The Gili Islands & Lombok
The Gili Islands are slightly different from most of Indonesia & the popular holiday destination of Bali. It’s a good two-hour boat ride to get there from Kuta and once you get there the lack of motorised vehicles combined with ‘Island-time’ lifestyle makes it a pretty chilled location. There’s not a lot to do there except sleep, eat, drink, and swim. Oh, and if you’re a diver I here the diving is pretty good (and cheap too)..
If you’re heading anywhere tropical, it’s a good idea to check out the ‘season’. It’s generally either swelteringly sticky and hot – or raining and hot. You decide..
I spent New Years eve on Gili Trawangan, and the lack of police presence makes the locals pretty happy to try and sell you mushroom smoothies etc etc.. Please be extra careful anywhere overseas if that’s your thing.., I hear Indonesian prison isn’t all that accommodating to tourists.
The Gili Islands and Indonesia on a whole is a funny place. On one hand, it’s incredibly beautiful, however quite crowded with people who will dump rubbish right next to a bin (not in the bin). The boat trip over comprised of dolphins, warm water spraying refreshingly on your face in the sun, and islands of floating garbage, which is rather conflicting.
Most of the locals emanate a wonderful vibe of relaxedness with a welcoming nature, but anywhere with plenty of poverty is the opportunity to try and rip off tourists or peddle bags of pegs and coat hangers, so be prepared to say no thank you (Tidak, terima kasih [ti-duck, ter-ri-mah car-see]), or something a little more direct.
If you make it to the Gili islands, be sure to head over to Lombok and check out Hotel Tugu – This place is one of the most magical hotels I think I’ve ever seen.