Create a paradise anywhere you go –Bjork.
Yes, I am still writing about my travels of the first half of 2017 because I cannot get enough. Every time I write about when the sand was between my toes and I had the sun on my face most days, it whisks me back to a time and place of pure freedom and pure happiness. I hope that these posts can do the same for you too, and inspire you when you are thinking about your next trip away from home, whether it’s to go on holiday for just a week, or travel for a longer period of time.
Gili Air is still the place that I think about most when I think of my travels to Indonesia and Asia. For me, it breathes paradise with its incredible blue, turquoise oceans, its white-gold beaches, its happy-go-lucky residents, its array of shopping and the cocktails and food that you can’t not try. It is one of my many happy places in the world and I want to tell you why it is so special to me.
STUNNING OCEAN VIEWS
There is no double that Gili Air has some of the prettiest views of the ocean surrounding the island. The colours are divine and the perfect backdrop for that classic hey, look I’ve been on holiday! photo for social media, as well as going old school with printing it off to pop in your holiday memory box. Waking up and walking less ten minutes to get to the beach is a pretty fantastic aspect of any holiday, and at Gili Air, you get to do just that.
SWEET & SAVOURY TREATS AT COFFEE & THYME
Coffee & Thyme was the very first port of call when we arrived to Gili Air. I was severely hungover and in need of some slight shade (hangovers and small boats do not mix). I worked up the courage to order their homemade chicken nuggets, and they are the best nuggets I’ve ever tasted. I ate them stone-cold sober a few days later too, so it wasn’t the hangover taste buds talking. The cakes there, including the ever-important vegan options are incredible too, just as their gorgeous salt and pepper fused chips are too. My mouth is currently salivating with the thought.
LOCALS WITH A CONSTANT SMILE ON THEIR FACES
Every single local that we met and spoke to greeted us with a kindness that you don’t get anywhere else. They were genuinely interested in what you had to say and had the biggest smiles, stretching from ear to ear. They were quick to attend anything we needed, and nothing was too much for them to handle, asking if we wanted a top up of drinks and if there was any more food we wanted to eat, all with a laidback attitude to life that I really need to adopt into my own. The local shop owners were especially happy to talk and explain different parts of their art work – which you can see being physically created outside – making for the better shopping experience, especially when you know exactly where your money is going.
ONLY A BOAT RIDE AWAY FROM COAST OF BALI
There is no excuse not to visit Gili Air, even if it is just for a couple of days. Boats are regular between Bali and the Gili Islands, as frequent as multiple times a day. However, I’d get on the first boat out to make the day of it! The journey is an hour and a half from the port at Pandangbai, Bali which goes quite quickly if you don’t get seasick and have something to focus on. If you do tend to get seasick, I would advise in taking some tablets because it is a pretty bumpy ride.
QUIET STREETS WITH NO CARS
There is not one car on Gili Air, and mopeds are 99.9% off limits. Instead, if you want to get anywhere without using your legs, you can hire a horse and cart, although probably for a hideous price. Bicycles and walking are decent options as there is one “main road” around the island, of which there is barely any traffic, even from those who are walking and cycling too.
SO SMALL YOU CAN CYCLE AROUND IN ONE HOUR
This goes hand in hand with the point above. It is quiet, and it is tiny when you compare it to other island destinations. This makes it super easy to get to that restaurant that you spotted earlier in the day, without having to hang around in its immediate circle. You can be on the other side of the island within twenty minutes to half an hour, depending on how quick you whizz through the street.
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Gili Air is a destination where you can create the exact kind of holiday you want. There are places that serve as both relaxation temple and beyond sunset party. Two-for-one on cocktails and happy hours in ocean-front bars create an incredible island-party atmosphere with live music and DJ sets, whilst during the day, they are outlets of sunbathing and catching the last of the ocean breeze. It is completely what you make it, with plenty of bars, cafés and sun spots to choose from.
Some of the best sunsets that I have seen in my life belong to Gili Air, and I was only there for four evenings. They are a little piece of magic at the end of every day. When the skies turn from a deep blood orange, to a golden yellow, to a dusky pink, to a deep plum and finally the night sky, it is better than watching any show on Netflix, especially when you are sitting with a beer or cocktail in hand, right on the beach front just cherishing that exact moment.
BEANBAGS & HAMMOCK KINDA LIFE
When you grow up, you grow out of beanbags, but when in Gili Air, they are the choice of seating that you want, especially as that is pretty much the majority of the options when it comes to beach seating areas. And, hammocks are when you know you are in a place of pure bliss and basically never want to return to the real world ever again.
I also wrote a 48 hour guide to Gili Air for About Time Magazine which you can read here. If you want or need any more gorgeous inspiration about the island, just ask! I can talk about it forever.
Have you visited Gili Air? What are your favourite things about this beautiful island?
Love, Faye xo