Indonesia: Lombok & The Gilis Gone Wild

Gili Eco Villas, IndonesiaA string of tiny tropical islands, fringed in coral, dotted with palm-trees, and traveled only by horse cart and bicycle…the Gilis are a place of traveler legend. Our boat skidded onto the shore of Gili Trawangan, the biggest isle in Lombok’s six-mile-square archipelago. Three naked kids splashed around in the water, while their grandpa in his traditional kopiah cap watched over them. We rolled up our pants and walked through the surf to the main dirt road.

The street was lined with reggae bars, posh restaurants, beach discos, and scuba shops. Paradise had been found…not by us, but by backpackers in the 1980s who told their friends all over the world. Over the past thirty years Gili T has transformed from a quiet fishing island of a few Muslim families to one of Indonesia’s top resort destinations. You could tell the island’s head was spinning, and so was ours…

 

Gili Back Roads

Horse drawn carts around Gili T
Leaving the bustling eastside in a horse-drawn cart, we trotted through the coconut groves in the center of the island. We emerged on the north beaches, home of the serene Gili Eco Villas.

 

Gili Eco Villas

The family behind Gili Eco Villas, saw the island starting to buckle under its popularity, and decided to build a sustainable retreat. Using solar and wind energy generation, a bio-degradable waste-water treatment system, rubbish recycling, and organic gardening, they are leading the way for responsible tourism in the Gilis. We were escorted under the arches of bougainvillea to our Joglos-style home, with an open-air living room, fully-equipped kitchen, hammock-strung patio, and views to the water…and found the Gili T we were hoping for.

 

Lovely Lazy Days

Days here are about slowing down and kicking back. We’d bounce between the beach and the pool, with some snorkeling, noshing, and volleyball in between.

 

Biking Gili T

At only four-miles in circumference, we had to see what the whole of Gili T was about. Rounding the horn from the bohemian-posh eastside, we’re happy to still find lots of wild beaches, humble houses, and local life on the western half of the island.

 

When in Rome

When an island is made famous for partying, you need to rock out at least one night. Kicking it off at a beach bar made from an old fishing boat, we had a couple Bintang beers, then a street cart dinner of spicy soto ayam soup, and closed it out with a reggae jam session at the legendary Sama-Sama.

 

Snorkeling Gili Meno

The Gilis are surrounded by coral reef, with dive and snorkel trips aplenty. We took a boat towards Gili Meno and spotted sea turtles, lion fish, box fish, Nemos, and, local surfers tearing up a break between the islands.

 

The Main Island of Lombok

Medana Bay, Lombok From Gili Meno, we passed Gili Air and one kilometer, we’re back to the main Indonesian island of Lombok. From beaches to lush jungles to the active Rinjani volcano (12,224 FASL!), Lombok is worthy of some further exploration. We docked at Bangsal ferry station and headed along the north coast to Medana Bay.

 

Ooo la la Oberoi

We were fortunate enough to review the Oberoi Lombok fab hotel for Honeymoons.com, and let us tell you honeymooners, anniversary celebrators, or anyone looking for a little romantic island luxury…this is your spot. Spanning 24 acres with manicured gardens, pools with palm-tree islands, and lavish villas decorated in the dreamy Indonesian style…it was quite the treat.

 

Kayaking Lombok

We took the kayaks out for a spin alongside local fisherman with the lengthy bamboo rods and painted conical hats. Between paddling, we’d hop out for a snorkel with tropical fishes and swaying grasses.

 

HoneyTrek in a horse-drawn cart
Lombok and the Gilis are classified as paradise by many…partiers, divers, volcano trekkers, luxe ladies, and backpackers alike. It’s all there in the eye of the beholder.

Gili Eco Villas and Oberoi Lombok invited us to be their guests; however, all opinions are our own.

30 thoughts on “Indonesia: Lombok & The Gilis Gone Wild

  • October 3, 2016 at 5:30 pm
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    Can I go now?? This place looks amazing. I would love to go and do all of these great activities and see the beautiful sights.

