With everything that went on for the first 3/4 of last year, house and wedding planning, I knew our first vacation as a married couple would revolve around just 1 word, BEACH. Being in Asia, it is relatively easy to fly yourself to the various beach destinations that surround Sunny Singapore. But, Indonesia’s Gili Islands had always been on my list. So, it felt natural to get ourselves there to literally do nothing and be beach bums all day, every day.
We managed to score ourselves relatively affordable tickets to Bali on Airasia during a sale for SGD 500 for the 2 of us. As we were flying off on 1 September, which was a public holiday, we knew we couldn’t score bargain tickets. Another way to get to Gili Islands, would be to fly to Lombok instead of Bali. However, as no budget airlines flies to Lombok yet, it was economical for us.
Since we arrived late into Bali, we decided to stay a night at Amnaya Resort Kuta (SGD 117/night) before we headed off to Gili Air in the morning. After checking in, we scooted off right away to Johnny Tacos which was close by for our late dinner.
Basic yet so yum tacos at Johnny Tacos
The next morning, we set off to Gili Air. Our tickets were IDR 225k each and the ferry (Ganggari Fast Boat) took us through Padang Bai. We spent the whole morning travelling we checked in way past noon at our home for the next 2 nights – Samata Village (SGD 142/night). The place blew me away when I first found them online and boy, it was exactly what I had imagined it to be.
If this isn’t paradise, I don’t know what else is
Gilli Air, felt like I was in another world altogether having just come from Kuta. Although it was still fairly crowded with tourists, the cobbled pavements, horse carts, sand under your feet definitely did it’s magic on me. We spent the rest of the day indulging in food, more food (think gelato) and watching the sun set right before our eyes.
Sunset at Gili Air
Exploring the island on bicycles
Numerous postcard moments
Movie night at Ombak Restaurant
Day 2 in Gili Air is better explained from the last 3 photos above. It was just the perfect kind of quiet to unwind after all the crazy months of planning. For food, we checked out Chill Out Cafe, Raja Bar and Restaurant, The Mexican Kitchen and Scallywags (only dessert though). My recommendation would for both the food as well as beach huts to lounge the afternoon away would be The Mexican Kitchen. Apart from that, the rest of the restaurants were passable for food but perfect for chilling.
Heads up, we got our hopes too high thinking we could have a good brunch before we set off to Gili Meno. We chanced upon Coffee and Thyme which greeted us right at jetty when we first got to Gili Air. But, trust me, when I say just enter the restaurant, take a few snaps of the pool by the side and leave. Do NOT spend your dollar. But, I suppose that experience was good to kick us out of Gili Air and onward to Gili Meno because we sure did not have much blues after our “meal” there.
If Gili Air was paradise, Gili Meno is heaven
We arrived from Gili Air to Gili Meno real quick given how close both islands were. Our ferry costed us IDR 85k per person. And as we were approaching the island, we knew for sure, we would be spending our unplanned night in Meno before we head to Ubud in 3 days time. Gili Meno was far quieter with lesser people and beach huts littered all around the coast line.
Villa Mojo in its full glory
Our first 2 nights were spent at Villa Mojo (SGD 148/night) and for the last night Les Villas Ottalia (SGD 84/night). Villa Mojo was in a very good location, near the beach and basically the main road of the island. However, getting to Les Villas was indeed a struggle. So if you are travelling with a lot of luggage, please bear that in mind. The highlight of Gili Meno was our meal over sunset at Mahamaya Resort. It was really a treat for the eyes and a feast for the tummy. And also, tears for the wallet. Our dinner for 2 was IDR 470k.
Apart from Mahamaya, Karma Beach Club is another popular place in Gili Meno.
With a view like this before your eyes, all the worries in the world probably disappear even if it is temporary. The rest of our time in Gili Meno was spent beach hopping and indulging in sinful food.
Both Gili Air and Gili Meno are really small islands that you cover either by foot or a bicycle. There are no automobiles which equates to no pollution. It’s just you and nature and more nature.
As much as it was painful to say our goodbye to the islands after 5 days, I was very excited to finally visit Ubud. Despite, being to Bali multiple times, I never made it up to Ubud. Plus, when you have got an amazing Airbnb stay (SGD 104/night) with a view like this, who wouldn’t be! 😉
No words can describe the peace and tranquility that greets you when you step into the villa. Ubud is littered with many many good cafes and eateries. I wish we had more days to explore (a.k.a. stuff our faces silly).
Among all our meals we had in Ubud, our best meal experience was at Clear Cafe. It was truly one of a kind. For those of you heading to Ubud, Clear Cafe is a MUST on your list.
For authentic Balinese food, we tried Cafe Lotus which is also famous for having traditional Balinese dance performance in the evenings. We got our Mexican fix at Taco Casa which was bustling with people every time we drove past. For coffee lovers, I would highly recommend Seniman Coffee Studio. We had brunch at Habitat which had amazing smoothie bowls. For our last dinner in Ubud, we concluded the night in Hujan Locale which caters to people looking for a twist in a typical Asian restaurant. For coconut lovers, you will go nuts (pun unintended), at Tukies Coconut Shop.
Apart from the delectable food scene, Ubud is also famous for their rafting day trips. We booked our rafting excursion with BMW (Bali Mitra Wahana) for IDR 500k for 2 pax. BMW was said to be one of the better rafting companies to go with. But, please do your homework before you decide on which company to go with. Some factors to consider would be the distance covered as well as the terrain grade.
After a day out under the sun, we decided to pamper ourselves to a 2.5 hour spa package at Sang Spa 2 for IDR 900k.
With that, our amazing 10-day Indonesia adventure concluded! For a beach bum like me, Gili Meno were the best 3 days spent together with my husband. Till next time!
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.