Nusa Penida – 24th August 2022

This morning we were up super early to get ready for our day trip to Nusa Penida!
Nathan had to quickly go and get our clothes from the laundry place as we had run out of clean clothes the day before but they had shut before we could collect them again.
Our driver who picked us up was a guy called Agung who arrived around 7:00am (a little later than scheduled as he was confused as to where our hotel was)
Luckily he was a quick driver and we got to the harbor in Sanur a little after 8:00am.

Sanur is a little seaside town on the southeast of Bali. This is where all the boats will depart from if you’re doing any trips out to the islands.
When we got to the harbor, Agung took us to the one of the boat companies to collect our pre-booked tickets and then showed us what boat to take. There were so many people at the harbor! There’s so many different companies that do day-trips so there’s definitely a lot of commotion as people are trying to find their boats or lining up for tickets.

Once our boat was ready for everyone to board, we waddled through the water (just below knee height) and were helped onto the boat by the people working on board.
I have to say though, there was a lot of pushing and cutting in line!! Like we’re all literally going to the same place I wish people would just chill a bit. Not to mention Sanur Harbor hasn’t been developed properly where you can just step onto the boat. You literally have to walk in the water to get on and off so when people are pushing in front just to get on it’s super annoying.

The boat ride to Nusa Penida took about an hour. I read online it’s only meant to take about 42 minutes so maybe it just felt a lot longer as I had assumed it’d be a quick 20 minute ride.
If you get seasick, definitely take some tablets beforehand as there were a few people (mainly children) who were not well on the way over.

Once we got to Nusa Penida, we met our driver who was waiting for us with our name on a sign. We told him in the car where we wanted to go and he recommended we start at Broken Beach as there would be less tourists there at that time of day.

Broken Beach is a scenic coastal formation on the southwestern edge of Nusa Penida. It’s one of the more popular hangout spots for the manta rays however we didn’t see any from where we were.

Next stop was Angels Billabong which is just down from Broken Beach. If you like you can swim in the natural infinity pool which is framed by rock cliffs and hangs out over the ocean overlooking Manta Point Beach.

When we got back to the car, I had a look at the photos our guide had taken and they definitely weren’t as good as what our guide took of us in Ubud! Hahahaha. To get the scenery in the background, he kept adjusting the settings so it had this weird kind of warped or stretched out affect. In other words, I looked massive in all the pictures! I tried to edit them the best I could but if you see my legs look really weird or my ass the size of a watermelon in any of these pictures than now you know why 😀 😀 😀

When we hopped back in the car, our driver took us to Kelingking Beach which is one of the most popular and iconic views in Bali and has the famous ‘T-Rex’ shaped rock sticking out over the ocean. The view was absolutely beautiful! The water was clear and blue and the beach looked absolutely amazing. There’s a 120m high path to go down to the beach but the hike takes about 2 hours to get down and back up and it didn’t look easy! Everyone was sweating when they were returning so we decided to give it a miss. Especially as we had more to see.

I did read online that there’s another spot located very close to Kelingking Beach with its own amazing scenery, called Paluang Cliff. It’s just a 5 minute drive from Kelingking and it gives you views of the Kelingking T-rex from the other side, without the crowds if you didn’t want to wait in line for a photo like I did 😀

I make it seem like these places were super quick and easy to see but it actually takes ages to get around the island. Many of the roads in Nusa Penida are still very rough and narrow so you go slower on some roads due to them being so rocky!
I personally wouldn’t hire a scooter or motorbike, although lots of people seem to do it with no issues, just because it gets so hot and dusty on the roads I’d rather be in an air-conditioned car haha.

Lunch was included as part of our tour package so we stopped off at a local Warung (restaurant) and chose something from a Set menu. I ordered some rice dish and Nathan got Chicken skewers with satay sauce. The portions were small but it was enough to keep us going for the day.

Next stop, Diamond Beach.
The cliff lookout over Diamond Beach has always been popular at Nusa Penida. However, a few years back, local developers carved a stairway straight into the cliff-face, opening up the beach to everyone.
It takes about 15 minutes to reach the bottom and it is pretty steep so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that doesn’t have a good level of fitness. When you get to the end of the staircase, you actually have to hold onto a rope to get you onto the beach as the stairs don’t take you all the way to the ground. Again – don’t be bringing your 87 year old grandma down here.

