gili meno (+ gili air)

Posted in gili meno, indonesia, lombok by moonwire on June 7, 2009

I left Gili Trawangan on Wednesday morning to take the island hopping boat to Gili Meno. I had booked  a room online at the Tao Kombo, but when I got here, they hadn’t read their email, yet. I soon understood why. There’s only one internet place on the island. It’s right inland, very small and the connection is horribly slow.

Anyway, the room I had booked, a sleeping platform (beruga) with bamboo blinds, basically, was not available. But there was a bungalow I could take if I wanted to. Strangely enough, the bungalow was the same price I expected to pay for the beruga, as I had to pay for 2 people even if I only needed space for myself. The bungalow is wonderful. It has a fairly large room with a queen size bed, mosquito net, a shelving unit, a little table with a lamp, a fan and the bathroom is in the back. Open! Really cool. It is very hippy-ish.

There’s also a gecko in the room. When I first saw her, I completely freaked out. I had been to the Tao Kombo bar and had had 2 Bintangs and I felt slightly tipsy. I had to go to the bathroom and as soon as I turned on the light, there were a bunch of little frogs jumping up and down, trying to make their way out. When I came back to the room, I saw this huge lizard on the wall. She’s about 20 cms long. I didn’t know what to do, but I was so freaked out, I went to the bar and said there’s a gecko in my room. They all laughed at me freaking out. She lives here and is apparently a sign for good luck.

I see her now and again. Usually not during the day, but at night she’s here. Though one morning she was on the wall very close to me and woke me up with her very loud barking. I must admit, it was slightly unsettling but I’ve grown to like her. I even bought a little necklace with a gecko, for good luck.

I haven’t done much here in Gili Meno. The Tao Kombo compound is wonderfully secluded in the jungle. It’s about a  300 meter walk to a very good beach but it’s lovely hearing all the birds and chickens that run freely here. There’s 5 bungalows and a few berugas scattered around a large garden and there’s a great bar with mellow tunes at night.

This place is so very different from Trawangan. It’s not at all built up. There’s one general store where you can buy pretty much all you need, but there’s no swanky restaurants, bars or clubs. There’s nothing going on here and it’s great. I took a walk all around the island a few times now and there’s long stretches of beach with nobody there. There’s little ‘warung’ (very basic little restaurants) scattered all along the coast, but mainly the east side, where I am.. I’ve had some really great food here; gado gado (veggies in peanut sauce), nasi and bami goring, a local dish with veggies in coconut milk (forgot the name). Very cheap, too. Today, my lunch (the local dish with rice) cost me less than $1.50. There’s lots of cool, cheap places to eat here. Most of them serve Indonesian food  and a few western dishes. I was surprised to see that French fries with mayo is often on the menu here.

I have decided to stay here til I have to go back to Bali on Thursday. I will take a daytrip to Gili Air (the last of the three ‘Gilis’) but won’t spend the night there. I love Meno so much, especially because it is so super chilled out. The people are nice and it’s way less commercialized than Trawangan. But I guess maybe 10 or 15 years ago, Trawangan must have been like this.

So really, no adventures from here. I basically eat, sleep, drink and chill out on the beach here. That’s all there is to do. Wonderful.

(gili meno: may 27 – june 4)

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gili trawangan

Posted in gili trawangan, indonesia by moonwire on June 6, 2009

I left Legian at around 9 AM on Monday, and I took a taxi to the Perama office in Kuta from where I took a bus to Padangbai, in order to take the ferry to Gili Trawangan.

The bus ride took over 2 hours because from Kuta went to Sanur, Ubud then Padangbai. It was one of those tiny buses, comparable to a small school bus. Initially, there were only a few people on board but it filled up entirely in Ubud. The girl sitting next to me was Stacey from San Francisco. She had moved to Ubud 3 months ago and was planning on staying another 6. We had a nice talk.

Stacey on the Perama boat to Trawangan.

Then in Padangbai we had to get on a tiny little motorboat and for a moment I was afraid we’re gonna have to take that all the way to Trawangan, which is a 4 hour ride. Thankfully no, they took us to a fairly large and comfy Perama boat, which couldn’t dock at Padangbai harbour.

Bali coast, as seen from the boat to the Gili islands.

The ride was great. It wasn’t busy on the boat and they had several areas, including a beach on top. They fed us rice, mie, chicken, tempeh, watermelon and pisan goreng (battered, deepfried banana). Quite yummy.

We reached Trawangan around 6 pm and it was the same story. The boat couldn’t dock so we were taken to the island by tiny motorboat. From there you kind of had to wade ashore yourself, though they did take our luggage off and took it to the beach. The beauty of this island (as well as the other gili’s) is that there is no motorized traffic. Only horse drawn carriages, bicycles and people walking, which makes it really quiet.

There’s also no dogs here, but there’s a ton of cats. Most of them very skinny and lots of them with no tail or half a tail. Some are friendly, some are scared but they are everywhere. Just like chickens that randomly roam the streets.

I walked the little road to my hotel; Tir Na Nog, which is at the South end of the island, where the biggest bars and restaurants are. My room is fantastic. A big queen size bed with nice clean linens, a big Indonesian style dresser and a huge bathroom. The whole room is done in brown (wood, curtains), white towels and bedsheets and little aqua coloured throw pillows. It’s very clean and modern. Bonus, my room is at the very back of the little lane of rooms so it’s very quiet. Right next to me is the private villa. I had a quick peak. Beautiful. Huge glass sliding doors, private garden and pool. I think it’s 125 USD a night, which is a pretty sweet deal if you’re sharing with a few people.

Tir Na Nog cottages. Mine was at the very end of this little lane.

My room at Tir Na Nog.

The hotel bar I didn’t find that interesting, so I went a few doors down to Scallywag’s. Great chill out place. I was enjoying some Bintangs in a huge rattan chair with a ton of pillows. Went back to my room pretty early because I was slightly tipsy and exhausted.

This morning I went for breakfast at ‘Coco’s’. Had some good coffee and a baguette with egg. It came with a piece of bacon, which was gladly received by one of the many stray cats here. She decided she liked me enough so she jumped on my chair and snoozed there while I ate.

The Baconator.

After breakfast I decided to do the tour of the island by foot. I walked all the way around the island while only stopping for a few swims at entirely deserted beaches. The beach on the West side isn’t the greatest though. It’s very narrow but the water was clean and warm. After all that walking I reached the East side, which is my favourite side of the island. There’s little bars and food stalls and some great snorkling.

I came to the Gili’s to do some snorkling and snorkling I did. I rented a mask and fins and one of the guys from the dive shop took me a few hundred meters north to watch the turtles. What an amazing sight. Other than the turtles there were lots of brightly coloured fish. The water was very clear and it was a real treat. Very tiring though. I swam and walked a lot today.

So I had a late lunch at a ‘warung’, which is a tiny little restaurant with a few tables outside. Mie goreng, which is fried noodles with veggies. It was very hearty and spicy and cost me less than a dollar. Can’t go wrong with that.

Back at the room writing this. There’s no working wifi here anywhere and the internet cafes are a nightmare. Tiny, slow connections and incredibly hot.
Though I do like it here, I am leaving tomorrow morning to go to Gili Meno for a few days. Then Gili Air. I want to see all three gili’s then decide where I want to stay.

(Gili Trawangan: May 25 – May 26)