gili islands, indonesia.

On our fifth day in Bali we decided that a great way to spend our morning would be to get up at 2.30am, drive to Mt Batur, climb up the very steep, very dark side of the volcano, which last erupted in 2000 and then sit in the freezing cold waiting for the sun to rise, my god it was worth it, the views of the valley and the lake are absolutely stunning and the sunrise looked incredible. I would absolutely recommend anyone to do it! We paid 2.1mil rupiah between 4 of us, that included Wayan giving us a lift from Ubud which is around an hour away and a guide to take us up the mountain who was called Gaday. I don’t think the guide thing is optional, unlike the temples where they try to convince you that you need showing round I think in the pitch black at 4am you simply are not allowed to attempt the climb without a guide. I didn’t struggle with the length of the walk or the steepness but I did struggle to keep up a bit, everyone has such longer legs than me I was basically running if I wanted to keep the same speed as everyone else! You’re given a flash light by your guide so you can see pretty well, seeing hundreds of tiny lights in a line up the mountain in front of you looks so lovely as well. Wayan had made us all a packed breakfast for once we reached the top, so we sat on the edge of the summit eating that whilst watching the sunrise, such an amazing experience and I’m so glad everyone wanted to do it! You can basically run back down the side of the mountain as well so you get down quite quickly! I nearly bailed a few times as did most people but it’s not so bad once you get to the bottom and can empty your shoes of volcanic rock! Think I’m going to need to invest in a pair of proper walking boots for south america! Once we got back to Ubud we spent the afternoon at the market buying beautiful clothes and trinkets, then in the evening we headed over to Bali Zoo for the ‘night at the zoo’ package, which includes a night tour of the zoo, a fire show and a buffet meal at the end. We’d heard nothing but great things about the zoo from literally everyone who had been to Bali, but to be honest I really didn’t think it was that good! I’ll write a separate post on that at a later date though.

The next morning it was finally time to head over to the Gili Islands, the part of the trip we had all been most excited for! We said another sad goodbye to Wayan who had looked after us so well, then caught the shuttle bus to Padang Bay to get the boat to Gili Trawangan. The journey is about 1hr45 and you stop at Gili Air first to drop people off, the boat is amazing and nothing like I imagined, I thought it’d be some tiny, way past it little thing but it was so clean and so comfy! We spent the whole journey sunbathing on the top deck as it was so lovely and hot. When we arrived we left the boys at a bar and went in search of accommodation, simple homestays and bungalows are so easy to find and none of them are too expensive either. Eventually we found a place called Baleku that had 2 double rooms in a thatched roof building, with a canopy round the bed and then an outdoor toilet and shower, I think in the excitement of how traditional it was we thought it was better than it was as our opinions had changed by the next day, but the outdoor bamboo shower really was awesome! We paid 150k rupiah for each room, so around $15 aud. Once we’d showered and got settled we went and hung out at the beach, before heading to Scallywags, where one of Matthew and Sara’s friends works, to say hi to him. That quickly turned into us being sat in their restaurant, looking out onto the ocean until about 1am! We were going to have a proper night out so we headed down to the bars but there was only one that was still open, so we went there until about 4am. I did think Gili T was supposed to be the party island but whilst we were there it seemed to be that only one bar would stay open late each night which was a bit odd!

The next day we did nothing except lie on the beach all day sunbathing and snorkelling in the ocean, so nice to actually do some relaxing on our holiday. We walked round to the other side of the island in the evening to watch the sunset at Sunset Bar which was lovely, before heading to the night market to eat and then drinking at our homestay for the rest of the evening. Sometimes you need one of those days where you don’t do much. The electricity in our room was constantly going on and off whilst we were there and it was so dark in the room even when the light was on so it wasn’t the best, but I loved the outdoor bamboo shower, water powered out of it so quickly it was great.

As well as Gili T there is also Gili Meno which is the smallest of the three islands, we managed to miss the public boat over there so had to haggle our way into a good deal for someone to take us over and then collect is in the afternoon. It seemed even hotter on Meno so it was lovely just to lie in the sun and snorkel occasionally too. Sammy and I went out for a really long time as the water was a lot calmer off Meno that it was off Gili T and we saw some incredible fish, as well as a turtle! I hadn’t managed to see one off Gili T so I was so happy to see one finally! We swam with it for about half an hour before deciding to let it get on with it’s life without an audience! It’s times like that I wish I had a GoPro, or even just an underwater camera, might have to be the next investment. When we got back to Gili T we walked round the island to Ombak Sunset to take some pictures on the famous swings there that are just in the middle of the sea, very touristy but very worth it! We ate street food at the night market again that evening before heading to Sama Sama for drinks. I wasn’t feeling too good again so I headed home at 2 think I’d spent too long in the sun, I’m really having the worst luck with getting ill this year!

We decided to spend our last night on Gili Air, so got the public boat over which is 40k rupiah per person and only takes about 20 minutes. We found some nice bungalows at Gili Beach Bungalows that were near the main harbour area, but felt like a ten mile walk away in the heat with our backpacks! My pack only weighs 16kg which for 7 weeks of travel including two pairs of trainers, a sleeping bag and a pillow isn’t too bad, but it felt like a 100 tonnes in that weather! I was glad to finally ditch it and get some lunch before hitting the beach. After showers we splashed out a tiny bit and went for a beautiful meal at Raja which was absolutely incredible. We ate local street food the whole time we were in Bali and the Gili’s because when we ate Western food it was absolutely awful, but this restaurant was really lovely. We tried ice cream made on the Gili Islands for desert before having an early night. It was clearly needed as we slept 11 hours that night!

Sadly we had to get the boat back to Bali the next day so we could fly home the day after, we had originally booked to go to Seminyak but after realising we would only have a few hours there it seemed pointless, so we decided to surprise our friends at Maya and head back there for one last night as it was closer to the airport too. Bayu and Hiro’s faces were amazing when they saw us, like they were genuinely happy to have us back, it was lovely! We had an amazing feast as our last meal together, Mie Goreng, Ote Ote and fried chicken, so good! After we’d stuffed ourselves we walked through Kuta one last time to do some last minute shopping, I managed to get a nice bag and Sammy got some good trainers, true to form Matthew bought basically nothing whilst Sara bought something from every shop! It was sad going to bed that night knowing we would be saying goodbye to such good friends for a while. Sara and Matthew woke us up first at 5am to say goodbye, then Hiro at 7am when he finished his shift, it all felt a bit rushed and I was a bit sad when we woke up to pack up and leave ourselves! We had breakfast and then said goodbye to Bayu before getting a taxi to the airport, needless to say it was half the price going back when the guys at Maya had booked it for us!

I don’t often visit somewhere and think I’d definitely come back here again, not because I dislike anywhere I go as I love nearly every place I visit, but I often think well I’ve been there, I might as well spend my time seeing new places next, but I would go back to Bali in a heartbeat. The people are the friendliest, kindest people in the world, they can’t do enough to help you, they like to listen to what you have to say and they have great stories to tell. The places, even party city Kuta are all so beautiful, with fantastically decorated buildings, temples and statues everywhere, I literally love everything about Bali! If you haven’t been before, book a holiday or a trip, right now!

sunrise at mt batur.


sunrise at mt batur.


sunrise over lake batur.


boat trip to gili islands.


respect the locals.


sunset at sunset bar.


gili meno.


sunset at the swings, ombak resort.


gili air.

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