To my dearest friends, family and fellow culture cravers,
This week we’ve been living it up on the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Gili T just off of Bali.
However, before we caught our first boat to begin island life, we decided to have a Bintang-fueled (gin for Nicole) night out in Canggu – it was Friday, after all. After a few drinks at a beach bar on Old Man’s beach, we followed the crowds to the ‘next bar’.
Here, we were greeted by the beach, a DJ and a pop up bar. We were in our element. The music was on point and we danced the night away until there was no one else left on the beach but ourselves and our new Indonesian pals.
The next day we jumped on a boat to Nusa Lembongan, an island, which was recommended to me by a couple I met in Borneo.
As we pulled up, I could see why they had raved about it so much.
The silky white sand reflected off of each corner of the island, the iridescent turquoise water shimmered in the sun and bright green mangroves sprouted from behind the pristine coastline.
We had found Bali paradise.
As Lembongan is well-known for the chance to spot manta rays and, as I’d missed the chance to see them in Fiji (read here), I was desperate to book onto a snorkelling trip for the next day. We booked a trip with a friendly local and hired a golf buggy for the following afternoon to explore the rest of the island.
The next morning we were excited to hit the ocean and see what Bali’s waters had to offer. We had our own private boat so spread out and lulled in the sunshine until we arrived at our first stop – Manta Point.
When we arrived, the current was very strong. The water thrashed around the rocks and our boat rocked too and fro. However, the manta rays were below us so we crossed our fingers and quickly jumped in.
As soon as I was in the water a giant, graceful manta glided past me (a little too close for comfort)…
I was gobsmacked by how ginormous yet, elegant they were. I paddled after it wishing for it not to be engulfed by the inky darkness, until I noticed the huge number of jellies floating towards me (bloomin’ bain of my life) and quickly retreated out of the water with an armful of stings as a souvenir.
Once we’d returned to land, we picked up our whip for the afternoon – Bernard the buggy.
As Nicole and I were a bit scared to hire a scooter, we opted for the next best thing – a golf buggy.
Nusa Lembongan is such a tiny island we were able to loop it with a stop or two in a couple of hours.
We passed pristine coastline…
And rugged cliffs…
Before setting up camp for the beautiful sunset…
The next morning we waved goodbye to Lembongan paradise and jumped on a boat to the well-known party island of Gili T just off of Lombok. I’d heard very mixed reviews about Gili – some loved its rowdy nightlife and never want to leave whilst others hated it.
We were indifferent.
The beaches were pearly white with crystal clear and turquoise waters however, we found the nightlife a little too Ayia Napa-esque for our cultural trip. Here, we revelled in the daytimes rather than the night times – maybe we’re starting to show our age…
Our final stop in Bali was Uluwatu, a town located in the very South of Bali and arguably, the surfing capital of the island.
Even though neither Nicole or myself are surfers, we loved the surfer ‘vibe’ in Canggu so much we were keen to check this spot out. It was Canggu on steroids – every scooter had surf racks attached them, everyone rocked the surfer dude, beach curl look and the coastline was lined with crashing waves.
We spent our final few days together exploring Uluwatu’s beaches, stuffing our faces with Indonesian food and laughing A LOT.
However great it is to travel alone, there’s nothing better than getting to share these sorts of memories with your best pals.
I’m now on Java Island – the island just up from Bali. Here, I plan to climb Gunung Bromo volcano and explore the ancient city of Yogyakarta before heading up to Jakarta to catch my flight to Bangkok where I’ll be meeting up with my family!!!!
Until next week…