The Gili Islands, hot or not?

Written by: Will 🙂

We arrived at the Gili Islands with high expectations from everything we had been told, and from all the photos of the Paradise looking white sand beaches! But all was not as it seemed!

Firstly, how to get there…

We were in Ubud and got a minibus to Padang Bai, and then a fast boat from there to Gili Trawangan. We paid 275’000 rupiah each as we took the small boat (cheaper option). The journey over to the island was very choppy, and the boat being small, was getting thrown all over! If you’re prone to sea sickness it’s advisable to be prepared for this journey!

Transport on the Gilis

We arrived at the Island and walked to our accommodation. There are no motorised vehicles allowed on the islands, therefore the local mode of transport is by a horse drawn tuk-tuk (for want of a better term). However, the horses are worked long hours and all appear physically distressed and are whipped by the drivers openly and often. The islands are incredibly small, our accommodation was on the opposite side of the island to the pier, and it only took us around 15 minutes to get there with suitcases.

Some horses are used for transporting goods and equipment such as scuba gear, which is understandable to an extent. Animals have been used for work for thousands of years, and it is evidently part of this culture. However, lazy tourists should not use these ‘taxis’ as they are unnecessary and undoubtably unethical.

Accommodation


We chose to stay at Matahari Inn on Gili Trawangan (£20 per night). This was a lovely place, we had a private bungalow with a terrace and a great outdoor pool area too. This place was made special by the staff there and their love for music. Each morning, there was breakfast served with some acoustic guitar playing in the background!

Matahari Inn, Gili Trawangan

On Gili Air we chose to stay at Diyu Guesthouse (£11 per night). The guesthouse was clean, it had a pool, the host was friendly and the check in process was efficient! It was such good value for money!

Diyu Guesthouse, Gili Air

Things to do on the islands

This is where our expectations were not really met I would say. If there was one main thing we were excited for here, it was the snorkelling. The Gilis are renowned for their turtles and beautiful bright fish. We headed out with excitement but all wasn’t as expected. Firstly, snorkelling shoes/fins are a necessity. Where the beach meets the ocean is filled with coral and rocks that make it completely inaccessible without a form of footwear. We chose snorkel shoes, which we hired for only £1.50 per day, each. This was great, however, the tides are so strong that in hindsight we would really recommend using fins instead. The tide at times literally made it a fight to go in one direction.


The beaches on the Gili Islands are absolutely beautiful, however, due to the popularity they have been taken over by resorts almost completely. This makes it super difficult to find a nice spot on the beach to pitch up!


However, we did see a turtle just a few metres off the coast which was an amazing experience for us! So if you are going to the Gilis, get the right gear and enjoy the turtles! Maybe even go on a snorkelling tour (but those were too pricey for us!)

Main beach, Gili Trawangan

The Gili Swings

Another thing people like to do on the island is take pictures in the famous swings!

I cannot inspire you all with beautiful Instagram perfect photographs of these swings as we didn’t even bother! Walking past such swings is enough! It looks horrid! Queues of people waiting (and paying) to take that “perfect” photo! Is it worth it?

Places to eat on the islands

One thing that the island does boast is plenty of places to eat! From beach side restaurants to local eateries tucked down tiny streets; there is definitely something for everyone there!


On Gili Trawangan one of the best places we found to eat was Warung Jaman Now (around 40’000IDR per dish). This was a brilliant little restaurant serving local Indonesian cuisine! We ate here two times and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

Warung Jaman Now, Gili Trawangan

We were on a backpackers budget so didn’t venture to any of the more up market restaurants. However, the fresh fish in many of the beach side spots is definitely worth trying and is always rated very highly!


On Gili Air a place that stood out to us was Warung Alam Damai. This was run by a man who puts care in to every dish he serves. We were impressed with the food here, it was very reasonably priced for how good it looked and tasted (around 50’000IDR per dish)!

Warung Alam Damai, Gili Air

Would we recommend?

On the whole, if we were visiting this area again, we would likely not visit the Gilis. They seem overrated and overpopulated with the wrong type of tourism for our tastes. If you’re seeking more of a party atmosphere and beach club vibe, then it’s probably spot on for you. However, there are so many other, better (in our opinion) places nearby. We spent time on Nusa Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan which provided much more in terms of activities, and opportunities to explore!

Let’s not leave it on a negative… here are (a small few) photos we took!

Sunset on Gili Air
Lovely mosque on Gili Air
Will enjoying some popcorn on the beach

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Wez xxx

Komodo National Park Tour

Written by: Will

Images by: Ez 🙂


Our Komodo Island experience!

Location: Rinca Island

Where is Komodo National Park?

Komodo island is a hidden gem that not enough people explore when they are often so close! Placed just a one hour flight away from the highly visited Bali, it really is easily accessible for any type of traveller who loves to explore. We booked our flights with AirAsia for only £85 return each! (Search for “Labuan Bajo” Airport.) This was also quite close to the time so with more preparation, they could be cheaper! This experience was definitely one of the best things we did whilst in Asia, we really can’t rate it enough! So if you get the chance, it’s a no brainer.

Arrival and Accommodation

Labuan Bajo (Komodo), the airport in which you will arrive, it is very small so it is super easy to navigate out of the only exit. The island is only small so you won’t have to venture far to find accommodation nearby too! We chose to stay at Green Hill Bed Station, this was a pod-bed style hostel located on the main road near the port (5 minute drive from the airport). This cost us around £10 per night, but definitely worth it. The hostel also runs free airport pick-up; and drop-off shuttle which comes in super handy!


