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Getting in to the groove of the Gili Islands

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A few days chilling on Gili Meno and taking things easy was pretty close to idyllic, but we were in need of a little lash out and a good jump around, a place where we could meet a few other travellers and get our reggae on.

Gili-islands

With three very different islands to choose from in the Gili’s, it’s easy to take the 20 minute boat ride over to Gili Trawangan – the island with the reputation of being all about partying and the most populated with locals and tourists. Visions of kids on Spring Break, all night raves and general mayhem sprang to mind, but it wasn’t to be that at all.

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Gili T, as the island is affectionately known, is big enough for you to escape to really quiet places or kick back at bars with live reggae music, and large enough to find a patch of beach all to yourself. We kept heading to the side of the island that you can see the best sunsets from, a spot where there are big resort style hotels but also this cool little bar run by a group of Indonesian rastas that spend their days surfing, or watching videos about surfing. All they sell at their little place is Coke, water and Bintang beer. Not a glow stick in sight.

DSC_0900There is also a huge expanse of beach away from the main accommodation that is reserved for all night parties – with tables set up along the coastline for clubbers to watch the sun rise. We didn’t make it there but it looks like a great spot to get your bikini dance on!

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For us, the best thing about Gili T, besides the surrounding water action – was the food. With a whole lot more people and a lot more restaurant choices you can find the usual Indonesian fare plus a lot of welcome options. It’s easy to get a little tired of fried noodles and rice, but on Gili T you can indulge in pizza, burritos, sushi and cocktails. It’s pricier than the other two islands but totally worth it for a few days.

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There is also a nightly food market – a place heavy with smoke  that is set up around long bench tables and barbecue grills. The perfect spot to byo Bintang and work your way through the fresh seafood. It’s also just a short stumble from the cheaper accommodation and heaving pubs and clubs – one night out there was all we needed!

DSC_0947I did find the number of tourists a little overwhelming at first as the island’s reputation continues to grow, meaning more construction on the island and a little rising riff raff, but it’s still easy enough to get in touch with the daily life of the working harbour and the traditions of the local people. And when you’ve had enough of the cries to “rent boat, snorkelling trip, party tonight, want mushroom shake lady, or you need room?” then you can always hop on another boat and take yourself off to the quieter islands.

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Which we did – straight to Gili Air – the island that quickly became our favourite…

Kris

I’ve added quite a few more photos of our time on this island – you can possibly see how moving on to Bali kept getting delayed for “one more day.”

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