2 weeks in Bali : Island Hopping to Lombok and Gili

- Published by Anu

lombok viewpoint
Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air as seen from Lombok

 

Who wouldn't be tempted to hop on a boat and sail away to another island paradise awaiting to be explored? Off-course we would. :) Setting foot in the world's largest island country we wanted to satiate our thirst of discovering few other islands easily accessible from Bali. 

Lombok is to the east coast of Bali whereas Gilis are islets around Lombok. Besides 2 days of travel time flying from India to Bali (onward) and Bali to India (return), both via Kuala Lumpur, here's a complete day wise breakdown of our journey in Bali, Lombok and Gilis. 

 

Since sharing my entire trip experience in one go would have resulted in an extremely long blog post, I have linked all the individual posts describing each day in detail. Do click the relevant links to read up on in-depth information. 

 

 

 TWO WEEK ITINERARY

 

B A L I - Day 1, 2 and 3 

Day 1 - Landing in Bali and unwinding in Seminyak

Day 2 - Discovering North Bali

Read my detailed post (Part 1 of this travelogue) on places explored on day 1 and day 2 here - A Trip to Tropical Paradise : B A L I

 

Day 3 - Hiking an active volcano 

Read part 2 of this travelogue on trekking the fire breathing giants, here -

Trekking up Mount Batur : An active volcano in Bali

 

 

L O M B O K - Day 4, 5 and 6

Day 4 - Taking a boat ride from Bali to Lombok and exploring Sengiggi

Read about it in the detailed post here - My first Impressions of Lombok

 

Day 5 - Visiting surreal beaches of South Lombok 

Nothing but PARADISE. I promise you'll fall in love just as I did.

Read all about it here Fabulous beaches of Lombok

 

 

Day 6 - Chasing waterfalls in Senaru

Senaru is a village at the foothills of Mount Rinjhani - Lombok's highest volcano. A lush-green tropical heart of the island, home to numerous waterfalls. An entire day can be spent discovering these waterfalls through evergreen jungles trails.

 

waterfalls in lombok
These cascades....Tiu Kelep waterfall
senaru forest

senaru

G I L I - Day 7, 8 

Day 7 - Taking a boat ride from Lombok to Gili Trawangan and strolling down the streets of Gili T

Day 8 - Snorkeling tour with Lunch on Gili Air and Cycling around Gili T at sunset

 

Gilis are tiny islets around Lombok, popular one being Gili Trawangan (Gili T). Although it's a beautiful island, fairy tale like with cycles and horse-carts as the only mode of transportation, cute comfy bean bags to snuggle into on all the beaches and the water is pretty great for swimming as well, we didn't particularly enjoy our time here for a number of reasons. 

 

gili trawangan
Found a secluded spot all to ourselves .. yay :)
gili island
Another couple occupied our spot :P

Gili T is really tiny, you can circle around the island in around 45 to 60 mins. Hordes of tourists, travelers, backpackers flock to the island even during off season and making it claustrophobic given the sheer size of this island vs the numbers. There are hardly any peaceful spots to enjoy the beach, the food was horrible despite trying different restaurants for different meals each day, the service at restaurants is terrible, snorkeling was ill-handled with large no of tourists huddled together without guiding them to a proper spot and the list goes on.

I have snorkeled in different locations within Sri Lanka and Thailand before where the numbers are more yet the activity is handled properly, but on Gili T it was really disappointing in all aspects. We still managed to have a good time, but would definitely not return. 

 

 

A tip to keep in mind is to sneak out to the backside of the island where you'll find respite from the maddening crowds and low key spots to enjoy quirky water swings.

gili swings
Gili's famous sea swings

B A L I - Day 9, 10, 11

Day 9 - Heading back to Bali from Gili by boat. Chilling in Kuta.

Speedboat journey from Gili to Bali takes approx 90 mins. Depending on the speed boat company booked, the drop off point would be either at Padang Bai harbour or Benoa harbour.