For those who are seeking a more up-market accommodation, there is a neighbouring Green Hill Hotel, which offers private rooms too.

Booking a Komodo Tour

Booking your Komodo tour is the most important part of this experience! You need to ensure you get the best itinerary that suits you! We chose to do a two day and one night tour. However, options range from a one day tour all the way to four days and three nights.


Our tour cost us 850’000 IDR each (£49) this included tour guides, meals and snorkel equipment hire. On top of this we had 550’000 IDR each (£32) in entrance fees to the National Park. We visited on a weekend so I think you could save a few rupiah on park entrance fees if you visit during the week so bear that in mind if you’re on a budget! We booked with Family Komodo Tours. (Instagram: patris_komodo_tour). However, when walking up the main street you will encounter tour operators every other shop almost! Therefore, you won’t find it hard to get your tour booked!


Tour Itinerary


Day one: We departed from Labuan Bajo port at around 8am. We were the first on board so we went and selected our beds on the upper deck! (There is the option for cabins for extra cost – usually + 100’000 rupiah, but the upper deck has a much better view and a nice breeze!).

The first stop was at Kelor Island where we did a hike to the top, which took around 20 minutes. The view was absolutely insane, we had a 360° lookout over the surrounding scenery. (We also spotted a baby shark!!!)

Location: Kelor Island

After this, we went to a snorkel spot not too far from the island and stayed for one hour. With crystal clear water around waist height, brightly coloured coral and an abundance of amazing fish, this was a spot where we could have spent hours!


We had lunch on the boat whilst we sailed to Rinca island! This is home to 2,875 Komodo dragons, these amazing creatures are found only in Indonesia on this and the surrounding islands! We had two rangers who guided us around the islands. Komodo’s can be dangerous so safety is really important, and the rangers must be with you at all times here!

Location: Rinca Island


After we had seen the Komodo’s it was time to head back to the boat. The final stop for day one was at the Flying Foxes Island. This was another spectacular experience, seeing thousands of this rare breed of bat flying over our heads, while the sun set. We sat here for around an hour until the sun had completely disappeared. After dinner, we promptly headed off to bed as we had a 5am wake up for the Padar Island hike.

Location: Flying Foxes Island

Day two: Early start! We got woken at around 5:15am, we hopped into the smaller speed boat and headed to Padar island! The hike to the viewpoint wasn’t too difficult and took us around 25 minutes to reach the top. The view from here was immense. In one direction, there was the sun rising above the islands in the distance. Then, in another there was the notorious white, pink and black beaches, all separated by untouched landscapes. It was certainly worth the early start and hike!

Location: Padar Island

After the walk down we had some breakfast on the boat on the way to the Pink Beach on Padar island. This was certainly one of the highlights for both of us! The vibrant pink sand and transparent water made up one of the most picturesque scenes we have come across. We spent around two hours here taking in all that it had to offer, although you could easily spend a full day here!

Location: Pink Beach, Padar Island
Location: Pink Beach, Padar Island
Location: Pink Beach, Padar Island

The rest of the day was spent stopping at snorkelling spots on the route back to Labuan Bajo. The first was Manta Point, we were lucky enough (after a while searching), to find a family of three manta rays effortlessly gliding along. We climbed in and out of the speed boat numerous times to try and keep up with them; and managed to get some great footage too!

Location: Manta Point


The final stop was at Kanawa island, this was hugely populated with tonnes of fish around the pier, so another fantastic snorkelling spot. The beach is also a nice site to pitch up and relax before heading back to the Labuan Bajo port. This then concluded the trip and we walked back to our hostel for that night.


Update 2019

There has been talk of closing the Komodo Island for conservation, however this is opposed by the locals there. So, if you’re planning to visit, don’t wait around for this experience.

Thanks for reading our blog! Hope it helps you plan your Komodo National Park Tour! 🙂

Wez xxx

Who are we?

Written by: Ez 🙂

Who is “wez travels” ?

We are Ellie (nickname: Ez) and Will – hence Wez!

Let me tell you a little bit about us…

We are both from Manchester, England. We are both currently 20 years old and full-time students in Manchester. I study History at the University of Manchester and Will studies Law at Manchester Metropolitan University.

We LOVE to travel!

Each “summer holiday” from University gives us around 3 months to travel, so we save up all year to make the most of it!

In the summer of 2018 we travelled throughout Europe by railcard and in the summer of 2019 we travelled throughout South East Asia!

So, why read our blog?

Well… that’s a good question.

We are hoping for the blog to achieve a few things.

1. We will post some fabulous pictures which hopefully will inspire people to travel to the places we have visited.

2. We will share some important information for destinations we have visited, like which tourists sights not to miss (and which ones to avoid), and how to get there, where to stay, how expensive it all is etc!

3. We will hopefully be sharing some good and unique budgeting tips for those of you (like us) who aren’t travelling luxury!

4. We will share some backpacking tips like: packing tips, hostel tips, how to eat cheap etc.

5. We hopefully won’t only cater for the “backpacking” community, but we will also share our holidays, our weekend breaks and information about the amazing city in which we live!

So, there are a lot of thing we aim to do. Let’s see if we can achieve it!

Thanks for reading our first blog post! 🙂

Wez xxx

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