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Youngblood Hawke, Propellers, Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

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Last night I ventured over to Shoreditch to watch a gig at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen

Youngblood Hawke

Youngblood Hawke

We went to see a band I had never heard about two weeks ago but am now pretty obsessed with, Youngblood Hawke. I even listened to the album on repeat nearly three times the night before the gig, that may be due to insomnia though.

Anyway, as we got there early we ordered some food. I got a vegie quesadilla whilst Bie chose the chicken version; we shared a portion of fries. When it came I was pretty disappointed, there was hardly any cheese which is a key ingredient to quesadillas, the salsa had a very strong lime taste which I just didn’t dig, and they forgot the fries.

Bie went to ask where they were and he seemed to have just forgotten about them. Normally if this happened in a restaurant, it would take them two minutes to get some as they always have them ready but in this case it took over 10 minutes and there was no apology. It’s not hard to say sorry for the wait.

Youngblood Hawke-Alice

Youngblood Hawke-Alice

Moving on from the food, we went through to the back room where the support act were playing, Propellers.

This was another band I hadn’t heard of until last night although Bie said she recognised one of their songs and swears it’s on an advert or TV show. They were really good which is why it makes me sad when there isn’t a full room of people watching. They deserved to have a proper audience but sadly the room was only half full. Their song ‘The Midnight Kiss’ is probably their most recognised and popular, it is very catchy indeed. The lead singer’s voice is very attractive too, very husky, it’s no wonder women chuck themselves at band members really.

There was a short interlude before Youngblood Hawke came onto stage so we grabbed another Brahma beer, I may have accidently called it a Bahamas though…idiot.

Youngblood Hawke

Youngblood Hawke

When the six piece band came on stage the crowd cheered them on, eager for them to start. They played a variety of songs, none which I could name (I’m very bad with names generally), for about an hour but it felt much shorter. They were so full of life and energy throughout the entire set, it was infectious! The guy who was the lead singer was bouncing around all over the place, I tried to copy his moves afterwards but I just couldn’t do it. he didn’t stop moving at all, it was incredible to watch.

There was one song in particular which got everyone singing and moving a bit more, ‘We Come Running’ I think it’s called. Probably my favourite of their songs. At one point the only female member of the group, Alice, jumped down into the crowd and started singing, I thought this was pretty ballsy of her but it worked well.

I found her to be very fascinating because she was just so small. I honestly thought I could pick her up like a rugby ball and place her somewhere else with no bother at all; she looked like flat Stanley, in a hot way. I also was jealous of her hair.

Propellers

Propellers

The one thing that annoys me about this band is the name. It sounds like such a heavy metal b

and name. They should take out the blood bit and just call themselves Young Hawke, or The Young Hawkes. I know they’re named after a book but it doesn’t do much for attracting new people to them, blood is an off putting word.

Ignoring their name, they are a really good band so go check them out.

And yes, that is a picture of the poster we stole.

YBK Poster

YBK Poster

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Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan

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IMG_0312I caught the ferry over from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan which only took 30 minutes and was a much nicer and more efficient journey than going to the Gilis. When I got there we all just stood on the beach waiting for our luggage and then I started to drag my case up the sand to then figure out how I get to my hotel but nobody else left the beach. I thought this was weird so I just stopped and waited and it turns out my hotel transfer was included in the ticket so we all jumped onto jeep sort of cars.

I was the only person travelling alone (typical) and each of the couples got off at nice hotel after nice hotel and then it was my turn. I had booked a home stay/guesthouse as I had read it was quite social whereas the only hostel I could find online had really bad reviews and said there was no atmosphere. I checked in and was so disappointed. The bathroom looked like something out of a 70s horror film, really poor standard even for Asia and it had a horrid smell.

