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And we're BACK!

...from Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan

sunny 32 °C
View The Gilis & Southeast Asia on kmpossible's travel map.

Today we arrived back in Sanur from the Gilis, and while the trip was lovely, it's always nice to come home! We've been here so long now, it really does feel like home. While away, Mike and I stayed mostly on Gili Meno, the quietest of the three tiny islands off the northwest coast of Lombok. To get there, we hired the GiliCat for $120 round-trip; it's a super-fast boat with 900 horses under the hood. Actually they weren't really under anything, they just sort of hang off the back of the boat. It took us a mere hour to cross the Indian Ocean to our destination, though we were a bit worse for wear when we arrived.

The trip started at 7am when the van arrived at our hotel to pick us up, and we were whisked away to the port at Padang Bai here in Bali, an hour drive. We had a quick and disappointing croissant near the pier and then scooted on down to board the boat. We took off across a glassy bay and headed out into the extremely choppy waters of the Indian Ocean, or Indy, as I like to call her. One of the crew members gave us what I think were instructions on how to jump from the boat...eek! The command had to come from the ship's captain, and the command was "jump jump jump"! Phew! Glad he explained that one.

Indy was angry that day, and after 10 minutes of rising and falling with a bang back onto the water (we caught air several times), all the passengers had fallen silent. A French family was seated in the row at the back of the boat, where most of the action was, and being right in front of them, I could see that the 3 children who were playing video games and giggling when we pulled out of the bay were now white as ghosts. Surprisingly, no one was handing out barf bags. That was one of few thoughts circling my head throughout the duration of the trip. It went something like this: 'I feel a little sick. Wish I hadn't eaten that croissant. I don't have a barf bag, what if I have to get sick? Uuugh, I feel a little sick. What if we have to jump? I don't have a barf bag.'

So we arrive with everyone still in possession of their breakfasts, myself included. We didn't have to jump, which was good, too. Gili Trawangan is the drop off point for the Gilis - there are three, and Trawangan is the one to the left of the dot that is Meno, and Air is to the right between Meno and Lombok. To get from the GiliCat to the beach, we all had to pile out and into another lower, slimmer boat with one puny outboard motor and loose planks across the floor. All the luggage was piled in after us, and the small boat did a U-turn, and backed into the beach. I think the small boat was actually longer than the distance between the GiliCat and the beach – it was one of the more ridiculous things I’ve seen on this trip. It did however serve as much needed comic relief after our near-barfing experience.

We decided to vacate Trawangan as quickly as possible because it's touted as the "party island", and that means it's crawling with folks learning how to handle their first beer, or as Trawangan would have it, smoky smoky or mushrooms or some combination of those 3 things. So we chartered a boat to Meno and were there in less than 30 minutes, including price-negotiation time! Gili Meno is quite small, as I mentioned in the previous entry. There are no motor vehicles on the islands, although we did see 3 little boys riding the smallest ATV I’ve ever seen…it was really cute. The only form of overland transport is the cidomo or pony-drawn carriage. I estimate that 80% of these ponies are in good condition, the other 20% were really pathetic, under nourished, dirty sad little creatures. It was actually quite upsetting to see, and I boycotted the cidomo during our stay.

We stayed at the Royal Reef Resort. I’m not exactly sure what the official definition of “resort” is, but I have a feeling the term is used metaphorically in this instance. There were 8 bungalows on the beach, all with cold saltwater showers. The bungalows were on stilts, while the bathroom was on ground level, which meant there were about 5 really steep, slippery tile steps descending into the bathroom. Good thing I’m off the Cazadores, or I’d probably have slipped and fallen headlong into the toilet after a night of drinking! I was pleasantly surprised to find electricity and a working fan in the room. The price of the room included breakfast, which was very simple, but pretty good. Much to our dismay, our rooster followed us to Meno. There are about 10 chickens to every person on the island it seems – they’re EVERYWHERE! It seems there’s no escaping the rooster on this trip. Wasn’t that an Alice in Chains song? Anyway, here are some pics of Meno:
Anyway, we took our new snorkeling masks and fins with us, and were all geared up for some snorkeling and lying around on the beach. Near our hotel on the east side of the island, jelly fish is what we found a lot of the first time out, and we both got stung quite a few times – Mike claims to have been stung by a Portuguese man-of-war. ;-) We found that the further north we went the less jelly fish there were, and on the west side, there were loads more fish to see, and we even got to swim with a sea turtle – it was huge! We saw lots of batfish and angelfish, and tons of blue fish and stripy colorful fish (not sure what they’re called). Unfortunately, on day 2, our waterproof camera/video camera went on the blink. (That’s the one we’ve been taking videos with from the kitecam.) We got one day’s worth of marine life photos & video, including an amazing chocolate chip cookie starfish. He looked like he was made of dough. How do I know it was a ‘he’ you ask? I checked!


Heading home, we did the boat thing again, but in reverse. We spent one night in Trawangan so we wouldn’t have to get up so early to boat over from Meno and then catch the GiliCat. Trawangan is a bit of a nightmare. Everywhere you go people are lurking in dark corners asking you if you want “smoky smoky” or magic mushrooms. In fact, quite a few of the cafés there had boards in front advertising “magic mushrooms, guaranteed to blow your mind”. There was a really skeevy vibe to the place, and we were ecstatic to leave the next morning. While waiting for the boat to arrive, we saw the saddest pony I’ve ever seen. He was skin and bones, and the cart he was pulling had rubbed his withers raw, and they were bloody. The owner didn’t seem to notice or mind, though I noticed several other tourists pointing and balking. It made me quite sick to my stomach, and brought tears to my eyes. I had to move nearer the water to avoid seeing any more. On the light side though, the night before, we saw a momma cat giving birth! It was so cool! Some silly chick was taking pictures…one for a wall hanging? Eeeek.

Posted by kmpossible 06:30 Archived in Indonesia Tagged tourist_sites

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LOVE the pictures on Kodak album Kimmie! Look like you and Mike are having a time of your life!!!! Now I wanna try kite surfing but first I gotta take a swim lesson...
Miss you!

by xcoldsunx

those pics are awesome!!! looking good there, Mike!!! i do, however, think i've seen better legs on chickens. hehehehehe!!!! :) can't wait to see you both!

by phantastic

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