According to our plan, one week on Bali, was followed by Gilli Islands hopping, for ultimate relaxation and a bit of snorkeling.
After spending the night with the Balinese family, we woke up around 8am. The whole family was already in the middle of their routine. They all wake up
as soon as the sun rises, that is around 6am. We bought the ferry tickets the day before. I am not a control freak, but I always prefer to book things in advance, when having a short trip. Everything should work like a clock, otherwise one lost day may result in missing a plane connection or any other unpleasant development. That’s why I tried to book ferry tickets still being in the UK. But the prices shocked me a little – £60pp one way!!!! Am I renting a yacht in Monaco? I payed cheaper for the flight from Jakarta to Bali. After doing some research, I found out, that you can just go to the port and ask everyone with the boat about the price and haggle. However, we didn’t leave it till the very last minute like that and bought tickets the day before from the tourist information kiosk, there are plenty of them on the main street in Ubud. The tickets cost us £20pp one way, as we didn’t need a return one. Much better! For those, who has loads of time and wants to save, there is a huge local slow ferry, that takes 4-6 hours and only costs £1 or a little bit more.
The ocean trip was fun and we got great tan. It only took over an hour. Our destination was Gilli Travangan, the largest of the three, and also known as a party island, where everything was allowed.
We dint have a hotel booked for any of the Gilies, so just ventured into the island along with other backpackers to look for a place to stay. It was hot and we had bags so getting a horse taxi was too tempting to decline.
There no cars on the island, only horses and bicycles. The ‘taxi’ driver volunteered to help us with the hotel by riding around the island. Looked like a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – have a look at the island and find a place to stay. From, what we had seen there are quite a few hotels at $50-150 per night. After the guy got us onboard, his enthusiasm about helping us vanished somehow.All he was saying was – “this one is very expensive for you, its 1000000 rupees. And this one as well!”. And even some dodgy looking guesthouses seemed to be $50-60. Also I had a suspicion, that if he found something for us, we would be overcharged, as he would come back for commission from the owner. After paying £15 pounds for a half island tour and not finding anything, we decided to look for a place ourselves. It is possible to find a place for $30-35. Probably even cheaper, if you go a bit inland, away from the beach. We found a lovely private bungalow for that price including breakfast right next to the beach. It was in a beautiful garden and also had a swimming pool and a little porch, with chairs and a cofee table. I really like that in Indonesia they often make bathrooms partially without a roof. It looks so cool when it rains!
Everything on G. Travangan promotes relaxation, be it the natural atmosphere or a little help of substances. You get offered magic mushrooms and weed even in the restaurant by the waiter. We politely declined, as you never know, what quality the product could be of. The same goes for cocktails and spirits- very often they are made with locally produced alcohol, arak, to increase the profit margin. There have been lethal cases from methanol poisoning.
There are mixed theories on how methanol makes its way into drinks sold in bars throughout Indonesia. Some say it’s added as a pure chemical to bottles of spirits as a way to make the liquor go further.
Others suggest it’s a by-product of badly brewed liquor from filthy distillery sheds throughout some Balinese villages.
If you see a cocktail, that sells for £2, you can be certain, it wasn’t made with Jack Daniels or Grey Goose. Indonesia is a Muslim country, import duties on alcohol reach 200%!!!!
That was the story I told to my boyfriend, when he wanted to order a “mojito”. He ‘complimented’ me by saying : “travelling with you is like leaving in fear!”
I suppose, everyone can decide for themselves, whether to drink or not to drink, since the death cases are extremely rare.
I stuck to my Bintang and my bf to red wine, which was terrible in my opinion, with some chemical aftertaste. It was locally produced.
In nice restaurants they serve imported wine, and a bottle of Jacobs creek, that sells for £6 in Tesco, will cost $40-50.
Since we only had one day, we didn’t have anything planned and just explored the island and had a meal.
There is a Bob Marley cult there, his music and pictures being in many bars. You can often see local Indonesians with dreadlocks, wearing colourful berets.
We were lucky enough to discover a night market, I am not sure if it’s a daily thing or not, but it was extremely popular with young crowd, as the selection of cooked food and low prices were very attractive.
We visited during the low season, that’s why we didn’t experience crowds at the bars, or non stop parties. The high season starts in summer, and we visited in March, but the island was by no means dead.
We went to bed relatively early as we needed to catch a boat to the next island -Gili Meno.