Monday, July 21, 2014

Gili Islands: Making the Lombok Dream (Indonesia)

I had to fly to Bali then to Lombok for the possibility of visiting one of the three Gili Islands which is closer to Lombok by boat.

"Gili" means "island". The etymology is even used in Maldives through a local island called "Villingili" or island village - thus calling it "Gili Island" seems redundant. Wouldn't it mean island island? Located at the northwest coast of Lombok, getting to the Gilis was iffy at best, with the same degree of difficulty as going to Batanes at the northern end of the Philippine archipelago. Several transfers will cost you more than necessary - and the temperament of Lombok strait was unpredictable. However, the promise of natural beauty (supposedly "Bali without the crowd") is excruciatingly inviting, thus the islands beckon to the spirit of the adventure seeker.

Gili Trawangan is the biggest, most outward and most popular, with new, spiffy resorts dotting the circular rim of the island. I thought it would be less populous and less touristy than Bali. It wasn't. Tourists have come in packs! Truth be told, something inside me felt deceived. But I was among those who came, after all. And somehow I knew I should have chosen Gili Meno or Gili Air (the smallest of the three).

Party. Chill. On an island that might as well be party central like Boracay or Bali. I hired my ride to circumnavigate the island and it was done in half an hour. There was an endless array of resorts and obviously more tourists than locals. They were barefoot or wearing flip flops and oblivious to my ruminations

I have thought of the Gilis for three long years. Let's just say the visit felt like coitus interruptus. ;)

This is the Eye in the Sky!  

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