danger present, ATM scamming has quickly become a worldwide problem and there have been reports of skimming and scamming on the Gilis in the past.
Prepare yourself for all situations and write yourself a list of emergency numbers. Make sure you have the emergency contacts for all of your bank/credit cards, your travel insurance, the embassy of your country, your family/next of kin. By having these readily available you are simply being responsible and saving yourself a lot of time in what could be a stressful situation.
We have all heard the warnings about consuming locally produced alcohol whilst abroad. In Indonesia it is no different, there have been reports of tourists becoming fatally ill after consuming Arak – a local spirit that can contain methanol. Stick to the imported spirits and bottled beer.
When you’re partying you should always keep an eye on your drink and never leave it unattended. Drink spiking can happen anywhere and Gili is no different. If you suspect that your drink has been spiked, tell someone that you trust and ask them to help you get to the nearest medical center on the Island and to stay with you until the doctor has given clearance to go home.
There are reports of drugs being readily available on the Islands and you may be offered anything from cannabis to methamphetamines whilst partying at night. Please remember that you are still in Indonesia. If you get caught buying/selling/taking/trafficking drugs anywhere here you will face very harsh penalties. The worst case scenario for drug offences in Indonesia is the death penalty.
Having drinks with friends is a lot of fun. From time to time it can even get out of hand when you maybe drink more than you would usually consume. We suggest that when you are on the Islands, don’t get yourself in to too much of a state when you are out drinking. Make sure you are responsible enough to get yourself home when the night is over.
When you get drunk there are a lot of chemical changes in your brain and sometimes this can lead to people becoming aggressive. We can not stress how important it is to not get involved in any fights on the Island. The local people do not like this type of behavior and will not tolerate it. It might be normal to have a punch up after a few drinks in your hometown but it is not acceptable here and you will more than likely be made to leave the island.
Whether you are traveling alone or in a group, try to avoid taking the dark roads home at night. There are still many roads on all 3 of the Gilis that are very natural and don’t have street lights to light the path. 99.9% of the time they are perfectly safe however, if you are alone, don’t run the risk if there is another route that you can take that is safer and more lit up.
I know it sounds crazy, you would never intentionally steal something… Or would you? A sneaky beer from the restaurant fridge, some hotel property when your drunkenly walking home with your friends, or even more common… a bicycle.
More often than not, bicycles go missing on a daily basis here and it becomes a nightmare for the business owners so please, even if your legs are sore after a big night, please refrain from taking somebody else’s bike home with you. There are a lot of CCTV cameras around on the 3 islands nowadays and if you’re caught stealing, you will be made to do a walk of shame around the Island with a plaque around your neck stating that you have stolen something. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, this is the punishment for thieves here.
Although there are no police stations on any of the Islands, there is Island security that you can turn to in the event of a crime. Most crime is settled by the local councils and the Kepala Desa (head of the Island). To report more serious crimes, you may need to travel to the Police station in Lombok (e.g. for insurance purposes).
Just use your common sense and remember you are a visitor in Indonesia, please be respectful and look after yourself. Enjoy your holiday and stay safe.
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