After some time on mainland Bali, our next stop was the beautiful Gili islands!
Indonesia is one of the few places in Southeast Asia where we actually booked our accommodation before we left, as it was around Christmas time and we didn’t want to be left to sleep on the beach (although there are probably worse places to do that…)! Originally we had booked 6 nights in Uluwatu over Christmas…but literally everyone we spoke to whilst there and even the hotel staff in Uluwatu, told us that we couldn’t come to Bali and not venture to the Gili islands!
Next thing we knew we were on the boat on Christmas eve to Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three islands! Sadly we didn’t get chance to visit all three, but according to my research and my best friend who has visited them all, if you want a more relaxed pace, head to Gili Air or Gili Meno. So we were staying on the main island, but had booked a lovely little hotel on the other side of the island to the action/town centre.
It was called Villa Julius – a small boutique style hotel with only about 6 rooms, lovely, welcoming staff who made you feel so at home, a beautiful saltwater pool and literally 50 metres from the sand so you could hear the waves crashing from your room!
There are no cars or motor transport on the island which is a nice change – so you’ll have to catch a horse and cart to your hotel, which is interesting trying to fit on alongside your luggage without it (or you) falling off! The best thing we did there without doubt is hire bikes – it’s a great way to see the entire island and it only takes probably just over an hour to ride around the edge!
A lot of people snorkel here too – there are certain beaches and coves which are supposed to be best but you can stop off at whichever beach you like. In town, there was a really nice selection of restaurants…we ate one night at a quieter one at the end of the street which had its tables on the beach and a live band all evening, and another night at a chilled reggae style restaurant where you sit on the ground in little wooden shacks!
There are upmarket fresh seafood restaurants, cheap buffet-style restaurants, chilled shisha bars, lively clubs and Irish pubs – definitely something for everyone! If you’re staying slightly out of town like we were, just be careful if you’re walking home as it’s dark and some of the walks are through the forests so you’ll need a torch – or if not it’s easy enough to just pick up a horse and cart!