The bedroom was boiling and the air con wouldn’t turn on so I went and told the man on ‘reception’ who told me I had to pay extra if I wanted it on. I was so angry as I thought I had booked an air con room, I would never have booked it otherwise. Out of annoyance I refused to pay extra for it as it was already way overpriced for the condition of the room. I decided to not let this ruin my time on the island and went up to Blue Corner which I had heard was one of the busiest bars and often had live music and party’s.IMG_0314

To get to it you had to go down a little path in the dark which I didn’t enjoy as it was pitch black on either side but there was no alternative. When I got there the place was empty except for 3 couples and a man and his son. Not exactly the busy social place I had hoped for. I sat there for a while feeling pretty awful as I had just spent 4 days pretty much alone and thought Lembongan would be different. I was starting to worry if the rest of my time in Bali would be like this, with nobody around at all. I wasn’t even being fussy with who I spoke to, there just simply wasn’t anybody around.

Then the man and his son asked me if I wanted to join them for a drink as they had a bottle of wine. I went and sat with them and we chatted about all sorts of things. They live very close to where I went skiing last New Years and the son (who was in his 20s) really wants to go to England to party as he’s into techno and festivals. They saved me from being minutes away from crying in a bar, albeit it an empty one, so I was very grateful to them. We stayed until they shut and I headed back to my sweat box of a room.

The next day I hired a scooter and went off to explore the island and try and get me out of this downer mood. It was actually really nice driving around as the roads were very quiet compared to mainland Bali which meant I could look around more and go slowly without people whizzing past me. I was heading for Mushroom Bay Beach when it started to rain so I thought I would just stop in a beachside cafe for a drink but it was so busy there, full of Chinese tourists. I was not in the mood today so got back on the bike and carried on.

IMG_0311It wasn’t raining too much at this point so made it to Devils Tear fine. I passed 3 tourist buses leaving as I went down the muddy track towards the cliff edge and parked up nearby. Literally as I stopped the bike, the heavens opened up and torrential rain came down. There was nothing there except a locals little tin shack where he was doing something to the land. I ran underneath it and we both stood in silence as we were unable to speak the same language and just watched the rain fall. He had taken his shoes off which in hindsight was a wise decision as you cannot wear flip flops when soaked. He offered me a drink and his dog took shelter too. I wasn’t really sure what to do at this point as I didn’t know when the rain would stop so stayed standing there drenched for another 10 minutes.

The sun then came out and I walked to the edge of the cliff to look at the Devils Tear properly. It was basically just where the waves smashed into the cliffs making it spray up. I didn’t really understand why it was a tourist attraction but never mind. I turned around to go back to the bike when I slide on the mud and nearly fell over in a puddle about half a foot deep. The farmer found it very funny. I carefully stepped back towards my bike but the seat wouldn’t open. The farmer came to my rescue and sorted it out and I very slowly drove back towards the path however a workers truck had gotten stuck in the mud meaning the only way was to go around through the mud. I could barely keep the bike upright as it was just sliding left to right through the mud, I did think at this point I was going to go underneath it but once again I didn’t have any choice but to carry on and hope for the best. The two workers watched me until I was back on the ‘good’ path and we smiled to each other. It’s amazing how you can communicate with people even though you don’t speak the same language.

IMG_0313I continued my journey as I figured it couldn’t get any worse than nearly being crushed in mud and puddles by your own bike. I had heard Dream Beach was lovely so checked it out. As I arrived it started to rain again so just looked at the beach from up above and noticed two swings which in the grey and rain looked a bit eerie. There was a cafe there which was part of a hotel which I stopped in for a hot drink. All around me were people who were wet too. It cleared up again so I went onto the beach which was nice but pretty small and I think that hotel is the only place around.

Nusa Ceningan
There is a well known yellow bridge which connects Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan which actually collapsed a few years ago. I stopped at the base of it and looked up and the drive up to it looked pretty steep and the bridge itself was narrow which made me nervous as I wasn’t sure how well I could control the bike. I saw lots of other people doing it no problem so figured it can’t be that hard, took a deep breath and went for it. It was actually fine as it was quiet when I drove across and the only people I crossed were locals who can drive like pros. I remember from studying the map earlier to take the first right which takes you down a small road which runs along the beach/coast edge.

