MAGICAL GILI TRAWANGAN SWING ABOVE THE OCEAN

Sep 8, 2016

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Floating above crystal clear water to the backdrop of an amazing sunset, the Gili Trawangan swing is a great way to spend a sunset.

TEXT BY JACKSON GROVES  //  IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES

First of all, let’s correct the title above, it should read: Gili Trawangan Swings 

What we were expecting: One magical swing hanging inches above the water in front of a vibrant sunset backdrop. A blissful moment to remember as we swung above the ocean, enjoying the salty aromatic breeze.

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What it was actually like: 8 swings within 800 yards of each other, branded with hotel names plastered above the swings as part of a social media marketing strategy. Lines of up to 15 people waited for their moment of social media glory, posing on the swing without even swinging back and forth once. Photographers from hotels taking photographs and selling them to tourists of their swinging “adventure.”

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Well to be honest we were expecting a short line and a bit of a buzz around the swings as they are immensely popular on Instagram and social media. That is how we found out about them after all. We didn’t expect this to be a glorious natural wonder that we accidentally stumbled upon along a deserted stretch of sand.

This is purely a photo location with almost no adventure to be had. A good time with drinks, dinner, sunset and friends is a certainty but I didn’t feel an ounce of whimsy and actually decided I’d rather not pose on the Gili Trawangan Swing.

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However, after having come so far (25 min walk from the harbor side of Gili Trawangan Island) and waiting all day for the sunset, Jessie decided she may as well at least get our edition of a photo we had seen, so many times on Instagram. Despite both feeling like we were selling our souls, the picture did end up turning out with unexpected results despite no real red or orange tones in the sky.

 Gili Trawangan swing location

If you are wondering where is the Gili Trawangan Swing? All you need to do is head to the Ombak or Pandawa resort. We spent the day lounging at both resorts before enjoying the sunset. This side of the island is a bit of a ghost town during the day, which was a nice change from the crowds of the east side/harbor side of Gili Trawangan.

Overall the Gili Trawangan Swing(s) are more of a production line as photographic proof that you had an awesome time on a remote island in paradise. It is hard for your friends to argue back against a swing in the ocean.

There are countless locations that look amazing on Instagram, the internet or in brochures, which are a total let down once you actually arrive there. Almost all of my favorite places have been the ones that I wasn’t expecting. Instagram is often a gallery of our best moments or at least the moments that are made to look like our best. It is most definitely not a representation of a place, an entire life or lifestyle, or even a person. This is one of the reasons people love platforms like snapchat as they are much more realistic.

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Sometimes you have to go for the tourist shot, just like everyone holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, if you are looking for adventure on Gili Trawangan, the ocean has some amazing snorkeling and even walking through the middle of the island, you will bump into many small local neighborhoods and friendly people. These experiences offered far more adventure and discovery than the opportunity to line up on western shore to sit on a swing.

Only a short boat trip away is our favorite island of the three Gili’s. Click Here for our Guide to Gili Meno.

We spent a week on the small island known as a popular honeymoon spot and found some amazing beaches and enjoyed some incredible snorkeling.

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2 Comment to this post

  1. Alaine says:

    As cheesy as the swing sounds and of course other similar tourist attractions, it is a snapshot to share to friends as a souvenir. If a picture becomes a conversation starter, a flash of a memory of a place and brings joy then there’s no harm in taking the picture. The photographers taking and selling the photos are trying to make a living with their craft. I used to intern at a large hotel company in social media and this kind of attraction brings guests participation to share photos in social media. It is brilliant because it’s a simple photo. Hotels bring economy to a place like Gilli and employs locals and/or invested by a local. It’s not such a terrible idea that a place could bring revenue to an area otherwise would be a ghost town.
    I hate touristic sights because of the sheer amount of tourists, but then you realize that those sights are something different, something extraordinary, or something historical. As a traveler, we can embrace being a tourist and through experience we know what the traps are and when there’s a more local experience that will give us a better memory. Example: eating at a place where hardly any English menus are found and just pointing to what looks good.
    Just my two cents. I would totally swing and take a photo if I was there 😀

    • Jackson & Jessie says:

      Hi Alaine,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I totally get what you are saying. I found the swing a little too much of a promotion from the hotel rather than a fun activity. Having said that it is still unique and why we still felt the urge to participate and follow the crowd. Nothing wrong with being part of a tourist trap every now and again. Happy Travels

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