Back when I was starting to plan our trip to Asia, I was surfing the different forums on the net looking at the different locations that people visit.
Initially I really didn’t plan on going to Indonesia but during one online conversation with a forum member on boards.ie, I was informed about the paradise like Gili islands.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that they would be worth a visit, and I knew that Florence wouldn’t need any persuading so I scheduled in a flight to Bali as part of our travels!
The Gili islands have long been a magnet for backpackers and tourists alike who have decided to venture away from Bali. Located in the northeastern tip of Lombok the Gilis comprise of 3 small islands namely, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. Each has its own different characterisitcs but all having the stunning turquoise-tinted, bathtub warm waters, friendly locals, beachfront bungalows and no motorised vehicles in common.
We left our room in Ubud at 6:30am Sunday morning having spent a lovely 5 days there. We were driven by minibus for over an hour to the area at the docks called Padangai. This was where we would be getting the fast boat across to the Gilis. The fast boat are so called because they travel at 30 knots for 1.5 hours to reach the islands. The slow boat option, while been alot cheaper can take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to complete and only leave at irregular times. So we definitely said we’d James Bond it in the fast boat for this one
The journey across was very scenic and the boat was about 75% full. Arriving at Gili T was really like something out of a movie. Endless isolated white sand beaches stretched either side of the dock. The dock itself was brimming with locals all eager for us to use their “cidomo” which is a horse drawn cart. Since the only motorised vehicles on these islands are the boats that come and go the only form of transport around the island are these cidomo’s and bicycles!
The Island itself can be walked around by the parameter in 2.5 hours so as you can guess its not really big. Big and busy enough though to be the most visited of the 3 Gili islands.
We found ourselves a lovely little room which was only about a 2 minute walk to the beach and cost only 6 euro per person per night! There was only a fan in the room but it worked more the the propeller on an aeroplane so that coupled with the cool breeze coming from the beach ensured that it wasn’t going to be uncomfortably hot at night.
So that was Sunday night and its now Thursday and we are still here in same spot!
We basically spent the first 2 days lapping it up at the beach drinking fresh coconuts and generally lazing about.
It can’t be emphasized enough how ridiculously cool these islands are. While its that bit less cheap than the main land its by no means expensive to enjoy the fruits of the islands.
The local people are as friendly as ever and while trying to make a quick buck they never go overboard with their prices and generally will drop their asking price by half straight away if you turn and try to walk away.
There are some really amazing beach huts which cost around $50 per night that are literally out of this world and include swimming pools, satellite T.V, mini bar, fridge, money safe and air-con. If you were to come to this part of the world on a 2/3 week holiday you would be able to live like royalty for next to nothing. But since we are on an extended backpacking trip we don’t see the point in paying that kind of money per night when we are perfectly comfortable in our 6 euro a night room!
A few days ago we rented some bicycles and cycled around some of the island where we got to see the best sunset I’ve ever witnessed. We laid back while sipping a few drinks at a beach bar and watched the sun magically disappear, lightening fast!
Since I don’t have my SLR camera with me and only a G12(which is equally as good for what I’d need it for), I’m limited to what zoom ranges I can achieve. Basically the G12 has only a 5x digital zoom on it which doesn’t allow really close up images from any great distance. In saying that, its a fantastic camera for me as a substitute to carrying a big SLR around for months.
Yesterday(Wednesday), we went on a snorkelling trip on a glass botton boat. It was a 4 hour trip which brought us around the 3 Gili Islands with a snorkel around each of them. This was myself and Florence’s first time to snorkel as we never really wanted to on previous trips….that coupled with the fact that neither of us are really confident in deep waters. But we decided that at a location like this, it would be a shame not to experience it. So off we went and really had a lovely time. I got a bit sea sick for some reason after an hour which rendered me useless after the first snorkel. That combined with the fact I always seem to want to go to the number 2 in situations where I know I can’t, made it a tough first half of a trip until we landed on Gili Air for lunch.
So that brings me up to today which is Thursday 23rd June. We are just about to head down to the beach. We have no idea yet when we plan to leave the Gili’s. We have the open return ticket back to Bali, so we can head back whenever we like