Indonesia - very Secret Gilis
Updated: Aug 19
3 of many secret Gilis around Lombok which have this out of this world feeling. Around the main island of Lombok there are many, many Gilis (=islands). Some of them inhabited, some just some rocks, bushes - but all having wonderful white sands, turquoise waters and stunning views. Being on search for a nice Gili we finally decided to go on a bigger one, which nontheless is relatively untouched with only few small private bungalows and no real tourist infrastructure. It was Gili Gede in the very far south-west of Lombok.
From Senggigi we took a grab car and passing by Lembar, which is the main ferry port when coming from Bali. We reached the sleepy but beautiful village of Sekotong. A bit outside the village there is a little harbour. We got off the grab car and stood there in the midday heat on the beach with our backpacks. In a shadow to young men were chilling and greeting us with a friendly grin. People are superfriendly around here. They offered to take us to the island with their boat. The price was exactly what we knew it would be. No rip off - travelling
off the beaten path is so relaxing sometimes. No hassle, no arguing but friendly and helpful to earn there living with an honest job. So, for 40 minutes the 2 friendly guys took us in the boat to Gili Gede.
What an island paradies in the area: Gili Asahan, Gili Gede, Gili Layar, Gili Renggit and some Gilis without names (at least we could not figure out the names). Just the sea, the islands, some bamboo bungalows and nature. We jumped off the boat right at the entrance of our little resort, the Hula Hoop Bungalows. Wow, what a place! We were greeted by the amazing staff of Hula Hoop. The bungalows belong to a dutch expat who is married to a local lady. He built up the bungalows only together with the local community and by using local supplies. The young staff is the friendliest we had met in our travels. We got a nice homemade ice tea and then the big surprise. As it was low season we got an upgrade to one of the big bungalows (we had booked the small one). So we got a huge
bungalow with a stunning balcony, amazing bathroom, supercomfy bed. Well, we could not put it in words. We were just standing with mouths opened on our balcony enjoying the views over the bay to Gili Layar, Gili Renggit and Mount Agung on Bali in the distance. And right in front of the door step a small but beautiful little riff where sometimes even dugongs come for a visit. And then the big surprise. We went down to have late lunch when suddenly we heard a swiss couple talking. We turned around and it was a friend of Markus who also is a client of our company. Just a few days before we were discussing about him as we knew that he was travelling in Indonesia as well. We did not meet in Bali - but on this remote island Gili Gede with only a handful of tourists. Too funny. We enjoyed the sunset together every day.
What did we do in our days on Gili Gede? Not a lot. We got up in the morning, sat on the terrasse for meditation, enjoyed a late homecooked vegan breakfast. One day we were invited by the owner Karsten on a sailing trip to Sekotong and back which we happily accepted. The other day we went on a snorkelling trip around Gili Gede, to Gili Renggit and Gili Layar. We saw turtles, blue corals and an amount of fishes we had not seen before. Although visibility in the rainy season was not the best, we enjoyed it a lot and were super happy. In the end we also saw a lion fish. In the evening with high tide we always went snorkelling in front of the bungalow. The riff was beautiful with many small fishes and even snakes. Unfortunately no dugongs. So, one of many reasons why we should come back to Gili Gede. And we also went for some walks around the island. There are no cars on the island. People live from fishing and tourism - it is a quiet life and all locals are super friendly and welcoming. We only had 4 days here but could have stayed much longer. This is one of the places we want to return one day and maybe explore some other islands around as well. And of course, we want to come back to Hula Hoop. That was such a lovely eco place to stay. We can only recommend it. Even vegans will survive here as the staff is taking great care!
Much too fast our 4 weeks in Indonesia were coming to an end. On our fourth day in the early evening we had to leave our island paradies. A local driver took us to Praya where we had a bad but cheap room very close to the airport. Unfortunately our both mobile phones went for a dip in the sea while snorkeling. So after the broken camera we also had 2 phones that were not working any more. We tried to put them into rice, then out into the sun - but we could not get rid of the humidity. So had to ask at the reception to wake us up at 4 am for our flight. We were super nervous and did not really sleep well. The next morning at 7 am our flight was leaving to Kuala Lumpur. It was day 30 of our 30 day free visa in Indonesia. From Lombok that day, there was only this flight. So if we missed it because of oversleeping - big troubles for us. But, the hotel guy called us on time. We packed our staff, had to wake up the driver in front of the hotel in the car and he drove us 2 k's to the airport. We were so sad to leave Indonesia. 9 years ago I was happy to leave the country, this time definitely not. It was so good I followed my feeling and gave the country a second chance. Indonesia has really a stunning nature. But over all, the people are the reason to love this country. They are so friendly, joyful, playful and heartopening. We had
such an amazing time and made so many new friends. We hope to come back soon and we pray for them that they will overcome the current corona situation and the lack of income (most of them lost jobs). We will come back to Indonesia, we would love to explore more of Flores and Java, do some more island hopping around Lombok and definitley visit places like Sumatra, Molucas or Sumba. But who knows what the future will bring - for the moment we can just enjoy our home, pray for those in need and wait.
Terima kasih untuk waktu yang indah ini, Indonesia!