- ANA First Class SFO-NRT
- Thai Airways First Class NRT-BKK
- Exploring Bangkok, Royal Orchid Sheraton
- Thai Airways Business Class BKK-DPS
- Bali Part I: Kuta, Padangbai
- Bali Part II: Gili Trawangan, Seminyak
- Thai Airways BKK First Class Lounge and Spa
- Thai Airways First Class BKK-NRT, UA First Class NRT-SFO
The next stop was the Gili Islands where we had booked a villa on Gili-Trawangan or Gili-T as most people call it for our 2 night stay. The fast boat took off from Padangbai and took about an hour and a half. It was a very comfortable, air-conditioned ride and was definitely worth the price over the ferry which would have taken over 5 hours. The Gili Islands are a great place to unplug since there are no vehicles allowed, so the primary modes of transport are walking, biking, or donkey cart. The first day we spent here we primarily explored and enjoyed some relaxation and swimming at our villa and at the beach. The beaches on Gili-T were probably the best that we found across our trip through Bali, but with one major problem. Everyone on the beach is in ridiculously good shape, like something out of a MTV music video. So for us fatty Americans, we were definitely feeling a bit self-conscious until we eventually learned to embrace the fact that we probably had the biggest stomachs on the entire island.
We stayed at the Gili Villas which is a compound with four 2-BR villas, and our villa easily accommodated our group of 5. Each villa has 2 bungalows with a bedroom and en-suite bathroom. There's also a huge living room area with TV and DVD player and a good sized private pool. They also provide a full kitchen, although we didn't use it and was only used by the staff that came to cook breakfast each morning which is included in the price. The price for the villa is much more than what you'd pay at a local hostel/homestay, but for us it was worth it for the level of comfort and privacy it provided.
|beach at Gili-T - make sure to bring your 6-pack|
|grilled barracuda and snapper skewers from the night market|
|our villa in Gili-T|
|kitchen and sitting area|
On our second day we decided to do one last dive at Hans Reef and saw some interesting sea life including more turtles, lion fish, and eels. The current during our dive happened to be extremely strong so we weren't able to spend much time at the reef before getting blown away. There are a lot of dive shops on Gili-T, but just pick the one that appeals to you most since there is no need to negotiate or shop around for prices as all the dive stores on the island have agreed-upon prices for diving.
Below are a couple sample videos from our dive along with some pictures. With a couple hours of raw footage we didn't want to bore everyone, so we're planning to edit later on into a compilation. All photos and video shot using GoPro Hero3 camera.
After enjoying our 2+days in Gili-T we were sad to go, but were excited to head back to Seminyak for the last there days of our trip. We decided that trying the donkey cart was a must, and used it to carry our luggage to the boat dock. The fast boat back to Padangbai took a bit longer this time (almost 2 hours) and after an hour+ car ride we arrived back in Seminyak. We had used airbnb.com to rent a 5-BR villa and it worked out quite well. I would recommend using this type of approach especially when traveling with a group that wants to all stay in one place.
During the last few days in Seminyak we focused on relaxing before heading back home. If shopping is your thing, there are a ton of shops in the area that sell clothing, artwork, and arts & crafts. Massages are also much cheaper than back home and would recommend getting as many as you can while there. We considered doing a day trip to Ubud but got lazy and ended up mostly hanging out in Kuta and Seminyak, but we heard that the monkey forest and zoo are both interesting and worth seeing if you go. We also had a chance to check out Ku De Ta and Potato Head which are two of the cool hangout spots in the area. Overall, we enjoyed Potato Head much more and thought that the scene and vibe there was much better.
|riding the donkey cart is a must|
|hanging out at ku de ta during the day|
|ku de ta|
|beach outside ku de ta|
|potato head at night time|