After Gede we retreated back to the tourist trail and on up to the more famous Northern Gilis. Gili Trawangan was our first stop and the Trawangan Oasis five minutes walk from the beach with a lovely pool and air con rooms, which after not even fans and only 6pm-12pm of electricity on Gili Gede felt like the height of civilised luxury.
The Gili isles have no motorised traffic on them, they are small enough to run round (4/5 miles) and the only method of transport available apart from your own feet is bicycle or horse and cart. We hired 6 bikes and squeezed the ten of us on. Naomi, the eldest child rode her own bike, the two boys, Otto and Felix, enjoyed the luxury of child seats, and the middle girls Jess (3) and Olivia (5) had to manage croggies or backies. It was great fun and we only had a few fallers in the soft sand (Naomi skidded to a leg down once and Shirls and Liv went down once and me and Jess hit the sand once as well but with no lasting damge).
From Trawangan, where we enjoyed many gin and tonic sunsets and white wine with dinner we took the boat over to Gili Air to stay in Sejuk cottages, even closer to the beach and again with a pool and air con (except for poor Shirls who got lumbered with the fan room - sorry Grandma).
Gili Air is slightly smaller than Trawangan and has a quieter feel to it, except for the first night we arrived when the island party was on rotation near us and the banging house tunes kept us up till the wee hours!
I loved Gili Air and would go as far as to say it was my favourite place in Indonesia yet. The people were genuinely friendly, the food was cheap, and there was no pressure to do anything but try and catch a sunset (or sunrise).
I caught a couple of sunrises, once on an early morning jog round the island (painful in the soft sand) and once at an awesome beach yoga class where I took along my gorgeous niece Naomi. Both sunrises were stunning: the ethereal rays emerging behind the magnificent Gunung Rinjani, the Volcano of Lombok.
Sunsets were slightly harder to catch, partly as trying to rally ten people on bikes to the other side of a sand pathed island isn't easy, and also because the weather was prone to clouding over in the afternoon. We made a good effort though and 3 of the 5 nights we made it to the other side. Scratch bar and Pura Vida provided us with perfect settings to enjoy another gin and tonic and watch the kids play on the endless stretches of sand for hours. The ride home was always fun with weak dynamo lights and very bumpy, sandy, unlit paths but the squeals were mostly from enjoying the exciting ride rather than terror at the experience and we once again all remained safe.
The snorkelling was amazing on Gili Air, the first time we went out we swam with three turtles! As well as numerous angel fish, trigger fish, parrot fish and thankfully for Raze, no signs of sharks anywhere.
On our last full day, we chartered a glass bottom boat to snorkel around the three Gilis for the day. We all saw two huge turtles probably about 3 feet across. The coral and fish life was excellent, we saw an abundance of all sorts of fish and even a highly venemous sea snake. Even Jess and Felix were getting involved swimming around with their goggles on for so long we kept having to remind them to come up for air!
What a way to finish our island experience. It was back to Bali for one last night of luxury in a private villa before waving a very sad goodbye to the family as they left in a taxi for the airport and we trudged - on foot - to our budget accommodation. Time to start counting the pennies again till the next big blow out!
Missing you already Dave, Raze, Shirl's, Norms, Liv and Feely. Come and see us again soon. xxx😢
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Kelly and Mikey (but mostly Kelly). We sold up in the UK to travel with our two littluns for a year or so. If you want to know more click the about us!