You know how sometimes you just go to a place and you feel at home immediately? That’s what happened to me with Gili Islands, Bali.
There are some places you visit and you like. There are some places that you hate. There are some places that you love. For me, it was love at first sight with Gili.
When I saw the waters of Gili, I was stunned. It was so blue. That pure, unadulterated blue.. pristine and so pretty. If you look from a distance, the colors play with you. It starts off really light and then deepens as it goes. It creates a beautiful ombre effect and it is a pleasing sight indeed.
Gili islands is split into two- Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. I visited the former. The island of Gili Travangan is all of 10 kilometers. A small but stunning place. The only two modes of transportation available is the tonga (horse cart) and bicycles. We chose bicycles. It takes around 60-90 minutes to tour the entire island on a bicycle and I think this is something that you should do at Gili.
The minute you step onto the island, the one thing that will really hit you is the buzz. Don’t let the word ”island” mislead you. It is a crowded, active, high energy place with great places, beautiful villas, a hyper crowd and a gorgeous beach.
Gili caters to your needs- whether it is some adventure you are looking for or some peace.
One side of the island is calmer and quieter with sober restaurants and pretty villas. The other side is the main area. The main street is packed with restaurants, cafes and pubs. Loud music, soft music slither out from there. Locals greet you with warmth. Crepes stands allow you to quickly indluge. Scuba and Snorkelling camps are everywhere.
We stayed on the quiet side of the island in a sprawling villa called ”Coral Flora” which we found on AirBnB. I love, love, loved it. It was totally white with two floors, four bedrooms, a pool, a breakfast area, a tiny kitchen and open to air bathrooms.
The cherry on top?
A private beach area!
The private beach had bathing beds and two cabanas where we could just sleep or relax or admire the blue waves hugging the white sand, emitting a tinkling sound.
They gave us complimentary WiFi, breakfast and cycles. The hostess and the attendants were extremely sweet and took care of our every need.
Another special kind of dining experience to be had here is by the beach. Cafes have cabanas by the beach where you can sit and eat right at the foot of the shore with the waves coming tantalizingly close to you.
The waves at Gili aren’t rough at all. It’s perfect for swimming, chilling, snorkelling or just collecting shells. You can walk upto a kilometer into the water without any fear. We spent many lazy hours sitting in the water or splashing each other.
Another spectacular highlight of Gili is the sunset party. Head over to the Pandawa resort or Lombok to experience one crazy kick-ass sunset party. Music, volleyball, food, music, beach swings, photographers and one gorgeous sunset makes this a must visit place and a must do. It had always been my dream to sit on a beach swing and watch the sunset and in Gili, this dream came true.
Gili is amazing! If you haven’t been there, you should. I will surely be going back again.
Things to do:
1) Stay in a beach villa with a private beach. You have many great options on AirBnB.
2) Ditch the tongas, cycle around the island or walk along the shore
3) Snorkel! This is one of the most amazing experiences in Gili. Rent some gear and wander off on your own or go on group trips. Turtles and fishes will be your new friends
4) Try Bintang-the local beer. It is reasonable and tastes great. The lemon variant is cool too.
5) Eat by the beach in cabanas. Your meal will be accompanied by mild salty showers.
6) Attend a sunset party. This one is a must try. Sit on the sand or on beach swings with a glass in hand and look at how the sky changes from blue to pink to orange to black.
7) Movie by the beach. They screen movies in an open air theatre on the shore. An out of the world experience, indeed.
8) Try the crepes on the street. Don’t let those shabby stands fool you. The crepes they serve is drool-worthy.
Live the Gili life for a while- you will love it!