While we were waiting for our turn to get down to the beach, we spoke to some people who were climbing back up and they told us to be careful while swimming in the ocean as someone had nearly been swept out there. Apparently it is not really recommended to go into the water at Diamond Beach. If you do, you shouldn’t go out too far as the riptides are very strong and there are some very rocky sections in the water too. Not to mention no one can really help you if you do get swept out as there are no lifeguard’s or anything around. If you are planning on going, just stick to the rock pools or the shallow waters for your instagram snap!

Kind of like I did…

Unfortunately we didn’t get the sun at Diamond Beach as it was shaded by the cliff. Nathan kept saying we should have walked down to Kelingking Beach and enjoyed the sun there but we weren’t to know that Diamond beach would be so shady! If we could do it again, we probably would have made the effort to treck the 120m’s down to Kelingking Beach and stayed there for the day as it really was stunning!

After spending a couple of hours at Diamond Beach, we woke up our driver who was having a little nap in the sand and we headed back up to the car.

By this stage, it was around around 3:30-4:00pm so we made the hour’s drive back to the harbour to get our boat back to Sanur.

There was definitely more places to see on Nusa Penida but as we were limited on time we mainly checked out the main spots that you see on everyone’s Instagram posts.
The boat ride back to Sanur felt a little faster than the way over. The poor guy who was sitting in front of us threw up the whole way back. Thank god Nathan and I don’t really get that seasick!

When we got off the boat, our driver was meant to meet us but my phone died and I was the only one who had his WhatsApp number. There were far too many people to be able to find him (plus I’d kinda forgotten what he looked like) so after walking around for ages we walked back to the place he parked his car when he dropped us off and thankfully he was there waiting for us! He couldn’t get in contact with us either so he walked back too – lucky!

After Agung dropped us off at our accommodation, Nathan and I freshened up a bit and then headed off to Jimbaran Beach to grab some dinner. There were so many restaurants at Jimbaran Beach we were gutted we didn’t find all these places the night before when we were trying to find somewhere to eat!

We ordered Nachos, Pizza and a couple of drinks from this restaurant called Beekini Bowl and sat on the beach to watch the planes lands as you could see the airport in the distance.
Was a nice relaxing way way to end a busy day!

Top Tips for visiting Nusa Penida

  • Bring water in an insulated drink bottle. It gets so hot and you’ll be walking lots so you’ll want your water to be cold when you’re sweating
  • There’s a lot of stairs and walking in the sun, lather on the sunscreen!
  • If you’re doing a day trip, book a driver for the day. Unless you’re a Bali pro, it’s more comfortable to hire a driver and get them to take you around the island. They’ll take you to where you want to go and everything is on your own time so there’s heaps of flexibility!
  • Don’t be on Diamond Beach or Kelingking Beach when the sun goes down as it will be dark when you hike back up
  • If you’re driving yourself around the island, take it slow as the roads have little maintanice and get very narrow
  • All the famous spots will be filled with tourists taking a picture. Get there early to avoid the lines. Luckily, most people just want a photo and will move on so the wait isn’t crazy long.
  • 3 Days is the recommended amount of time to see the WHOLE island however you can tick off the main sites in a day if you’re tight on time
  • There’s a hidden beach called Suwehan Beach which isn’t included in many of the day tours. It’s a 30 minute hike down to the beach but you’ll be greeted with gorgeous white sand and turquoise water. Go before lunchtime so you get the sun.

Flower Baths & Jimbaran – 22nd August 2022

I wasn’t hungry this morning so I skipped breakfast. Poor Nathan had a solo breakfast but he’s a fast eater so I doubt he minded too much haha.
This was our last day in Ubud and I had pre-booked some more spa treatments at the Kaveri Spa at our resort. After my pretty mediocre massage on our first day, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing but this therapist was waaaay better!