The water was crystal clear, the sand white, nobody was around, it was beautiful. It would have been a lovely place to stop and go for a swim but I was on a mission to see as much as possible so carried on and came to a very very steep hill. I got to the top and didn’t look back, just carried on to find the Blue Lagoon. This was another place people say to visit but again I wasn’t blown away by it. Yes the water is blue but so is a lot of Bali, and the waves crashed into the rocks but it does a lot on certain coastal stretches, so I didn’t spend long there at all. Just down the road is a point where people jump into the sea from a concrete ledge. I don’t know who thinks that is a good idea as it was directly by the rocks and the waves at this point were massive.

I got back on my bike and headed back the way I came stopping off to look at the sights. I had to fill up with petrol so stopped at the road side by a sort of shop and a woman helped me do it. I gave her about 5 times the amount it should be as I couldn’t be bothered to haggle and she was nice to me. I stopped at the cash point but there were engineers doing maintenence on it, and a man who also wanted money told me the only other cash point was out of cash. That happens a lot in Bali, the cash points run out of money as their currency is in such high dominations you need a wedge of cash to be able to pay for anything. Luckily the engineer came and told me to wait 5 minutes and he would have to working for me again. I got my cash and went to the beach where I laid on a bean bag for a few hours just watching people passing by.

After a quick shower and change I went back to the Blue Lagoon as it was a Friday night so figured if it was ever going to be busy it would be tonight. Once again there was only a few people there so I got a beer and sat down on a beanbag to watch the sunset. Although there wasn’t really anybody around I didn’t mind as much as I was just enjoying being there and looking out at the boats and sea. The sun started to set and it is by far the best sunset I’ve ever seen. The whole sky was orange and patterned and it only got stronger as the sun was going down. It was incredible. It was the best thing about my trip to the island.

I then went to get some dinner in Lemongrass which had good reviews online. As I was by myself they seated me on a weird low table which was designed for drinks and not food. Clearly I wasn’t good enough to sit at an actual table however it worked out well for me as a band came on who were really good and I had the best seats.

I decided to leave the island the next day instead of going on a mantra ray trip as I had heard it wasn’t a good time to go because the weather was so up and down. I think if I had of visited this island in high season or with somebody else I would have really loved it as it was beautiful and easy to scooter around on with nice white sand beaches however due to the lack of people I just didn’t want to stay any longer. I originally had booked a return ticket to Sanur but decided to go to Gili Air in the hope of finding people before I went stir crazy.

Kuta, Singapore for a day and Sanur

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Cactus Garden in Singapore Airport

As I had to fly to Singapore on a visa run, I decided to stay down in Kuta which is close to the airport. This area is known as the Australian Magaluf, where young ozzies go to party. I had been told by a few people I wouldn’t like it so I was intrigued to see what it was like.

I booked into a hotel which was 4 stars and had a roof top pool for only £24. I went down to the beach and the sand was nicer than up the coast in Canggu but the area itself was just horrible. You couldn’t walk for more than 10 seconds without somebody trying to sell you something. It was constant. I did actually want to buy a few things but I was so put off by people shouting ‘look look’, ‘good price’, ‘cheap for you’, ‘yes yes’, ‘darling’ and also I had a few people try and touch me. I don’t like people in my personal space at the best of times let alone strangers trying to make me buy things.IMG_0308

Poppies lanes are the main 2 roads with stalls, bars and restaurants which link to the beach and Legian Road. I didn’t see many groups of people though or anyone that drunk either. The restaurants were all really empty and so were the bars. I thought Kuta of all places would have still been busy but apparently I was wrong. That night I went to Skygarden which is Bali’s biggest club. You pay 120r (£8) and get unlimited food and drink before 9pm. When I went in I discovered where all the people were, the whole of Bali was in Skygarden.

