If Bali is not at the top of your list, but it’s suddenly only 3 hours flying and you are ready for a much needed vacation…..what do you do? Sure, you book a flight to Bali & The Gili Islands.
I was afraid that Bali would be completely overrun by tourists, but the opposite is true. It was wonderfully quiet, although there are many Australians going to Bali. In no time you are in a completely different world and it’s not expensive. A different culture, tropical beaches, great food. You can’t blame them. We did exactly the same. Fortunately the Australians mainly focus around the party places Kuta (Beach) and Seminyak. It’s best to avoid these two areas. Unless you are ready for the Asian version of Lloret de Mar.
There are two places that you shouldn’t miss when you are on Bali. The first is Ubud. The cultural centre of the island. The town is situated in the middle of the rice fields and has a yoga-style artistic atmosphere. For a few dollars you have the most fantastic meals in one of the numerous restaurants. We stayed with the locals. A frequently used concept. Many locals make a number of rooms available in their often beautiful inner gardens, including Buddhist altar. Wonderful and very hospitable. If you want to spend money, look for one of the many resorts (with infinity pool) you can easily find in Ubud.
Also visit Munduk, in the middle northern part of Bali. The nicest and easiest way to get there is per rented scooter. At least, we thought that was adventurous. Munduk is serene, especially very green and is known for its many waterfalls. Through the hotel we found a guide who navigated us through the jungle and rice fields. Very active and the landscape is beautiful. Take your bikini with you, because you can swim at some waterfalls. I will spare you my bikini shoot, haha.
To top it all off, we had decided to go to the Gili Islands. Described as very idyllic and a great place for scuba diving. That seemed like an excellent plan for the last 4 days of our trip. To save time, we booked the more expensive speedboat, which departs from Amed and only takes 75 minutes. The weather was beautiful, we quickly found the boat and there were few tourists. What could go wrong?
Maybe we should have checked a little better on the long distance and the so-called short trip. How fast does a boat need to go? Well, very fast. And that was the problem. The Lonely Planet guide had already warned that these trips are not harmless. We had laughed that off after so many (in our eyes) exaggerated warnings.
The small boat, I think only 10 meters long, had a rear deck with 4 benches and inside there were a few other seats. With roaring mega-super-hyper engines we took off towards no man’s land at sea. Whit enormous speed. The first 5 minutes were spectacular. Until we really were at sea and the waves became higher and higher. This small boat, however, kept racing persistently, which resulted in the hull constantly clashing on the water. Taking something out of your bag or just drinking from a bottle of water was out of the question. Both hands were needed to hold the metal rail on the back of the seat in front of you. Like a roller coaster. At least, such a ride only takes 2 minutes. We had still 70 minutes to go. Extremely uncomfortable.
Suddenly, two crew members “walked” to the rear deck. They had an offering basket, including rice, flowers and an egg, which they threw into the sea. To favour the sea gods. I am not religious, but I was praying too, hoping that this egg would have supernatural powers. I think it helped, because fortunately the Gili Islands finally appeared! And they are certainly idyllic!
If you are on Gili Trawangan, it is nice to rent a bike and ride around the island (there are not many other options). You can completely relax on Bali, but even more on the Gili Islands. No motorized traffic, lots of restaurants, beautiful beaches. You don’t have to do anything, just relax. Well, the Gili Islands are a scuba divers paradise so we booked a few dives with one of the many dive centres. And we jumped on the boat to Gili Air. This island is even smaller, even more remote, just as beautiful. That’s were we bumped into our Australian friends, what are the odds!! Nice for the moment though. Don’t forget the time if you need to take the boat back to Gili Trawangan, there is only one.
Bali! Even though the island seems to focus tremendously on tourism, you can completely relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Don’t forget to visit a spa and book one or more massages. I absolutely love it. Reinier thought it less successful haha. In any case, we were back on the plane with a 100% charged battery. Time to visit Bali again!
So, if your planning a trip to Bali, buy your one and only copy of the Lonely Planet via The Bookdepository and click here. Or buy the Lonely Planet guide on Amazon and click on the book below
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