Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands

Tripoto
13th May 2018
Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Continued from part 1 @ https://www.tripoto.com/trip/backpacking-sojourn-to-indonesia-of-pristine-nature-and-wild-parties-part-1-2-5b35b1e899678

Well, after one is done undertaking arduous treks, eyeing the komodo dragons and climbing volcanoes - no bucket list would ever be complete without a visit to the fabled Gili islands.

The tiny triplet isles of Gili Meno, Gili Air & Gili Trawangan constitute the archipelago of the 'lesser sunda islands'. A tropical enchantment of turquoise blue water & white sandy beaches - a perfect place to getaway from the hustles of fast paced life.

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands 1/2 by Vignesh Venkat
Pic courtesy: indonesiad.com

The isles are just off the northwest mainland of Lombok and a 2 hour fast ferry ride away from Padang bai harbor in Bali. The first noticeable relief is a total absence of motorized vehicles on the isles. Two options of wheels to choose from – bicycle or horse cart. Life is pretty easy going and sense of time is nothing but an abstract notion.

The Gili islands are pretty renowned and therefore a touted tourist destination. If you're looking for absolute peace and quiet, Gili Air, Gili Meno or the other Indonesia islands off the beaten path would be an ideal choice. Gili - T on the other hand wears a two pronged facade - water activities by day and a vibrant party destination by night.

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands 2/2 by Vignesh Venkat
The joys of flopping up on these bean bags and pondering over 'nothing'!

Swing stories aplenty on the Gili isles! Pic courtesy: wisatalombokmurah.com

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Pic courtesy: expedia.com

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

The Gili Trawangan experience

So, I rented a bicycle and went exploring. Could see an invisible line segregating the island into two halves – one half for the party folks and the other half for the honeymooners / solace seeking crowd. Snorkeling, yoga centers and scuba diving are the mainstays apart from people just chilling on the beach working on their tan.

Quaint cafes & restaurants dot the island’s beachline and they’re inexpensive to say the least. 300 Rupees gets you a good enough lunch / dinner. A Bintang or Gin & Tonic would cost around 200 Rupees.

Funky shacks by the beach

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Well.. one could rent snorkeling gear and buy 'mushrooms'. Quite a heady combination for an intrepid diver!

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Story of my life!

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Time in Gili T is subjective: service in many places follow the notorious ‘island time’ - where 10 minutes would mean somewhere in the ball park of 30 minutes accompanied by a huge smile. Life is laid back and spaced out and definitely not a place for a restive / impatient traveler. That’s the simple beauty of the place.

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat
Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Wee bit of lunch post snorkeling!

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Baileys iced coffee #saynotoplastic

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Monkeying around the beach at sunset! Pic courtesy: Will fisher

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Stay:

There are many an option ranging from plush resorts and hotels to airbnb's and hostels catering to a traveler's diverse needs. Personally, i'd prefer to alternate between resorts (solace) and hostels (energy) to fully avail everything that the island offers.

A British backpacker in Bali had recommended this fun hostel. The staff were super friendly, the crowd chilled out, and an abundance of entertainment. There came a point of hilarity when the cheeky receptionist called me a ‘permanent fixture’ of the hostel and afforded the honor of paying the hostel rent the day I decided to check-out.

Hostel views

Photo of La Bohème, Jalan Sunset Road, Gili Indah, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Vignesh Venkat
Photo of La Bohème, Jalan Sunset Road, Gili Indah, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Vignesh Venkat
Photo of La Bohème, Jalan Sunset Road, Gili Indah, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Vignesh Venkat

Evenings at the Hostel:

Met some wonderful folks on the island and couldn’t help but realize that the travelers here were a tad friendlier and fun than the mainland – the resultant effect: plan of 3 days extended to 8 days. (In my mind, I thought nothing could get better than Seminyak / Canngu). Conversations galore and games throughout before everybody empties out to the clubs by the beach at night.

The happiest person I've ever met - Sophie Wilkins

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

With the Norwegian bunch

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

The must try Vodka'Joss' shot

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Night Life:

The island (the party half) is vibrant, ever pulsating and just never sleeps – no surprise of it being called the ‘party island’ of Indonesia. The best bars and clubs are all located on the long strip close to the ferry terminal and the predominantly nocturnal crowd hops from one club to the other in a fashion that imitates the wildebeest migration. A club is emptied out and another club is filled in - all in a matter of a few minutes. One just has to follow the herd and you'd always be in the midst of the action.

Bars / clubs to visit:

The 'never say die' lot!

Photo of Sama-Sama Reggae Bar, Gili Indah, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Vignesh Venkat

Cheers Paula & Laura! :D

Photo of Sama-Sama Reggae Bar, Gili Indah, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Vignesh Venkat
Photo of Sama-Sama Reggae Bar, Gili Indah, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by Vignesh Venkat

The remarkable duo - Jonah O'Neill and Will Fisher

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

A few of us from the rowdy team @ Jiggy bar!

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

The calm before the storm

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Snorkeling and Scuba:

I'd say there are much better snorkeling / dive spots in the other isles of Indonesia with respect to sea life than the Gili's. However, the abundance of sea turtles in the region right smartly compensates the deficit.

The north east corner of the island (Turtle point) has some quality snorkeling. It is advisable to rent shoes than fins considering the sharp rocks and corals present in the water. I had the good fortune to swim with a bale of turtles at every dive.

A turtle scouring food on the sea bed!

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat
Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

An underwater sculptural reef off Gili Meno

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat
Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat
Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

Into the void she goes!

Photo of Backpacking sojourn to Indonesia - Of pristine nature and wild parties - Part 2/2 - The Gili islands by Vignesh Venkat

All good things must come to an end, and so was this incredible trip. Returned home exhausted but with indelible memories of nature, adventure and remarkable people. So long Indonesia - until next time!

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