Welcome to the Gili Islands, Lombok


Gili islands beaches travel review
Visit Gili islands impeccable white-sand beaches

The Gili Islands off the north-west coast of Lombok, Indonesia, are truly special. The tropical island getaway has something for everyone; picturesque white sandy beaches, stunning coral reef, deep turquoise seas and most favourably, no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions.

Transport on the Gili islands
Explore the serene islands

The word ‘Gili’ actually means ‘small islands’, with the most popular of the small island locations being Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili  Trawangan.

Previously renowned as a backpacker haven, Gili Islands now attracts a diverse group of worldly travellers looking for the perfect tropical escape.

The pristine waters around the three islands are abundant with thriving corals and thousands of species of tropical fish, attracting popular PADI dive companies and serious divers, as well as those looking to take it easy and snorkel the impressive array of sea life.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Trawangan

We arrived at Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands, by boat from mainland Bali. The journey typically takes around 1 hour 30 minutes by ‘fast boat’ from Padang Bai.

We dropped our bags off at the hotel accommodation and hired bicycles. Immediately the feeling of freedom from noise, fumes and chaos created by the lack of vehicles is truly liberating. There is a real ‘laid-back’ feeling about the whole island, so leave your suitcase at home and pack a weekend bag with only your favourite beach shorts, sandals and t-shirts.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Our island transportation

Gili Trawangan is a 2.5km total round trip, which is achievable to cycle in under an hour – and not at all challenging even after a few Bintang local beers!

The island has two very different sides. The west coast (which is the opposite side to the landing dock) is very chilled and is ideal for daytime sun worshippers, surfers or to view the most amazing sunsets. You will find bars and restaurants dotted along the beachfront. The surf is small yet enjoyable, and boards can be hired on the beach at around 100Rp per hour. By contrast, the east side of the island (which is where you dock, and accommodates the many dive centres) is much livelier.

Admittedly, we arrived during the holy month of Ramadan and with most of the island population being Muslim, the party scene was quiet during this time. However, it is important to note that Gili Trawangan is labelled ‘the party island’ so be prepared for lots of young travellers and sun seekers during the high-season.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Casa Vintage bar and restaurant offers an authentic Jamaican menu

Beach restaurants - Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel reviewAlphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Air

In contrast to Gili Trawangan, Gili Air  (just 20 minutes by local boat or 5 minutes by speedboat) is undoubtedly less ‘touristy’. A laid-back travel destination with cool beach bars and simple cafes, however over recent years the island has seen luxury accommodation developments added along the beachfront.

Gili Air offers low-key, unspoilt nature with the idyllic beaches and great surf locations. The views from the island are stunning but the east coast offers probably the most dramatic scenery with views across to Lombok and Indonesia’s second largest volcano, Mt Rinjani.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Meno

And finally, the island of Gili Meno; the ‘couple’s island’. Gili Meno island is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly peaceful haven in the tropical sun with uncrowded beaches, beautiful clear seas, tranquil evenings – and a guarantee of no rowdy bars or full moon parties!

Gili Meno is a haven for those seeking an unspoilt island escape. With a population of only 400 people, the entire island is possible to explore and walk around in just 90 minutes.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Have you visited the Gili Island’s? If so, comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Turn your urban garden into a dreamy Balinese Oasis

Be inspired by Balinese garden features

Inspired by our recent travels to Bali we have gathered a few of our favourite photos showcasing how to extend your home into the outdoors in that exotic way that the Balinese people do so well, whilst creating a tranquil space that exudes that Bali essence.

 

From winding stone paths to decorative garden accessories and cushions, there are lots of creative ways for urban gardens that work brilliantly. Take a look at our pick of John Lewis high street must-haves below.
Be inspired by Balinese garden features Be inspired by Balinese garden features Be inspired by Balinese garden features Be inspired by Balinese garden features Be inspired by Balinese garden features Be inspired by Balinese garden features Be inspired by Balinese garden features

 

Shop must-have Balinese inspired garden furniture at John Lewis
John Lewis Westminster Valencia Round 8-10 Seater Garden Dining Set £9870
John Lewis Westminster Valencia Round 8-10 Seater Garden Dining Set £9870

 

John Lewis 4 Seasons Outdoor Valentine High Back 6 Seater Garden Dining Set £3,215.00
John Lewis 4 Seasons Outdoor Valentine High Back 6 Seater Garden Dining Set £3,215.00
John Lewis CoSi Amsterdam Weatherproof Corner Sofa Set, Graphite £3,799.00
John Lewis CoSi Amsterdam Weatherproof Corner Sofa Set, Graphite £3,799.00
John Lewis Ethimo Cube Sofa Coffee Set £2,395.00
John Lewis Ethimo Cube Sofa Coffee Set £2,395.00
John Lewis Pebble Tealights, Pack of 6
John Lewis Pebble Tealights, Pack of 6 £8.00

 

