So, as I mentioned before I would write a blog about my trip over to the Gilis… Here it goes…
Originally the trip was supposed to be with just 2 girls who were celebrating a successful IDC over at Blue Season, my girlfriend Dani and myself but just a couple days before departure we came across the last minute additions of a Canadian girl from Saskatoon, a chick from the UK out visiting a friend in Bali as well as a friend of a friend on vacation that also had plans to visit the Gilis, so naturally, it made sense for him to join along. So, the group was formed our pack now contained 7 and although we did little to prepare and made no prior bookings the trip was shaping up to be a dandy!
We left the morning after the BIG Best Dive Job Contest 2012 launch party so before even setting off to tackle 4 nights and 5 days of drinks, many of us were a little hung over. We squeezed into a car that barely could fit 6 people let alone 7 and set off for Padang Bai where we would take a fast boat over to our destination. The boat was a rockin and took about 2 hours after dropping some passengers off in Lombok and although Dani was battling some severe sea sickness and had to sit on deck instead of the dry area, we all made it.
Once landing, we decided to break into groups with worries that we may not be able to find an accommodation but in the end, it was your old pal Kenzo that negotiated a 3 bedroom house for only 450,000Rp a night. Split 7 ways that’s like $7 a night each, not bad eh! So we had what we called our “villa” the beds were claimed, luggage sprawled on the floor and we were off to the beach. **Fun fact: what do 2 guys do when they find a dead rat in one of the cupboards of the kitchen… They close the cupboard then film as they trick one of the girls into opening it in an attempt to find some plates for our lunch. hahaha, Priceless!
Anyways, to give you a description of what you can expect over in Gili Trawangan… Basically, there is one main road that runs parallel to the beach. There are no cars or scooters or any motor vehicles of any kind. (quite a nice change from the hectic streets of the rest of the world) However, you do need to keep your head up for some rushing by horse carriages and speeding by bicycles. The island doesn’t contain or allow any dogs so as you can imagine, it’s cat paradise. The main (only) strip contains several beach bars, restaurants of all varieties, dive centres, snorkel rental stands, homestays and a couple other little random shops as well as a shisha lounge. There is also a little turtle protection centre which ensures green & loggerhead turtles can survive the first stages of their lives and safely be released into the ocean. It’s a strip you can easily walk from beginning to end but has everything you would possibly need.
So basically the censored version of our trip would be to say we found a couple great places with some great drink specials. Our favorite would definitely have to be Rudy’s the bar we had our very first drink the morning of arriving and bar we spent countless happy hours flushing countless Rupiah down the drain. Whether it was Rudy’s or any of the other bars we occupied, there was always a wide variety of people each on their own adventures and a wide range of stories to tell. That’s one of the great things about travelling to small islands like this, the people you meet and the travellers knowledge you can gain through their experiences are endless. Every couple nights one of the bars or dive centres will throw a huge party which brings the island together in one big celebration, so if you’re there for more than 2 days, surely you will get to experience that. The night we were there, the theme was mustache night which was hilarious! One night I let curiosity get the better of me and gave fire dancing a try. Although I nearly burnt a tree down and lost some leg hair, overall I would say it was a success and now I have dreams of one day becoming a great fire performer.
So nights as you could guess were mainly a blur consisting of several drinks, random conversations with other tourists and everyone from our villa coming home at different times with different stories. Some better than others… During the day we spent most of our time relaxing on the beach or for some, nursing severe hangovers in the shade of our villa. For those who could function, we did some snorkeling from the shore and Bryon and I managed to get 3 nice dives in. The diving in the Gilis is quite nice but unfortunately it’s reefs have suffered severe damage due to dynamite fishing in the past. Luckily now their is an EcoTrust set up to pay off fisherman to stop dynamite fishing. This has slowly let the reefs rebuilt but when underwater, the damage doesn’t go unnoticed and you can’t help but think how full of life the reefs could have been if it wasn’t for the destruction of man. There is however some nice sites which have suffered minimal destruction. If diving in the Gilis I would recommend the sites Deep Turbo, Sharks Point or Shallow Shark Point. These are the more healthy dive sites and you will most likely see a blacktip or whitetip and certainly some turtles at Shallow Shark Point. There are some sites I didn’t get to explore so if you ever make a trip down, please let me know about your diving experiences and any of your recommendations… On two of the four nights we ventured out to sunset point and enjoyed some Bintangs along with our good friend mother nature. Quite a nice place I must say so be sure to check that out if you ever make the trip.
Overall, the Gili experience was a complete success that brought some friends and a couple strangers a friendship that will last a lifetime. We had a blast and did it for quite an affordable price. We probably could have stayed another day or two but 4 nights was a good taste. After all, you gotta leave something to do for next time around.