Our treatment started with a couples massage (with MUCH better pressure) followed by body scrubs and body masks. After we washed the strawberry masks off in the showers, we had a beautiful smelling flower bath. These baths are the new craze in Bali and lots of spas are starting to offer them in their packages. It was definitely more of a photo opportunity for me as I find baths incredibly boring haha. But it was a nice experience! The flowers also smelt AMAZING. (Note: it’s very hard to try and slip into a bath when the flowers have been arranged so nicely)

Nathan did join me after taking 100 photos of me. I asked if he wanted a picture but he declined. I wonder why… (I did however get him in a little video)

After the bath, I hopped in the shower to wash the hundreds of flower petals off me. (Not sure if I was meant to do this as I’m sure they just got stuck in the drain – woops) then we headed to reception to check-out.

If you remember back to my previous posts, I mentioned I had organized a photo-shoot for Nathan and I as we wanted some professional pictures taken to display at our wedding. After not having anything to wear, I cancelled the photo shoot and didn’t re-book anything. Funnily enough when we stayed at Udaya Resort & Spa they offered us a complimentary photo shoot session. We had to book which was easy enough to do and they had a photographer come and take photos of us around the resort on our last day. You got one picture free and then if you wanted any more you could buy photo packages. It’s actually a great way to get business because THEY SURE GOT ME!

I ended up buying a long maxi dress from the markets in Ubud the day before so wore that for our photo shoot. If you’re getting married, I highly recommend doing some type of professional photo shoot before the big day as you can start to get comfortable in front of the camera. I can take a million mirror selfies but when someone else is taking photos of me I’m not sure how to position my body so this was good practice. (Even more so for Nathan as he hates staged photos hahaha) Surprisingly enough the photos actually came out pretty good! We ended up purchasing about 20 of them which cost around AUD$180 which is pretty expensive for Bali. However it was good to get it over and done with and I didn’t want the hassle of trying to find someone else. I won’t show any of the photos on here yet as I’m wanting them to be a surprise but I can say the big white hat did make an appearance 😀

After the photoshoot, we headed next door to have lunch at The Melali for the second time that week. Nathan ordered a Mexican wrap with Chicken whereas I ordered mine with Falafel. We also got some fries with Tzatziki sauce and crumbed chicken strips to share.

Once we’d finished our meals we ordered a Gojek car to take us to our next accommodation in Jimbaran. The guy that picked us up had this small little hatchback car so we crammed our suitcases in and begun the 1.5 hour drive to our next hotel.

We had booked two nights at The Royal Tulip Springhill Resort which was about 1km away from the famous Rock Bar. My first impression of the resort was that it was quite secluded. As in, to get to the resort from the main road you had to take a few long entrances to get to the front. (You couldn’t just step out and start walking around the streets kind of thing) The staff were nice and the rooms were large and decent and they had a large pool for families.

After checking in to our room we sat by the pool for a little bit and ordered a couple of milkshakes. The restaurant area was pretty dead so I’m not sure why it took a good 20 minutes just to make two milkshakes but oh well haha. While we were sitting there I overhead a girl say that apparently there was an earthquake. I googled it and there had just been a 5.6 earthquake where we were. Obviously as we were outside we didn’t feel anything so kind of gutted we weren’t in our room to experience it! (We always get earthquakes in NZ so it’s a little bit of a thrill when they happen)

We decided to get ready around 5pm and head to The Rock Bar at the Ayana Hotel for a few drinks to watch the sunset. Our Gojek ride only took about 10 minutes however it would have taken longer if I hadn’t realised that Nathan had hopped on the wrong Gojek!
When your scooter arrives, they usually say your name so you know it’s yours and you just hop on the back and off you go. Nathan went before me so when another one arrived and asked me if I was Nathan I was like oh shit he’s hopped on the wrong scooter. I took Nathan’s one instead and quickly called him to tell him to double check where his driver was taking him. Turns out he was going somewhere way further so he got his driver to cancel the original ride and take him to The Rock Bar instead and paid him a little bit of cash for the hassle.
I tried cancelling my original ride but it wouldn’t let me as my driver had arrived at my location. He couldn’t cancel it from his end either so he had to drive to The Rock Bar to ‘complete’ the trip. (Think this is a safety feature Gojek has so the app knows the driver took you where you to were meant to go) I felt a bit bad but at least he still got paid for it I guess!

