Gili Tawangan

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I woke up when the sun rose and finished the blog from yesterday. Lew slept soundly till about 8am. The plan for today was to take a taxi up to the Bangsal ferry terminal and catch a ferry to the Gili islands. But first breakfast was supplied by the Sheraton Hotel. We spent a good 10 minutes walking around everything supplied for breakfast including a make your own juice station, fresh honey dripping off the honeycomb, omelettes made to order, fresh fruit, traditional Chinese and Indonesian food, a kids section, waffles, crepes, candy floss, sorbet, you name it! And after listing all that beautiful food Lew picks a donut to eat for breakfast, and then proceeds to hide it from me as shown below! 😂

We stuffed ourselves with food and went to reception to order a blue bird taxi for 10am. It took us 30 minutes to drive to the Bangsal public ferry terminal which cost us about 100,000 Rupiah ($10). We walked approximately 500m in to the area as the taxis must stop at some gates and are not allowed to enter the beach area. We struggled to find the public ferry terminal amongst the locals trying to sell us a seat on their boat. It was a white building located on the beachfront and once located we purchased two tickets for 35,000 Rupiah total ($3.50 NZD), they handed us two yellow tickets and told us to go sit down. We had no idea what time the boat was leaving or even what one it was. I decided to go back to the desk and ask. Turns out they just wait until they have a full boat and then they call for the "yellow tickets" to Gili T. 👍🏼got it! . Some words came out of the microphone and we had no idea what it meant but we saw locals with yellow tickets moving towards the exit so we followed them. They were loading up a long boat with two small motors on the back which looked like it was reasonably made. It did actually have life jackets and emergency floatations rings on it which was reassuring. The boat was full of locals and we were the only Westerners on board. The trip to Gili T was approx 20 minutes, we decided to go to the furthest island first and then use transfers within the island as we decided that would likely be cheaper. We heard that it was easy to transfer between the islands.

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Arriving into Gili T there was the most beautifully clear water we have ever seen. There were local boats and fast boats everywhere with queues of people both getting on and off the boat. It was stinking hot but we decided to walk up the main street to check it out and to also buy Lewis some jandals as we didn't bother bringing them over with us. He went into the first store and offered the lady 50,000 Rupiah, she said no 85,000 and he doesn't even try barter anymore he just says "ok" and asks me to give him my wallet for more money. He needs to get better with this, but I do understand the different is minimal but it does add up.  He should have just left and tried somewhere else as we found an actual Haviana store just down the road. Oh well. Sometime to note about money is that the locals also miss off the 000's at the end of the money and the conversation with the shop women would have been more like. "How much?".... "70"...."ok" as opposed to saying 70,000. We continued walking up the streets and one good thing is that there isn't any cars or scooters - only bikes and you can also hire a horse and cart. We wernt interested by the horses and carts like most tourists visiting as the horses smelt very strong and didnt look as though they were well cared for. We didnt want to encouage that sort of animal creuety. We walked and walked looking for some bikes - there were lots of bikes but Lew didn't like the look of them so we kept going . We found an equally useless looking bike stand which Lew seemed to think would do where we managed to get bikes for 70,000 rupia until 3pm, it was about 11.30am when we hired them.

We set off around the island in the extreme heat. There was a beautiful beach on the left that people were snorkelling in but it looked pretty shallow so we continued onwards. It took us about an hour to get around the entire island. There were small hotels and villas all around with multiple beach side bars. There was also the famously over-Instagramed swings in the water that we decided not to bother with. I can honestly say there were a few frustrated words exchanged exacerbated by heat, dehydration, being surrounded by tourists yet again and having to push our bike through deep sand. But we made in around the entire island and didn't bother swimming as everything was too shallow. The best beach for swimming is actually the main beach where the boats come in and out of so it's much to dangerous....too bad.

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 It wasn't much of a surprise to say that we really didn't like Gili T. Lombok really isnt very busy with tourists heading to the Gili Islands so we presume that majority of them actually just get a ferry over to Gili T from Bali. We dropped our bikes back at about 2pm and asked for directions to the local ferry terminal. We thought we would try to get to Gili Meno. We had missed the next fast boat there by 5 minutes but that was relatively expensive at 85,000 each. The next one was leaving at 3pm. We walked away planning on trying to find a local to take us now for a cheaper price as the island was only about 100m away but there wasn't any public service running between each island like we thought. We walked about 100m and gave up heading back to the ferry terminal to get a ticket back to Bangasal and then we would buy another ticket to Gili M. That was the cheapest option. By the time the boat filled up it was about 2.40 pm and we were kinda regretting not spending the extra $13.50 NZD to get straight to Mino. The boat ride was a lot rougher than when we came across and the people at the front of the boat got completely soaked by waves coming over the front. Arriving back into the ferry terminal they told us that the next ferry to Gili Meno was at 5pm but the last ferry from Meno back to Bangsal was at 3.15pm! So it totally wasn't going to work. Giving up we planned on just heading back to the hotel for a swim. We tried to use a couple of apps - Grab and GoJek to get a cheap car back to Senggigi (both of these are actually frowned upon by some Indonesian people as they create fixed prices). There wasn't any drivers in the area so we walked out to the main street being constantly haggled all the way for rides. We found a metered taxi to get us back who gave us oranges to eat in his back seat! On this journey I would have to say this was probably the closest we have been to having an accident as the driver had to swerve and stop suddenly at one point because there were goats all over the road. Not to mention he spent more time driving on the wrong side of the road than the correct one! I know our mothers would never approve! 😅. We ended up at the beach front of our hotel again. After a swim we realised that yet again we hadn't eaten since breakfast this morning! Lew took a time lapse with the camera before we headed up to get changed for dinner.

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He was concerned that he was rapidly running out of clothes and decided that the laundry at the hotel was incredibly over priced. All I wanted was a coin operated one that we could do our own washing in. But after a Google search we realised there wasnt one. We ended up going to a laundry place (Zahra's) opposite the Asmara where we had dinner last night. They charged you 20,000 Rupiah ($2 NZD) per Kg of washing. They charged you that for a pair of underwear at the hotel! We would pick the washing up at 5pm tomorrow. Lew made me photograph every single item we sent in so we had an inventory!

For dinner Lew found another place online with good reviews. We had to walk a good 2km to get to it and it seemed like it was on the outskirts of town. There was one moment when we were walking across a dark bridge when a few men pulled up on their scooters and we felt for sure we were about to be mugged. But luckily no! We did vow to just take a taxi back to the hotel.  

Cafe Alberto was where we walked to. It was an Italian restaurant on the beachfront. Lew said it was one of the best pizzas he's had. I figured we have a good month in Italy so I would stick wort the Indonesian food and ordered mie goreng. The food was much better than last night! After dinner which cost us $30 NZD for two meals, a starter and a couple of drinks we walked across the road to the Indomart. We got out some more money and brought some bottled water. We taxied back to the hotel which only cost us $2 NZD. 

 

Shannen KennedyComment