The next day I caught a Go-jek scooter taxi to the airport and flew to Singapore. I stayed about 3 hours in the airport having lunch and sitting outside in the cactus garden, before flying back to Bali. I was reminded how clean and organised Singapore is, even though I was just in the airport, it’s so different to the rest of Asia. I got another scooter taxi to the hostel I moved to which was only £5 a night. There was only 2 women in my 14 person dorm room and I only saw 1 other person in the communal area. This made no sense as it was £5, 2 minutes to Skygarden and a 10 minute walk to the beach. Again, where are all the people?!

Sanur –
As there were no people in Kuta for me to talk to or hang out with, and the place is horrid, I moved onto Sanur which is on the East coast. I had been told Sanur is where a lot of Australians retire but the beach is really nice.IMG_0310

I treated myself to a nice hotel with a massive swimming pool. The pool had sun beds in the water which really put me on edge as I’m pretty clumsy. I preferred the beds on the ground but they got taken quickly. My room had a king sized bed, TV with working channels (very rare), outdoor hot tub…it was lovely. I spent the day lounging around until I got too restless then hired a push bike.

I cycled along the path which ran along the beach front all the way down to the end stopping off on the way to look at things. The sand was white, the sea was clean and it was quiet. The nicest beach I had seen so far, probably on par with Gili Meno but less coral. As I got further down the busier it got but up near my hotel it was lovely. Lots of little beach bars and cafes, it was a shame I only had the one day really.

In the evening I went on a hunt to find a local restaurant which was suppose to be amazing but I when I got there it was shut. I cycled in the dark to find the back up and that was shut too, this was one of the only times I went searching for somewhere in particular too. I ended up at a random place and ordered something I hadn’t tried before only to find they put glass noodles in it. I hate glass noodles.

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Water sunlounger

The next day I had breakfast in the hotel then sunbathed for a while. I swam up and down a lot too as it was super hot. I had booked a 5.30pm boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan and the shuttle pick up was at 4. The boat ride was only 30minutes long to get over and it included a shuttle the other end too. There was 8of us in the truck and we stopped at lovely hotels then got to my home stay and it just looked awful. I was hoping it was one of those times it looked rubbish from the outside but the inside was great…it turned out it was just awful in and out.

My room was dark and dingy, the bathroom was dirty and looked like a setting for a horror film from the 70s. It was boiling too, the air con wasn’t working so I went to reception where I had to hunt down somebody as nobody was there to ask about it, I was told if I wanted air con I had to pay more. I thought I had booked an air con room but apparently not and for the luxury of switching it on I had to pay extra. I had annoyingly booked 2 nights otherwise I would have moved.

Brunch at the W in Seminyak

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IMG_20171025_000517_445Anyone who knows me knows how much I loved brunch in Singapore and how I hate it isn’t a thing in England. And when I say brunch I don’t mean bacon and eggs, I mean a free flow of prosecco or wine, and a 5 star buffet of food.

It turns out Bali has them and a particularly good one at the W Hotel in Seminyak. I went along with K and K on a Sunday and we were seated at a lovely table over looking the beach. It was beautiful. Their tradition is you must have at least 2 drinks before you get any food which I was more than happy to oblige with.IMG_20171025_000517_446

A round of very strong espresso martinis was consumed and a glass of bubbles and then I went on a walk around the different food stations to see what was on offer. The area which caught my eye the most was the ‘roast’ area which had roast beef, potatoes, mash and gravy. This may sound like the boring section to most people but for somebody who has been in Asia for a few months its food you just don’t see.

There was a BBQ station where they cooked various meats and fish on the grill, a donut stand, cheese board, salads, noodles, rice…basically everything.

The selection of deserts was also amazing, rows of various cakes, moose, chocolates…I must have put at least 8 on my plate to try. The whole time we were nibbling on various foods, our glasses were never dipped below the half way point. They were kept topped up the whole time.