Entrance to The Ayana Resort

The Ayana Resort looked really nice! If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more luxurious to stay in the South of Bali I would recommend staying there. I’ve read some good reviews on it too!
To get to The Rock Bar you have to walk through the resort then take this tram ride down to the bar/restaurant on the oceanfront.

Not my picture but my photo skills aren’t the best to get a pic like this haha

This is one of the most popular places to watch the Sunset in Jimbaran. As expected it was pretty pricey as it’s at a 5-star resort so we just grabbed a couple of drinks. We were considering ordering some food but the menu didn’t appeal to me and from what I’ve read the food isn’t amazing for what you pay so we just sat and watched the sunset for an hour.

While we were at The Rock Bar I googled places nearby for dinner. I came across an Indian place called Indian Tandoor so we ordered another couple of Gojek’s and headed off for our little dinner date.

Classic Sarah & Nathan white people meal. We ordered two butter chickens with garlic naans, white rice and even a sprite!!! Hahahahaha. We’ve been dying for a good butter chicken since we moved to Perth as we literally have not had a good one since we moved. The Indian in Western Australia is so average. (Well, the Butter Chickens are at least) so we were hoping Bali would have a good one. It was surprisingly quite good but still not the absolute BEST I have had.

When on holiday you must have dessert so we went on the hunt for an ice-cream place. We had driven past the Movenpick hotel a few times so we thought surely they would have a Movenpick Ice-cream store close by. A quick Google map confirmed they did so off we went!
Unfortunately though the ice-cream flavours were super unappealing. We walked to another gelato place down the road but their flavours didn’t excite me either. No dessert was had that night 😦

When we got back to our hotel we had showers and I did a little self-tanning as my spray tan was starting to fade. As it was my birthday the next day I wanted to be all bronzed for the day club! 😀 😀

Bali Overview. Where to stay?

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New Zealanders and Australians love Bali.
The scenery is beautiful when you get out of the bustling cities, the food and drink is so much cheaper than what we buy back home, flights are becoming cheaper with Airlines such as Jetstar providing 1-way fares for $150 and the weather is nearly always amazing!

Bali is the Number 1 Tourist destination for Australian Tourists.
Flights from Australia can be very cheap and it’s the closest country to them that has sunshine, cheap alcohol and surf. It’s like the Spring Break of America.

Depending on why you’re going to Bali, you can usually find what you’re looking for.
I know people who go to Bali on boys trips just to party it up and drink lots of Bintang Beer, Girls go with their Bridesmaids before a wedding for a long week of cheap pedicures, $10 massages and swims in infinity pools.
They have some awesome retreats here as well where you can spend days in the middle of the forest sleeping in luxury accommodation, waking up to beautiful rice fields, gourmet breakfasts and attending yoga classes.

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I personally went to Bali back in 2014 with my Boyfriend of 1 year. It was a spur of the moment decision as we were originally wanting to take a week trip to an island nearer New Zealand like Raratonga or Fiji.
One day we went to a travel Expo in our home-town and headed straight to the area where they had brochures on the Islands. As pretty as they were, we weren’t super ‘excited’ about going. The beaches looked beautiful, the accommodation looked nice but we came to the conclusion that’d we’d just be a bit… bored in Raro.
We like a bit of adventure mixed with some relaxation and culture so when we got talking to a Travel Agent who’d been to Bali, he pretty much made up our minds for heading to Indonesia for 2 weeks. He raved on about how cheap everything was, how there was lots of stuff to do and places to party etc… The next day we’d booked through Virgin Australia 2x Return trips from Wellington, New Zealand to Bali in June as our first trip as a couple!

How Long Does It Take To Get There (Direct):
This isn’t including stop-overs
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Auckland to Bali – 8 Hours, 53 minutes
Wellington to Bali – 9 Hours
Melbourne to Bali – 6 Hours
Sydney to Bali – 6 Hours, 16 Minutes
Perth to Bali – 3 Hours, 44 Minutes
Singapore to Bali – 2 Hours, 34 Minutes
New York City to Bali – 20 Hours, 46 Minutes
Chicago to Bali – 20 Hours
London to Bali – 16 Hours

I’ve had a little Sky Scanner search and I don’t think any airline in New Zealand flies direct to Bali apart from Air New Zealand who only fly direct from May – October on Saturdays and Wednesday’s.(Someone correct me if I’m wrong)

Virgin Australia always seems to stop in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne (Both ways)
China Airlines stops in Taiwan and Jetstar will always stop somewhere in Australia.