    • October 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm
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      Lol. Go for it, Lisa! It’s a beautiful place with a ton of character.

  • October 3, 2016 at 8:31 pm
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    It definitely looks like paradise to me. What a gorgeous place to visit. I would love to go there one day.

    • October 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm
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      Mistee, Gili T is a chilled out paradise for certain. It’s an easy hop from Bali too.

  • October 3, 2016 at 11:43 pm
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    My sister just got back from a trip to Indonesia and she absolutely loved it. The people, the food, the land, the culture….there is so much to explore and appreciate. Looks like you had an amazing time there.

    • October 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm
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      Very cool your sis went and had fantastic time. From Java to Bali to Lombok to Flores, each island is so unique…and there are 17,000+ islands to explore!

  • October 4, 2016 at 10:19 am
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    What a beautiful destination to travel too!!! I would love to vacation there, I am sure you guys didn’t want to leave.

    • October 5, 2016 at 12:27 pm
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      Vera, Gili T is a seductive place. We definitely wish we had more time in Lombok too–the volcano trek is supposed to be epic!

  • October 4, 2016 at 2:03 pm
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    This looks like so much fun. I would love to have an adventure like this. I know this is one of my husband’s dreams that he wants to work towards. I am all for it too. 🙂

    • October 5, 2016 at 12:39 pm
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      As they say…”Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”…and it’s so true! Indonesia is far flight from the west but very affordable when you get there and offers so many unforgettable experiences!

  • October 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm
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    Amazing pictures! Looks like you had a lot of fun and there is so much to do and see there. Indonesia is definitely on my bucket list!

    • October 5, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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      Diana, Indonesia is amazing…definitely go!

  • October 5, 2016 at 5:12 am
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    Wow, Indonesia looks so rich in culture. We will put this in our family bucket list.

  • October 5, 2016 at 4:54 pm
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    Very timely post. We are going to be in Gili Meno and Lombok in a few months, and can hardly wait! Your photos are great. Did you get to Gili Meno, or just Gili T? Any comments on Gili Meno, if you got there, would be welcome. Our posts on Lombok and the Gili’s will be coming in the new year…

    • October 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm
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      Great minds think alike! We were briefly on Gili Meno after our snorkel trip, it was reeeeallllly quiet. It could be a peaceful overnight experience but wouldn’t base there unless you want utter tranquility.

  • October 5, 2016 at 11:01 pm
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    Oh my!! These places are gorgeous! Love all the pictures! I definitely want to check them out!

    • October 6, 2016 at 6:55 pm
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      Both places super beautiful and full of character. Def check them out, Claudia!

  • October 6, 2016 at 7:53 am
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    love the underwater photos. what did you use to take them?

  • October 6, 2016 at 7:54 am
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    ‘Fantastic’ – will put it on our Bucket List!

    • October 6, 2016 at 6:40 pm
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      And oh my goodness, the Lombok Oberoi is particularly bucket list, check them out!

  • October 6, 2016 at 8:33 am
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    This place is beautiful! I would love to go here for a romantic getaway with my husband. It looks like such a peaceful place. You can definitely focus on your significant other here.

    • October 6, 2016 at 6:53 pm
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      Both Gili and mainland Lombok are fabulous for a romantic getaway…relaxing but still with plenty to experience together.

  • October 6, 2016 at 12:21 pm
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    A friend of mine from the Army just got back from a trip all over the Southeast Asian Islands ( his wife is from Indonesia) and his time was about as amazing as this. So much to see in the world.

    • October 6, 2016 at 6:51 pm
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      So much to see in the world is right..and Indo is definitely one to add to the books!

  • October 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm
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    looks like paradise, simply beautiful… I LOVE your pictures, there’s so much color there! great find, I’ll have to put it on my bucket list!

  • October 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm
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    I have always wanted to travel to Indonesia. It is truly an exotic and exciting destination. Loving the photos!

  • January 17, 2017 at 10:36 am
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    Hi, I’d love to sign up for your newsletter! Thanks!

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