 

Day 10 - Beach hopping in South Bali.

South-west Bali, has some jaw dropping beaches with rugged cliffs. Starting from the fag end we have Uluwatu, Suluban beach, Padang Padang beach, Bingin beach, Dreamland beach, Balangan beach and Jimbaran beach. A lot of water sports and surfing activities take place here.

  

uluwatu temple
Majestic cliffs of Uluwatu
uluwatu beach
Its quite a walk ... but so worth it for the views :)
uluwatu temple
Look at that thatched structure at the top end, its the stunning Uluwatu Temple

 

 

After an arduous climb in the sweltering heat to Uluwatu temple, the hard part doesn't end just yet. One needs to climb down quite a flight of stairs to reach most of the beaches and its totally worth the effort. We had a blast but climbing up those never ending steps after all the beach frolicking was a TASK, our feet felt like jellyyyy :P

 

suluban beach
A Secret beach cave
suluban beach
I could swim here forever!!!! :)

Day 11 - Shopping and experiencing the divine Balinese Spa massages

 

Balinese clothing is by far the most colourful couture I have come across in my travels. If you want to shop everything under one roof try the Discovery Shopping mall in Kuta. As for massages, Thalasso Spa in South near Nusa Dua is absolutely divine.

 

discovery shopping mall bali
Have you ever seen a Men's clothing section as colourful as this !!! :)

Vibrant colours and an eclectic pop of all-over prints for the ladies too :)

bags in bali

 

Day 12, 13 - Since we couldn't extend our holiday we had to fly back. But if you have set aside 2 weeks for this trip, then I totally recommend utilizing these additional 2 days by tweaking the above itinerary. Here are 3 options :

 

Option 1 : Extend you stay in Lombok by two days and hike up Mount Rinjhani.

 

Option 2 : You could also extend your stay in Gilis for two more days and plan to scuba dive or get a diver certification before heading back to Bali.

 

Option 3 : Detoxify in Ubud (Bali), think yoga retreats, art and photography workshops or luxurious spa indulgences.

For the restless soul, you could plan a trip to three tiny gorgeous islets surrounding Bali, namely Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembogan.

 

Unbelievably gorgeous cliffs of Nusa Penida

nusa penida

Photo Credits : Reckless Flair

All About Boat Transfers

 

Bali to Lombok - Fast boats from Bali have a fixed route, staring from Padang Bai harbor in East Bali, their first stop is Lombok and then Gili T before heading back to Bali. You can either alight at Lombok or Gili depending on your travel plan, although we got down at Lombok.

 

Generally, these boats dock at the Teluk Nara harbor at Lombok. You need to personally hire a cab for to and fro transfers from Teluk Nara harbor to Senggigi town/hotel/other parts of Lombok.

 

Lombok to Gili T. - From Lombok, we booked a local ferry boat to take us to Gili T. These ferries start off from Bangsal Harbor in Lombok and take 45 mins to reach Gili T. You can also take a ferry boat ride to Gili Air or Gili Meno from Bangsal Harbour itself or hop to these islands locally from Gili T.

 

There is no harbour at gili T. So, we were dropped off the boat at the main stretch of the beach and into the water. You will need to wade in but its part of the charm.

 

Gili T. to Bali - Gili to Bali, we took the same boat which we had taken from Bali to go to Lombok. Since Gili T is its second pit stop the passengers arriving to Gili alight onto the shores and departing travelers from Gili hop onto the boat to go back to Bali.

 

Costs Involved :

1) Bali-to-Lombok and Gili-to-Bali by speed boat cost us around 1100000 IDR (return fare for 2 people) which included hotel transfers to and from your hotel to padang bai harbour in Bali.

 

2) Lombok to Gili one way by ferry boat cost us 160000 IDR (fare for 2 ppl)

Hopping islands in Indonesia is convenient, fun and each offers a completely different, distinct and flavourful experience from the others.  

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