Prices:

You can get some amazing deals on flights to Bali if you’re flying from New Zealand and don’t mind a shitty stop-over. I’ve seen Jetstar Flights for NZD$250 RETURN! (Obviously they have a stop over in Australia at inconvenient times) but if you’re not picky about times, can get time off work quickly and have the cash, I’d wait for an amazing deal like that to come up.

I’ve done a little research and the cheapest month to head over to Bali is in August.
The weather in August is pretty much the same as May and June. The whole month doesn’t vary much from the beginning to the end with average temperatures at 27°C (80°F) throughout the entire month, with lots of sun, virtually no chance of rain, and a constant, cool breeze. It is however quite humid but it’s very tempting as in August it’s Winter time in New Zealand and we’re dying for a bit of sun.

Obviously Australians can get cheaper flights, eg; Darwin to Bali for $161
Or Perth to Bali for $193 *sigh*
That’s another reason where you’ll feel like you’re surrounded my Auzzies when you’re in Bali. It’s just too cheap for them not to go!

Where To Stay:

Bali-to-Gili-Trawangan-and-Lombok1-1When my boyfriend and I went, we stayed in Legian for 5 nights, one of the Gili Islands for another 4 nights and Seminyak for 4
To make it simple for you I’ve written a little paragraph about the places to stay in Bali which you can find on the map above.

South Bali Area

South Bali is the main part where all the tourists go. It’s the closest to the airport and the perfect area for a first-time Bali goer. There’s shopping, beaches, water activities and many places to drink and party until the early hours.

berawabeach-01Canggu: Less tourists, quite a rural area with low-key nightlife and black/grey sandy beaches. Is becoming more developed over time…Think it has a water park for kids.
50-60 mins from airport

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Seminyak: Very chic, classy, fine dining and stylish beach bars. Great for high end spas and massages, surfing and the beach. Accommodation is more high-quality and modern. Many tourists stay here if you’re wanting somewhere a bit more fancy.
30 mins from airport

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Legian: Located South of Seminyak, Legian is a short taxi ride to Kuta with the advantage of not being right in the center of all the clubs and bars. I’d say this is the best place to stay accommodation-wise as you’re just a little bit away from the main ‘city center’ feel. You still have the choice of restaurants to eat at and market stalls to bargain at so you’re not completely away from all the fun stuff.
Legian has a better and less crowded surf break at the beach so may be good if you’re learning to surf.
If you’re searching for some good, cheap, clean accommodation, check out Bliss Surfer Hotel. It’s not the fanciest place to stay, the pool is over-shadowed by the hotel so it does get a bit chilly when you’re swimming but the staff are nice and the rooms are great.
I hear the Padma Resort  (Think, swim-up bar, Infinity Pool, Tennis Court, Cooking classes) or Pullman Resort are quite nice if you’re looking to pay a bit more.
10-20 mins from airport

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Kuta: Partying, Kuta beach, The Hard Rock Cafe and one of the main malls are all situated in Kuta. It’s great for nightlife and the beach but would stay away if you don’t like massive crowds and pumping music.
Kuta has great surfing options for beginners and experienced surfers. Have a look on TripAdvisor for some good companies.
If you’re looking to do some shopping, check out Kuta Square, Discovery mall (right across the road from Waterbom water park) or Beachwalk Shopping Center for all your shopping and dining needs.
Kuta is where the Bali Bombings took place in 2002 at Paddy’s Pub. There is now a permanant memorial at the site with all the names of the people that were killed along with the national flags of the victims to pay your respects.
10-20 mins from airport

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Jimbaran: Think Seafood, spas, calm waters and white sand. Great if you have children as the waters are shallow and you can explore the morning Jimbaran Markets for fresh seafood. Has an amazing sunset after 5pm where you can relax with a cocktail and head to bed before 12am as the clubs usually shut around 11pm. However Kuta and Seminyak are only a cab ride away if you want to stay here and party somewhere else.
This is where the famous Rock Bar is located.
10-20 mins from airport

