Flying to Bali and arriving in the evening meant we were never going to make the twice a day ferry to the Gili Islands, so we booked a room at the AUD18 per night Simpang Inn in Kuta. Even in Kuta, for that amount of money you can’t expect much, but we did get two large tired, lightly stained bedrooms next to each other, in the middle of Kuta and the most underwhelming breakfast, which at AUD7 ended up being very expensive.
For dinner, we walked in each direction for 10mins then ended up at an excellent restaurant that I’d been to before. It was called the Simpang Inn Cafe, and I didn’t even realise when we stopped that we had returned to the front of the hotel…
The next day we were collected and taken to our Bluewater Express ferry in Serangan. The ferry ride took about 3.5hrs, which included a quick drop-off at Gili Trawangan. Gili was quite obviously the more popular spot. I went there last year and it was definitely an up all night drinking party island. This year, after travelling for 3 weeks we needed relaxation.
Gili Air is described as the balance between Gili T’s liveliness and Gili Meno’s minimalist vibe. It’s the closest to Lombok and on a map, kind of looks the smallest and roundest.
Where Gili T’s ferry leaves and collects you in the shallow water at the beach (when busy, it looks like a refugee disaster zone), Gili Air has a concrete pier, a short walk from the first set of shops.
Given how much luggage we had, John and I settled for an expensive horse & cart ride to our hotel, Zipp Bar Restaurant & Bungalows. Pleasantly, Zipp bar looked exactly like the photos in the brochure. 3 nights in two bungalows with open air en-suite, king side bed, porch with hammock and seating all for IDR3,600k.
After lunch, we decided to walk the island, anti-clockwise of course.
The southern part of the island is where most of the action is, though following the path around the island it was rare to find any section we walked that did not have a hotel or restaurant facing the water. If you venture in-land in the south there were more shops selling clothes, and significantly cheaper prices accomodation and food. In the north it was mostly open areas and jungle. It did feel a little more isolated in the northern part of the island.
As the sun started setting on the west side, we grabbed some seats on the beach, ordered some drinks and I took the chance to take some photos.
As the sun started setting even the islanders joined us.
The rest of our time on Gili Air, we spent lounging on the beaches, sipping cocktails and eating lots. We ended being fans of our Zipp restaurant.
On our last full day and for a bargain IDR100,00, we spent the day out on the glass-bottomed boat for some snorkelling. The price included a day on the boat, stop for lunch, snorkelling gear and fins, plus “turtles guaranteed”. We saw plenty. At first our guide would call us to a sighting and a gang of gopro clad underwater paparazzi fought their way to the front to capture the turtles on their cameras. After the 5th sighting though, everyone started to calm themselves. We also stopped for lunch on Gili Meno for a slow service lunch. The slow service delayed our return to the boat meaning we had to go back as the tide was returning.
Most of the spots were pretty amazing, though be warned where the Bask Nest Underwater Statues are located near Gili Meno, it was ridiculously busy.
After three nights, we caught the ferry back to Bali mainland to resume our holiday at Club Med in Nusa Dua. 🙂