Gili Trawangan, Lombok and Jakarta

After beautiful Bali, we decided to take a fast boat to Gili Trawangan, one of the Gili Islands off Lombok. When we arrived, we had to climb off the front of the boat, directly onto the beach, which was strange but quite fun!

We soon realised that there were no cars allowed on the island when we saw the horse-drawn tuk tuks but we walked to our hostel. When we arrived, the increasingly familiar feeling of hostel-disappointment came over us…but I will save that for the next Hostel or Hostile

So we went straight to the beach, found a couple of sunbeds and looked out on this beautiful view.

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The sand was full of broken bits of coral from the nearby reef which made getting into the sea pretty interesting…sometimes you could get away with it but other times, you just had to launch yourself in (or in my case, fall in…)

We didn’t have much time on Gili Trawangan but next time we come, we will go to the other islands, Gili Meno and Gili Air and I’m also keen to do a snorkeling trip here.

After a couple of days, we took a boat to Lombok. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting! A long, wooden boat pulled up onto the beach and we had to try and make our way, backpacks and all onto the boat. I nearly lost my flip flops in the process…once on the boat, we clambered over fellow backpackers, locals, surfboards etc to try and find a seat. There were so many people on this tiny boat and the driver seemed determined to use every possible bit of space! Once we made it across to Lombok, we had to try and get off the damn thing. It was really rough and the boat was rocking really badly. We made it off without face-planting in the sand, only to find that the shuttle bus we expected to see was nowhere in sight. We had to get a horse-drawn tuk tuk to the bus. Great. The poor horse! We had our huge rucksacks! The cart was so small, I was hanging out of the back! We then reached a café, still no bus. We waited for half an hour and then the oldest, most decrepit, run-down, rusty tin can of a bus chugged up the road. We got in, I sat back on my chair only to find myself suddenly staring up at the ceiling – it was broken and stuck in a horizontal position. Oh lordy, a 1.5 hour journey in a baking hot tin can, unable to see out of the window. Needless to say, it was an icebreaker and we got chatting to a lovely Finnish couple (whose names we shamefully didn’t find out!) which made the journey go quickly! We finally arrived in Senggigi and reached our hotel, there wasn’t much around! It was almost on the beach but it wasn’t a great beach, the sea looked quite rough and there was no-one around apart from a few hawkers.

We booked a car to take us to Kuta the next day as we’d heard that the beach was lovely there. It was quite a hairy ride but after about two hours, we made it to the beach. It was a building site! There were no other tourists, no shops, no sunbeds, nothing! There was a pack of angry dogs nearby too. Was this a joke?! We’d heard great things about this beach… did the driver take us to the wrong place? After a little while, we found a bar to have a drink in and asked the waiter whether we were in the right place – we were, but apparently the government bulldozed the area because they are redoing it. We were advised to head to Mawun beach nearby which was “much busier, full of tourists”.

We made our way there, hoping that it would be better… it was! There still weren’t many people but it was a much prettier beach with soft sand unlike the seedy rocky sand at the other place. It was beautiful.

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We went straight into the sea as it was so warm. The current was pretty strong! But it was clear, turquoise and refreshing. It was hard to get out though as we found out…I made it out quickly using the breaking waves to push myself along but Kim got dragged under. One second she was there, and the next she wasn’t. The waves were so strong that they knocked her off her feet, and the waves were coming so quickly that she couldn’t get up again. I was laughing so hard, so was she! When she broke free, she was covered in sand! We sunbathed for a bit before heading back in, Kim was keen to de-sand as it was everywhere! This time, I was the unlucky one…presumably karma was out to get me back for laughing at Kim earlier. I barely made it out into the sea before a huge wave crashed on me, dragging me onto the sand. I couldn’t get up, wave after wave crashed on me, like a rag doll I was being thrown all over the place. My bikini was nearly ripped off! I finally managed to struggle to safety, hastily making sure that I wasn’t flashing anyone but I was absolutely covered in sand. It was weighing my bikini down! I knew I had to go back in to sort myself out but I was pretty shaken up. My God, it was everywhere. I could have filled a child’s sandpit up with what came out of my bikini. It was in my hair, my ears, my nose… horrendous! Meanwhile, Kim apparently spotted a giant turtle really close to the shore and was having a lovely time watching it in the waves. I was very jealous but mainly happy not to have drowned.

After the most thorough shower I’ve ever had in my life, I finally felt a bit cleaner…though it was still in my hair…We went out for dinner and had the most literal depiction of garlic bread ever…(sliced bread with garlic on) and what must be the hundredth plate of fried rice, before heading back to pack for our flight to Jakarta in the morning.

When we got to Jakarta, we took yet another hair-raising taxi ride to our hotel and went straight to bed. The next morning we went to the zoo and had one of the strangest days ever… we had heard about the traffic in Jakarta before arriving but the hotel manager assured us that Sunday was the best day to go anywhere as “there’s no traffic on a Sunday”. Lies. It took ages to get there. The roads were insane! It only cost 4000 rupiah to get in, which is about 20p. But when we got inside, we began to realise that we were the only white people in there. Out of thousands! As we walked around, everyone was staring at us! Soon, people started taking candid photos of us and people began asking to have pictures WITH us! They seemed more excited about seeing us than the animals! After this happened for the third or fourth time, we started getting them to take photos on Kim’s camera too:

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It was surreal!

The zoo was huge, there are so many types of animals in there. We definitely got our money’s worth!

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It took even longer to get back from the zoo. Our taxi dropped us off at Central Park mall, which was close to our hotel and we went for dinner and a spot of window shopping in some of our favourites, Topshop, New Look, Zara and even Dorothy Perkins.

We spent the rest of our time in Jakarta planning our next steps and researching what we want to do in Australia when we head there in a couple of weeks.

Next stop, Penang in Malaysia!

L

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