Indonesia Reloaded: Gili Islands and Lombok Honeymoon
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I’ll be honest and say that getting married wasn’t stressful at all. What did give us a bit more work was, however, picking a honeymoon destination. After many, MANY hours of assessing what place to see next after out 4-month travel adventure in 2014 and inspecting budget-friendly and convenient flight combinations, we concluded that we’re best off with revisiting a place we know and love – Indonesia.
This blog post will give you some impressions from our Gili Islands and Lombok honeymoon, with both revisited and new destinations!
Kuta, Bali was our first stop because it’s right next to Denpasar airport. This area is, as always, a hot, hot mess: drunk crowds, loud clubs, tons of motorbikes. In any case, it’s not ALL bad – it has a decent sunset, so the main beach is always sure to become the epicenter of activity around sundown. You can find more insights into this booming beach town in this detailed blog post. Unless you came here to party, I’d recommend staying just 2 nights or so – long enough to arrange any subsequent travels and transport, which you always have to book in advance. When arranging transport, do yourself a favor and always, ALWAYS negotiate these prices with sellers. No matter if the prices lists are printed on brochures or posters, these numbers are always hugely overblown because most people don’t bother bargaining. In reality you’re looking at least a 50% reduction in price.
After Kuta we took a fast boat across the channel to the Gili Islands. We skipped Gili T due to the following: been there, done that, too many people, and the other two islands are lot more chill. So our next stop was Gili Air, the island closest to Lombok.
Gili Air was as much of a delight as ever – though I have to say the island has ‘grown’ a lot: the businesses and homestays we recognized from 2 years ago have expanded, and areas that used to be empty are now littered with beach bars, new homestays, and free time activity middlemen. From the boat landing we booked it through the village directly to our old favorite, Yoland Homestay – just to find out that the owner has gone up with the price and wouldn’t budge down from 400K Rupiah.
No dice – we went over to Toro Toro homestay next door, where we got a bungalow with A/C for 300K. This was absolutely fine – the place was clean and the included breakfast was good, too. The only issue was the fact that the open-roof bathrooms that are so prevalent on the island also invite some other friends into your space. So after the first night we switched from a bungalow in the garden to one next to the dirt road due to the 5 giant cockroaches that took up residence in our first bungalow on our first night.
We also hit up the good ole Munchies Café at the main waterfront strip. I had already mentioned Munchies the first time around for their amazing ability to completely fuck up your orders on the regular without making you mad at them – which actually hasn’t changed one bit. Yet despite the delays and numerous unavailable items from the menu, we can’t be mad at these stoners and keep coming back for the laid back vibe, good prices and fantastic view!
In the evening you can take a pick from the many seaside restaurants grilling up fresh catch of the day. Since the waters around the Gilis are protected, the fish comes from Lombok and you’ll be spoiled for choice in any eatery you choose!
The rest of our time on Gili Air was spent on snorkeling and diving. For the latter we went back to Gili Air Divers, where we did our open water course 2 years prior. Had a fantastic time with excellent dive guides, and the water quality and marine life was as beautiful as ever. Fans of under the sea – highly recommend this spot for exploring!
After a few days we went over to Gili Meno to spend additional 4 days on the ‘quiet’ island and log in some more dives with Gili Meno Divers. To this day, Meno is my favorite island – it’s the smallest one of the three, with just a small village in the middle! It’s chill to the max, with friendly locals and kids always offering an eager ‘Hello!’ when they pass you. We stayed at Pondok Anjani, a homestay on the road inwards next to the clinic. For 300K we got a room with A/C and mosquito net, including tasty breakfast. Did some more diving and snorkeling, and lots of chillage at Warung Yaya – a must-visit food spot at a local family’s beachfront hut.
Sasak Café is the only ‘bar’ on the island and thus sees a lot of traffic – also due to the fact that it offers a wonderful sunset viewing spot. Daily live music by local dudes covering anything from Adele to Bob Marley are sure to lighten the mood, and the food is great as well. You could sit here for hours.
Also cool to check out is the abandoned resort next to Sasak – go for the creepy vibes, stay for the snorkeling – seriously, some of the best snorkeling can be done just out in front of the site. Just follow the traces of the jetty out into deeper water and be amazed! You can see turtles, parrot fish, trigger fish and many more, and might even spot the collapsed jetty, a.k.a. the Bounty Wreck!