After eight days partying on Gili Trawangan and eating nothing but pizza and burgers, it was time to get away. I had planned to visit Gili Meno, the smallest of the three Gili Islands as this would give me the perfect opportunity to hide myself away for a few days, to catch up on my writing and try to be healthier.
The advantage of travelling alone without a return date, is that my travel plans can easily change and more times than not they usually do. On this occassion, Amanda from Sweden (one of the girls I shared a bungalow with in Gili T) invited me to join her and her friends on Gili Air, so the next day we paid the 30,000 rupiah (£1.20) to take the public island-hopping boat across to the island closest to Lombok. A few days later I returned to Meno on a day trip where I stumbled upon Gili Meno Eco Hostel, but more on that later….
Gili Air is a mixture of deserted Gili Meno and busy Gili T, which is one of the reasons why it has become my favourite island. The island is big enough for me to find a secluded spot on one of the beautiful white sandy beaches, but also has enough happening not to be bored. There is a good selection of bars and restaurants (more on that in a separate post), a handful of local shops and even it’s very own patisserie (I use this term loosely!). What’s more, my friends Kate and Sam recently got engaged there giving me even more reason to check it out.
I split my stay between both of the island’s hostels, 7seas and newly opened Gili Air Hostel (same people as the lovely Gili Hostel in Gili Trawangan) having been unable to decide which one I preferred. On one hand 7seas fan rooms are extremely hot but Gili Air Hostel’s aircon made me sick. 7seas is nice and quiet but Gili Air Hostel has a better atmosphere. 7seas is cheaper but then again Gili Air Hostel includes breakfast – so you can understand my dilemma! I’ve since returned to Gili Air Hostel due to their friendly staff and amazing hot showers!
I ended up spending a week in Gili Air, blissfully doing nothing apart from writing, sleeping and hanging out with new friends. My days started with a typical backpacker breakfast of pancakes or an omelette, which I’ve had almost every day for the last six months and surprisingly, I’m still not bored of it. Belly half full (this girl needs waaay more than one pancake!) I’d then retreat to one of The Garden Cafe’s comfy beach huts, which are the perfect spot to write having power points and decent wifi.
Every evening I met friends at my favourite spot, Mowie’s on the Beach, for sunset before heading out to dinner with them all. Gili Air is one of those places where everyone knows each other so I quickly made friends and by the end of the week there were 12 of us who went out every evening.
For the whole six months I’ve been on the road, I’ve been telling myself I will start a “backpacker detox” whereby I give up beer, cake and western junk food. After Gili T, this was the perfect opportunity. Things started well as I ate watermelon and even set my alarm for a 9am run round the island. But who am I kidding? This “detox” was never going to happen, especially when sunset just isn’t the same without a cold beer in hand!
I fell in love with Gili Air due to it’s mellow vibe, which is hard to explain to someone who has never been (you need to go!) During my stay I met lots of western people who live there and I can see why. Island life is special. Time flew by on Gili Air, it always does (time flies when you’re having fun!). So that’s why I returned each week for some much needed R&R. Top tip: If there’s two or more of you, it is far cheaper to rent a bungalow inland or on the Northern side of the island and just hangout at Gili Hostel’s great value bar.
Living life, loving travel,