After a few days in Ubud in mainland Bali, I made the long bus/ boat trip across to Gili Trawangan with my new friend Dani. The bus journey was okay but the boat trip was the worst I have ever been on! It was the smallest dodgy-looking boat, and they crammed a ton of people and bags onto as per the Asian health and safety standards. The engine absolutely stunk and kept cutting out after having only just left shore, and each time it did, the boat was rocking so much. It was also boiling hot inside and the only way to cool it down was to open one of the tiny windows and get soaked by waves. Everyone was freaking out thought they were going to drown, including me. It was the worst experience! Classic Asia.
However enough moaning – when it was finally over, we had honestly arrived in paradise.
Dani and I had pre-booked ourselves into one of the hostels and we walked there from the ferry port. The island is too small for proper roads/ cars so they have some horses and carts to ferry luggage around, but unfortunately they look really ill-treated so we didn’t want to add to their pain or encourage it in any way. Once settled in the hostel, we took a walk and explored the island and it was so beautiful: lots of turquoise water and white sand. But it was very built-up as well, with lots of bars, restaurants and shops on the seafront- it would have been amazing twenty years ago, when more untouched.
The next day our hostel was running a ridiculously cheap snorkelling trip so we booked ourselves on- it was about £6 for the whole day’s activities, snorkel hire included. Literally on our first stop, as soon as we got out into the deeper water we saw a turtle and I was happy! I am obsessed with turtles and it was the first one I’ve ever seen in the wild! We spent the day jumping on and off the boat and snorkelling in different spots to see various animals and fish. We also stopped at Gili Meno, a smaller island, for lunch which was really pretty.
After the inspiration of the snorkelling trip, I booked myself onto a fun dive in one of the many dive schools for the following day. I got there early in the morning and found myself paired with a little Indonesian man. We recapped all the basics (I did my open water two years ago) so I wasn’t so nervous. I had done two recap dives in Australia but they were part of large groups where you had to stay linked to the instructor so they didn’t feel like proper refresher dives.
It was good to go over everything. We went out to sea and it was literally my best dive for seeing things- I saw reef sharks and so many HUGE turtles, it was incredible. They were just eating the coral on the seabed and oblivious to/ ignoring the divers around them. At one point I had a bit of a freak out with clearing my mask which put me off doing another dive until the next day. On the next dive I saw less but technically it went better and I was much more calm.
I spent about a week on Gili doing more of the same- diving/ snorkelling, lazing on the beach, cycling to the sunset half of the island, going out at night. The only downside I was feeling the effects of Bali belly by this point- just constantly not feeling good no matter what I ate or drank. When we were due to leave to go back to the mainland, in order to avoid the same awful journey as we had experienced on the way there, we splashed out a little and got a much nicer boat where you could sit and sunbathe on the roof and music was played. Actual heaven in comparison!
The night life on the Gili T was also really good. Each night all of the bars have loads of cheap drink deals and then one of the bars stays open late and everyone flocks there. Late nights, early mornings!
Aaaand back to Seminyak
Our next stop was Seminyak in mainland Bali- the more upmarket neighbour of Kuta. Our days there were pretty much just spent going out each night in Kuta, staying out late and waking up late and then eating western food to cure our Bali bellies and hangovers. On our first day back we went to Potato Head Beach Club, a massive pool bar near Seminyak beach. It was really nice with cocktail bars you swim up to. The bars on the main strip were so much fun- they were huge, with loads of floors and lots of dancing on the tables/ bars etc. On one of the nights out, we went to a bar where you paid £6 and got unlimited food and drink from 5-9pm!
I coincided my visit with several groups so it was really nice to meet up both with a friend from home and friends from my Australia trip. I ended up spending a few nights in the hostel and then a couple of calmer nights in my friends’ villa recovering from a twisted ankle injury. Was all so much fun though!