After leaving Seminyak we flew to Lombok and spent a night at Senggigi beach, at Katamaran Resort. Lombok is far less developed than Bali and immediately felt quieter, with less hectic traffic and more untouched coastlines.
From there, we took the fast boat to Gili Air, our home for the next week.
The Gilis are made up of three islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Gili Trawangan (‘Gili T’) is the most developed of the trio and is famous for its nightlife. Gili Meno is the least developed of the trio. We chose Gili Air for something in between! It was tropical paradise at its finest: no roads (just sandy paths), no cars (just bicycles and horse and cart) with intermittent power and minimal technological distractions. The island is tiny – the circumference is less than 5km – so you hardly have to to commit to any one beach (or bar) and stay there.
Lombok and the Gilis are Muslim, unlike Bali which is predominantly Hindu. This meant there was a mosque on each tiny island (or in Gili T’s case, three), and we heard the call to prayer around five times a day.
We stayed at Anahata, a private villa with our own pool. Actual, real life paradise.
Despite the tiny size of the island, we found plenty to keep us busy over the week. Most days were spent beach hopping, moving only when it was time to eat, or cool off for another snorkel. The treatments at the lush Slow spa were heavenly, and we learnt to cook delicious Indonesian dishes with Oka, the local chef.
We took the boat to Gili T for a day to explore the neighbouring island and did a guided snorkelling trip to the reef off Gili Meno to visit the turtles.
While we were there, there was a lot of demolition work being done to remove bars, restaurants and shops from the beachfront on the north-east side of the island, and push them back to the other side of the beachfront road. The locals told us this was a government direction, an attempt to restore the sandy ring circling the entire island. This had apparently been done on Gili T a year or so before, and admittedly the beaches we visited there did look well restored to their natural, untouched state.
The rubbish man taking it all back to Lombok was a funny sight…
It was a wonderful week.