Indonesia (Part 1): Gili Air and Nusa Penida

January 28th to 30th: We flew from Aqaba to Athens, spent the night in Athens, and flew to Denpasar the next day. In Denpasar, we sent home all our warm clothes, got sunburned shoulders, and ate some street food before passing out.

January 31st: We were up early to catch a fast ferry to Gili Air, a small island off the NW coast of Lombok.

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Arriving at Gili Air

We treated ourselves to a beach front bungalow and got right to work on relaxing.

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Sadly, this particular relaxing spot was short-lived. The mosquitoes were hungry outside our bungalow!

February 1st to 6th: We had originally planned on spending 3 days on Gili Air. We thought we would get bored because it’s so small (it takes less than 2 hours to walk around the whole island). Turns out we adapted to “boredom” quickly and easily! We ended up switching hotels and extending our stay to a week on this tiny island. We spent our days swimming, reading, walking, and drinking fresh juice.

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Sunrise outside of our bungalow.
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Banana chocolate pancake and omelette with Balinese coffee (at Susan Bungalow, the 2nd place we stayed).
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Mango and watermelon juice
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Our favourite beach

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There are no cars or scooters on Gili Air – just bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.
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Our favorite place to eat – Zzz Warung. Fresh, delicious, friendly, and cheap! Plus a cat! Les tried to feed him some chicken on the sly by throwing some a short distance. The cat retrieved the chicken and ate it right beside us. So much for being inconspicuous.
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Dinner?
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We had some stormy days as well.

February 7th: We took a fast boat to Nusa Penida, an island off the east coast of Bali. It was only 2km from the landing to our guesthouse so we walked like idiots. It was so hot and humid! When we arrived, with sweat running down everything, we learned that we had booked a fan room instead of an AC room. Les has a memory of fan rooms “being quite cool”. I think his memory is failing. IT WAS SO HOT! We have since agreed that fan rooms are okay…..but not cool.

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On our walk to the guesthouse.

February 8th: After reading up on the best way to get around Nusa Penida, we opted for a tour of the west side of the island. The roads are very narrow and at times steep, gravelly, and/or potholed. Having someone familiar with the roads drive us around was amazing. It meant we didn’t have to stress and we were able to fully enjoy the views. Ketut picked us up at 8:30am and took us to four locations: Peguyangan waterfall, Kelingking Beach viewpoint, Angel’s Billabong & Broken Beach, and Crystal Bay Beach.

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There is a temple at the waterfall so we wore sarongs. The hike is about 750 steps down a cliff face that would not pass any kind of health and safety inspection in any Western country.
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Steep with sweaty flip flops!

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At the bottom, crystal clear water runs out of the cliff face and into cascading pools above the ocean. We were the only ones here. It was perfect!

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Babe alert!
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We soon learned that Ketut was not only a driver but a photographer. At every viewpoint he would reach for my phone and tell us where to stand. It felt weird but it is nice to have photos of us. (Not pictured: the excessive sweat from starting the hike back up the cliff face.)

Our next stop was the Kelingking Beach viewpoint. It is a popular Instagram photo-op that looks like T-Rex. The colours were amazing! It was slightly overcast and starting to drizzle a bit but still, the colours were so vibrant!

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We were overwhelmed with the crowds so we took pictures and left. After the solitude of Peguyangan, it was a bit much.

Our third stop of the day was Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. There were lots of tourists here as well, but there was the space to accommodate the crowds.

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Angel’s Billabong is a big tidal pool between two steep rock faces. LOTS of Instagram shots here. The classic is a bikini babe floating in the water. So many tour guides and boyfriends taking pictures. The filtered Insta pics show blue-green water – that is false! It is a tidal pool so it’s green and grimy (with life).
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My Insta-shot thanks to Ketut with the arch leading to Broken Beach in the background.
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View from the arch, looking at Broken Beach.
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Ketut really liked this photo.

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Our last stop was Crystal Bay Beach. We bobbed around in the water for a bit and then watched the comings and goings (it’s quite a busy beach).

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The clouds rolled in and stayed but it was still warm.

February 9th: We had a slow day. I had a decent migraine so we kept it low key. We rented a scooter and went for pizza.

Next, we head to Ubud!

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