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Experiencing the Gili Islands
Have you ever heard about the famous Gili Islands? Our trip has been a crazy ride and I cannot wait to tell you all about it. It all started off with an early pickup from our hotel at around 7 am in the morning. As we went to a beach party the night before and weren’t able to find a taxi, the amount of sleep I had was very little. I felt nauseous and tired all morning and could barely keep my eyes open. If my friend Jean is reading this, he knows what’s up. Jean, this is my pettiness speaking. As we had a to wait for an hour at the harbor until we could finally board, we decided to drink a few beers beforehand. No judgement here, we were 18 students on a boat, I think that says it all. A crazy Ride Once we entered the boat, we were allowed to sit up on the deck where the music was already blasting non-stop, and we basically all turned into a crazy bunch of people involving lots of singing, dancing and beer. This was probably the best boat trip I have ever had experienced! After 1 ½ hours we made it to our first stop: Gili Trawangan or also called Gili T. Each Gili Island is known for different things: Gili T. for its partying, Gili Meno for its peace and quiet atmosphere and Gili Air for its snorkeling and scenery. Since we arrived at the party island, though in low season, we decided to go out in the evening and see what the bars on the island had to offer. We checked into our dope bungalow/hostel called Deephouse Hostal beforehand, which had an incredible chill vibe! Once we checked in, we made our way towards the beach and relaxed there. The beaches are dreamy and the view is absolutely stunning. They are not comparable to anything in Bali! But as beautiful as it is, once we entered the water we were surrounded by a family of jelly fish. Beach Adventures on Gili T So tanning it is! Funny enough, I had my first extreme sunburn since I have been in Indonesia. 50 SPF failed me big time after re-applying it three times, and I spent the rest of the vacation covering up and red as a tomato. After spending the day at the beach and having some of our groups taking the kayaks around the water, we decided to go back and get ready for the night. Exploring the Island by Bike We had an amazing and surprisingly cheap dinner next to the beach, enjoyed some wine and decided to hit up the bars around the island. The next day we decided to relax and explore the island in the afternoon by renting bikes. Hard to believe that we saw the whole island in less than an hour! Our evening ended with a hike up the hills on Gili T., which was recommended by our Hostel staff. They told us it was the best view to see the sunset. Funny enough, we got lost between cows and goats and when we arrived at the “spot”, we were unable to see the sunset. Mission failed! Relaxing on Gili Air The next morning we packed our bags to continue our journey towards Gili Air. This island is known for its relaxing and quiet atmosphere, which is why we decided to stay for another two days. Our hotel cabins were located right next to a few restaurants overseeing the ocean. We decided to grab some lunch, which quickly turned into a few gin tonics (Ooops!). The Gili Islands have a wide range of cocktail specials, something that isn’t that common in Bali, and clearly has been appealing to us. After spending most of the afternoon relaxing in the pool or at the beach front, we decided to have dinner in one of the local restaurants. Our plan for the next day was the three island snorkeling tour. But before we were heading out, we decided to wakeup before 6 am to enjoy the sunrise. And oh boy, this sunrise was one of the most peaceful and beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. Waking up this early was totally worth it! Once we enjoyed the sunrise and the breakfast (surrounded by a bunch of kittens), we took off for our snorkeling tour – starting of with the reefs at Gili Air, continuing back to Gili Trawangan, followed by Gili Meno. We saw many different fish along the reefs, and spotted many sea turtles. The sad thing is: The coral reefs on the Gili Islands are dying. After watching the documentary “Chasing Corals” on Netflix, it became clear that these coral reefs are effected by the problem. The documentary is definitely something I recommend watching! After our tour we decided to keep it low and relax with a drink and watch the sunset on the other side of the island. Traveling in such big groups and doing lots of activities can be stressful, that’s why we were looking forward to spend the next two days in our villa in Lombok. We left early in the morning with another boat to Lombok. After we finally found a taxi driver that didn’t try to rip us off, we arrived at the most gorgeous villa on top of the hill. I cannot even explain how luxurious this place was for just 25 Euros per person! (For a two night stay) From the beginning on I knew that I would spend the next two nights just in the villa to relax and recharge my battery. Between pool parties, Jean’s special cocktails and alcohol infused fruits, we spend the time relaxing, making big family meals and play games. The villa on Lombok was probably the biggest highlight of it all, as the family dinners and parties brought us all a lot more closer. Sadly we had to say goodbye to our villa and made our way back to the harbor to get back “home” to Bali. The trip was amazing, and definitely something I would recommend to do when traveling to Indonesia! Until next time, Karoline