From surfing, snorkelling, temples and waterfalls to crazy nightlife, stunning beaches and a sunrise hike to Mount Batur at 1771m, our first week in Bali didn’t disappoint. To read about everything we got up to click here.
After spending five action packed days on tour in Canggu and Ubud and one week beforehand in Kuta and Seminyak, our time on the mainland of Bali is now over, but we still had six days left to enjoy in the Gili Islands and Lombok.
Day Eight – Gili Trawangan (‘Gili T’)
Our next stop after Ubud was Gili Trawangan, commonly referred to as ‘Gili T’. For those looking to enjoy sandy beaches fringed with palm trees during the day and to party the night away in bars and clubs lined along the strip come dusk, look no further than this crazy island.
It was a two-hour cruise over to Gili T from the harbour in southeast Bali. Naively, we sat on the top deck without applying sunscreen, so Emily looked rather lobster like by the time we arrived. Gingers don’t deal well with the heat!
While I chilled out in our funky beachside hotel, Emily and the majority of others in the group had an introductory scuba diving lesson in the pool ahead of their dive tomorrow morning. I gave it a go, but ended up watching on the sidelines because of my cramps.
Later in the evening, we explored the island by cycling five miles around the perimeter because there are no cars – only push bikes and horse and carts. Shifty street sellers, (who could have been undercover cops) offered us marijuana and mushrooms everywhere we went.
We then stopped off to watch what was a spectacular sunset with cocktails in hand, which made for incredibly chilled vibes. Cycling back after a few bevs was good fun!
Day Nine – Swimming w/ turtles & crazy ‘Gili T’ bar crawl
The main highlight on Wanderlands Travel 13-day tour of Bali for most.
We hadn’t managed to see any turtles in Fiji or the Great Barrier Reef but Pedro, our tour guide almost guaranteed that we would see them…and he was absolutely right!
Emily wasn’t able to handle our GoPro camera on the dive but her instructor managed to capture two amazing videos. Em managed to get a lot closer to these majestic creatures in the pristine, crystal clear water than myself snorkelling, but I too saw five or six.
The only downside of snorkelling was the hundreds of jellyfish. I came up with a nasty reaction in the crease of my right arm, but it was nothing antiseptic cream couldn’t sort.
After spending just short of an hour with the turtles, we headed to the sunken statues just off the island of Gili Air where we all went snorkelling. These were impressive but it was a tourist trap. Having to fight through people to catch a glimpse of the statues wasn’t fun.
I then spent lunch swinging back and forth in a hammock. There’s no better way to unwind.
The rest of the afternoon was spent by the pool before the much anticipated bar crawl tonight, which lived up to everyone’s expectations.
The night started and ended in the Tir Na Nog Irish Bar where we were all given a Thailand-like bucket full of alcohol, which set the precedent for the rest of the night. Sama Sama Reggae Bar and Evolution Bar then followed where we were given free shots on arrival.
Unfortunately, everywhere shut at midnight because of prayers the next day, so we bought more alcohol and took the party back to our hostel pool where we partied until the early hours. We received several noise complaints but we weren’t going to let that ruin our fun!
Day 10 – Cooking Class & Free Time
If the hangover from the night out in Canggu was bad, then this one was far worse. Thankfully, we had a lie in until noon in an attempt to try and sleep off all the alcohol still in our system which helped somewhat. We then collectively pushed ourselves out of bed and walked along the strip to a nearby cooking class.
I knew the food wasn’t going to be to my liking, but I enjoyed joining in with the cooking. I cooked Mie Goreng (fried noodles), Klepon (sweet dough balls with coconut), fried tofu and tempeh as well as fried vegetables with satay sauce with Emily as a vegetarian dish.
Tonight, we partied again – this time at a best of 80’s night, which was right up my street. Afterwards, we headed to Sand Bar and then to Jungle Bar opposite our hostel.
Day 11 – Lombok
With the tour now gradually coming to an end, our last two days were spent on the island of Lombok. Most of the day was taken up by getting to the Mad Monkeys Hostel in Kuta on the other side of the island.
Later in the evening, we all took part in a karaoke night. I’m not sure how my team (Alicia, Em and Pedro) didn’t win, but the German’s (Gregor, Lea and Lucy) eventually took the free drinks prize. Afterwards, we headed to the Rasta Bar for yet another night out.
Day 12 – Benang Stokey & Benang Kelambu Waterfall + Indigenous Sasak Tribe
It was a relatively short two hour drive to the foot of Mount Rinjani this morning. The journeys in Indonesia have been lush compared to the six+ hour slogs on Contiki’s Canada & The Rockies and Grand Alaska tours. The traffic might be horrendous in Bali, but we can’t really complain.
With a local guide, we hiked to the Benang Stokey twin waterfall at 30m where we took a cold but extremely refreshing shower in the sun before continuing to the Benang Kelambu veil waterfall.
By now the heavens had opened. When it rains it pours in Bali. It was torrential and not particularly fun walking around in sodden clothes for the rest of the day. Some of the group braved the elements and went for a swim.
The last thing left on the tour itinerary was to visit a Sasak Tribe – a large ethnic group who constitute 85% of Lombok’s population. They are related to Balinese people in language and ancestry but are predominantly Muslims.
Hearing from a member of the Tribe about how they live their lives was a real eye opener. He explained how he didn’t know his date of birth and how they could only go off the rice and rain seasons every year to estimate their age.
What was also mind boggling was to marry, the man had to kidnap one of his cousins. Everything he was saying was all rather surreal and a big culture shock. We then watched what I can only describe as a dance and sparring contest before being shown around the village.
As you can imagine, the living standards were poor by our standards. Along the way, we walked past four boys playing football and when they scored they did the Ronaldo ‘SIUUUU‘ celebration. Football is such a universal game.
Tonight, we had our last meal together at a Mexican restaurant next door to our hostel and said our goodbyes to Anas and Lea who were leaving early the next morning. Tours are great, but saying goodbye is always tough.
Day 13 – Goodbye for now
Today, we made the four hour trip back to the mainland where we all went our separate ways. It’s been another whirlwind tour with lots of amazing experiences, which will stay with me forever. I couldn’t have wished to have spent the last 13 days with better people.
Next, Em and I fly to Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia where we’ll be spending eight days in what will be a whistle stop tour of another country.
As always, if you’d like to keep up-to-date with our adventure, you can either enter your email at the bottom of this article to receive instant notifications every time I post a new blog; click the Follow ‘Al’ Around The World link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @AlecW95 or @alatw95.
Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.
Thanks for reading, until the next time…