Gili Air, So Far the One Place We’d Return To

Gili Air
Tom's and my afternoon home while on Gili Air!  Nice to work outside on the beach.  Each hut equipped with WIFI and Plugs!  Better than most restaurants in Australia!

Tom’s and my afternoon home while on Gili Air! Nice to work outside on the beach. Each hut equipped with WIFI and Plugs! Better than most restaurants in Australia!

Week 25

Day: 158

Current Location: Manly Australia

Coordinates: 33.7962° S, 151.2827° E

We have been having a blast so far on our trip and we’ve seen some amazing things, but Gili Air in combination with Ubud Bali is thus far hands down the one place we would return–after we’ve crossed off all the other locations we want to see of course!

Tom waiting to leave Gili T and head to Gili Air

Tom waiting to leave Gili T and head to Gili Air

I didn’t want to come off as a negative Nancy in my last post, because Gili T was an awesome spot but Tom and I were a little disappointed by it.

Within 30min of being on Gili Air though we knew we had found our special place.

How Tom worked for a week on Gili Air

How Tom worked for a week on Gili Air

Gili Air offers everything that Gili T does without the trash and sloppy Australians.

Gili Air is the only Gili Island that actually has a population of locals which means the locals aren’t there just to make money from tourists.  This keeps prices down, but most importantly you see the pride the locals take in making sure you enjoy their home as much as they do.

Fresh Coconut Juice?  Why Not?

Fresh Coconut Juice? Why Not?

Travelers Tip:  Skip Gili T and head straight to Gili Air!  It is a little quieter, so if you are traveling by yourself and looking to meet people Gili T may be the place for you.  If you have a travel buddy and/or are just looking for the perfect island getaway Gili Air is your place!  

Apparently a couple years ago Gili Air was exclusively for Honeymooners and those looking to cut themselves off from the rest of the world.  There were hardly any restaurants, no power which also means no WIFi, and because of the first two points hardly anyone there.

Times have changed and while that’s unfortunate because Tom and I are unsure Gili Air will be the paradise we found it to be when we return, right now Gili Air is the perfect balance of secluded island getaway with just enough modern technology to satisfy our needs.

Helping the local boys get their boat in the water.

Helping the local boys get their boat in the water.  Yes that one boy is naked.

Local Boys playing during the day.

Local Boys playing during the day.

Travelers Tip:  If you want to find that remote paradise head to Gili Meno.  It may have power, but it has now become the secluded romantic getaway for Honeymooners and those looking to cut off the rest of the world.  

So what makes this place so special?

It’s hard to describe in words so hopefully my picture tour will convey to you why Tom and I loved Gili Air so much!

As you can see from above, Gili Air had everything Tom needed to be happy: WIFI, plugs, and me of course! 😉

Did I mention the yoga studio had a nice little kitty that would lay next to you as you practiced?

Did I mention the yoga studio had a nice little kitty that would lay next to you as you practiced?

Taken on the way to yoga!

Taken on the way to yoga!

But I also had all I needed as Gili Air has an awesome open air yoga studio.

I got to practice every day and Tommy even joined me some of the days! :)

In addition to yoga, we ran or walked around the island daily!

Tom standing on the steps of our bungalow overlooking the beach

Tom standing on the steps of our bungalow overlooking the beach

Mucking around at Salabose

Mucking around at Salabose

We stayed in a 2 fan, cold water shower bungalow at Salabose overlooking the ocean for 150,000rp a night.  We had to barter pretty hard to get that price and we’re not supposed to share the price, but if you can barter as good as Tom you deserve that price!–And if you can’t it’s a big splurge of 200,000rp ($16 to be exact) a night.  You can get an air-conditioned room for 300,000rp a night, but the sunset side of the island where Salabose is located is the windy side so you get the perfect breeze!

We found the place from an old man hustling as we stepped off the ferry.  We actually didn’t follow him first, the first place while a little nicer wasn’t on the water and couldn’t get their internet to work.

Dune, one of the owners at Salabose  killing time during the day.  He let Tom and I play too as well as anyone else who walked by!

