Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Gili Islands - Gili T - Part 1

Our trip to the Gili islands started with a pickup from ubud and a 2hr drive to the ferry port on the eastern side of Bali. We then had a lovely 5hr boat over to Lombok (we had chosen the cheapest route for around $20 instead of $40 which also meant the longest route). Upon arrival in Lombok we had a 10min slog over to our minivan, which could barely fit all of us in and had another 2hr drive to the north of Lombok where the boats to the Gili islands left from. We stopped at an agency along the way to give everyone tickets and to get some food, then we made our way through the mountains to the ferry port. Along the way we saw plenty of monkeys on the roadside and had a spectacular view of Mt Rinjani, Lombok's very own volcano. Upon arrival at the ferry port we were told we'd have to wait until the boats full to leave, and some people were headed to Gili Air and told they had missed the last boat, so had to head to Gili Trawangan with fault of their own, the driver had been half an hour late!

So at sunset we took a short half hour boat ride to Gili T, with stunning views of both Lombok and all 3 Gili islands. We had to pass Gili Air and Gili Meno on our way and being the smaller islands (no longer than an hr to walk around them) they looked like deserted paradise islands. Once we arrived it was then time to search for accommodation. It was Devyn and Chandlers last couple of weeks so they wanted something relatively nice but I unfortunately couldn't afford it, so there were a few disagreements along the way but we managed to work them out. But we literally tried everywhere in the area we were in and nothing had vacancies (trust us to come during Ramadan and peak season).

Eventually a local approached us and found us an affordable cute
hut with aircon and a swimming pool for around $10 each so we settled and hoped they were available for the next few days. At this point it was around 7pm and we'd planned to go out so we went for food at a pizza/pasta place along the beach which was cheap as chips, then went and bought some liquor from the store. Upon arrival we realised we'd forgot ice so Chandler went to get some from our resort but they literally gave us a BLOCK of ice so she proceeded to try and break it up!

I had a stonking headache but against all odds I agreed to going out so we got ready and then headed to Sama Sama bar where we were to meet Shannon, one of the girls we'd met back in Seminyak at our hostel. Sama Sama is a live reggae bar and actually pretty cool. We got a drink but couldn't find Shannon anywhere (we had turned up kinda late) so we drank our drinks, listened to some reggae, or tried to while a local tried to chat us up lol, then decided to head towards Irish Bar where Shannon was supposedly going to head to next. We met with Shannon and just partied the night away but me and Devyn weren't really feeling it so headed home earlyish. Shannon and Chandler stayed out.

The next day we spent around the poolside, and most other days we spent at the beach at Pearl of Trawangan Resort where you pay $10 in food and drink and you get to use the sun loungers and the resorts waterfall-feature pool, plus the wifi. The food there was particularly scrummy so we didn’t mind spending a bit extra.

We also watched sunset at Sunset Point numerous times – it was soooo pretty we couldn’t resist the half hour walk to see it almost every night! You also most days got a view of Bali and it’s volcano, so sunset was not only pretty but atmospheric. Our first time we got a horse and cart ride up, as on Gili T there is no transport other than these, and though you never really needed to as everything was in walking distance, we had to take a ride on one of these at some point during our time here!

We had some more awesome nights out, one where we went to Ruddy’s bar and had some fun with the bar staff, and also met Jay, James, Simon, and Chris, 4 lads from the UK – 3 of which had just finished working in Australia and were now travelling for a bit. We had a pretty awesome night together and it was Simon’s birthday so he was particularly drunk! That night we had set ourselves a mission to 1. Steal bicycles, which we accomplished – I stole one at the end of the night with no brakes, which was scary, then dumped it. We also rode on the guys bikes on the way up to Irish and the silent disco disaster. 2. Stay up til sunrise...well, Devyn managed to achieve that with her man, but we went home literally just before sunrise – ‘there’s only half hour til sunrise...ah we’re tired, let’s go home.’ Idiots.  3. Ride a horse and cart home – errr, no one did this really. 4. 5. Have a bloody good night – well that we did achieve for sure!! We tried some Joss shots (vodka shots and then a sashay of orange energy fizz powder to pour in before you take it).

We also did an all day boat trip with Shannon, snorkelling around the 3 gili islands – some of the best snorkelling I’ve ever done! The current is so strong though; during our first snorkel spot just off Gili T, we were just swimming around then before we knew it, all looked up and we were so far from the boat we could barely see it. So we had to swim full pelt against the tide to get back to the boat which was truly knackering! Along the way though I spotted my first sea turtle!

Then on the 2nd spot, me and Shannon snorkelled but Devyn and Chandler decided they’d had enough so stayed on the boat, again the current was so strong we didn’t even need to swim, it just carried us down alongside Gili Meno island. We saw TONS of turtles here and also loads of Nemo families amongst the seaweed – so cute! We had lunch on Gili Air at a cute restaurant called Neverland and sunbathed on the boat deck with our music. Got to know the tour guides, who were awesome lads. And then did some more snorkelling off of Gili Air but mainly just chilled in the water – it was so salty you were able to float so easily!

We established another local – Beach House Resort restaurant, the food there was soooo good and they had massive portions, it was pricier than the local food market but we didn’t care! We did eat at the food market once though when Devyn and Chandler were there, we had 15 grilled king prawns for $6 with rice, veg, etc – yum!

Then after around 6 glorious days on a paradise island, it was time to say final farewells to Devyn and Chandler! After over 3 months of travel with Devyn and 2 months with Chandler, these girls had become some amazing travel buddies and some even more amazing friends for life! I will miss them and still am missing them – we had some truly memorable times, nights and experiences together and they are amazing girlies! They headed off to Bangkok to spend a few days there before flying back to Nashville. And then it was just me and Shannon on the island! I moved myself over to a hostel – Aquadiction – and then it was time for us to make some new friends and create some more memories on Gili T!

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