Tropical paradise or environmental vandalism?
If are you grasping for a cheap holiday a visit to the Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok and Bali, will ultimately have a cost beyond the rupiah.
Everything you buy, or service you use - all fresh water, food and the staff of the places you will eat, drink and stay, are freighted onto this desert island. So, itís a fantasy set up for tourists that is environmentally unsustainable.
Although we didnít dive we did hire a glass bottomed boat to do some island hopping and snorkelling amongst the mostly bleached coral reef where we attempted to dodge the plastic flotsam.
Our cravings for dining out and eating a genuine Indonesian/ Gili Island meal were left unmet in this fake place where the only restaurants are those set up on the beach for tourists.
If you have any compassion for living things, donít try saving rupiah by overloading all your luggage and travel party into one poor pony cart. The price for two wonít blow the budget... and youíre on holiday so take the luxury of having the the driver slow down, see the sites and spare the sweat of your pony. And just spare a thought for the services cart ponies who must ferry all goods from the harbour. Look with open eyes and donít use a pony which is lame or suffering pain if you must take a ride rather than walk. When choosing your driver for getting to and from your accommodation and warung tell them you wonít tolerate. a skeletal horse or one with sores around the girth. Let your money talk.
Overall ,we were really disappointed with Gili T, especially after all the hyped reviews we had read. What really spoiled our stay was the treatment of the ponies, many were underfed, overworked in high temperatures, often overloaded by lazy western tourists who seemed oblivious to the plight of the poor beasts. I am pretty ashamed of the huge environmental footprint I made by staying on this island.