IMG_20171025_000517_449Part way through a group of the staff came through the restaurant singing happy birthday and banging a drum so I turned round to join in the singing and turns out they were heading for me. I had mentioned my birthday was the next day to K and K and at some point they must have gone and told the staff. It was great they were all full on singing and dancing a bit and gave me a cake with a candle in it. I felt very lucky to be their with them and not in a hostel with a bunch of strangers on my birthday/nearly birthday.

Canggu and Tanoh Lot

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Poke at Moana

We moved back to K and K’s villa on Aimee’s last night in Bali and had dinner with them and of course a fair few wines. We headed home pretty early as Aimee had to get up super early to catch her flight.

It was weird after she left as I had become used to her being there everyday and not having to bother with strangers or stay in hostels. I stayed in the villa though for a few more days and went to various restaurants and bars and cafes in the area…Canteen, Crate, Monsieur Spoon, Deus, Moana, Fadu, Old Mans, The Lawn, Betelnut, Veda, Dandelion, Milk and Madu, Bodega…basically a lot of places.

I stayed in 3 different hostels, Layday, The Tipsy Gipsy and The Farm. The Farm was by far the best out of the 3 as the beds were comfiest and had curtains, there were 2 pools, and 2 big communal areas.

I hired a scooter and explored all over the area getting lost sometimes and seeing all sorts of interesting things. My driving was very slow at times and I struggled to turn right very quickly but I just stayed out of everyone’s way and it was fine. I had no worries about locals on their bikes but it was other westerners I was concerned about. I drove down to Echo Beach and walked along looking at the hippy type stands and watched the surfers. Stopped off for a drink in one of the beach bars and watched the world go by.

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Mie Goreng

I went on a little trip to Tanoh Lot with a friend I had made in one of the hostels. I wasn’t really that bothered but they drove so figured why not. When we got there it was Chinese tourist central with coaches all over the place. Of course they performed endless photo shoots of absolutely nothing and got in everyone else’s way. We were also the subject of many of their photos and posed and smiled in all pictures for them. Tanoh Lot is basically a temple in the sea so once you’ve seen it there isn’t much else to do so we just sat on a rock on the beach for a while then headed back.

20171211_190402.jpgOverview I have gotten to know Canggu pretty well and really like it. You can walk around easily or if you hire a scooter its easy enough to navigate. There are an abundance of restaurants and bars and the beach has lots of sun beds and warungs. There’s more of a chilled vibe here than some other places and as I know my way around it makes it easier as a solo traveller.

Seminyak

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IMG_0303We had booked a hotel in Seminyak for 2 nights in order to be able to explore the area easily without having to get scooters or taxis. We weren’t expecting much from it as it was so cheap but we were pleasantly surprised at how clean and modern it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was basic but perfectly fine for 2 nights especially when we wouldn’t be spending anytime there anyway.IMG_0305

The downside was the swimming pool was surrounded by buildings which meant the water was cold and the sun didn’t reach the beds for some of the day. Not really an issue for us as we just went down to the beach instead. The beach here had slightly nicer sand than up in Canggu but no where near as nice as the Gili’s. It was pretty busy with people splashing around in the sea, flying kites and just having a drink in the beanbag bars. We stayed and watched the sunset before heading back to get ready for the evening.

We ate dinner in the restaurant which is linked onto the hotel as it had really good reviews. I went for a tapas board then we had a cocktail in the bar listening to a band playing. It turns out upstairs there is a tiki bar which also had live music most nights, happy hour and super strong cocktails. It was one of my favourite bars I went to in Bali. After here we just walked along the road and found a gay bar which had drag acts on. It was so much we danced and gossiped with some of the men in there. I defiantly think they used dodgy local alcohol though as I felt horrific later on and not in a normal drunken way.

