One such opportunity to travel is to the Gili Islands of Lombok; although neighbouring islands, each of the three islands – Trawangan, Meno and Air- are all so different to one another. Gili Trawangan, the largest and furthest from Lombok, tenders to unveil the bright and exciting parts of life; the different colours of joy in the form of music, dance, excursions and exploration – it only takes a couple of hours to walk around the island! Being human, variety is a necessity in life and sometimes we need to enthuse ourselves with the excitement of parties. Pubs, clubs and beach life on the island furnish these desires to the pinnacle, and Gili Trawangan surely caters! Whilst known as a party island, half of the island (West) is kept quiet and during the day, snorkelers, divers and sun-worshipers take advantage of the white sand and the clear, blue waters. Another favourite activity for island hoppers is to rent a bicycle and take a leisurely wander through the central village. However, there are of course limits to such exertions, and the blaring music may compel us to seek out a slightly more soothing destination.
Onwards to Gili Meno, a place that counters commotion and the ruffle of daily life by providing a truly calm and sedating surrounding. The environment is tranquil; as it is smaller in size it has a lower tourist density compared to its noisier neighbour, offering a unique opportunity to completely revive with quiet contentment.
The beautiful beaches entice slow, sandy strolls, nature playing its melody in the background: a composition of soft winds and waves stroking the shore. The classic sunset scene of the quiet Gili Meno will mesmerise, and the silent nights utter a tale of some untold romantic story. Inland, vegetation and village paths remain dominant, but perhaps most alluring is the salt lake found on the west side of Meno. As I walked in between trees, I remembered the words of poet Robert Frost, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” Onto the final Gili…
Gili Air, the island closest to Lombok, characteristically falls between Trawangan and Meno. Similar to Gili Meno, the pace of life on this island is slow and calm, great for those who really want to escape the hustle and bustle of the outside world. It continues to retain a traditional essence, a feel of that deserted island life. Yet, there are more developments here than Meno, with some bars and entertainment being offered on the east coast that play live music.
Though unlike Gili Trawangan, Gili Air doesn’t have a full on party scene that can last until the wee hours of night. There is good balance between nature and the commercial pulls. What Gili Air does boast above the others is uninterrupted views of the rolling hills of Lombok, seen over the sparkling waters of the sea strait that flows between it and its larger neighbour.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Bali, there are two ways to get the Gilis. The first, and possibly more fun way to go is by fast boat from either Serangan (2 hours) or Padang Bai (1 hour). We recommend using BlueWater Express who offers hotel transfers, unlimited water, morning tea/coffee and most importantly, insurance and medical coverage. They have trips to either Trawangan or Air. See their rates and schedules by calling +62 361 8951111 or find them at: www.bluewater-express.com. Another way is to fly to Lombok International Airport in Mataram and jumping on fast boat or local boat from Bangsal Harbour or Teluk Nare.
WHERE TO STAY
Les Villas Ottalia can be found on both Gili Trawangan or Gili Meno. These eco-style retreats offer 1 and 2 bedroom villas with private pools as well as cozy bungalows to enjoy. With bamboo and wood finishing’s that dominate the décor, and an open living space surrounded by coconut trees and garden, you’ll be living the ultimate tropical island lifestyle. With all the modern amenities fitted in the rooms, they say Les Villas Ottalia is where Robinson Crusoe would go to find luxury! With a shared 25m pool, a restaurant, spa, rentable bicycles and 5-min cycle to the beach (on both Trawangan or Meno), you’ll have all you need here. P.+62 361 736384 W. www.lesvillasottaliagili.com
WHERE TO EAT
If you’re in need of some real beach chilling, head on over to the boutique beach club known as Karma Beach Gili Meno. They have daybeds and sun loungers dotted on the white-sand beachfront to take advantage of, as well as a chic, tiki-style bamboo bar and restaurant serving up premium drinks, wine and delicious beach bites. With lounge and jazz tunes playing, it’s a great spot to just kick back for the day, or even head to for a romantic dinner.
P. +62 370 630981 W. www.karmagroup.com