John Lewis Fusion Hurricane Lamp, Gold £35.00
John Lewis Fusion Hurricane Lamp, Gold £35.00
John Lewis Fusion Bamboo Globe Lantern, Small £40.00
John Lewis Fusion Bamboo Globe Lantern, Small £40.00
John Lewis Hanging Tulip Tealight Holder £10.00
John Lewis Hanging Tulip Tealight Holder £10.00
John Lewis Hanging Tulip Tealight Holder £10.00
John Lewis Hanging Tulip Tealight Holder £10.00
John Lewis Sitting Buddha Ornament, Gold £50.00
John Lewis Sitting Buddha Ornament, Gold £50.00
John Lewis Dakara Floor Cushion £110
John Lewis Dakara Floor Cushion £110

John Lewis Kelim Pouffe, Blue

John Lewis Kelim Pouffe, Blue £120
John Lewis Kelim Pouffe, Blue £120

BALI – Restauraunts, hotspots and places to see

Bali

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I was browsing through my photos of a recent trip to Bali and came across a few that I’d like to share. If you’re planning a trip to Bali I hope they help. Enjoy x

Also check out my previous posts on Ubud and Bali

Tanah Lot temple. A Hindu temple set on a rock formation in Tabanan Regency, west Bali
Tanah Lot temple. A Hindu temple set on a rock formation in Tabanan Regency, west Bali
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Sunset at the W Hotel. Live dj’s and a cool sunset vibe
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Sunset at Seminyak beach. Grab cocktails at Ku de Ta, a great sunset venue and awesome restaurant
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Durians, the king of fruits. A local Balinese favourite.
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Shopping in Bali. Don’t forget you really must barter. It’s expected!
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Watch the sunset and surfers with the locals on Seminyak beach
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A view over the Ayung river at Kapu Kapu Barong Villa and Spa Resort
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Temple and water gardens in Ubud
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Forest villas at Kapu Kapu Barong
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The Legian Hotel in Seminyak. Book a beachfront table at the restaurant and watch the sunset from this beautiful ocean location
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The Legian Hotel at sunset
Regal slang Rice Terraces in Ubud
Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Ubud
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Dinner at the W Hotel
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Catch up with the monkeys at The Monkey Forest in Ubud
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Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud
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Dinner includes a live temple traditional dance show at The Lotus Restaurant, Ubud

Ubud

Bali travel tips Ubud Semanyak

Day 3

It’s time to find some of the real Bali. We wanted culture, art, temples…a place to find serenity. Ubud beckoned.

Kupu Kupu Barong Villa and Tree Spa retreat is a secluded resort built on a hillside with great views of the Ayung river and breathtaking natural surroundings.  With an amazing view of the valley below, surrounded by rice field, temples. This was the Bali we’d come to see.

Travel Ubud Bali vacation tips

Some say that Julia Roberts (Ubud was the spiritual home in Eat, Pray,Love) is responsible for putting Ubud on the map and they may add that the onslaught of tourism may have spoilt Ubud, but I would disagree.  Despite its popularity, Ubud has managed to retain it’s culture and serenity.

Ubud is located in central Bali, located among rice fields and steep ravines, small farms and dense forest.  Temples are plentiful and shrines to Hindu gods are on almost every corner. It is also Bali’s major art and cultural center. Did i mention Ubud has a Royal palace, oh and it has tons of great restaurants, and shops.  So what isn’t there to love!
Travel Ubud Bali vacation tips

Bali travel tips Ubud Semanyak

Bali

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.
The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

10 days in Bali

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa was a welcome relief to an incredibly long journey to Bali due to cancelled flights and airport delays as a result of volcanic ash (but that’s another story!). Even though we arrived in the dark, the hotel was gorgeous. The tropical fruit drink, the scent infused refreshing towels, the friendly staff and the front desk agent that upgraded our room were all outstanding.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

Located away from the main tourist area, adjacent to the golf course, the 255 acre golf and spa resort in Tabanan sits on the cliff overlooking the ocean.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

Nirwana Resort is a grand affair with awe inspiring beach views over looking the majestic Tanah Lot temple. (It’s just 200 meters away, accessed through the resort gardens). We were able to take in this major tourist attraction, without the tourists, from the hotel grounds. Note: Don’t make the mistake we made and discover a small community of bars and restaurants, 2 mins from Tanah  Lot, on the last day.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

Resort includes several pools, lagoons, resting bales overlooking the pool, massage huts overlooking the beach and great restaurants.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

We decided to start out trip to Bali with 3 days in a golf resort to combine poolside relaxation (no beach access) with golf Indonesia-style.  Although we’d negotiated discounted green fees, we felt golf at Pan Pacific  Nirwana was still quite expensive.  Designed by Greg Norman, the course is pretty cool.  A great course with picturesque views, well-looked after and a golfing challenge. The caddies were awesome, good fun and helpful.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.

The Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort and Spa, Semanyak, Bali.For someone looking for the typical native Bali experience, this is probably not for you. If you are looking for incredible accommodations, great golf and A+ customer service, this is the place to stay!