Since my last update Will and I haven’t done much other than beach and chill. I guess that’s what you get with island life…I can’t complain though. The final few destinations were Padang Bai, Gili Twarangan, Gili Air, Uluwatu (Bingin Beach) and a last night in Kuta.
Padang Bai: Padang Bai is a tiny sea side town in the east of Bali and it is where all boats heading to the Gili islands leave from. Sadly when we arrived here it was POURING it down. This wasn’t the usual 2 hour shower either, this was a full blown 5h long, day time thunder storm. I also believe that you never get the best impression of somewhere if it’s raining so this wasn’t really the best start. I took this opportunity to FaceTime my family, which is always a treat. Thankfully by 4pm, and a lovely chat with my mum and dad later, the rain had cleared and we walked to a small bay: “Blue Lagoon” where we hired snorkels and masks. The beach was so quiet and beautiful. The snorkelling was also very impressive for being to close to the shore. The next morning we were up and out early for our ferry to Gili T and that’s about all we got to see of Padang Bai, but from what I did see, I really liked it. Incredibly quiet beach area, quieter than anywhere else I’ve seen so far on Bali.
Gili Trawangan: Gili T (cause who can be bothered saying Trawangan every time..?) is officially part of Lombok but just a 1h15 boat trip from Padang Bai, Bali. We arrived on Gili T along with a jam packed boat full of other tourists. The main beach strip in Gili T is busy with restaurants, dive shops and bars. Known to be the most “partying” island of the three Gilis, Will and I were looking forward to getting involved with some of that so called “partying”. It didn’t take us long to grasp why it had the parting reputation… People on Gili T really know how to party. Not only did we have the Swedish boys with us but I also found out that a group of friends I used to go to school with were also on Gili T!! This meant that we had a few nights together partying on the beach, dancing til our hearts content. It was so nice to catch up with friends I haven’t seen for, potentially, years. It proved how old friendships really do last and new friends can be just as special.
Will and I spent one day with the Swedes, cycling, snorkelling, laughing and eating our way round the island. When we stopped to snorkel we saw 5 sea turtles one as big as my arm span (granted that in itself is not massive, but it was definitely a very big sea turtle). On the same snorkel trip we saw trigger fish, jelly fish and a huge eel. As the day drew to an end we found ourselves, prime seats, in one of the bars on the west of the island. Here we sipped fruity cocktails on the beach as the sun set over Bali. This was a lovely way to end such a fun day with some incredible new friends. We may or may not have disturbed some of the honeymooners with our giggling and chatting…we were having a great time, who can blame us.
We said our last goodbye to the Swedes as they left Gili T heading to Vietnam for the next part of their trip. As I’ve said before, this is definitely the worst thing about traveling. I hate having to say goodbye to people who you get on so well with when your paths have to part ways. I’d be much happier with a sorta “see ya later” type farewell I think.
On our last day, just Will and I, walked round the whole island and I went diving. The dive was fun and my longest ever dive!! I saw more turtles and even my first ever shark!!! Sadly though the reef was rather disappointing compared to what I had seen in Nusa Lembongan.
Gili T on the whole was amazing, I loved the island itself in its variety. Tranquil sunset beach bars, bustling night food market, incredible snorkelling and parties lasting into the early hours of the morning. Gili T is definitely one of my favourite locations so far…I know bold statement eh!
Gili Air: Closet to Lombok than Gili T is, Gili Air is 30min slow boat ride from Gili T. After our 4 nights of partying, Will and I were definitely ready for some downtime. Gili Air was as far from Gili T, in atmosphere, as you could get. Our hostel here was super cool, with a HUGE outdoor pool, volley ball net, slack line, basketball net, table tennis table and little bamboo huts for rooms! The bamboo hut may sound better than it turned out to be…Will and I booked a double room, as it was cheaper than two single beds in a dorm. Our “room” had a bamboo slat blind for a door, a large single bed on the floor with a mosquito net draped over the top and a little fan to cool us down. The bed arrangements meant that my first night on Gili Air I didn’t sleep a wink. I blame my lack of sleep on some nosy neighbours, very vocal frogs and the desire not to disturb Will! (I know, I’m so kind aren’t I). However for this reason I was awake and got up to see the sunrise over Lombok.
I walked to the beach at 5am and sat for two hours of the colours of the sky melted between every shade of: red, orange and pink you can imagine. The beach was quiet and just as picturesque as I could ever imagines. After the sun came up and started to heat the cool morning air I walked round the whole island (1 hour slow stroll) seeing what each side had to offer! Fair to say that once Will woke up and was ready to start the day, I was ready to settle down to sleep…He went to find the gym on the island and I had a cheeky 3hour nap, spreading out as much as I wanted.
After recommendation from Annie and Jeevit (my school friends from I met up with on Gili T) Will and I hunted out the burger lady. Fair to say this was one of the nicest burgers either of us has ever had and for the grand total of £4 for both of us, including chips..!
Uluwatu (Bingin beach): Uluwatu is the southern most area on Bali mainland. It’s renowned for its beautiful beaches and fantastic surfing. We stayed close to Bingin Beach, after recommendations from a friend back home (You know who you are *cough* Sophie *cough*). The view from the cliff side above the beach was breathtaking, the sea was the bluest of blue and the sunset was as good as any I’d seen before. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over golden sunsets over the sea… although, does anyone?
Binging Beach itself was not much of a “beach” at all when we visited, potentially due to the tide. The beach was beautiful but just not much sand… and incredible entertainment. The sea off Bingin beach was full of surfers gliding up and down the waves, somehow managing to stay attached to their boards and vertical. A phenomenon I rarely manage to sustain for long.
Dreamland Beach was also in walking distance and had entertainment of another kind. This beach was beautiful and quiet when we arrived. We were eating lunch, overlooking the beach when a coach trip of tourists must have arrived. They then proceeded to fill the beach and assume their photo poses. All of these were ridiculous and the photo taking lasted HOURS and provided Will and I our afternoon entertainment!
Sadly this was the last stop of my trip. It has been an incredible 15 weeks. But now I am headed home and looking forward to seeing my family and being home. Carpets, hot showers and duvets have also been lacking from my trip so it’ll be nice to have those back. I’m am so lucky to have been able to experience what I have experienced over these three months. I have met many amazing people, see many incredible things and done many things I’d never dreamed of doing. Thank you South East Asia for having me, you were as perfect as I’d imagine you to be. Life long memories made in a matter of weeks.
Keep your eyes peeled for my next adventures…Bring on May…✈️🇬🇷🏝