We spent our final two days of our Bali holiday in Jimbaran; just 15 minutes south of the airport. I had heard good reviews from coworkers about Jimbaran and wanted to try to see as much of Bali as possible during our short trip. Unfortunately, Jimbaran did not come close to our expectations and was the least enjoyable part of our trip. Allow me to explain..
Regardless of how cliche it now is, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to visit Padang Padang Beach; where the filming for Eat Pray Love’s beach scene took place. We were looking forward to seeing whether this beach lived up to how it was portrayed in the movie.
To begin with, it’s definitely not an easy beach to get to. In fact, nothing is that easy to get to if you’re staying in Jimbaran. So, we rented motorbikes for the day (though I highly recommend you don’t due to an awful experience we had) and set off to find this beach. We were on the road for at least half an hour before we found it – you’ll know you’re there when you see cars and motorbikes lined up on the side of the road right before a bridge. And lots of tourists, of course.
After leaving the Gili Islands, we went back to Ubud for one night as we didn’t get a chance to do the Mt Batur sunrise trek when we were there earlier. I love hiking and didn’t want to miss what was to be an incredible hike up during the night (which I had never done before) in order to see the sun rise up behind the massive mountains of Agung and Rinjani on Lombok.
I highly recommend you visit a few tour stalls before settling on a price. We were being quoted between 550,000 – 750,000 IDR ($50 – $71 CDN) per person from a few companies. Then we came upon one tour agency that offered us 600,000 IDR for both of us. We were so glad we took the time to look around before making a final decision; this price was half the cost of all the other companies and the itinerary was the same. The name of the trekking tour company was Pineh Trekking and we had no complaints during our trek.
I have quickly learned that preparing your travel itinerary ahead of time can save you a lot of unnecessary stress and money on Advil for those sure-to-happen headaches. Finding and booking a place to stay is one of the things I make sure to do ahead of time when going on a shorter trip.
Depending on the time of your visit to the Gili Islands, I would highly recommend booking ahead of time during their high season. We figured that most accommodation would be sold out, however, we were surprised to have multiple locals approach us when getting off the boat asking if we needed a room. We didn’t look into details regarding the price, area, or set-up since we already had something booked. However, I suppose it is good to know that you can head over there without any real plan (though doing this during high season would not be the wisest decision, unless you enjoy sleeping on the beach).
Gili Trawangan is a great island getaway from Bali without being completely cut-off from the world. Gili T is actually a lot more developed than I had initially thought – there are numerous funky cafes selling rather expensive coffee, unique clothing shops, boutique hotels that charge you to spend a day on their beach, and a fast-developing party scene. If you’re looking for a more quiet, relaxed, and rustic island trip, you should consider going to one of the other two Gili Islands: Gili Meno or Gili Air.
You just can’t leave Gili T without having seen the sunset and enjoyed some hearty, local grub at the night market.
The majority of accommodations and activities are found on the eastern part of the island. For those of you who remember your grade 6 social studies lessons, you’ll know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If you’re keen to wake up at an ungodly hour in the morning (which isn’t hard since the morning prayers are blared on loudspeakers at 4am each day) you can catch the sunrise just minutes from your place if you’re by the beach.
Spending some time bumming out on the beach on Gili T is a great escape from the fast-paced lifestyle of Bali, but if you’re like me, laying around every single day can become a bit boring. Thankfully, you can rent bikes on the island for next to nothing – we paid about $3 CDN to have our bikes for the entire day and there are bike racks in front of most shops on the main strip to park your bike for a few hours while you enjoy a refreshing beverage. Or two.
The Gili Islands are comprised of three small islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air – just west of Lombok in Indonesia. They have become a popular destination for tourists who are looking for a relaxing, remote island vacation.
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the islands and is by far the busiest and most developed – has more choice in shops, accommodations, restaurants, and has a bit of a night scene. This island is a good place to go if you want an island experience, but still have a selection of luxuries available to you.
Gili Meno is the middle of the three islands and is the smallest and least busy. This island is great for people who really want to get away from civilization and are looking for simplicity. Since there isn’t much to do on the island, you should come here if all you plan on doing is planting yourself on the beach with a book in hand.
Gili Air is closest to mainland Lombok and is a bit of a mix between Gili T and Gili Meno. This island is a popular destination for couples as it still is quiet and relaxing, but also has a few more options than Gili Meno. You should come here if you are looking for seclusion with satisfactory services.
Monkeys are cute, funny, and friendly.. Right?
Wrong. Heading to the Monkey Forest in Ubud might make you think twice about these furry animals.
Since I am writing about my experience heading to the Ubud Monkey Forest, or the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary as is stated on the entrance sign (try saying that five times fast), then you can be rest assured that I did survive and my tips might very well help you do the same if you decide to go.
After spending three nights in Kuta, I was ready to leave the craziness behind and head to Ubud. From all the hype that I had heard from others about Ubud, I was really excited to spend some time there. Afterall, Eat, Pray, Love had portrayed this area as a haven for soul-searchers and those wanting to escape their big-city routine life. Though I found Ubud to be much more enjoyable than Kuta, there were a few things that surprised me. And not in the jumping up and down sorta way.