Indonesia: in 5 parts
So as you may have seen via my Instagram, I did indeed go to Indonesia over the summer. I spent 5 weeks going here, there and everywhere with my travel companion whilst also dodging an earthquake or 2! Thus I am going to hit you with a travel diary of each of the weeks we were there. We just from island to island – which let me tell you at times was not the easiest of things to do!
So starting off, we left the UK on July 17th 2018 from Heathrow and hopped on 2 planes off to Bali via KL. This was all plain sailing, we had the joy of sitting between 2 large Arabic men, one of whom was asleep before we took off and spent his waken hours also snoring too. The other acted as if I was asking him to move the moon just to get up and use the toilet – which was less than a meter away from our *back row* seats. Nevertheless, we landed in Bali, hopped in a taxi that we paid FAR too much for but haggled the very best we could then made it to our hotel of the night. We stayed not far from the airport since we were headed out to Padang Bai the next day before going to the Gili Islands.
The next morning we were slightly more savvy and got ourselves a ‘Go Jek’, which alongside ‘Grab’ is the equivalent to Uber. Feeling rather smug with ourselves at just how little we paid this time we took the 1.5 hour drive to the port. The traffic here was crazy since it is the main way out for lorries that board the ferries going east off Bali to Lombok. We eventually got to our homestay for the night, dropped our bags then headed out to the famous ‘white sand beach’.
Well let me tell you, don’t set your expectations too high, as in maybe only just higher than a 1cm off the ground. As our first beach of the trip it was not a good start. Unfortunately, there had been apparently somewhat of a storm the night before meaning that the shacks, Warungs, that are the informal restaurants all over Bali, were almost totally destroyed too. We did manage to find one that was intact and sat down for Charlie’s (travel partner) best grilled tuna of the trip, whilst I had the first of many Gado Gados (vegetables and rice in a peanut sauce). Then we traipsed back up to the road where our only option was to just on the back of some lads’ motorbikes to get back to the hotel as the road was STILL deadlocked.
The next day we were hoping the road might just have cleared so we could get down to the ferries to get to our next destination of the Gili Islands. We asked too much clearly. Leaving first thing from the hotel somehow our lil car managed to get up down to the water’s edge with our mammoth suit cases but there we arrived to an absolute bum fight. Someone could clearly tell we didn’t know what we were doing and pounced selling us WAY over priced tickets for the public ferry but at that point we were just too flustered to know what else to do.
Now if you're lucky you will be travelling on a day when the fast boats are going taking a mere hour to get directly to the Gilis. However as soon as there is a light breeze these are called off and your only option is the slow boat. Slow in every sense of the word, being 15 hours door to door slow. We waited in the queue for 2 hours before even getting on the ferry, the sweat was real. Luckily we were among the first to get on the boat so due to the grace of god managed to swipe 2 of the very few sun loungers on the deck, everyone else being on the floor (for the next 7 hours). Thankfully I managed to snooze off which I was glad for in order to pass some time on the journey. When I woke up after 2 hours, we’d not left the port. Yup.
Eventually we got going and arrived at the next port around 9pm. Twas dark and you’d not be wrong for mistaking it for a cattle market. The entirety of the ferry was flooding off the boat and majority looking to get to the Gili Islands. With our tickets we’d supposedly therefore got a taxi waiting for us taking us to the next boat from Lombok to the Gilis since the ferry is too big to get us anywhere near. Not the case. Surprise.
With an Irish couple we managed to band together with a few others and, yet again, paid way too much for a mini bus to the next port. At this point we didn’t know where we were going or really what we were doing, we just wanted to get there. At the next stop, a whole load of people meandered down a ‘pier’ or few planks of wood in an arrangement to just about walk over on to a small boat that I'm surprised didn’t sink en route taking us to Gili Air.
So it could be said that the first 3 days weren’t the best, but finally we were at the Gilis so looking up!