Indonesia - Bali and the Gili Islands (25.05.2010 - 05.07.2010)


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Asia » Indonesia
February 21st 2011
Published: July 1st 2011
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From chaos to tranquility
Delhi is the most crowded and chaotic place we have seen during our trip. From there we went to Mumbai, it felt slightly less crowded, but still very hectic. Our flight from Mumbai took us to KL, which could be considered as a Paradise in comparison to the Indian giants. Especially when again we were warmly welcomed to stay at Veera and her roomies for a few days. So nice to stay in a real apartment! We continued to Bali, where we stayed in touristy and crowded Kuta. It seemed that we changed from an overload of Israelis to an overload of Aussies. Nevertheless it was again a step towards quietness and soon we would arrive at the quiet beaches of the Gili Islands for total tranquility and relaxation. We had 6 weeks on the islands. The plan was to stay minimum one month on the Gilis.

Bali
We spend a few days on Bali before going to the Gilis and a few days after returning from the Gilis. After checking in a cheap but decent hostel on Poppies Lane II, we spend the first days mostly doing nothing on the beach, shopping souvenirs and enjoying the delicious Indonesian food. We went out a few times, once with Anna's friend Zee from Jakarta. One time we started the evening on the famous stairs on Poppies Lane II: a grocery store had put some loud music outside and sells cheap beers to drink on the public stairs on the street.

After returning from the Gilis we met with my niece and nephews, who were on their holidays. Most memorable was the evening when we saw the World Cup match Holland - Brasil together in a club packed with Dutch and Brazilian supporters. As you all now, the Dutch won, which made going out that night even more enjoyable. One of the last days we rented some surfboards to surf the whitewash for the second time in my life and I could even manage to stand a up a few times.

Gili Air
It took us almost the whole day to get to the Gili Islands. A mini bus early morning to Padang Bai, a slowboat to Lombok and again a minibus across Lombok to the small harbor of Bangsal, to teak a 15 minute boat ride to Gili Air. When we arrived around sunset, we took a nice hut from Lombok Indah, near the sea on the other (sunset) side of the island, away from the 'main strip'. In comparison to the other 2 Islands, Gili Air was our favourite. The balance was perfect: Not as expensive and crowded with party people like Gili T and not so remote and quiet as Gili Meno. Therefore, after initially staying 10 days, we decided to come back here for another 5 days before heading back to Bali.

We had a perfect time here. Most of the days were filled according to the following routine: Before the complementary breakfast, we would go for an hour walk around the island. It was mostly Anna who did the round, because I felt just too lazy. Then we would pack our beach gear and walk along the shore to the main strip where the beach was one of the island's best. We'd spend there a few hours chilling out, swimming and snorkeling. During the heat of mid day, usually I'd walk a bit back, off the main strip, to a shop where I bought the cheapest and coldest Coke cans of the island and brought it back to our beach spot. After our walk back in the afternoon, our friendly hosts prepared delicious cocktails for us to enjoy, while watching magnificent sunsets from one of the bamboo hangouts with comfy mattrasses overlooking the sea. After a refreshing shower and chilling out in the hammock on our porch we'd go for an evening stroll to find us some nice food in one of the restaurants along the main strip.

Sometimes we went for some drinks afterwards to hang out with some friends we'd met: Watching a live band, which plays only once a week. Once we went to a rave in the middle of nowhere, which was still going on when we passed for our morning stroll. With a Canadian couple who we'd met in India before, we rented a boat to go snorkeling around the islands. The underwater scenery is not as beautiful as we have seen in Maluku, but seeing turtles made it a unique experience.

Gili Trawangan
We knew both what to expect when arrived to Gili T, since we both have been here before each on different occasions. Gili T is the most developed of the 3 islands: There are a few giant expensive resorts, numerous internet cafes and nowadays even an ATM. Nevertheless Gili T is a heaven on earth for those seeking comfort, parties and chilled out beaches on a 'remote' paradise island with no other traffic then horse powered carts. We stayed in one of the two attached rooms of a brand new guest house owned by a young couple, named after their cute little baby:.... . The place was located on a few minutes walk from the beach and was far enough from the main drag, so we weren't disturbed by the party noise. During the week we were here, the most active we were during our walks around the Island which took again around an hour on slow pace. The nicest walk was just before sunset, when we walked the deserted beaches, picking up kilos of shells, while the sun casted a warm pastel light on the surroundings. During the day we mostly laid on the soft beach beds (for 2!) of the nearest beach 'club'. In the evening we went out when the island's collective party night was, which rotates every Wednesday and Friday to one of the bigger established bars.

If you think we missed out on the World Cup action, you got it wrong, almost every bar had a television and some had huge flat screens and even projectors showing the games. Even though the Indonesian team was not in the World Cup, the locals were very enthusiastic, sometimes even hysterical, which created a nice atmosphere. Of course we saw all the Dutch games, ourselves decorated with whatever we had in orange.

On the evening before the day we wanted to leave, we met a guy from my hometown, who invited us to come sailing on the boat he'd hire 2 days later. Of course we couldn't refuse this offer and extended our stay. A good decision, because we had a wonderful relaxing day on the boat, with chilled out people. We had a dinner of freshly caught tuna and drank rose and ice-cold beers while listening to music and sailing into a perfect sunset.

Gili Meno
Such a good choice of us to go first to Gili T and then to Gili Meno. Now we could enjoy the quiet and peacefulness of the island even more. When we arrived early afternoon, we dropped our bags in one of the few shops clustered around the jetty and walked around the island to see if we could find a perfect hut on the beach. Unfortunately this was not the case. All the available ones were just too expensive for our low budget and the few affordable ones were taken, so we took a decent room in a strip of bungalows which were recently build in the interior of the island, located on a few minutes walk from the best strip of beach on the island. Please take note that for western standards, the 'expensive' ones were still cheap and the quality you get outstanding: Beautifully decorated and designed huts and bungalows overlooking a perfect white beach; honeymoon material I'd say.

Our daily activity was not much different from that on the other islands. The usual walk around the island was a bit shorter, because the island was smaller. The snorkeling was the best, just in front of our beach spot we enjoyed a beautiful under water world. The beach was the most beautiful and tranquil we have seen in the Gilis. While laying on the white sand we were overlooking a perfectly blue ocean and the magnificent Rinjani mountain on Lombok dooming up in the horizon. This scenery was even more spectacular when we got up before sunset to sit on the beach and see the pale sun coming up from behind it.

We enjoyed this paradise one last week before we went back to Gili Air, Bali, and back to Europe!
PS: Below here are some 60 pics more to see ;-)


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