20171025_212125The next day we just wanted to eat carbs and grease so found a burger place about 5 minutes away. It was amazing, we had some mac and cheese balls on the side too just to really add to the carb loading. The afternoon was just spent relaxing then in the evening we walked along the main road through Seminyak looking at the shops and bars there.

We had heard La Fevela was one of the main places to go to drink but earlier on its actually a nice restaurent so we popped in for a desert. It was candle lit and had a really nice decor, it was just ruined by one table of drunk people who were shouting. Then it reached about 10.30pm and they pushed the tables out of the way and it suddenly started to fill up with people drinking. We made an escape and continued to look around the area. After a long walk we headed back to the hotel.img_0304.jpg

Ubud

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20171015_104648After the horrific journey from Gili T to Ubud, we were very glad to be in a lovely hotel (Nari Hari Resort) with beautiful surroundings. Rice paddies were all around, with lots of brightly coloured flowers, and we had the pool to ourselves. The staff were so so friendly, they couldn’t do enough for us and even offered us a free upgrade to a villa but we declined as it was a king bed and we had 2 singles in the other room.

That evening we went into the town and eat at Sisi which one of the workers at the hotel recommended. We both had Indonesian food which was delicious and then had a walk around the centre to see what was around. We noticed there was a 1000 ice cream shops for some reason. The next morning we had the best breakfast at our hotel then went to the monkey forest for all of about 3 minutes then we found the nearest exit and made a ran for it. Turns out having monkeys jump out from all angles isn’t our kind of thing.

Luckily we found the market and I ended up buying a play suit which didn’t fit at all because I felt like I had to buy it as the woman was so nice to me. I will need to give that away to somebody soon. Haggling is so hard to do here as neither of us know how much things should be. If I compare it to Thailand then things are really expensive, but if I compare it to England then things are pretty cheap. As the ATM ate my bank card last night and just turned off, we were really short on cash so couldn’t actually buy much anyway. We did manage to buy lunch at Clear Cafe which had a wall made of plants, fish swimming around and it said ‘fortune favours the bold’ on the floor in orange flowers.IMG_20171016_221111_837

I went on an adventure to the bank and then to the ATM where a man who looked 12 years old met me and unlocked the machine. He literally used 1 simple key and the machine opened up, no wonder there is so much frued here. I found my card and he left the other 20+ cards and shut it again. In the afternoon we went on a downhill cycling tour which was defiantly one of the highlights of my trip.

First we went to a coffee plantation where we tried 12 different types of drinks and learnt how they make it all. We bought some coffee and chocolate which was super expensive even for English prices but we felt bad as we were the only ones there. The man working there said I could live with him after Aimee leaves so if things get bad I have a back up option. We cycled through small villages where children high fived us as we went past, went into a rice paddy which nearly gave me a heart attack as I kept on thinking snakes were going to get me, and through the countryside which was full of so much colour. Our tour guide was lovely and told us so much about the culture and answered our long list of questions. Normally there is about 8 people on the trip but it was just me and Aimee because of the volcano and going into low season.IMG_20171016_221111_836

In the evening we went for dinner then to No Mas which had live music upstairs and was lit by candles and dim lighting. Once again a romantic setting for us to enjoy with a load of couples. We met 3 English men though and chatted with them for a while then moved onto a bar/club down the road. It was tucked behind the Main Street and was huge inside, you would never have guessed from looking from the road. We danced for a while until it shut then had a nightmare trying to get a taxi back as apparently after 11pm they don’t exist in Ubud. We eventually made it back safe and sound.

The next day we moved to another hotel (Rijasa Ayung Resort and Villas) up in the hills just a little further out from Ubud. It was defiantly the nicest place we stayed on our trip. The views from our balcony over the canyon were amazing and once again we had the 2 pools to ourselves. One was an infinity pool which looked over the hills and down to the river where we could spot people rafting. We ventured down to the river by a little path which went through the trees, snake alert was high. Once at the bottom we sat on some rocks and watched as people went by on their rafts. It was a shame you couldn’t walk along the river to see what else was around. We climbed back up the hill and jumped straight into the pool to cool off just before it started to rain. And by rain, I mean the heaviest rain I have ever seen. The trees started to emit smoke from the top which was mental to watch from up high.

