Three weeks in Bali...I needed three months. There is so much to see and do and such little time. Which is why I along with other fellow Roamers started cramming last week (Reason I'm SOO behind on blog posts.) If you take a look at the small map below you'll get a taste of the great distance some of us traveled in a matter of 5 days. I'm feeling blessed and slightly drained.
Sunday, Megan had several friends fly into Bali and they were kind enough to invite me on their 24-hour adventure to Gili Trawangan (we call it Gili T.) Other Roamers had already been and really talked up the islands. It was a must-see on their lists. I was hesitant to go because I had a few work meetings I needed to be apart of and typically the wifi is a little spotty on remote islands. I figured with my personal hotspot, Google Fi and the wifi at the Airbnb SOMETHING had to work. I also knew I'd have major FOMO had I decided to skip.
Monday morning rolled around and I was in a taxi by 6:15 am heading to Seminyak to meet Megan and her crew. We had a van pick us up around 7ish for the 2-hour drive to Padang Bai where we got on a Fast Cruise boat. The ride was smooth sailing and took about 1.5 hours.
I'm trying to remember what I was expecting Gili T to be like. I guess in my mind I was thinking luxury resorts, spas, restaurants, and beaches with turquoise water... oh and colorful sunsets... What I wasn't expecting, was a backpackers paradise and monsoon like weather.
We had three options for transportation around the island. 1. Walk 2. Rent a bike 3. Get in this small wagon (max of three people) hitched up to what looked like a tired, thirsty and out of breath pony. We opted for the horse and carriage. I'm still feeling bad about this decision. I hope to God they treat those horses well. This is what causes me to lose sleep at night.
Our Airbnb ended up being 2 minutes away from the boat dock which was fabulous as we were all hot, sweaty and ready to take a dip in the pool. The villa consisted of 5 bedrooms, three pools, and two living areas. The bedrooms were the only enclosed rooms and we were quick to crank up the A/C. The pictures in the Airbnb listing looked gorgeous and rustic but what we couldn't see were dead frogs in the pool, cockroaches, water dripping down bedroom walls, and popping electrical outlets. We realized had we booked a hotel we would have paid the same price and had nicer accommodations.
We didn't hang out at the Airbnb long before we decided to hit the beach. It was 5 minutes from our place so we walked until we found a good place to hang out. We were SO lucky to have a sunny day. It's been nothing but monsoons around Bali the last week with very little sun. We all frolicked around in the ocean for a bit, some went surfing and I tried to get as much vitamin D as possible. Our crew was parked right in front of a hotel so we went to eat in their outdoor space. PEOPLE.. the flies.. I just can't deal with hundreds of flies while I'm trying to eat. I felt like I was back on the farm in a pile of manure. Gross. Totally ruined my lunch. I don't know what it is about the island but you can't shake them.
After lunch we walked around the island, specifically looking for the Gili Swings. There are so many CUTE beach clubs and restaurants. This is where we found certain accommodations we wished we would have known about sooner :-/
I had a lot of work to do and meetings to prep for so we headed back to the Airbnb fairly early. Everyone else went to dinner while I sat in my bed, wrapped in a mosquito net and worked. I was on my first call with my team when it started storming pretty badly. I remember being extremely startled by what sounded like a bomb going off, it was only lightening striking 100 M away from our Airbnb. How do I know this? The crew happened to have the GoPro on while they were walking back in the pouring rain. Crazy! The whole sky lit up like the 4th of July.
It wasn't soon after the electricity started going out that my wifi and Google Fi stopped working.... and then the hotspot failed me miserably. Sigh, I still had one more call at 1:00am to hop on and I felt it was uber important to be present. When I sold this program to my team, I promised to be available 24/7, to be on late night calls and do everything I can to make sure I'm connected.. I failed miserably this night and I was feeling pretty crummy about it. Luckily for me, they're all very forgiving and understanding individuals.
I was able to login to the 1:00 am meeting for 20 minutes before the power went out for the fourth time...meaning.... WE HAD NO A/C. Yes, I'm a spoiled brat. It was hot and muggy. I believe it made the mosquito situation worse. By the time morning rolled around I was ready to get the going.
We thought our boat was going to leave at 9:30 am so we walked to the dock early. Around 11:45 am we got on the dern thing and endured a very choppy ride home. The girl behind us was sick. Sounds, smells, rocky boat.. uhh, my stomach. I was more than happy to get off the boat when we docked what felt like 3 hours later.
It took about 2.5 hours to get home from Padang Bai and by that time I was ready for a solid nap, followed by Luigi's Pizza.
A few lessons learned from my trip to Gili T for all of you who are considering the trip.
- At your local pharmacy you can buy patches that prevent sea sickness - buy several
- Gili T is known as a party island and Gili A is more relaxing - choose wisely
- Maybe look at resorts on the beach opposed to Airbnb's, especially if you're a digital nomad and need to rely on Wifi
- Stay away from the rainy season - January especially
- Walk the entire island - without stopping it would only take about an hour
- Take plenty of cash, I didn't see any ATMs
- Most of the beach clubs don't charge you to sit in their lounge seating so hop around. Several really cool spots with different vibes.
- Stay more than one night! It's a long trip back to Bali for one day.
- Take plenty of bug spray, the mosquitos will hunt you down!