I'm back in Suphan now, currently getting ready to teach my first class which is about to take place, so it's slightly painful to write this blog post about my most recent trip to Indonesia that covered Bali and Gili Trawangan. Simply put, these two places are paradise. Bali was everything I had heard about and more, and Gili T (as it is lovingly called) was the most beautiful, relaxing, perfect piece of earth I've ever set foot on.
Nell and I decided early on that we wanted to spend our last two weeks of summer break on a beach doing nothing, and I would have to say our trip was a total success in that regard! I spent 3 of the 7 days in Indonesia in Bali - one night in Kuta, which is really all you need there, and 2 nights in Ubud. Ubud is definitely the heart of Bali; it's full of culture, its residents wear traditional Balinese dress, the grounds and temples are covered in spirit offerings full of rice, flowers, candy, etc. and the rice terraces are perfectly carved into the hills. We stayed in a homestay there that was really nice and in our budget and spent most of our time walking around the city and soaking it in. Nell and I attempted to hire a taxi to take us around for the day to see the volcano, the islands famous temples, and the rice terraces - but we only made it to the terrace and a very foggy volcano viewpoint before the rain set in and ended our tourist expedition. I definitely didn't see all there was to see in Bali, which means I guess I'll have to make a return trip at some point in my lifetime! I think I've found the perfect honeymoon destination...now all I need is a groom : )
In the middle of our time in Bali we took off on a 2 hour speedboat ride to another island in Indonesia, Gili Trawangan. Gili T is one of three Gili islands off the coast of Lombok. Gili T was small enough that we could walk around (tip to others: don't go at sunset or you'll wind up feeling your way around the barren part of the island at night using your cell phone as a flashlight and avoiding weird animals - not that I know from experience or anything...) and it was surrounded by water that is of the crystal clear turquoise/teal/blue variety. There are no cars, no motorbikes, and no dogs allowed on Gili T - the only way to get around is to walk or take a horse and buggy - this only adds to the islands cuteness factor. While on Gili T we spent most of our time on the beach, drinking banana shakes, eating pizza at one of the bean-bag beachside restaurants, watching movies at night projected onto big screens on the sand, and attempting to snorkel (unfortunately we picked a windy day to do this and the water wasn't clear enough to see any of the island's famous sea turtles that live offshore.) I would go back to Gili T in a heartbeat, and I easily could have spent more time there, it was really hard to get back on the boat, but luckily we couldn't be too sad about "going back to Bali."
The only downside about Bali and Gili T is that they are not as cheap as Thailand, actually Thailand is cheaper than any of the other countries I've visited, so by the end of my week my funds were in a bit of a dire situation (I'm living a cash-only existence these days since I don't have a Thai bank account and my school pays in cash) so Nell and I instituted a serious budget. Of course, the budget made room for some luxuries - like a 2 hour Balinese body scrub and massage - while we sacrificed things like "lunch". Every Rupiah spent in Bali was well worth it though and I would do it all again if I had the chance to go back- which I hopefully will! Up next: off to Malaysia!