SOUTH EAST ASIA

Gili Trawangan

 The diving in Gili Trawangan is amazing! I saw so many turtles, sharks, and so many fish I’ve never seen, or even knew existed before this trip.

I also did my first night dive and saw a few more sharks, and plenty of lobsters. To tell you the truth, I was terrified about going on the night dive- but it was one of the coolest experiences.

Christian took these incredible underwater photos.

There are three Gili Islands- Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, and they are located near Lombok. Gili T is a quick getaway from Bali and it’s beautiful.
How we got here: Our scheduled pickup was at 8am, so we planned to have breakfast at 7:30am at our hotel. But at 7am, a driver was pounding on our door saying it was time to go.  You can only imagine how quickly we jumped out of bed!
We paid 650,000 rupiah ($57) each way to get to Gili. It’s a two hour van ride from Kuta to the port, and then another long ferry ride to the island. I think we arrived at approximately 3pm- nauseous, hot, and tired.
Where we stayed: Twins Garden. The room was huge and it was only 250,000 rupiah ($22) a night for the both of us. They also offered free breakfast. You can pick anything on their menu from pancakes to omelettes and they even brought it to our room.
Activities-Lots of diving, and snorkeling- each dive is $35. I liked the guides and our experience with Manta diving.
There are no cars on the island, but it’s nice to walk everywhere… Or swim!

 

What we ate- Chicken Skewers at an Irish pub, burgers, Indonesian food, locally made ice-cream and a chocolate brownie. I had seafood once and I believe it made me sick, so that wasn’t fun.
There are also lots of bars on the island with live music.
If I had more time, I would have liked to check out the other smaller islands and Lombok. Next time!

 

 

Ubud

Traveling by motor bike/scooter is so much fun, and easy. We rented one in Kuta and drove to Ubud. It should of taken us an hour and a half but instead we got there in about two hours, because we kept getting lost. Since we didn’t have Gps or any maps, all you have to do is ask your neighbor on the bike next to you to see if you are going the right way. 
 


When we left Kuta it was sunny and about 90 degrees, and when we got to Ubud, the clouds started to roll in. We stopped to get food, but everything was either closed or closing because of Nyepi. 
Don’t know what Nyepi is? Neither did we.
It happens once a year, and on the eve of Nyepi just about everything shuts down early. There are processions called ogoh-ogoh with scary looking statues of demons. The statues are so big and detailed that people pull over every few feet to take pictures. On Nyepi, “The day of Silence”  no one is allowed to go outside, or leave their homes or hotels, and the lights need to be turned off. 
From what I’m told it’s believed that if you leave your light on, then demons will come, and the statues are supposed to scare them away.
(Offerings found all over the streets)
 All of a sudden the sunny sky turned gray and it started pouring.  We had to stop for about 30-45 minutes in a shop because the streets we were riding on suddenly turned into a river. I haven’t seen it rain so hard In a long time, and we decided to wait since we really didn’t know where we were going.
We both had ponchos but of course they were tucked away in our backpacks back at the hotel. I bought one, but it stopped raining a little while later.
Ubud is beautiful and green, and everyone is so kind. We tried to make it to the monkey forest sanctuary but ran out of time. Instead we got lost on the way back to Kuta, and drove in circles a couple times.

 

Bali

Bali is everything I imagined it would be and more. This is my first time in Indonesia and I’m sure I’ll be back soon. We are in Kuta Beach, it’s very touristy, filled with Western restaurants, and people trying to sell you stuff on the beach- but the Bali vibe is great.
How we got here- We arrived around 1:30pm at the airport, and had to pay an unexpected $25 for the Visa. I changed the few baht I had to rupiah and got a taxi. Our driver recommended a hotel, but Christian didn’t like the first choice, so the driver took us to another place that was much better.  We got a room with AC at Pendawa Gapura Hotel in Kuta, for 350,000 Rupiah that’s approx $30 a night.

 

What we ate- We walked less than 10 minutes to the beach, and checked out this place called Sandbar… The food is delicious, and we’ve eaten here twice. Lots of seafood around here, and breakfast at the hotel is free.
The bar scene is awesome- two for one drinks at the first place we went to.  I drank so many Bitangs (Bali beer) on Saturday I lost count. 
(Bamboo restaurant)
Activities- The beach is great, and there are lots of places to go shopping. I bought a sarong on the beach, and after cruising by some street vendors I bought two more for the same price I paid for the first one.
(I didn’t write that, but I do love Bali)