Gilis and friends

Trip Start Jan 31, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , West Nusa Tenggara,
Friday, July 12, 2013

After a one night stop off on Lombok (next island along from Bali) to meet up with the lovely Alex and Prodge (aka James), we were on our way to the Gili Isles. 
The Gilis are three beautiful islands just off Lombok. Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trewangon. Think turquoise blue waters and lovely white beaches. The pace of life is pretty chilled out on these islands. There are no tuk tuks or any vehicles, only horses and carts to take you to where you need to go. Wonderfully quiet! 
We spent time on each of the islands to get a feel for what they were like. I think we were all only planning on staying on the Gilis for a few days but ended up staying well over a week as we were just having too much of a good time and it was very hard to leave!

 As ever, getting over to the islands didn't go quite as smoothly as we'd hoped. It involved us getting over to where the boat was due to leave from Lombok and hopefully the company we'd bought the tickets from would sort us out from there. We had an hour and a half to spare. Plenty of time they said, waiting for more people to fill the boat they said, have LUNCH they said. So we did, leisurely, have lunch and played cards whilst we waited for the go ahead to get the boat. Then out of no where “Come ON lets go lets go, EVERYONE IS WAITING FOR YOU!!” What?! No explanation and we were suddenly made to practically run to the boat with a guy frantically riding alongside us on a motorbike offering to take one of us to hurry us along! This we ignored and walked at our own pace, furious we were now being rushed after being so early. We arrived to find a boat full of people staring and waiting for us. Brilliant.
We arrived on Gili Air requiring a quick wade ashore (FYI jumping off a boat with very heavy backpacks, flip flops in hand into knee deep moving water is not the easiest! We got a lot of practice at this but it was still all I could do to not just fall off the boat into the water face first). Air is the second largest island, though still easily small enough to walk around in an hour or so. After settling in we went for a wander and took a lovely walk around the island and watched a beautiful sunset with a few drinks. Aaand relax! Whilst on Gili Air we mostly spent our time on the beach, swimming, snorkelling and sampling the numerous bars and restaurants. 
A HUGE highlight on our first snorkelling outing was seeing a sea turtle! It was just the four of us, only a little way out from the beach, no boats, no one else around, just us and this lovely turtle. He was very chilled out and didn't mind us being so close at all. We must have spent around 15-20 minutes floating and watching him eat seaweed from the sea bed. Tom and I were super excited having not really done any proper snorkelling before! 
Also worth a mention were the gigantic kebabs discovered by Prodge on our first night. Cooked to order on the BBQ with a large selection of sides, they were amazing! Really good value too ;). Made even more delicious by the fact we were eating at a candle lit table on the beach, the water lapping only a few metres away. They were so tasty in fact we had to go back again the following night and have them again! Ha! I can't believe we don't have a photo! 
On our last day on Air we decided to book a snorkelling trip so we could be taken a bit further out to some better coral and hopefully see some more fish. The snorkelling was good, lots of fish, I was lucky enough to see a second turtle! Lowlights we the evil tiny jellyfish that kept stinging us all over and the confirmation that apparently I do now get seasick. Urgh! On our third stop off I couldn't cope with sitting in the swaying boat any more or with swimming about on the verge of vomiting so resorted to bobbing about in the water, clinging to a rope from the boat. Marginally better than sitting on the boat. Wasn't one of my best moments. We stopped off on Meno for lunch and I managed to pull myself together (only after taking a motion sickness tablet – very lame) for the last stop off which ended up being the most interesting with the most fish!
Gili Meno is the smallest and quietest island so we only stayed here two nights. Very similar to Gili Air just smaller scale. On the way out to dinner on the first night we discovered “Spider Alley”. We were staying inland from the beach and inland also seemed to mean lots of spiders. One path in particular leading across the island was pretty horrific. HUGE spiders webs containing HUGE fat spiders the size of saucers everywhere. Hanging in all the trees and bushes surrounding and overhanging the path. I've never seen spiders that big in real life or so many. They were made to look even more menacing by their colouring too. So we (or should I say me and Alex) followed in tight formation behind the boys walking at stooping level all the way to the beach. Shudder. This was followed by a lovely sunset dinner again on the beach and drinks and cards in a tree house (on the beach so spider free!) so was kind of worth it. 
Our second day on Meno and we visited the bird park next door to where we were staying. Lots of birds, a baby Komodo Dragon and a crocodile which actually turned out to be in a pen immediately behind the wall of Alex and Prodge's bedroom! Yikes. Speaking of which Alex and Prodge discovered that the weird smell in their room was actually a decomposing rat under their bed. Loooovely! 
So moving on to Gili Trewangon, the largest island and supposed “party island”. We stayed here for a few days too for more of the same - good food, snorkelling and beach action. Much much busier here but still lovely. We hired bikes on the first day to explore the island, though half the time we had to drag our bikes through the sand as we passed along various beaches! It took an hour or so, very hot work and we rewarded ourselves with fresh coconuts on the way back :). 
Silent disco! We couldn't not could we?! Although probably not worth poor Alex getting completely bashed out of the way in the stampede for headphones. The obvious discussion about how they should better organise their silent disco ensued along with much tutting ;). Good fun was had by all though, our hangovers were testament to that! All apart from Prodge that is who chose to get up at 7am and walk up a huge hill before breakfast, crazy boy! 
Definitely worth a final mention was the awesome night market with SO much amazing food. Lots of it cooked to order in front of you. YUM!
Oh and kittens. Lots of kittens. Not sure if it was just mine and Alex's kitty senses working overtime but if there were teeny kittens within a 15 metre radius we'd find them! 

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Matt on

Unbelievable sunsets on the Gilis. Loved it

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