Dune, one of the owners at Salabose killing time during the day. He let Tom and I play too as well as anyone else who walked by!

When that didn’t work out the first guy escorted us to Salabose us to Dune and Amet, 2 hard working/chill island boys who own a pretty awesome hotel/home stay.  We walked by many a hotel on our way and when we saw it, we knew we had found our place!–I wanted a bungalow on the beach!  We were going to splurge and get the air-condinioned room, but once again I said I wanted a bungalow on the beach and the air-conditioned rooms were part of a main building further in than our bungalow!–We never regretted once not getting the air-conditioning!

If you are looking to splurge over $30, I would recommend staying here:

Turtle Bay, arguably not as good as the Sunrise Hotel but they do have cute little bungalows across the path from the beach and a bomb pool!

Turtle Beach, arguably not as good as the Sunrise Hotel but they do have cute little bungalows across the path from the beach and a bomb pool!

Dune when we wasn't cooking, cleaning, or mucking around on his slackline.

Dune when we wasn’t cooking, cleaning, or mucking around on his slackline.

You can get a room for about $110 a night, which by any US destination is dirt cheap!

Unlike Gili T, everything is on the water including the average table at any of the restaurants.

Our favorite were by far Zipped and Gili Air Cafe.  We would work at the Gili Air Cafe during the day where there was internet and then hit up Zipped at night for their 2 for 1 happy hour cocktail drinks.  Ask for the Ruben Special!  Occasionally we splurged and hit up Scallywags (yes the same company from Gili T!) with the same amazing all you can eat buffet breakfast and free FAST WIFI!

Mucking around on the boat on the way to Gili Meno!

Mucking around on the boat on the way to Gili Meno!

We did do more than yoga and work!

We also chartered a boat for 300,000rp to go snorkel around Gili Meno where we got to see a turtle!  Check out the awesome video here

The snorkeling around Gili Meno and Gili Air is much better than the snorkeling around Gili T.

Stepping into the water right off the island there is tons to see!

The homemade fish finder Dune and Amet made Tom and I for our snorkeling adventure!

The homemade fish finder Dune and Amet made Tom and I for our snorkeling adventure!

Around Gili Air and meno there are many fish and beautiful coral.  Plus if you can get to Gili Meno there is a great chance you’ll see a turtle!

We had fun bartering with the locals!

I walked away from the island with more trinkets and jewelry than I’ve bought our entire trip!

 

I wasn't going to buy anymore until I convinced the guy above to sell me his necklace for 60,000!

I wasn’t going to buy anymore until I convinced the guy above to sell me his necklace for 60,000rp!

The colorful sea pearl necklaces, anklets, and bracelets were all too pretty for me to pass up, but it also helps when you hold firm on your price and get them all for half of what they originally offer!

neckalceThe best piece that I got though was the necklace Tom had made by Nin at the Art Gallery!

Nin hand carves some of the coolest things including buddha necklaces from bamboo!

If you pay a couple dollars extra he will make one specially for you with an engraving on the back.  You can also get Gili Island or Gili Air symbols or anything else you bring him a picture of.  

View in front of our bunaglow

View in front of our bunaglow

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As another traveler we met on Labuan Bajo said, “Gili Air is a very special place.”

Yes it satisfied everything Tom and I could have ever wanted, but the locals have such a friendly vibe and create such an amazing atmosphere that it’s impossible not to relax and enjoy yourself.

Walking through the village in the middle of town to get to yoga.

Walking through the village in the middle of town to get to yoga.

If you come to Gili Air never having done yoga, I highly recommend you give it a shot.  The studio is perfect for beginners and the morning class is the best way to wake yourself up for a day of island life!

Walk through the middle of the island to get there!

It’s hard to tear yourself away from the beach, but head the the middle!  Check out what the locals have to offer for the most ethnic and tasty food!

20140126_172940As we were leaving I gave both Amet and Dune a huge hug and thanked them for allowing Tom and I to share their home for a week.

We have been to many special places on our trip, but so far this is one we know we’ll come back to!

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