Gili Islands | Photo Diary

Happy New Years lovelies! Hope you’re having a great start to 2018 and embracing this new year. To start off I want to share a few photo diaries of my time in Indonesia from back in November. I’m beyond excited to finally have time to share these with you, it was definitely one of my biggest highlights from 2017.

Asia is a continent I haven’t really explored, however it has always been on my list. So in 2017 I made it a goal to make it there and thought Indonesia was the perfect place to start. Like many of my trips I went with a tour group called Contiki Tours, I always rave about them cause (in my opinion) they are the BEST - you can learn more here. The tour I did is called the Bali Island Hopper which goes to Bali and also visits the surrounding islands - Gili Islands and Lombok. I will divide the photo diaries into 3 posts - Gili Islands, Lombok, and Bali. So to start things off here’s The Gili Islands!

After a night in Bali (Seminyak) we headed bright and early the next morning to catch a boat to the Gili Islands which is where we would be staying for the next 3 days. The Gili Islands are outside Bali, the are made up of 3 small islands - Gili Trawagan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. While we would be stopping by the other islands during our stay, we spent most of our time on Gili Trawagan where our hotel was located. Gili Trawagan (Gili T) is the largest of the three islands, however it does not have motorized transportation. The locals get around using bicycles or citamos which are small horse drawn carriages. We all opted to rent bicycles for the duration of our stay, however there was one major issue - I do not know how to ride a bicycle. After trying to ride for about 10 minutes I realized I probably needed more time to learn. Feeling a little bummed that I will miss out on that experience, my wonderful tour roommate suggested we rent a tandem bike instead. This would mean I will get the experience, but it will also be more work for her since the roads were not evenly paved and she would be steering and balancing the bicycle, but with positive attitudes we rented the tandem - which honestly was the best decision ever!

Our first day in Gili T started off lounging and having lunch by the beach as we waited to check-in to the hotel. The water was so clear it was insane, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. As the day went on we checked in to our insane luxury hotel (great job Contiki!) and continued to explore/leisurely hangout by the pool. We stayed at the Aston Sunset Beach Resort, it was on the opposite side of the main area where the boats/nightlife/restaurants are, but it was only a 15 minute bike ride (quite small island - you can bike along the entire island in about 2.5 hours).We ended the day with a sunset dinner on the beach with the waves as our soundtrack for the night.

The following day was entirely dedicated to snorkelling; it was my first time ever snorkelling so I couldn’t have been more excited. I will point out that this trip was filled with many ‘first’ for me, I took swimming lessons over the summer specifically to learn for this trip so I was both nervous and incredibly thrilled to be able to experience this. We spent the entire day in between islands snorkeling and having the most amazing time. Stopped at Gili Air for lunch and snorkeled around Gili Meno to marvel at the sight of sea turtles. By the end of the day we were all exhausted and very sunburned (reapplying sunscreen definitely did not help during this trip). We decided to have a low key night and grab dinner at the local street food market which was definitely an experience. There was food left and right, a lot of people, and it all smelled delicious. There were countless options but the  locals were beyond helpful when asked for recommendations. The food market had a deal where you select five dishes for the equivalent of about $2 and there were meats kabobs, which they prepared upon ordering, for a small additional cost. I’m a very picky eater and I ate all the food on my plate - so that says a lot.

On our last full day we had the entire day to explore the island and it started with sunrise yoga on the beach. Though the 5:30am wake up call wasn’t appealing, the sunrise definitely made up for it. The yoga class was split into two parts, the first on the beach and the second on paddleboards. The beach portion was good, the paddleboard portion on the other hand was rather challenging - I only stood up once. Afterwards we explored, did a bit of shopping, and enjoyed the most amazing smoothie under umbrellas at the beach. This night we had a sarong party where we all wore sarongs and had dinner/drinks at Exile, a beach bar nearby. We then made it to the main side of the island where we literally danced the night away.

Our final morning consisted of having our last breakfast at the hotel, doing one last walk along the hotel property (it was beautiful), and wondering how all my belongings ever fit into my suitcase. After we did our last bike ride to the main side of the island to take a boat to our next destination, the island of Lombok.

Gili T was an amazing start to the trip and filled with many ‘first time’ experiences and memories that I still look back at with a huge smile on my face. I will note bike riding in complete darkness after nights out were definitely an experience, our group has many hilarious stories cause of it and getting sunburned so early on was a bummer but I wouldn’t change anything about it. I highly recommend checking it out even if it’s for a couple of days if you’re in Indonesia, and without further ado here’s a few snapshots of my time in the Gili Islands, enjoy:

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Photo by one of the tour group members

Photo by one of the tour group members

Lunch pit stop at Gili Air Island

Lunch pit stop at Gili Air Island

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Be sure to lookout for the Lombok and Bali photo diaries coming soon!