I am finally caught up with this blog so hopefully posts will be more timely. Note, if you are having issues viewing the videos posted here on your iphone, you should be able to view them on your laptop and iPad properly.
Arrived on Gili Air from Gili T. (a 20 minute boat ride). Arrival at Gili T was real special but arrival on Gili Air took ‘special’ to another level. Right off the boat I knew this was going to be a unique place. It is so much more of mellow place than Gili T. Its the kind of place you can find a good bungalow and just hunker down for an extended period of time and let your heartbeat flatline.
You can walk around the entire perimeter of Gili Air along the beaches in about 2.5 hours and bike it in about 1 hr. Just like the other 2 Gili islands, the beach runs completely around the coast. (However, you gotta be in tune with the tides for optimal swimming). What makes it so relaxed is there are also no cars on this island as well. Just horse buggy (aka Cidomo) and bicycles to get around. We rented bicycles for the entire stay just like when we were on Gili T. Barbie and I biked on the path that runs around the entire island of both Gili T and Gili Air. Some of the spots are just sand, so you have to walk your bike thru or ride it on the hard packed sand of the beach. These bike rides are so cool as you get to see the different characteristics of each section of the island. And to top it off, it a super scenic workout.
There are tons of homestays, guesthouses and resorts to stay at but we chose a bit higher market place called Scallywags, which has an amazing operation. We stayed at the Scallywags property in both Gili T and Gili Air. It reminded me of a Nikki Beach type of operation but without the maddening noise and superficial party atmosphere. Just a really well run operation and they make life so simple for their guests. A double thumbs up to Scallywags.
It might sound like everyplace I have written about has been getting rave reviews by Big Doug. I want to make it clear that I will be brutally honest on this blog going forward. If a place sucks, I will let you know it sucks. It just has not been the case so far. I would attribute our success rate to the fact I have been handicapping our destinations extensively prior to our trip by reading tons of independent travel blogs. This homework has really paid huge dividends and should continue to do so in avoiding crummy places. I have a feeling there will be very limited strikeouts on this trip but I will advise when we do bust.
In summary, the Gili Islands were really cool. The other SE Asian beach that has a similar atmosphere would be Railey Beach in the Krabi province of Thailand (no cars here either). I will keep you abreast if I discover any others on this journey. I would recommend you visit at least two (2) of the three (3) Gili Islands as they each have a different vibe to them that every traveler should experience. The craziness of Gili T would be good for just a few days and a longer stint on Gili Air would serve you well. Just make sure you avoid rainy season and I would also avoid the crowds in high season. I must also stress that these islands have a distinct SE Asian edge to them and they are quite different from the sterile resort islands of lets say the Caribbean. What I mean by this, is there is a bit of roughness to them which I happen find so much more desirable and exciting.
Restaurants: Classico, Scallywags, The Chill Out, Ruby’s Cafe
BEACHES VISITED – 8 (the tides play a huge factor) SE corner of island by Scallywags is best.
LOOSE STOOLS INDEX – 7 (quite pleased with this rating but not keeping my hopes up)