If you’ve been to Bali or are planning on heading there sometime soon, its highly likely you’ve already heard of the Gili Islands. Known as the honeymoon or party islands (depending on which one you visit), the Gili islands are made up of 3 small and remote islands just off the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Of the 3 islands, Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan, I went to the latter with my amazing tour group! If you’re looking to party hard at night and learn how to scuba dive or surf during the day, then I would definitely recommend you head to Gili Trawangan. We crammed so much into our time in Gili Trawangan that I needed 2 days of sleep to recover! As soon as you arrive, I would advise you hire out a bike- a quick and easy way of getting around the island and exploring the beach by nights. You simply cannot miss sunset at this beach, its an unforgettable experience! Me and the Wanderlands Travel tour group also made a quick pit-stop visit to Gili Meno during a day out on the sea, diving with giant sea turtles. Although we didnt get to explore Gili Meno much, we did get the chance to have a lovely fresh cooked lunch of smoked salmon at one of the many beach front restaurants and it was clear to see that the island had an unbelievable relaxed atmosphere!
Speaking of sunsets… of all the places I’ve traveled to in the world, Bali has, hands-down the most magical sunsets I have ever witnessed! When sun sets at around 6.15pm, grab your camera and head down to the beach for a truly unforgettable view! I caught some of the best sunsets at Kuta beach, Gili Trawangan beach and Jimbaran beach. The latter being the most memorable sunset of all as myself and my boyfriend sat and feasted on fresh barbecued fish and rice as we took a billion photos of the deep pink sun. Alternatively, you can catch some amazing sunset views from the mountainous areas of Lombok, Ubud and kuta. I found that the best way to get to our chosen sunset-watching spot was via motorbike, a cheap and easy transportation method used by practically every local within bali! If you’re planning on staying for a week or more then I would highly suggest you get yourself an INSURED bike!
With so many amazing, vibrant and fragrant options to chose from, meal times were something of a dramatic event for me (or should I say for my boyfriend, who had to put up with me refusing to go anywhere that didn’t have at least 3 types of nasi goreng on the menu!) Nasi goreng is pretty much the staple diet of the local Indonesian people, a quick, simple and cheap meal made up of rice, vegetables and a fried egg. Super filling and super addictive! If you’re a spicy food lover or you enjoy pushing your taste buds to the limit and will try anything from fried insects to shark stew, then head to any of the built-up warungs where you’ll find all that and more for no more than a fiver. Some of the best places we ate at were `Sunda Kelapa` in Tuban (literally amazing fresh cooked food for an absolute bargain price along with HUGE portion sizes!), Ayam Betutu Gilimanuk in Tuban, The open house restaurant in Jimbaran (THE best banana pancakes I have ever had in my life!) and the nightly food market at Gili Trawangan which had a huge selection of local dishes to chose from for an absolute bargain price of 40p per plate!!! Honestly, there are so many more restaurants I could name but I would be here all day and I’m kinda getting hungry….
Bali really does offer the best of both worlds for tourists looking for very different experiences. If you’re more of a relax-at-the-beach-with-a-cocktail-in-hand kind of holiday-maker then youre sure to find yourself In paradise. On the other hand, If youre more of the adventurous, watersports, trekking and mingling with the locals type, then you’ll be right at home too! Tour groups are a great way of cramming in a whole load of activities whilst making new friends and if you search right, you can nab yourself a real bargain! Tours can include anything from visiting holy temples and eating lunch at the island`s active volcano, trekking through the rainforest whilst monkeys swing overhead and visiting the local tribes in the mountainous areas of Ubud- and that’s all in one day! Check out baligoldentour.com for more information on the types and cost of tours within Bali. Alternatively, you can approach any one of the hundreds of tour stands dotted around Bali, where you can book surfing and scuba diving lessons or simply take a boat ride across to neighboring islands for a day of exploring, the possibilities (and tour packages) are endless!
Unsurprisingly you’ll find about a gazillion beaches dotted all around Bali, some hugely populated with tourists and some not so populated ones (I like to call those the hidden gems). My all time favourite beach has to be Jimbaran, just outside of Denpasar in Bali. Before visiting, Id never even heard of it, in fact me and my boyfriend actually stumbled across it on accident whilst driving around on a frantic search for ice cream (like I said, when it came to find I was little demanding at times!). The beach itself is so clean and the sea is a crisp blue but the best thing? It wasn’t absolutely rammed with tourists, in fact during the day it was pretty remote. As the sun begins to set, it does start to get a bit busier but this is normally with more locals than tourists so it’s a great time to soak in some of the local life whilst you admire the sunset. As I said before, its also a great place to eat dinner and there are a dozen beachside restaurants that are lit up with some beautiful lighting displays at night. Some of my other beaches include sengiggi, sanur and Kuta Lombok which also had a fantastic all-you-can-eat buffet at sunset and a local band playing some cracking tunes!