In the evening the rain had stopped and we went to the hotel next door for dinner. The food was amazing and the ceiling was covered in different coloured umbrellas. We couldn’t see the view as it was dark but I imagine that would have been lovely too. When we were leaving they called a golf buggy for us and drove us back to our hotel next door, wasn’t needed at all but it was fun.IMG_0229

We had another great breakfast in the hotel the following morning then packed up our belongings and got the shuttle to the town centre and went for a raw cheesecake in Kafe. That is the first and last time I ever have any desert ‘raw’. The people who say it tastes the same as normal cheesecake are clearly on drugs. I got bitten 3 times in about 30 seconds whilst sitting there too which is odd as I hadn’t had many since being away. Our taxi picked us up and we headed down to Seminyak where we were going to spend 2 nights.

Gili T and Gili Meno- with Aimee

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IMG_20171024_095708_746We had to get up at 5.45am ready for a 6am taxi to take us down to a meeting point in the town centre where we would be picked up by the transfer company. Surprisingly both were on time.

The drive there was fine, but when we got there we had to stand in the heat waiting for the boat to turn up. We were basically the first ones there and our boat seemed to be the last or one of the last to leave. I think it was about 45 mins late leaving, but in 30 degrees with high humidity, it felt so much longer. When we got off of the boat at Gili Trawangan (Gili T), we went the wrong way with our cases so had to turn back. There are no cars on the island, only horses which we didn’t want to use as it was very questionable how well looked after they are.We both got burnt from this and just wanted to get into the pool.

The hotel was pretty nice and the pool was lovely but we jumped in only to find it was as hot as having a bath. It was not what was needed so we headed to the beach where we spent about 2 hours solidly in the sea. The current was pretty strong even at knee level which meant it was quite hard to sit still, we just got pulled around constantly. The beach was a lot nicer than the Seminyak/Canggu beaches as this was white sand and calm looking sea (except for the current) with cafes and bars running along the edge.IMG_0298

We headed back to the hotel to get ready and went along the road to the Broken Compass for some food. I wasn’t expecting much as it was a hostel restaurant but we both had such nice food. I ordered a masaman curry and Aimee had a Mie Goreng. Just opposite was Castle which we had heard is a very social and busy hostel with a bar area so we went in to have a look. Drinks were pretty cheap and we joined a big table of people and played a few games, we then went with everyone to another bar. I tried a Juke shot (not sure what its actually called) which was basically vodka with sherbet, I loved it.

We continued to another bar with everyone and ended in Jiggys. Here we danced and chatted outside, then eventually made it home about 4.30am, shortly followed by the Muslim call to pray booming so loudly I could hear it through my ear plugs. These prayers and songs would happen every few hours and were played through a tanoy so there was really no way of avoiding it, we heard it so much I ended up singing/humming along to one of the songs as I knew it so well.IMG_0300

The next day was a bit of a write off to be honest. When we managed to leave the hotel we hired bikes and cycled along the coast looking at the sea, beach front bars, locals building, quirky art work and just generally taking in the island. It was such a great way to see so much more and not just the main tourist area. The track was quite bumpy so we couldn’t go too fast but we got quite far round the island.

We stopped off at a beach front bar and sat down on the bean bags looking out at the ocean. We watched as numerous people tried to get photos on a swing in the sea, one woman even had a drone which I think was pretty over the top unless they were filming a commercial. Men road past on horses in the shallow water as the sun was setting. It was all so lovely and calm.

The bike ride back was interesting to say the least. We hadn’t thought about the fact there are no lights on the path so we were cycling back in the dark on a path with massive holes in the floor, sand and stones. At one point something ran in front of us and it was a few goats crossing to the sea, Aimee lost her sunglasses and my phone flew out the basket but we made it back to the main strip.

