Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gili Trawangan, Indonesia: The Gleeful Gilis

This post is emblematic of my continued attempt to recount past adventures that I've written or posted next to nothing about. I'll be in Nicaragua in about two weeks, and I'll be moving to Istanbul in a few months, so this seems like the appropriate time to try to play catch-up. Honestly, I don't envision myself harkening back to my Southeast Asian travels on my blog while I'm experiencing all the new sights and smells of Turkey and the surrounding area. Forget about the future for now - let's go back to late 2012 in Indonesia.


Visible from the shores of Lombok are the stunning Gili Islands. Bri and I had flown in from Singapore a week or so prior and spent a very memorable week on Lombok - split between our time in Sengiggi and Pemenang. Our time in Pemenang was spent couchsurfing with a wonderful woman named Moya who welcomed us into her house and made us feel comfortable from the very beginning. Moya, if you're reading this, I will certainly write my own post on that experience in good time. For you, Bri and I, and, of course, Ikut the chicken. You know what I'm talking about. You're the best.

We found a gentleman with a horse-drawn carriage, known as a cidomo,  that could take us (and our backpacks) to the Bangsal Docks where we could take either a local boat or a fast boat. We were headed to Gili Trawangan, the largest and most popular of the three Gili Islands. Gili Trawangan, known as Gili T, has a reputation for being a remote destination with no automobiles or motor traffic, and generally no real enforced laws either. It was kind of like a traveller's paradise, especially for those travellers who had just traversed through large, busy Southeast Asian cities like ourselves. 

We spent a majority of our time on Gili Trawangan, but did venture off and do some snorkeling with a little break to feast on a tuna steak on Gili Meno. The experience we had in the Gili Islands is owed almost entirely to Herry, a native of Lombok and an outgoing guy who helps run a local tour company there. If you find yourself there, you must find him and his friend Nizar and go on one of their arranged adventures through their company Barracuda Tours. They're both legends, and they'll not only help you out, but show you a great time around both the Gilis and Lombok. Both Herry and Nizar were good friends of Moya, which is why we were so fortunate to meet them.

Thanks largely to them, we were able to go to several beach parties and gatherings, some great bars and restaurants, snorkel at a very reasonable price, organize our ferry to Bali (also at a very competitive price), and a whole bunch of other intangibles. One of my favourite memories was taking the last day to wander around the entire perimeter of the island, which is really only about 8km. I should also mention that we were able to rendevouz again with Freddy, with whom we couchsurfed with in Bandar Seri Begawon, Brunei. He's a very fun guy with a big heart. It is to these people that we owe our memories.

The trip started off with a bang, as our ferry on the way over was quite close to capsizing. Literally, I was preparing my backpack to hop off into the sea, and waves violently crashed into the sides of our tiny boat. It makes for a good story in retrospect, but at the time, I wasn't quite as fond of the scenario. Now that I've given the context, here is our experience through a series of photographs. 

Bri deserves credit for this photograph. She says this is her favourite photo from Gili T, and I can see why.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I'm hoping to be posting with more and more frequency, so try not to forget about me.


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