Bali is a tourist haven. Each year, this Indonesian Island continues to host visitors at a better place. In 2016, a total of 13 million visitors including domestic and international, were hosted by an island of just four million people. This shows that people love to come here for quietness and peace.
Main highlights of Bali include their exclusive Hindu culture and charming people. While the other face of this island is its intense traffic and congested streets of Ubud. Bali has a lot more to offer with its nearby Indonesian islands – Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and the Gili Islands — which are the scooter or car-free, but one can travel by cidimo (horse-drawn cart) and biking. Since Bali is located in between two Indonesian islands, Java and Lombok, which makes it a great jump off point for exploring some other beaches and over 17,000 islands. Among all, Penida and Lembongan are easy to reach and just 30 minutes ferry ride away from Bali. Whereas, three popular Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan (simply called Gili T), Gili Meno, and Gili Air (Gili A), each is around 2-3 hours away from Bali, even if you take a speedy ferry service. Gili Island is mainly populated with Muslims. Each of Gili’s Islands is worth your visit and has its own beauty.
According to a chief of all three Gili islands, Gili Air was settled by Sulawesi’s fishermen in 1930’s. He also emphasized on keeping the Gili A under-developed unlike Gili T. Since, overdevelopment comes with its consequences, and he also said he would never permit vehicles that run on fuels. Instead, he only wants electric ones on this island. He also acknowledged the facts that he disliked women wearing inappropriate clothes and consumption of alcohol. However, he also accepted that priorities have changed, sighting many benefits of tourism in Bali.
During our visit to Bali, we found that Locals in Bali love doing pastimes and making money. People had many options to make money; some rented their bungalows to tourists, and some sell necklaces on the beach. Apart from locals, you will amaze by some foreigners who came all from Europe and settle in Asia. They are now the owners of Oasi Pizzeria & Bungalows. The beauty of this island is sure to fall in love with. Yet, people fear that island would become overdeveloped like others. Since bask development has seen happen around Gili Meno.
It’s very common to change money in the bank. However, in Bali, it’s uncommon that you go to the bank to change money. Usually, you go to stall or a local store or street money exchangers. In Bali, you are responsible to exchange your currency at exact exchange rates, and sometimes you can even bargain. While visiting there, you can avail a divine one-hour massage to relax at $7. Travelling using ferry services cost $6 each round trip to two of Gili islands.
Which Gili Island to Go
We found Gili Air and Gili Meno more appealing than Gili T. Gili T is more famous for partying, and Gili Meno is known as the honeymoon island. Gili Meno is much quieter and calm. If you’re on your own, Gili Meno can be very lonely for you. Besides, you can get best of all worlds in any one island if you’re running out of time to explore it all. It’s really hard to pick one beauty among all. They all have splendid sunrises and sunsets that tourists love. No matter which island you choose to visit, you’re going to have a good time. One thing to note is Gili Meno and Gili Air has no addresses mentioned, although it’s not hard to find anything there. There are signs pointing towards main businesses all over the islands.
How to Get There
From Lombok, if you take a ferry ride, it will take 15 to 30 minutes to reach all three Gili islands. However, if you travel from Bali, it is a 2-3 hr. ride from ferry services. You can find many companies that operate from different ports. They charge reasonable fees, and most of them also settle on transfer to the boat from your hotel. One of them is Gili Getaway. It’s an Australian-owned company that offers fast boat services with less stopping locations. You can visit their site to get more details at giligetaway.com. In case, you want to experience large boat then consider Eka Jaya (ekajayafastboat.com).
What Things to do in Bali
Of many things to do in Bali, snorkeling, scuba and free diving, cycling and island hopping are the most well-known activities on Gili Air and other Gili Islands. Blue Marine Dive (bluemarinedive.com), Manta Dive Gili Air (manta-dive-giliair.com) is companies like many others that offer diving courses and excursions. Indonesian dishes are delicious to eat. Not only you can munch Balinese food on abundance, but also get to learn cooking classes. Gili Cooking Classes offers crash courses on making of traditional Indonesian dishes (gilicookingclasses.com).
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Where to Stay
Gili Air has so many hotels and small resorts to stay. One of the most popular ones is Sunrise Resort. Located just a minute walk away from the beach, offers a great view of the sea, and value-priced comfortable bungalows. They also provide an outdoor swimming pool. Their accommodation starts from $50 per night. You can also visit their website sunrisegiliair.com for more deals.
Since beaches are public property there so hotels are not allowed to locate directly on the beach. Most of them are 1-2 minutes walking distance away. In addition, most of their resorts offer free Wi-Fi services.
One of the unforgettable experiences you can get from Gili islands is their Turtle Beach Hotel. Turtle Beach Hotel is designed to offer modern living style with traditional bell-shaped cottages in a quiet location across from the beach. Their deals start from $100 per night (turtlebeach.co.id).
If you decide to stay on much calmer island of Gili Meno, Australian-owned Ana Warung & Bungalows has great value bungalows. Their price begins from just $30 per night/$45 equipped with air-conditioning facility. (anawarung.com).
Where to Eat
There are many beaches that feature dine right on the beach facility. You may pick Chill out Café for their eclectic menu and bargain prices or Sunrise Resort which has a chef who prepares delicious and fresh meals of your choice. Famous dishes are seafood, satay and crème brûlée.
If you are pizza fan, Oasi Italian Pizzeria has some authentic mouth-watering wood-fired pizzas in a serene setting.
If you want to experience anything closest to Paradise, Indonesian Islands are the ultimate place to sit back, enjoy and relax.
Make sure you have travel insurance and enjoy the heck out of this paradise while you’re here! Happy traveling!
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