The Gili Islands, Indonesia
June 22 – 27, 2017
After 5 days in Bali for surf camp, Nick met me for the weekend and we headed to the Gili Islands. There are three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, which are all known for their sandy beaches and coral reefs making them a diving destination. Gili T is about a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Bali and is the island we stayed on due to its convenience to many dive shops, hotels, villas, and restaurants. There are no cars on the island, just horse carriages and plenty of bikes. Nestled in the jungle, but not too far from the northern tip of the island, is Utara Villas where we stayed in a one-bedroom villa with its own private pool. The villa was beautiful, spacious, and relatively new with an outdoor area where we enjoyed breakfast (once), sun bathed, and even got massages.
After relaxing mornings by the pool, we’d bike down to the center of town for a mid-day dive, and then would finish the day biking around the island catching the sunset at different beachside bars before dinner. Riding through the jungle in the dark with our dinky headlamps was also an experience as we could see nothing but the moonlit sky behind the dark silhouettes of the palm trees. I did like the feeling though–being on a bike, riding carefree, enjoying the soft wind that hit my face, and next to the one person I found (he found me) to enjoy my travels with.
The first night we stumbled upon Casa Vintage Beach and were drawn in for dinner by the oysters sign–we love our oysters! The second, we ate at Wilson’s Retreat known for its French style cuisine. And, the third, we landed at the famous Scallywag’s. Located on the west side of the island, Casa Vintage Beach was quite romantic with its white picnic table styled decor, hanging candles from the trees, tiki torches in the sand, and softly playing music. Wilson’s, in the north and just a few minutes from our villa, was great too but the setup was a bit more formal with proper tables and linen–think more escargot and “fine” dining on the beach. Lastly, Scallywag’s, although they had a great selection of seafood, it was definitely a tourist hot-spot and probably my least favorite of the three. On the bright side, we did dine directly on the beach with the ocean waves crashing nearly at our feet.
Diving. This was our first open water diving trip since we both got certified in Tioman and we were super excited! There’s plenty of dive shops on Gili T all offering similar services at similar prices. We went with Blue Marlin as the shop came suggested by a friend. The whole experience was easy, seamless, and just perfect. For about S$50 a dive, we were hooked up with all the gear which was carried out to the boats for us. All we had to do was be ready to fall back into the water the moment they said go.
We dived twice that weekend, both in the afternoon so we could have lazy mornings by the pool. To be honest, I am still a little scared to be completely submersed into water but diving with Nick makes it easy and its a lot of fun. I trust him–I had to trust him with my life when we got certified and I barely knew him then. Off the bat we saw a sea turtle and many other types of sea life especially around an old ship wreck. No sharks but hoping we get another dive trip on the calendar soon!