Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bali, Lombok (Gili) – A Complete Package

Time Period: Mid October

Duration: 8 Days

From active volcanoes to peaceful serene beaches. From historic temples to awesome beach cafes and water sports. Bali has so much to offer.There is something for everyone.
Me and my wife were looking for a chilled out romantic place for vacations. There were a couple of options in our minds, but we didn’t want to go for a clichéd destination. After some research, we finalized on Bali and Gili. We didn’t know we were going to get mesmerized.
Weather was simply amazing with clear skies no rains, mild to moderate sun. We travelled in Malaysian Airlines, and I must say I’ve become a big fan of their service. We boarded our flight in Hyderabad (India). There was a small layover in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and finally we landed at Denpasar Airport (Bali, Indonesia), a beautiful airport just adjoining the sea.
Our hotel – Swiss Belinn, Legian. This was going to be our abode for the next three days.

Below is the highlights and all that we explored

Day 1 - Legian Beach
Legian Beach - Just 5 minutes walk from Swiss Belinn, lies this beautiful stretch of sand with some very nice cafes.

Terrace Pool @Swiss Belinn (with Legian Beach in the background)
Day 2 - Balinese dance performance, Balinese Jewelry, Ubud rice fields, Mt. Batur, Tirta Empul temple, Goa Gajah, Monkey Forest
After fully enjoying the amazing breakfast spread at Swiss Belinn, we started at around 9am. After the halts for Balinese dance performance and Jewelry making centre, we continued our journey towards Kintamani. Having thoroughly enjoyed the scenic beauty of Ubud rice fields on the way, we reached Kintamani for lunch with a splendid view of Mt. Batur. The food was very ordinary but I must say the view was simply breath taking. The return journey included stops at the beautiful Tirta Empul temple, the Goa Gajah temple and the Monkey Forest.
Barong and Keris Dance

Mt. Batur view from Kintamani

Day 3 – Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Padang Padang Beach
Took a day package again and started the journey at around 9am. After spending some time at Tanah Lot and enjoying the spectacular view, we had lunch on the way back. Next stop was Uluwatu that is known for it's amazing sunset. Padang Padang beach is very near to Uluwatu and I must say it's one of the most beautiful beaches I've been to.

(Day 4 – Day 6) - Gili Trawangan
Our next destination was the Gilis, where the most peaceful serene beaches awaited us. We took a flight from Bali to Lombok Airport. A nice half an hour ride. And then a road trip along the north coast of the Lombok island and then a 5 minutes boat ride to the Gili T. but all worth it. With pristine clear blue waters and white sand,  the beaches in Gili were so divine. Took a cidomo (horse cart)  from the harbor to our cottage in Danima. A lovely resort with an amazing location and very friendly staff.
The Gilis view from the Lombok Mainland

Cottages at Danima Resort, Gili Trawangan

Our next three days pretty much comprised of watching sunrise/sunset, snorkeling, cycling around the island and partying. The east coast has some very nice cafes with a variety of food to try and lots of parties happening. The west coast is relatively calm with more serene beaches and tranquility. A snorkeling day trip was the highlight of our stay in Gili.
Gilis are very laid back with not much to do. There is a night market near the harbor, where you can try some real good street food, which is a must go during your stay in Gili Trawangan.

Day 7 - Gili-Bali Fast Boat, Seminyak Beach
A 2 hour speed boat ride with Blue Water Express and we were back in Bali. We didn't want all the travelling on the last day, and yes, saved a full day for shopping. We stayed in Destiny Boutique Hotel, Seminyak for a day. There's nothing good about the hotel, other than the location. It's hardly a 5 minutes walk from the Seminyak Beach. Just next to the hotel is Waco Burger Café. If you are around that area, then this is a must visit joint, serving some awesome mouth watering burgers. There are some good markets at walking distance and not to forget Balinese massages, a must try.

@Waco Burger Café, Seminyak

Café at Seminyak Beach
Day 8 - Seminyak Beach
Went for an early morning walk and relaxing at the Seminyak beach. It's a large stretch of sand till the point where your sight can reach. In the evening, we boarded our flights for Hyderabad (India).

What not to miss:

  • Tanah Lot
  • Uluwatu
  • Padang Padang Beach
  • Street Food at Night Market
  • Snorkelling Day trip
  • Sunset at Hotel Ombak

Some considerations:

  • If you like hills, then you can give Ubud a try and plan a day or two of stay there. In case you are a beach person (like me), then there are plenty of options. I would personally not recommend Kuta as it is very crowded.
  • Prior reservation is required for the popular Rock Bar, Jimbaran. You should do that a week before your date.
  • In Bali, always prefer Blue Bird taxis for local transport and airport drops.
  • Gilis is a group of three islands viz. Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. No matter what sort of vacation you are looking for, prefer Gili Trawangan for your stay. You can always island hop and explore the others.

Happy Travelling!