Before I write VISA RUN Part II, I need to write a post or two about my trip to Gili/Lombok islands…as this trip caused another trouble for my visa extension.
Next morning that I finished the application for my visa extension.
“Why don’t we visit Gili islands!?”
Tom, a Dutch guy staying my next door, and I became good travel mates after we went through VISA RUN together, and we decided to have a short trip to Gili islands together. I no longer had to worry about my VISA and got a few days before going to pick up my passport. We will just come back to Ubud a day before the day of my passport pick-up…as you might already know from reading my VISA RUN story, I am a very optimistic (and reckless) last-minute-person. And again, I was going to face with a trouble, which I never knew at this moment.
Gili islands are located close to Bali and known as a popular destinations by Western tourists although they are not well known in Japan. (And I didn't see a single Japanese tourist while I was there) Actually almost all the tourists who had stayed at my next door were either the ones who were going to Gili islands or the ones who came from there. I didn’t know about the place until I got to Ubud, but it seems to be a big thing in West.
Gili islands consist of three small islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. We had no plan about which islands we were visiting or where we were staying or even how we were getting there. We will just visit wherever we are drawn to and we’ll think and decide what to do as we go. That’s how we travel.
We took a bus to Padangbai, where we can find a boat going to Gili islands.
And I realized: I have no ID with me. My passport is at the immigration office for my visa extension.
Tom asked “You made a photocopy of your passport when we were at Kuta, did you?”
Yes, I did. And I left it at home.
“You are worse than I am…” he said.
I will find a way if I'm in need of ID!
(When I was in the Philippines, I forgot to bring my ID with me when I got on airplane. And I used my scuba diving license as my ID and I could get on board without any problem…I know there’s always a way!)
We went through the boat price negotiation at Padangbai, which was so annoying that we almost canceled my trip that hadn’t started yet. Anyway, we got a ticket to Gili Trawangan, which is known as “Party Island.”
I will see some Western tourists having party on the beach from the middle of the day…maybe?
Neither Tom nor I liked super touristy places but we were curious about how things are on this famous “Party Island.”
Here we are on the Party Island…
Umm…I was expecting something like Boracay in the Philippines (I didn’t like that place much because it was too touristic for me), but this place seems different.
Well, it’s not Boracay. It’s more like El Nido.
There are series of cute restaurants and bars along the beach, but this place is not as flashy as I imagined from the term “Party Island.” There are tourists, but it’s not too crowded. This is a tourist destination but I can still feel a good atmosphere that exists only in remote local islands.
Umm…Gili Trawangan…not a bad place at all. Unexpectedly we started liking this island.
We decided to stay in Gili Meno tonight while we lay on the beach drinking beer. There were tons of boats around and Gili Meno was right there…actually it looked so close that we thought we could swim to get there (or only Tom can…because I cannot swim.lol) We can go there anytime we want…
But that was not true.
We started looking for a boat around half past 5pm, but the last public boat to Gili Meno had already left.
Oops…we missed a boat...
What should we do?
Gili Meno was right there in front of us.
We could change our plan and stay in Gili Trawangan because we started liking the place, but when I couldn't go to Gili Meno, that made me want to go to Gili Meno by all means.
The only way to get there was to charter a boat. We asked around but it costed Rp. 400,000…this is insane. If I was in a small village of the Philippines, I would pay only 20 cents for this distance.
I talked with a young man sitting at the port and negotiated the price with a smattering of Indonesian mixed with English. I got Rp. 200,000, which was still very expensive, but we got out of the Party Island anyway. After a few minutes later (or seconds, maybe), we arrived at Gili Meno.
Right after we got off the boat, we came to know we made a right decision to pay f*cking Rp. 200,000 to get there!
Oh my god! This is just like Mercedes (a lovely fisherman’s village in the Philippines where I stayed last two years)!!
Only a few minutes from the Party Islands, here we were in a totally different world…how is it possible?
It was so quiet. The island was so small that we could walk to the other side. Everyone –locals and tourists– who passed by were greeting to us with smile on their faces. Are we in the Heaven??
We found some resorts and restaurants along the quiet beach.
Gili Trawangan is known as “Party Island” while Gili Meno “Honeymoon Island.” (We found out about it when we got there!)
We enjoyed Mojito while sitting on the romantic restaurant by the beach…all I could hear was the sound of waves. This is it. This is the moment I feel “happiness.” It’s not money. It’s not fame. It’s this kind of “moment” that makes me happy. (Of course I know I need some money to obtain this “moment” but what I mean is the minimum amount of money for this moment is enough for me.)
We explored the island in the dark. Millions of stars above my head…this is a place for honeymoon couples for sure.
We could see bars in Gili Trawangan shining in the dark and hear noisy dance music from the beach that is facing with the island. The Party Island came to life! We found out the Party Island was just sleeping when we were there during the day and the island came to itself after the dark…