Indonesia Part 4: The Gili Islands (Gili Air)

So this is the penultimate post for our trip to Indonesia (check back on the home page for the others), and the last of the three beautiful blobs that are the Gili Islands. Gili Air is the furthest island from Bali, and the closest to Lombok. It’s in the middle, size-wise, between the other two islands, but like the rest, you can walk around it in under an hour, and the vibe is super chilled! I have to say that I think this was mine and Chester’s favourite island. It’s where we spent the most time out of all three, and we found that it was a happy medium between the more build-up (if you can call it that) Gili T, and the quiet solitude of Gili Meno.

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We stayed in the lovely lovely Djamezz Lumbung. When we went last September, the bungalows were brand new, and didn’t have many reviews online at all. There are only three lumbung (bungalows) in the small complex, and they’re all kept spotless and beautiful by the amazing staff there. Chester obviously made best friends with everyone who worked there like the social butterfly he is! The owner is a Dutch(?) lady called Elma, who runs the place with her husband Komenk. They’re the nicest people, and are full of tips about what to do on the island. Whenever we went out for dinner or to watch a band, they were always up waiting for us to get back, just to make sure we’d had a good evening and got home OK. We paid £30 a night here, which I think is great value considering how new and high-quality the bungalows are. You can find Djamezz on booking.com here. If there was one place I recommend you stay, it’s here. The people are total gems, and I wish them all the luck in the world!

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For the most part we pretty much bummed around on the beach drinking coconuts and eating delicious food (can you spot a theme running through this holiday?). Like the other islands, there are beach bars and restaurants all around the coast, most of them with sunbeds on the beach that you can use if you buy some drinks or lunch. Our favourite place to sit and chill for the day was Freedom bar, which is on the South-East of the island. They did good drinks, had bamboo sunbeds, as well as some bamboo day bed type things which were good if you wanted a bit of shade while you ate (or to hide your pasty skin from the sun when you get too cocky and burn- like me). We also loved walking around all of the islands, and this was usually the first thing we’d do when arriving, just to get our bearings and see where we might want to try out while we were there. I personally think that Gili Air has the best food option out of the three islands, and there are loads of places inland on the islands, so don’t miss them!

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One place that me and Ches really loved was Pachamama (the last 4 photos above). They did the best healthy-ish veggie and vegan food and drinks. We went once in the day-time and had this fantastic banana-cacao-toast type invention, and once in the evening. The setting is really beautiful, and they’ve obviously put a lot of love into the business. They also had a cute shop downstairs in the basement, which sold lots of boho clothes and decorations, as well as some lovely wooden and bamboo bits and pieces.

Our top 5 places to eat

1) Pachamama was awesome. I think I preferred it in the day time rather than in the evening, although that was definitely lovely too. We were both just obsessed by the iced coffee and this banana thing, so are probably a bit biased. The service is good, and you get free ice-cold water (very important, believe me!).

2) The Mexican Kitchen. If you think Indonesia and Mexico aren’t a natural mix- you’re just wrong. The food here was fab, as well as the cocktails, setting and service. There’s also a place just a couple of doors down that is great if you want to see some live music. I can’t remember what it was called, but when we were there, they had a reggae band doing some real classics and it was jam packed.

3) Ok, so I don’t know what this place is called! It’s basically opposite a place called Shark Bites (which also looked nice but we didn’t go). But anyway, it just did awesome, simple, authentic Indonesian food for a good price. Nothing fancy, but great for a filling lunch or dinner out. If anyone knows the name, I’d love to know!

4) Coffee and Thyme. Nice place to chill out in the shade and have an iced coffee and some tasty cake. The service is a bit meh, but I really like the design of the place. If you’re waiting for a boat, it’s also super close to the harbour, so worth popping in. There are also lots of little boutique type shops in this area, which are nice to browse around and pick up a few things, but I think they may be a little over-priced.

5) Ruby’s. This has to go on the list because we heard so many people rave about it, and it was highly recommended by everyone who worked at our bungalows. We were absolutely gutted that it was closed for the whole time we were on the island (sob). Although, as Ches says, it gives us a reason to go back! As far as I’m aware, it’s classic Indonesian food, with amazing service and fair prices. What’s not to love! It’s also number 1 on tripadvisor for the island.

There are also lots of places on Gili air offering amazing fresh grilled meat and seafood, usually with a side and salad bar (we went to Scallywags). They’re really nice, and the food is super fresh and tasty, but we found it just a little bit expensive. For us, is was nice to go once, but we felt we could get better value elsewhere.

We were so sad to leave this island in particular. One, because it meant we were near the end of our trip, and two, because we just felt so at home there! We’ll definitely be back.

Charlotte x

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