The last couple months I got more and more signs that people wanted to read more about my adventures and with the overwhelming number of people that read about my horrortrip from Sydney to Tel Aviv I decided to start a weekly blog. I know it is pretty ambitious, as I now force myself to write a little story every week to keep you entertained. Though it should be pretty easy as I constantly run into cool adventures, live in paradise, meet awesome people or end up in weird situations around the world anyway!
Arriving in Bali
First I needed to arrange an extendable visa as I planned to stay 2 months. For normal entries into Indonesia you just get a stamp in your passport, which allows you to stay 30 days but if you want to stay longer you have to buy an extendable visa that allows you to stay up to 60 days. To make it nice and complicated (like a lot of things in Indonesia) you still have to go to immigration at the end of your first 30 days. WEIRD! After I fixed my Uber ride, which is actually prohibited at Denpasar Airport (complicated again) I arrived safe and sounds at the beautiful pool villa of my parents’ friends. They were waiting for me at 1.45 in the morning with an ice cold Bintang, 6am after a bunch of beers I went to bed! Another warm welcome to Bali…
Meeting people is one of the best things about traveling and I realised that again when I arrived. Already 9 months ago I sailed in Raja Ampat, literally a dream coming true (click the link to see a truly unique paradise) and those exact same people who offered me that trip now told me to stay at their beautiful villa as they were about to fly to Holland for the next 3 weeks. Another house sitting job! Yes sometimes I am really lucky, I admit and I realise!
Going to Lombok
Although I was offered to take care of the villa I already had a trip planned with the couple from @gamintraveler. We once met briefly at Manila airport last year but this time we planned a trip to explore Lombok together and have a couple days fun at Gili Trawangan. Our first stop was Tugu Lombok a luxurious hideaway in the North of Lombok on a stretch of picture-perfect white sand beach. Last year I was invited here as well and I loved that place so much that I was really looking forward to get back! But first things first: getting from Bali to Lombok. Flights can cost as low as $20 but the airport in Lombok is like 4 to 5 hours away from where it is all happening ion the island, so that is a no-go. The local ferry, which takes about 4 hours cost only $4 but will also bring you to the South of Lombok and all the cool places in Lombok are in the North. The fast boat to Bangsal (next to the Gili Islands) was the only option: 80 minutes, $15. But for that price you have to haggle about 10 minutes! ;)
Tugu Hotels Lombok
The owner of the Tugu Hotels chain is the biggest art collector in Indonesia and his hotels are like museums. From complete Chinese temples to the biggest marble table in Indonesia and from massive wooden Garuda’s to the tiniest unique pieces of art, you will find numerous pieces of his collection around his hotels. Though it looks nice I am not a fan of art, but I am a big fan of his boutique Balinese style hotels. We only stayed for two nights as we were expected at our next destination: Gili Trawangan. As always it were two busy days trying to create unique content, but I have learned a lot from my luxurious hotel stays in the past: I now know how to find time to enjoy! Swinging in a hammock enjoying the spectacular sunset and enjoying the fabulous breakfast, made me feel like I was on a holiday for a little bit! If you are looking for a quiet and stunning place on the beach and are ready to spoil yourself, then definitely check out Tugu Lombok, the delicious all-day breakfast is included!
Time flies when you are having fun and before we knew it we already checked in to Martas Gili Trawangan. I had never been to Gili T as last year I spent two nights on the honeymoon, but boring island next door: Gili Meno. I was actually pretty sceptic about Gili T, so my expectations were not that high. Which is good, because people that have high expectations are the one’s who get disappointed! Right? Anyway it was Ramadan and the Gili Islands are very much Muslim orientated! Damn it, why now!? But although the mosque woke me up for 5 minutes every morning at 5.00am it didn’t really affected life on Gili T at all. Most of the places were open all day, you could get food everywhere, no special rules for tourists and everyone seemed to be as happy as always.
Gili T is a pretty simple place: young crowd, backpack vibe, a lot of alcohol, partying, diving, chilling, mushrooms (more about that in my next blog, LOL!), coconuts and sunsets. Coincidentally a friend from Holland was on the island as well and we went out partying at Jiggy’s. This is what I had been missing: going out in a simple t-shirt, swim shorts and flipflops. Finally islandlife was back again! Sunsets in Gili T is another thing that made this island very popular. Everyone has seen the sunset pictures on social media of people on a swing in the ocean. Yep that is here on this island. The next day we were looking to find this popular sunset spot but we found out that there is not just one swing but there like 6 or so. I discovered a total different side of Gili T as well, a side I fell in love with in a heartbeat. The east side of Gili T is way more sophisticated one with an older and more laid-back crowd, ‘upscale’ bars with beanbags, funky lounge tunes, nice places to eat, yoga retreats and beautiful villas. I wanna come back…
We also stayed in Baruna Villas, a huge 3-bedroom villa with swimming pool. A place perfect if you are traveling with a group of friends. It could accommodate up to 8 people and splitting the price between your friends would make you live like a king in Gili. Sign now up for AirBnB through this link and get $20 off your first stay anywhere around the world.
Facebook Live video from Gili Trawangan
Wanna know what Gili T looks like? No cars, hardly any motorbikes, pristine beaches, too many tourist, but an extremely chilled islandlife vibe! Take a look at my Facebook Live video as I walk through the streets of Gili T.
Want to go Island Hopping or need some Islandlife ispiration?
For more islandlife stories take a look at my blog 10 Most Beautiful Tropical Islands I have been or let me inspire you to travel to the Philippines with El Nido Island hopping: 14 Things To Do In El Nido. More a fan of Thailand? Take a look at the Best Islands To Visit In Thailand.
Staying in and around Bali? Then these articles might be handy for you to read: Renting A Scooter In Bali, How To Find A House For Rent In Ubud, Bali On A Budget, Canggu Bali Guide | Things To Do In Canggu.
Not yet convinces about Bali? Then read this 12 Reasons To Visit Bali!
Thanks for keeping up with the Traveltomtom adventures!
Read what happened a week later in: Mount Rinjani & Gili Trawangan Magic Mushrooms.