Gili Meno
IMG_0302We popped over to Gili Meno for the day to see what this island was like and to do some snorkelling. The boat only took about 20 minutes once we had actually leave the shore. It was a super hot day but we walked along the path by the beach front to see what was around.

It was too hot to continue walking so we stopped off in the shade and sat on a big wooden platform thing and had a drink. We hired some snorkelling equipment and got into the sea. The same strong current was pulling us constantly along to the right and out away from the beach. We had to keep checking where we were in relation to our stuff to make sure we didn’t end up too far away and wouldn’t be able to get back. I haven’t felt a strong current like that in such calm waters before, it was quite scary. It made snorkelling harder to as you couldn’t float in one place for long.

We saw a lot of fish and anchors and boat wreckages, we were desperately trying to see a turtle but we weren’t lucky enough. We later found out if we had of gone a bit further up the beach its the main turtle potting area but of course we hadn’t of known that. We both burnt the whole of our backs from being in the water face down, just adding to my weird marks I still had from Sri Lanka. We got some lunch at one of the cafes along the front and I tried Gado Gado which is tofu, corn cakes, vegetables, satay sauce and rice.

When we got back to T we stopped off and had a crepe. I had chocolate of course. After getting back to the room we both just wanted to cool down as not only was it still boiling but our sunburn was just heating us up even more. For dinner we went down to Scallywags and sat right next to the sea. We went for the BBQ buffet where you go and pick the fish or meat you want and they cook it fresh for you. You then get your salad from the buffet bar. It was all really good I ate too much. Afterwards we went for a drink at a bar further along where a few frozen daiquiris were consumed and we met a few Swedish girls we sat and chatted to for a while.IMG_0299

The next day we got to the ticket station for 9.30am like we were advised to, had a quick breakfast then waited for the 10.30am boat to take us back to mainland Bali. This boat didn’t turn up until about 12.30pm but of course they didn’t tell us it was going to be this late so we all sat in the heat waiting and waiting. I wish they would just say its going to be delayed so we could have gone and done something or at least sat in a bar and had a drink, it was just so frustrating.

When the boat eventually left the water was really choppy so we were going up and down and up and down with waves crashing all around. Water was flying in and all windows and doors had to be shut which made it so hot. The heat mixed with the constant crashing up and down did not make an enjoyable ride at all. We got off the boat after 3pm then had to get up to Ubud. We had a transfer included but they said it would take about 2/2.5hours because of the stop offs. Whether this was true or not we were not in the mood for that so got a taxi instead. We had agreed on a price before getting in then on the journey he said he wanted a big tip as it was too cheap. I really don’t appreciate people asking for tips, but we gave him a little one, ironically he would have gotten more if he hadn’t asked.

IMG_0301We thought we had booked an average hotel but turns out it was super lovely, which was a great surprise after a day of sitting in the sun, nearly being sick on a boat, then being with a rude taxi driver.

Overview of the Gilis
Gili T is the biggest and most built up island out of the three, with Meno being nicknamed the ‘honeymoon island’ as its really quiet and Air is supposed to be a mix of the two.

No cars are on any of the islands which really helps to create a laid back atmosphere as its just people, push bikes and horses. You can cycle the whole of T in about an hour I think so everywhere is easy to get to by foot or bike. There are so many bars and cafes on the beach front it makes it so easy to take a walk and just stop wherever you want for a break, this is not the case in Seminyak/Canggu.

The weather is also a bit more stable and hotter too as its closer to the equator. The sand is whiter and the water is clearer meaning spending time on the beach is what most people choose to do. Diving and snorkelling are the main activities with every other shop advertising equipment and trips.

It’s defiantly a great place to go to relax and stare out to sea for a few days. Just remember everything takes longer than it should so expect to wait for drinks, food, the bill and especially the boats!