Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan. The past two weeks have seen some great adventures and I’m now back at work semi-ill and exhausted after our exertions.
From casually strolling through rustic Ubud and its rice-fields to strenuously summiting Mt Rinjani we had a very active trip.
Our first port of call was the oft rubbished town of Kuta – where the main international flights land. It is true that the town is crowded, polluted, you get harassed, the beach is busy and the water not as nice as the picturesque waters surrounding the other islands; BUT if you’re prepared for this there is still plenty of fun to be had there.
We had a sweet hostel, with our own private room and the pool was stunning. The beach was just a short walk away and we body boarded and surfed on the huge waves. These things were like 5ft and could be fairly terrifying – I took a refresher lesson as I hadn’t surfed since giving up my attempts when having my board ripped off my leg in Australia. I’m still a terrible surfer and definitely spent more time being thrown off my board than riding on it, but had a great time trying and did catch a few really long rides.
Kuta’s nightlife is hectic and crazy – we hit up an unlimited drinks place and partied there, both me and Matt surviving to surf the next day – Tom not quite making it.
A short bus ride from Kuta is picturesque Ubud – with rolling rice terraces surrounding the town. We spent a day exploring the monkey forest, the back-roads and the rice terraces, before venturing further out to see how they made animal poo coffee and climbing the nearby volcano.
Lombok came strongly recommended to me from a travel friend as a paradise away from its noisy Balinese neighbour. Everything about it is much emptier – the roads, the beaches, the bars.
We did as everyone does here and rented bikes to explore around the island. Although being sensible people we also took helmets, although paired with our flip-flop and tank top attire any spills would have been very painful – luckily (and due to our very safe driving) that never happened.
I love the freedom of being able to zoom around and check out whatever we want. As Matt put it, we ‘stumbled upon’ an amazing curved bay of a beach. As I put it, I researched and found said beach, before google mapping the directions to get us there. But yeah, it was beautiful.
We road tripped up to Gili T on our bikes, zooming across the country and up the coastline. Our first attempt at making it was thwarted by some monsoon rain, leaving us stranded in the tourist town of Sengigi – this turned out not to be a bad place to be stranded. Some amazing massages and live music gave us a wonderful evening.
The local ferry across left us sprayed with water as the low boat pushed its way across, the French guy next to us showing us pics of the fishing boat the high speed motorboat he took to Lombok the previous day shredded in half. We made it across.
Gili T is the most populous of the 3 Gili islands, but it’s beach is still stunning and the beachside cafe we had lunch in was fab.
Food overall on the trip was delicious – an awful lot of seafood – the best being at a place called Sonya’s where you picked what seafood you wanted from the fresh catches and it was cooked over the hot coals – amazingly fresh and delicious!
To get over the holiday blues, on our first day back we booked our next adventure! We get time off in early September for Chuseok, which is basically Korean thanksgiving so we’re heading North to Seoraksan one of the big national parks that is supposed to be stunning to hike in autumn. So just three weeks of work to get through before it’s adventure time again 🙂