Gili Air, Indonesia

Gili Air is small.  Really small.  I’ve already mentioned how you can walk around the outside in 90 minutes.  It’s one thing to read about how small an island is, but then to actually walk from tip to tip (south to north for us) in 20 minutes gives you a new perspective.  So it is no surprise then that the pace of life here is pretty slow.  Jen and I definitely took some time for ourselves here.

Gili Air - Distant VolcanoA view of Mount Agung, the highest peak on Bali at 3142 m,
from the northwestern beach of Gili Air.  When we get to
Sumatra, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make it up to the top
of Gunung Sibayak or Gunung Sinabun.

As has already been mentioned, there are no cars here.  No motorbikes either.  The only motors here are the outboard ones on the boats that transport goods to and from the island (there are some generators too, since the electricity can sometimes be spotty…).  So after landing on shore after our long ferry ride, we were taken to our bungalow by a cidomo, or horse drawn cart.  Normally, I wouldn’t hesitate to walk 20 minutes with our packs to get to our bungalow, and in fact, I was still all for it.  Jen, however, was a little less adventurous (some might say more reasonable…) and pointed out that since we didn’t really know where the place was and it was completely dark, we’d be wandering around for hours before we found the place.  So we sucked it up and paid the big money for the 5 minute cidomo ride.

Gili Air - HorseNot all of horses were as ornately decorated as this one,
but some drivers put a lot of effort into making their horses
look great. 

Gili Air - Transporting GoodsThe locals take the cidomos as well, probably for a cheaper
price.  And they are also used to cart around all the fresh fruit
and other tasty goods. 

On our second day, we decided to do a little snorkeling.  Costing us a whopping $7.50 each, we headed out on a glass bottom boat at around 9.30am.  Watching the coral sweep by as we sped around the three Gili islands was a treat and I still can’t believe how clear the water was.  And that was just looking into the sea through a pair of windows.

Diving into the sea blew my mind.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  You see underwater documentaries on TV and their cool.  And if you’ve ever seen an IMAX film, you know how immersive those can be with such a huge screen making you feel like you’re actually there.  Crank it up about another 3 or 4 notches above that and then you might imagine what we saw.  (Or, you can just remember your own snorkeling experiences if you’ve ever been.  That’d work too…).

We were completely surrounded.  Everywhere we turned there was something new to look at.  Brightly coloured fish, giant corals, and miniscule jellyfish whose stings felt like tiny pinpricks.  There was one time where I had an entire school of fish swim right around and past me too.  They were in front of me, behind me, to the left, the right, everywhere and they were almost close enough to touch.  I wish I had had an underwater camera!

But the highlight was definitely the turtles.  We had three sightings and it was so easy to just float effortlessly on the surface and gaze down at them slowly cruising by.  It was a small glimpse, but for those three brief dives, I felt a part of the underwater world.  Very cool.

Gili Air - Fruit BasketOne of the locals selling us some delicious mangos.

Gili Air - Transporting Goods 2Another horse hard at work.

It may sound surprising, but it wasn’t always peace and quiet on Gili Air.  One of the restaurants/bungalows held a “Darkmoon Party” that lasted all night long, pumping out a constant flow of frenetically paced rave music to keep the party-goers dancing well beyond sunrise.  A fellow traveler later told us of how he was offered “crazy peanuts” at the party.  Luckily for us, the bungalow that hosted wasn’t ours.  Unluckily for us, it was next door…

Gili Air - Sunset 1How about another sunset photo?  Had enough yet?

Gili Air fun fact #27:  Jen bought another lovely piece of fabric.  Starting price – $15.  Final price – $4.  And she didn’t even try.  She kept saying no, she didn’t need it.  And yet, for some reason, this guy REALLY wanted to sell this fabric to her.  Everytime she said no, the guy would come back 10 minutes later and give us a lower price.  True story.

Gili Air - Children at SunsetSome local children exploring the tide pools.

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~ by dawseng on June 28, 2009.

3 Responses to “Gili Air, Indonesia”

  1. Sounds like you are having an amazing time and the snorkeling experience must have been surreal. Love the pictures.

  2. Yay! We’re glad that you enjoyed the island! We’ve always found the snorkeling out of this world!! Enjoy the rest of your travels.
    R

  3. “It doesn’t sound too exciting” says Dad. LOL!!!!!!!!
    “Wow, amazing, incredible” says Mum
    What an fantastic start to your summer!

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