Leaving my beloved Ubud was perhaps the hardest goodbye I have had to say so far on his trip but I knew, even though it was not welcomed, that it had to be done. I needed to leave to continue my explorative journey but also to meet my childhood friend and ultimate travel-companion; Sophie. Flying from Heathrow for 17 hours, her lengthy journey was for a mere 7 days but do not be fooled into thinking that means uneventful.
I would like to be able to tell you that my spiritual journey of Ubud continued to the island but alas my meaningful experiences had to be put on pause for the celebrations of my friend arriving. Flying into mainland Bali’s party capital; Kuta we started our week long party in blaring sunshine, a beautiful pool and fantastic company. Americans, Australians, Brits and a German made up our small but lovable group and with it memories, friendships and hilarious videos were all made during our brief time together. I am fortunate in my travels that I am going to so many countries; between my Aussie friends and my wonderful Patrick as well as all the other travellers I have met, I know Australia will be unforgettable and varied enough to write many blog posts.
A short bus and ferry journey later Gili Terangawan is spiritually, aesthetically and mentally a world away from the geographically close Bali. There are three ‘Gili’ islands in Indonesia; Air, Meno and Terangawan. I was only lucky enough to visit the latter but in my understanding Gili Meno is the ‘honeymoon’ island, Gili Air is relaxed but with an atmosphere and Gili ’T’ (as it is nicknamed) is the party island for the world's backpackers. Speaking to fellow travellers who have visited all three islands it is quite clear Gili T is the most popular as, even on the close by Meno, you can here the late night partying of its larger neighbour.
In six days and seven nights I managed to total eight hours of sleep; evidence enough of the week Sophie and I happily endured. Arriving at Gili T we were in awe at the immense beauty that was all around us. Expansive tropical views of more shades of blue than I thought possible this pocket of paradise far exceeds it’s party reputation and thankfully the hoards of tourists have not ruined its aesthetic appeal. Although the largest of the three Gili islands you can cycle leisurely around the perimeter in under an hour. Stopping at the many bars along the way and finding secluded beach spots with sweeping views that can make hours seem like minutes while you relax in the atmosphere. Meeting my new best friend, Richie we decided the next day to take such a trip round the island exploring the beaches and scenic spots. Cabanas and huts yearning to be relaxed under on the white beaches, swings in the ocean and beautiful landscapes this half-day trip is a necessity on the island and is a wonderful way to unwind before and after a famous Gili night out.
Beyond its nightlife, scenery and diving Gili T has little in the way of activities, likely because of its size. If a heavy few days filled with drinks, music and likely beer pong is what you are looking for then stopping at Gili Backpackers on Gili T should be on your top list of destinations. The balance of paradise and partying makes this slice of Indonesian heaven unmissable and easily loveable. The hostel had one of the best atmosphere’s I have seen on my journey making it easy to make a great group of friends over a game of beer pong or ring of fire (king’s cup). Memories that will last a lifetime and people I will forever be grateful for, Gili T is, for me, not a party island but a friendship island. You band together with your travellers to go out, not even knowing their names and create amazing memories together. This blog is for all the travellers who know the relationships that can form so quickly and defy all logic by lasting long after leaving each other.