Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Gilis: Beyond Bali Series

From Senggigi, I was picked up by my resort in Gili T and drove straight to a private pier for around 10 minutes. I was amazed at the lush scenery and the view of the islands of the Gilis from the dramatic coastal road that I passed though. From the pier, I took a speed boat to Gili T. All of this cost me P1,500 (IRD 180,000). A bit expensive, but I didn't want to risk losing time. And besides, my goal was to relax.

The Gilis are a cluster of 3 islands off Lombok. The largest of the islands, Gili Trawangan is the busiest and has the most resorts. Gili Meno and Gili Air are smaller, but also has their share of places to stay. The Gilis boast of white sand beaches, beautiful coral reefs and of course, true island vibe.

My choice of resort was The Beach House, just near the pier at central Gili T. When I arrived, I realized that it wasn't the best choice. The oldest and biggest resort, Villa Ombak, looked to have the best value. More on The Beach House in my next entry.

Gili T was surely laid back. No cars, just these horse driven carriages (kalesa in the Philippines) and motorbikes. It really reminded me of Boracay, but it wasn't as developed.

I wasn't that enthralled with the beaches as well. Sure, they were white, and probably the best I've seen in Indonesia, but nothing still compares with the ones in the Philippines. The nice thing about Gili T is that the white sand stretches all around the entire island. That's a long stretch of sand, in varying degrees though.

I decided to rent a bicycle for a day to explore the island. It cost me P300 a day (IDR 60,000). MY bike was a bit rickety, so I had to manage passing through the unpaved pathways and sand.

Going around the island was a treat, and a much needed exercise as well. I was able to see the entire island in just 3 hours, with stops of course. You could practically circle the island in less than an hour.

I stopped by a resort in a very isolated part of the island, where the beach was more pristine. I lay down on the beach with some beer bottles by my side. Afterwards, I passed by the Sunset Point, which actually had a lounge bar that closed down.

Some landscapes were interesting, but most of it were the same. Rain poured, so the day was quite cloudy, which was great, because it was really hot earlier on. I ended the loop in Villa Ombak, where I had lunch. I was happy and sweaty.

If you're ever going to the Gilis, you can actually take a regular ferry from Lombok (I just forgot the name of the pier), but any local would know it. I took the ferry back to the mainland, and rode a minibus (van) back to Senggigi. I had myself dropped off in the resort where I had set a massage session.

Gili T was quite rowdy at some time, since most of its visitors are young backpackers who get drunk every night. It is not a family destination, but it could be a place for honeymooners. There are some resorts that are isolated and more exclusive. Thus, Gili is not for everyone. I actually preferred staying in Lombok. Nevertheless, the experience was quite satisfactory, and I was glad that I have already conquered the Gilis.

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