For the last leg of my adventure I headed to Lombok, Bali’s sister island and specifically more for the infamous Gili Islands. I don’t think anything can top my adventures to date. It has just been IN-CRE-DI-BLE!!! 😃👍👌 But it ain’t over until the fat lady sings ... and I ain’t singing just yet!!! 😂🤣😆
So I’m on the plane about to land in Lombok and then comes the announcement... “we regret to inform passengers that we are unable to land in Lombok due to military activity. We will return to Bali”. First thoughts... Then someone mentioned it was Labor Day so the military probably had some practice drill to do, but why oh why didn’t they inform the plane before it took off? Oh it’s quite normal, they just do these things! 😳🙄😲 So back to Bali it was for what would turn out to be 2 hours on the tarmac with the doors closed, air con off, no water offered and plenty of selfies with the locals on the plane 🤣📸
Finally landed in Lombok and it was an hours drive by taxi
(after haggling the price to less than half the asking price!!!) up to Senggigi, which is said to have stunning beaches.
Hmmmm, perhaps I wasn’t there long enough to find these “stunning” beaches. From walking around this dusty little town and stopping at some view points, I saw beaches, but I wouldn’t exactly have described them as “stunning” (cue brown muddy water and rubbish on the sands), but like I said, maybe I needed to go further afield. Anyway, I was off to the Gili Islands the next day so no problem.
After a few hours of walking up and down the main dusty street, which is just restaurant shack after restaurant shack (with a few dive shops and convenience stores mixed in for good measure), I came across the only bar/restaurant in town that had a couple of westerners in it so I went in for a beer and here is where the next random adventure begun. Turns out one of the guys at the bar was the owner of the bar, originally from Australia. We got talking about the local area and how to get to the Gili Islands. His mate strides in with his Indonesian girlfriend
(64 yr old Australian biker - picture this - black jeans and biker boots in this weather, fairly longish grey/white hair and one of those long grey/white mustaches - exactly like a stereotypical Harley Davidson biker!). So we’re all talking about life and travels and we get to the topic of how to get to the Gili Islands. Turns out, this pair reckon I shouldn’t bother with the shuttle transfer, I can do it cheaper myself. So much so in fact that biker man says, in fact, “I’ll drop ya down to the harbor me self” .
Next morning true to his word, he comes to collect me bang on 8:30am from my hotel. Now to get my suitcase, plus me, plus my holdall which I’d packed to take to the Gills (so as not to take the suitcase) ... onto a scooter! Yep, my lift was a scooter! 🤣😂😆. Oh how I laughed, but you would be amazed at how much you can get on a scooter because even his girlfriend came along for the ride!!! Ok ok so it was round the corner to their house but still - 3 people, a suitcase and 2 bags
The pair of them had decided to join me to go to the Gili Islands so we rented a 2nd scooter and what I was told was a 30min journey down to the harbor, took an hour. If I’d have known that, I’d have suggested a taxi for the 3 of us so I wouldn't be walking like John Wayne after an hour on the damn scooter! But it was actually really nice scenery all the way and yes I did see some nice beaches, contrary to the one that was directly below the main town.
We took the local slow boat over, which only the locals and penniless backpackers take ... and me of course 😆 You just wait until they have enough people to literally jam the boat full and then you watch the waterline just inches from the top of the boat! Lol
The Gili Islands are car/motor- free so it’s either walk, rent a push bike or take a horse & cart. As with everything on the Gilis, the prices are a lot higher so out of principle I wasn’t going to take a horse & cart for a short journey across the island
for 100k when I paid 40k to rent a scooter for 24hrs!!!
Half an hour of walking in the hot midday sun and I was thinking ... I should have taken the horse & cart 😫😖😂
The Gili Islands are renowned for being party Islands. So when I was told that Gili Trawangan (the most popular of the Islands) had an average age of 20 and full of rampant rabbits, I decided one of the other islands was probably more for me. With Gili Meno being more of a honeymoon/romantic island, I opted for the last but not least Gili Air. It was great, lovely beaches, with swings built in the water, chilled out bars/restaurants playing reggae or the Beatles during the day and transforming to ear busting techno joints in the night. I can see how people might get stuck on the island particularly if they’re offered magic mushrooms which actually grow on the islands. I’m adventurous but not that adventurous thank you very much, but each to their own!
After the Gilis I headed down to Kuta for some rest and relaxation before the epic journey home. Yes sadly my time here has come to an end.
From religious temples to waterfalls; marine life to food & fauna; beaches to small shanty towns; and from culture to breathtaking sunsets, Indonesia has been incredible and yet I’ve only scratched the surface!
I’ve been amazed, inspired, curious to learn more and humbled along the way. Here’s to the journey home and my next adventure which is already in the planning! 😉
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