(This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start from the beginning, click here)
After two days in Kebun Villas & Resort on Lombok, on the third day we packed up after breakfast. Next destination – the Gili Islands!
All the while doing research for Lombok, I read about the 3 Gili Islands. Some posters said they were the most beautiful islands in the world (pinch of salt included) and any trip to Lombok would not be complete without at least a few nights here. I wasn’t against the idea of staying here, but the thought of packing up and moving hotels 3 times in 6 days wasn’t what I had in mind for a relaxing holiday. But my wife was keen on it, so I went with the idea.
Checking out of Kebun was a quick affair, so we waved goodbye to the 2 beautiful swimming pools and got into our transport (IDR 550,000 all inclusive of transfer and boat). This was the same transport we had used for the past 2 days, except today it was his assistant, a really nice guy whom I’m sad to say I’ve forgotten his name.
Getting to the Gilis, as they’re called, usually meant going through one of 2 public harbours – Bangsal or Teluk Nare. Both have notorious reputations, but have regular, cheap public boats every hour. I was advised by Sasha and Tripadvisor to pay more for a private charter boat, we did.
So driver then takes us on a scenic route along the coastline, giving us many stops to photograph the fantastic clifftop views of Senggigi.
Everywhere on the island, its clear blue waters…
Here you can see the Gilis from Lombok. From the left, that Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air (not in picture).
After Senggigi, we passed by a few remote seaside villages. One of them has a private boat unofficial ‘harbour’, run by the villager. Far from having just simple fishing boats, they have modern skiffs and speedboats.
That’s our boat.
And off we go. the trip at moderate speed takes about 25 mins.
Looking back you can really see how huge Lombok is, and how much of is still undeveloped, green and beautiful.
Landfall in Gili. First impressions – more beautiful than Lombok, sandy white beaches and clear blue waters. And scorching hot.
Down the main street of Gili Trawangan. The island does not have tarred roads, because they don’t allowed any motorized vehicles on the island. Not even motorcycles. The only modes of transport are bicycles, and cidomo. What’s a cidomo? you will see it later.
Our home for 2 days 1 night in Gili T is Marta’s. Marta’s is a small, homely hotel, a lot like a homestay. Here’s a bit about finding accommodation in Gili T or any of the Gilis. There are many such homestay and chalets on the island, however not many of them can be booked online. A lot of tourists just show up and find a room somewhere. Those hotels that DO have website or are affliated to booking websites like Agoda or Booking.com are usually fully booked most of the time. From what we observed, most of the hotels are the budget family-run places, or the backpacker types. There are a few upmarket resorts, like the 5-star Villa Ombak, they are usually on the west or north of the island. So they aren’t many mid-priced hotels, its either end of the price spectrum.
Marta’s is a family-run place. a little on the old side, but we like it and its near best snorkeling spot and the town centre of Gili T.
We got the largest room in the resort, above the office. It has a large balcony / drying yard overlooking the pool.
After checking in we took a walk through the town centre of Gili T.
There are few scuba schools to get your certification. Both Padi and SSI available.
Jetty in centre of town in front the Art Market. The Art Market is a small square that turns into a local food court at night.
At the side of the Art Market is La Dolce Vita, a bakery run by an Italian couple, serving authentic baguettes and pizzas, and great coffee. And its really cheap to boot.
Surly looking Italian owner.
Love the food. Real Italian style, not the American style we’re used to here.
After lunch we took a cidomo ride around the island. If you are still wondering what that is, this is what a cidomo looks like.
A ride around the island takes less than 30 minutes, and you can see all the beaches.
then it was snorkeling time.
we spotted a giant turtle just off the beach, too bad we didn’t have an underwater camera. It was truly a beautiful creature, allowing us to snorkel right next to it.
After a few hours of snorkeling in the scorching sun, we went back for a shower and nap.
For dinner, there was no shortage of places to eat and drink. the main town strip lights up with all kinds of restaurants – local, Irish, German, fusion, Italian, whatever you want. From the recommendations on tripadvisor, we narrowed it down to Beach House or Il Pirata, in the end we went for seafood grille at the former.
Dinner was a little pricey but good. But you can’t complain much about having sunset dinner with your loved ones right on one the most beautiful beaches in Indonesia / world.