There’s something about being on a yacht that makes you feel like a million dollars. And what better way to spend your time on a yacht than by partying your heart out? Unfortunately, there are not many places in Southeast Asia where you can party on a yacht unless you charter one for yourself. And that’s probably going to make you several million
dollars rupiahs poorer.
In 2016, my friend and I were stuck on Gili Trawangan because our initial plan to go on a cruise to Flores fell through due to a miscalculation of budget. So, we had four days to kill, a little bit of money left, and no plans. Since neither of us was a confident swimmer, scuba diving and other water sports were out of the question.
Then, while we were walking around the island, I saw flyers at a few travel agents advertising some boat party organized by “Jiggy Bar”. The parties were held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. My friend was not into parties. Besides, she was recovering from a flu, so she was happy to let me go on my own.
Jiggy Boat Party
The Jiggy Boat Party (previously known as Drunken Monkeyz Party Boat) is an event organized by the Jiggy Bar, which is one of the bars located on the main beach of Gili T.
The party takes 5 hours from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., during which participants are taken around the three Gili islands: Trawangan, Meno, and Air. There will be a stop off the coast of Lombok, where you can enjoy a dip in the water while watching the sunset. All participants are entitled to free welcome drinks (3 for the ladies and 1 for the guys). Throughout the cruise, there will be free shot rounds, drinking games and house music.
The Jiggy Boat Party claims to be the best party in Indonesia. Currently their rating on TripAdvisor is 4.5 stars (as voted by 282 reviewers).
How to Get There
Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the biggest of the three Gili islands. To get there from Lombok, you need to take the public boat at the Bangsal jetty for only Rp 15,000 per person one-way. It departs when there are enough passengers and is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alternatively, you can take the fast boat, which leaves hourly from morning till about 5 p.m. and costs Rp 85,000. It’s also possible to get there from Bali. Jiggy Bar is located on the eastern side of the island, where most of the bars and accommodation are.
How Much is It?
If you’re on Gili Trawangan, you will see that many tour agents and guesthouses have Jiggy Boat flyers on display. When I was there, I saw that all of them offered the same price, except for one guesthouse. It was about 5 dollars cheaper. Thinking that the price difference was because they were taking a lower commission than the other booking agents, I booked with them.
However, when I checked in for the cruise at Jiggy Bar, I found out that the guesthouse where I had booked my ticket had quoted me the wrong price. So, I had to pay the difference at the bar before being allowed to join the cruise.
Therefore, beware if you find an agent who offers you a much lower price. You should be paying the standard price, no matter where you book. Here’s the current price list, as listed on their website:
NORMAL TICKETS – includes free welcome drinks and shot rounds
- USD 32 per person
- USD 110 for a group of 6
VIP TICKETS – includes all of the above, plus reserved seating
- USD 50 per person (inclusive of a bottle of spirit for every 2-3 people. If you’re a solo guest, you will be grouped together with other solo VIPs)
- USD 225 for a group of 5 (inclusive of two bottles of standard spirits)
- USD 299 for a group of 5 (inclusive of two bottles of deluxe spirits)
Should You Book in Advance?
Their website says you need to book in advance as there is limited space available. However, some reviewers on TripAdvisor recently reported that they were not allowed entry despite having booked and paid for their tickets — due to overbooking.
Another customer complained that he was made to wait for almost an hour for walk-in participants because there were not enough people on that day. In the end, the cruise was cancelled.
I’m not sure if these happen frequently, but I didn’t face any such problem. When I tried to book a ticket for Saturday, the booking agent made a call to the organizer and later told me that it was sold out. I had to go on the Monday cruise instead. So, I think it really depends on which tour agent you book your ticket with. Overbooking can happen if the agent fails to check with the organizer to confirm availability.
What to Expect
On the day of the party, we had to gather at the bar at 1 p.m. for check-in and distribution of wristbands and drink coupons. While waiting for everybody to get registered, we could chill and order drinks at the bar.
At close to 2 p.m., we were taken on a small boat to the catamaran. Each of us was inspected for any outside food or drinks, as none was allowed on board. Apart from the free drinks, they also sell drinks and snacks on the yacht, so make sure you bring some cash with you if you plan to buy some. They were a bit overpriced though.
The yacht was very basic. If you’ve been on any island-hopping or scuba-diving trip in Indonesia, you would probably have been on this type of boat. Don’t expect glitz and glamour. The only extra feature it had was a number of bean bags strewn about in the middle of the deck.
Most of the participants came in groups. There were a few strays like me, but they had all seamlessly joined the crowd. That left me standing alone by the sidelines, unable to find anyone to adopt me.
So, I switched to my oft-used strategy: be extra nice to the crew. I can’t count the number of times I got free drinks just for being nice to the bartenders. The crew members were eager to chat with me, as I was the only guest who could speak their language. That’s always an advantage for me every time I go to Indonesia. And as expected, the drinks came pouring in.
One of them introduced himself as the captain of the boat. (Jackpot!) There were no free drinks from him, but he took me to the upper deck where the steering wheel was and asked me to have a go at it.
During the shot rounds, everybody got three shots of premixed screwdriver cocktail poured straight from the bottle into their mouths. It tasted more like pure orange juice than screwdriver though. What I enjoyed the most was the dancing. However, when dancing, seasickness, and alcohol were combined, after several hours, the toilet was not a pretty sight.
Close to 5 p.m., we reached the coast of Lombok, where those who wanted to swim could dive right in from the upper deck. I made friends with another girl who — like me — couldn’t swim. We took over the bean bags while the others were busy in the water.
After that, we made our way back to Gili T and reached the shore at around 7. Some of us went to Jiggy Bar for the after-party, but I had to skip it as I had promised to bring home dinner for my sick friend.
So, does the Jiggy Boat Party live up to the hype?
Well, if you’ve been to other yacht parties before, then the Jiggy Boat probably won’t impress you that much. First of all, it’s an old wooden boat. Their website sure makes it sound more glamorous than it actually is. Second, everything is overpriced (by Indonesian standard) — from the tickets to the drinks sold on board. Third, the free drinks are rather diluted and fourth, they are super strict about outside food and drinks.
But because it was my first time partying on a boat, I actually found it very enjoyable. The crew members were friendly. They did take us around the islands and we got to see sunset from the sea. In short, they delivered everything they promised. I guess it would have been better if I had gone with a friend and if I knew how to swim, but I had a great time nevertheless.
NOTE: As of late, there have been several complaints about the party being overbooked and about the boat breaking down at sea. Although I believe this doesn’t happen frequently, please consider reading the most recent reviews before you book this activity. If you have tried it, do share your experience below.