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Indonesia - Gili Islands

Written by Tom

sunny 30 °C

In the morning we rose early and walked off to the little harbour to catch the speedboat for the 1.5hr journey to the Gili Islands which are just off Lombok. We had bargained hard for our ticket the previous day and had got it down to about $45US each. There was a cheap public ferry and bus for about $5US but the journey would have taken 9 hours (no thanks!). Anyway, our speedboat had 5 outboard motors on the back and we zipped across the glassy sea under bright sunshine passing the stunning volcano and highest mountain on Bali called Mount Agung.

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Once we landed on Gili Trawangan (the largest and most outgoing of the three Gili Islands) we wandered down the main street looking for some bungalow huts to stay in. The great thing about the Gili Islands is that no motorised vehicles are aloud. Luckily the islands are small enough that you can walk all the way around the outside in an hour or two or you can hire a horse drawn taxi cart. We found some great bungalows (called Good Heart) with hot water that were only 10 metres back from the beach and you could have breakfast served right on the sand.

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In the afternoon Coralie & I went for a swim /snorkel right off the beach infront of our bungalow.
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The water was so warm it was like a bath. It was also incredibly clear and we snorkelled over some great corals and reef fish including a Titan Triggerfish but best of all was swimming with a large wild turtle. That night we went for a quiet dinner right on the beach with Peter (a Canadian guy we met on the boat over). Coralie got her delicious tuna steak (cooked rare on the bbq) while I caved in and had to have the cheeseburger (I'd had too much rice recently but have to say it was one of the best cheeseburgers I will ever have in my life!).

The next day we decided to walk around the whole island. It took longer than we thought (2 hours) but we did get to stop off on some secluded deserted beaches for a cool-off swim. It was also some much needed exercise after all the chillied out laziness and good food we had been involved in on Bali. Along the way we saw some remote village huts, some exclusive expensive hotels and even some plots of building land for sale (we were tempted to buy our own piece of paradise). In the evening we met up with Peter again for sushi and met two fun lads from London in a crazy pub called Rudy's. We got involved in some of the locally made "booze" and had the funniest night for a long time. As the bar emptied we stayed behind drinking more and laughing so much that our sides hurt. We were so wasted as were two hilarious Brazilian guys we met who were also wasted. At 3am we decided to call it a night.

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Our third day was spent chilling out on the beach and I went off with Trawangan Dive for a great boat dive at Shark Point. I didn't see any sharks but I did see 7 (yes, SEVEN) large turtles. One was as big as me and I just lay next to it, only a foot away, on the ocean bed, 10 metres deep, while it relaxed and looked straight back at me. I was needless to say, absolutely elated on the boat journey back to the island.

On our fourth and last day, after another breakfast of toast & tea served on the beach at Good Heart, Coralie & I got a local boat to the next door smaller island called Gili Meno. We walked around the island in only an hour and stopped off for some snorlelling on the way at some recommended spots. The island was much quieter than Gili Trawangan, with only a couple of bars, and we were told that some nights there are only 2 or 3 people in the bar. However, the island was without doubt absolutley stunning!!!

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In the evening we went for Coralie's tuna steak again and decided to have a few drinks afterwards. Not that we drink a lot you realise but purely to celebrate our last night. The local spirit is called "Arak", a sort of palm wine, and we were drinking double Araks with orange for about £1 each. One too many was had but it was a great last night on the island.

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In the morning we had to get up fairly early and I was so hungover that Coralie had to pack my bags for me so we could check out. We even had to get a horse drawn cart down to the harbour. Then we jumped on the speedboat again back to Bali and the sweet little Padangbai for our last night in Indonesia. Luckily the sea was calm, the sun was shining and the cloud-fringed Mount Agung volcano welcomed us in.

Back at Padangbai we checked into our old bungalow and I went off for one last scuba dive while Coralie read her book by the pool. It was just me and the dive master and we went off to Blue Lagoon in search of sharks as I hadn't seen one in Bali. It was a mind-blowing last dive, passing sting-rays, triggerfish, moray eel, a school of large unicornfish and 2 large grey reef sharks. My heart started racing uncontrollably when I saw the 1st shark, it was 2metres long and they just swim along looking menacing! Back at Padangbai we had a quiet last dinner in Kerti's and an early night.

In the morning it was back to Bali airport (1.5hrs away for just £12) and a flight to Singapore.

Posted by tomcoralie 11:56 Archived in Indonesia

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