Gili Islands Trip

Before we dive into the Gili Islands trip, I’d like to address the fact that I haven’t posted a blog in like a month. This is due to the well known anti-blogging mixture of us not really doing anything blog worthy, literally zero working wifi on the entire island of Bali, and me dying in bed for a week with Dengue fever. But that is neither here nor there. Bob Dwyer stopped by on his way out to Shanghai, and the boys were going to the Gili Islands. This, in turn, meant I was also going to the Gili islands, Dengue or not. I still had a fever the morning we got picked up, but sometimes you just have to grab your camera and go. Let’s get right into it!

The Gili Islands are three small islands off the northwest coast of Lombok (the island to the east of Bali). They are so small the only means of transportation on the island are by bicycle and horse. There are no cops stationed anywhere on the islands, giving them a notorious reputation as party islands. The islands are located about 60 miles from Bali, or about a 2-hour fast boat ride. We found a guy named Yani Tingen (Here’s his Facebook) that set up all of our transportation needs. We were to be picked up at 7 am from our villa, driven two hours to Blue Lagoon Beach, then hop on the fast boat and end up at Gili Trawangan, also known as the party island. If you are planning a trip to the Gili’s, this is where you’ll want to head. The only problem with this plan is none of us had any money on us to pay the 450,000 IDR for the round-trip tickets upon our arrival, so we had to scour Blue Lagoon Beach for a working ATM, which is assume is about as hard as finding an oasis in a desert. After searching near and far for an ATM we found one, got the money, and went to check in. We finally arrived at check in only to see our boat leaving the port. The guys that were supposed to be checking us in were not thrilled with us, and they reluctantly threw us onto the next boat out.

The boat ride itself was awesome. 80 degrees and sunshine the whole time. We almost immediately went up onto the deck, which doesn’t really have any seats or anything to sit on really, but the crew didn’t seem to worried about it so neither were we. Heading east from Bali, we could see Lombok in the distance, its volcanos rising high into the sky. After about two hours on the boat, we arrived at Gili T. We got off the boat with two goals: find somewhere to stay and get snorkeling gear then immediately go snorkeling. Fortunately for us, about 100 steps into the islands we found a guy who said he had a place for us to stay for only 100,000 IDR a night per person. That is about 8 USD. We arrived at the apartments, called Twin Gardens, dropped off our stuff and went looking for snorkeling gear. In another fortunate occurrence, we immediately found somebody renting snorkeling gear. We were able to rent flippers, masks, and snorkels for about 40,000 IDR per day.

We went to the northeast point of the island (a short 10-minute walk, as the island is alittle over a mile wide) and walked out into the water. We immediately saw sea turtles, vibrant reefs, and almost every type of fish from Finding Nemo. There were schools of fish that you could swim through, reefs to dive down to, and a massive drop-off into dark blue water. We had our fill for the day as it started to rain, so we went back to Twin Gardens.  The owner of the apartments told us about a trip he could set up a private boat for us to go on a 5-hour snorkeling trip with a stop on Gili Air, the laidback island. This would only cost 200,000 IDR We said we were down, and decided that was our plan for the next day, Friday.

The next day we woke up and immediately went to the boat. We got to the boat, and it was literally just us and the captain and his first mate. The weather was perfect, so we were obviously very hype. We dove at multiple reefs all around the three islands, see all different types of fish. The whole time the captain or his first mate was in the water with us, showing us all the good spots to check for fish. We had our fill of diving for the day, so we shot over to Gili Air to grab some lunch before heading home. We found a small restaurant on the beach overlooking Lombok, playing reggae, and offering very cheap but delicious food. We ate on this small island paradise, constantly commenting on how Lombok looked like a mixture of Pandora from Avatar and Jurassic Park from just across the bay. We went back to the boat, and headed back over to Gili T. That night, while still feeling the effects of Dengue, I decided to just hang out around the villa. My friends went out and said every bar was playing great live music and there was beer pong at most bars. The next day, two of my friends went on a boat party cruising around the islands all day, while my one friend and I decided to go snorkeling again.

The next day was the day of our departure. After nearly missing the boat once again and almost leaving our one roommate behind, we finally ended up on the boat. The weather was once again perfect. The ride back to Bali was great, as we saw from a distance the volcanoes of Bali rising out of the sea like black clouds on the horizon. We got back to Blue Lagoon Beach, our transportation home already set up for us. The entire trip probably cost in total under 1,000,000 IDR, which is only 75 USD for 4 days of adventure. I would definitely like to go back to the islands as I was basically still very sick the whole time, yet I was still able to have a great time. I would highly recommend a trip to the Gili’s if you are looking for an inexpensive, fun weekend trip.

 

Good on ya.

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Program Info: www.asiaexchange.org

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