Turning 30 on the Gili Islands

Jakarta done, we then had a short flight to the island of Bali. Holiday hostpot for Aussies for years now we had one night to enjoy the nightlife in Legian before we jumped on a speed boat to the more remote Gili Islands. Bali was pretty much as you’d expect. The beach was long and wide and looked a little like some in Cornwall if you really squinted. The waves, however, were huge and we sat back and had a beer watching some of the seasoned surfers doing their thing. The beer… a nice local Pilsner called Bingtang served on bean bags by a huge Indonesian with a big smile who went by the name of Bhudda.

After that it was up to the main drag for a nice meal and a game of ‘you pick a bar, I pick a bar’. Naturally I chose an Aussie sports bar with more TV screens than a Dixons and we ended up betting on some Australian Chariot Racing. Debbie picked a bar called Billy’s which had a live band. They appeared to let customers get involved with the singing and after a while some woman started murdering Bon Jovi’s greatest hits. We left swiftly after. Bali was nice for a night, but we were hopeful we’d find the Gili’s more enchanting.

The speed boat journey the next morning was fairly uneventful apart from meeting some friends called Dave and Rhian who we met later that day to watch the rugby with (Dave is a Kiwi). We pulled into the beach jumped off the boat to see a load of horse and carts waiting to take us away to our various destinations. “You do not know the truth”, said the chap on the beach holding a clip board trying to look important. “I am here to tell you the truth, you need a horse to get to your hotel, unless you can walk with your backpacks for an hour in the boiling sun”. Whatever. We shrugged off the warning and headed north up the beach in search of our hotel, Karma Kayak.

Half an hour later we were shown (past the swimming pool) into our gorgeous room with four poster bed and nice veranda. Seeing as it was my birthday we’d decided to push the boat out to a full £40 per night for our stay on Gili Trawangan and we were very glad we did. The room was lovely and we spent the next 5 days chilling by the pool and borrowing the snorkelling equipment to wander into the sea and swim with turtles, all sorts of tropical fish, a manta ray and a sea snake! Thankfully during our snorkeling, there was no rain as a few days before we came here it was pouring heavily.

Here was our bungalow:


Where we sat and watched the sun go down:


Some cute kids on the beach:


Fisherman and his catch:


The sea:


Some weird root coming out of the sand:


On the actual day of my 30th Debbie was full of ideas but we’d been travelling around quite a bit since the Philippines and I was keen on just a chilled day. We spent the morning by the pool, had a nice lunch and went snorkelling in the afternoon. That evening we had a nice meal before meeting up with our friends Dave and Rhian to have a few more drinks. We ended up in a bar with a live band who Debbie had a sly word with and they later dragged me up on stage to sing happy birthday to me. Little did she realise that she would also end up on stage next to me, suitably embarrassed. One free birthday cocktail and a couple of beers later we stumbled home under the stars rounding off a perfect day to enter my 30s.

I cant really say enough about Gili T. It’s big enough to give you a lot to do but small enough to get round easily. The fact that they’ve shunned all motorised transport is also a bonus with Horse & Carts carrying everything around the island. They’ve all got these bells on so it almost gives the place a slight Christmassy feel to it! The water is stunning and the people were really friendly. Overall its definitely somewhere I’d recommend. Next up we were onto another of the Gili islands, this time Gili Air…


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