Indonesia has always fascinated me. Indonesia is home to 17000 islands but only 6000 of those are inhabited. While I wouldn’t want to be in same situation as Tom Hanks was in movie Cast away but the idea of spending a night on a lonely island has always intrigued me and drawn me to Indonesia. I didn’t want to go to places frequented by too many travellers. I had heard a lot about Bali but I decided to give it a miss. After much research I finally decided to make a trip to Lombok and Gili islands.
I booked flight from Singapore to Lombok international airport- Garuda Indonesia flies at least 5 times a week from Singapore to Lombok. After landing on Lombok international airport immediately I took cab to Bangsal Harbour. The distance from Lombok airport to Bangsal habour is around 67km (source: distance calculator) and it is 2 hours drive by car.
Gili Islands are perfect for doing nothing. I practically did nothing for first two days. I just sat around the beach watched Sun Set every day but my urge to do something and explore the habitat took over, and here is what I ended up doing on these islands.
Swam along with Sea turtles
The Gili islands do a great job of taking care of sea turtles. Fins and masks are readily available throughout the island. You can seek locals’ help for a perfect place to swim along with sea turtles.
Tip: Remember if you want to truly enjoy your swim then don’t touch the turtles.
Biked around the island
Gili islands are very small. In fact you can cover the whole island on your bike in less than an hour. I wasn’t in hurry. I took along our swimwear and snorkeling equipment and took splashes in water while I toured on the coast road.
Tip: Bikes are available on rent throughout the island, and do remember to bring water.
Climbed Mount Rinjani
Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok, and it is Indonesia’s second highest volcano at 3,726 metres. The volcano dominates the horizon of Lombok’s landscape and can be viewed in all its majesty from the three Gili Islands. Within Rinjani’s caldera, at its crater rim, is a 50 square km lake called Segara Anak (Child of the Sea) .The view from the rim of the volcano into the crater was spectacular.
Rinjani is located on Lombok, so you have to take ferry ride and then drive for about an hour to reach the foot of the volcano. However, the climb to Rinjani is not for the faint hearted. You have to very fit if you want to enjoy this stunning feat of nature. I hired a local guide- my hotel concierge referred him and made sure I didn’t miss anything on the climb.
Tip: Always hire a good tour guide. Pay him well so that he keeps you away from touts and people who want to exploit tourists.
Gili islands is perfect place for Scuba diving. There are more than 20 different dive sites around the islands.
I spent a week in Gili and Lombok and ended up spending more time than I had initially planned. The unspoiled and calm beaches of these islands left me mesmerized. Overall it turned out to be a fantastic trip and worth for every single penny that I spent there.