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Nusa Dua: Has an amazing beach with water sports and coral beds for snorkeling. The surfing is amazing, I’ve read it’s recommended to hire a boat to take you out to the Nusa Dua Break. Also has one of the most popular shopping centers. Not really a place for partying and dining but the resorts will make you nice cocktails to sip in the sun.
30 mins from airport

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Sanur: More on the Southeast coast, but a great place for people wanting a bit of peace and quiet in a tropical paradise. White sandy beaches, clear waters, great for kids as it has calmer waters and a few water sports like water skiing or kite surfing. Not too many places to shop but has souvenir stores and places to buy some clothing.
30 -40 mins from airport

Central Bali


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Ubud:
Ever heard of Eat, Pray, Love? Well that was situated in Ubud. Imagine rolling green hills, fresh air, rice paddies and temples. This is the place to go if you want to get away from the touristy area and really get to know the Balinese Culture. This is where people come to do yoga and stay at meditation resorts. It also has the monkey forest, elephant riding and white water rafting. About a 45 minute drive away from the beach.

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Bali, Gianyar. Administration building in Gianyar city.

Gianyar: Not too far from Ubud, here you can buy traditional paintings, browse through flea markets, and haggle until your hearts content.Not really a place to party or even get massages but it has more of a Balinese Culture to explore.

North Bali

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Lovina: A destination of slow-paced beach towns. Has black sand beaches and live music with a few clubs scattered around. You can snorkel around the local reefs or take a trip to see the off-shore islands and dolphins! However from what I’ve read, there’s not a lot to do.
3-4 hours from airport

East Bali

tulamben1Tulamben: The most likely thing you’ll be doing here is Diving. Tulamben is a small fishing village and a very popular dive site. A US Army Transport ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942 lies just 25m’s off shore so divers love to go and explore.
3 hours from airport

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Amed: Same deal as Tulamben, Amed is a very popular place for diving. Come here if you want to snorkel and dive until you have water in your ears. You can also climb up 3.142 meters of Bali’s highest mountain, Mount Agung if you’re wanting a day of exercise.
The mountain is about 40 minutes from Amed and while you’re there you can check out Bali’s largest and most sacred Hindu temple at the bottom.
Luxury Villa Celagi is a popular place to stay if you’re wanting to stay on the island.
2 hours from airport

The Islands

Now if you really want to sail away from the mainland, head over and check out some of these beautiful islands.

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Nusa Lembongan:
Not really a place to stay, but defiantly a place to visit. This is basically island life of what Bali used to be 25 years ago. Great for a day trip to do some snorkeling and meet the locals. However if you do want to get back to basics and stay on the island, there are some nice accommodation options where you can stay, go swimming and head to the Scooby Doo Beach Bar.

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Gili Islands:

To make this short, there are 3 Islands. 

  1. Gili Air
  2. Gili Meno
  3. Gili Trawangan.

    Gili Trawangan
    is the bustling island where you go if you want to meet backpackers, party, sleep or just watch a movie in the sand. Most of the action is centered on the southern part of the island but it’s also fine to go to as a couple if you want a romantic getaway. There’s not motorized transport so everything is horse and cart over here!
    Gili Meno is the least visited island. I know they have a turtle sanctuary and you can do some diving trips which are meant to be good. Other than that, there’s not too much to do. You can stay here in one of the bungalows they have available on the island but don’t expect anything too special.
    Gili Air is where all the locals live. It still has restaurants and bars but it’s not as intense as Gili T with all the partying. They have a Night Market, some boat tours and some Villa’s to stay in but I probably wouldn’t spend too long here.

kaliantan-lombokLombok: An East Island just off Bali, it isn’t as popular as it’s neighbor but has many isolated beaches and a perfect place to stay if you just want to do day-trips to The Gili Islands. Also it’s the home of Mount Rinjani (the second highest volcano in Indonesia) where you can book guided tours to explore. The main area to stay in on Lombok is Senggigi as that’s where all the hotels and restaurants are. Things to do are day trips, swimming and snorkeling.

Credit: None of the pictures used are mine, if you come across a picture you own let me know and I’ll credit you 🙂 I just did a cheeky Google search.