Indonesia – Gili islands (19 – 27 March)

We landed at noon in Bali. We took a taxi from the airport and drove to our place of stay, which turned out to be a lovely little hostel in the middle of nowhere. We were literally in the middle of a slum. Fortunately, however, we found something to eat there (almost free because the food is just so cheap). The staff at the hotel were so helpful and helped to organize the next day transfer to Gili Trawangan. Although the hotel was in the middle of the nowhere it was a very fine hotel with the pool and everything.

Many travelers advised us to spend less time in Bali and instead of discovering the neighboring island of Lombok, and the small islands next to it. We heard this advice and we first traveled to the islands of Gili for a week.

In order to get there, we had to pay nearly 25 euros per face. It included transport from Denpasar to the port city of Padangbay and from there with the fast boat to Gili. A cheaper option would have been to go to Lombok by slow ferry, but at this time we decided for the convenience.

In Gili islands, we were also looking for a hotel for the first night. It was located close to the harbor and next to the main road. For us, this place was a bit too noisy and the next day we started searching to find a better place to stay. We wanted to spend our week-long vacation somewhere where you can just relax. As a result of negotiating the acceptable price, we managed to get a wonderful place to stay at the bungalow by the sea.

Our home was located on the northern tip of the island, which is also called the Turtle Point, a place where you can snorkel with the sea turtles. It was easy for these creatures to be identified also from the shore as they came breathing from time to time on the water. The first time Jaanus went to look them up, Kaija gave instructions on the shore which way to swim. However, after the first few days, we were both experienced enough to find turtles independently.

Gili T is a well-known party island for backpackers. The neighboring islands Gili Meno and Gili Air are significantly less crowded and calmer. Unfortunately, we didn’t know it right from the start. Otherwise, we would have spent more time in Gili Meno, because we are not big party animals, and we had no intention to try the mushrooms, cannabis and other similar, despite the fact that this stuff was offered at every corner.

However, as Gili T has obviously the most tourists, it also has the most activities. A favorite attraction for tourists is cycling around the island. Motor vehicles are banned on this island. Thereby the most popular means of transport is the horse cart

Since our place to stay was already on the other side of the island, we took a walk around the island. It does not take more than a few hours. On the west side of the island is where you can enjoy the sunset in the evenings, and the east side has a view of the neighboring islands and wonderful restaurants and nightlife on the sandy beach.

It is also popular to make the so-called Island hopping. In addition, they arrange different snorkeling tours. We didn’t want to go snorkeling with the crowded tourist boats. So one day we just took a boat ride to Gili Meno and discovered the neighboring island on our own. Gili Meno’s most famous attraction is underwater sculpture. Until noon the surroundings of the sculpture are filled with boats that bring snorkeling tourists there. We swam to the sculpture from the shore. It was quite well accessible excluding some jellyfish burns against the body. Seeing this sculpture could be one of the purposes of life. It was just incredibly special and beautiful. In addition, much colorful fish swam around the sculpture. Unfortunately, we didn’t choose the best time to see the sculpture because we still had to compete with other tourists. However, we think that there will be much less competition in the afternoon. The sculptures are created by the famous underwater artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

In addition to sculptures, we also saw giant chameleons, sea turtle breeding, and many marvelous paradise beaches. We tasted local good food. Kaija’s new favorite is now urap-urap. It is a traditional Indonesian food that contains vegetables or cucumber flavored with grated coconut and onion and garlic and something else. The food in Indonesia is delicious and shamefully cheap. Curry or noodle can get less than a few euros. So, breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the restaurant were very acceptable for our wallets.

As mentioned, Gili T was a holiday for us. So there were days we just spent in the hotel. We sunbathed and snorkeled with turtles. One day we got rain, but that day also went well, because we were working on a blog and booked all the flight tickets til home. We can tell the readers already that we will arrive back in Estonia on the 8th of June.

In the evenings we were looking for a suitable restaurant to enjoy the waves and the sea view. In Gili T it is common to make beach bonfires, where you just can have a drink and relax. Also, there are many swings on the beaches so it is almost an obligation to take pictures with them:) We got quite a few of them …

From one moment we discovered that Gili T also has a night market. This meant that our dinners in the restaurant ended at this moment because the food sold on the market is extremely tasty and you can try all sorts of local food. Kaija’s favorites were spring rolls and Jaanus was a fan of different kind of curry dishes.

We had heard from friends that somewhere there should be a beach cinema. For a whole week, we kept our eyes open to see if we find something, and we finally managed to get it right last night. We walked along the north shore of the island towards the hotel, again after a wonderful dinner at the beach restaurant and suddenly we saw a big screen. We were lucky because the film was just about to start. Fortunately, there was still plenty of room and we ordered a beer and we were waiting to find out what movie is being played this night. Happily, luckily this night was not a horror movie time, and Grand Budapest Hotel fit somehow surprisingly to that evening even though we were already familiar with the movie.

All in all, we were very happy with our vacation. Especially enjoyable was our hotel boy, a funny guy, who always kept the mood up and made jokes all the time. We even received bracelets from him as a gift before we left. Just for that reason, I would like to go back to Gili T to throw a joke over the crocodiles swimming in the sea;) But the pictures say more than a thousand words about Gilis. And for those who would definitely want to go to Gil, we recommend looking at our Instagram story about Gili.

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