There are some beautiful spots in Indonesia:
Nusa Lembongan ~ Good if you’re into peace and quiet, and a bit of surfing. Not so good for diving. They have manta rays, but as I went in the low season, the water was too rough to go see the the mantas!
I only went to Nusa Lembongan because I arrived in Sanur after 1pm, and there were no more boats to the Gili islands. As it was on the way to the Gillis (kinda), I decided I would spend a night at Nusa Lembongan.
As you can see from the above photos, it’s a pretty stunning place. I really enjoyed it, and ended up staying for 2 days, doing some diving and walking around the island. Great place for older people and families (or anyone that doesn’t like to party).
If you’re looking for good, inexpensive accommodation, look inland a little. You’ll still only be 50m away from the beach, but it’ll be better quality and cheaper than the ones directly on the beach. The only downside was that I met Henry*
I bought a ticket to Gili T from my accommodation.
Boat ride from Nusa Lembongan to Gili T ~
Gili T ~ An absolutely tiny island. You can walk around the island, hire a bicycle or if you have a lot of luggage, hop onto a buggy pulled by a pony! I ended up finding a pretty decent place on the very north east of the island.
The accommodation also offered bicycle hire and diving. The diving here was pretty awesome! I recommend the wreck dives. It wasn’t as impressive as I thought Koh Tao was, but again, I was there in the low season, and Koh Tao was my first diving experience, so I’m biased 🙂
Two days would be sufficient on this island. Also, make sure you pick the right island for you (Gili Air for families, Gili Meno for couples and Gili T for backpackers).
Kuta, Lombok ~
While at Gili T, I looked through my Lonely Planet to see where I should go from here. They suggested Kuta in Lombok (which is different to Kuta in Bali).
I took the fast boat over. Make sure you keep a hold of your luggage, as men waiting on the shore will grab it, carry it 10m and then try and charge you an arm and a leg for it. See my post on why I disliked Indonesia.
From there it was an interesting mix of transport to finally get to Kuta, and a trip which took about 4 or 5 hours. It’s an interesting place if you love to surf and don’t mind small children hassling you all the time to buy bracelets. I would recommend you be comfortable with hiring and riding a scooter if you go to Kuta. There’s a lot to explore, but it was too far and too hot to really get anywhere on foot.
Lombok is a lot more ‘rural’ than Bali, and less affected by tourism and commercialism. Still, the constant harassment is there. I guess you get used to it though.
Totally underrated in my opinion. I had never even heard of this place before I picked up and thumbed through my Lonely Planet. An alternative departure point from Bali to the Gilis and Lombok, this place was backpacker central. Unfortunately I was there during Nyepi, the Balinese day of silence. No one is allowed outside (you’ll get fined). Luckily I was able to stock up on food and water the night before. As I was unable to leave my room for a whole day, I didn’t get to explore as much as I would have liked to. Still, I would recommend Padangbai to any backpackers heading to Bali.
I ended up heading to Ubud – I was sure it was going to be exactly like in the movie ‘Eat Pray Love’. Ummm, no. I’m still trying to locate any photos I took, but basically I was in such a bad mood when I got to Ubud that I was basically holed up in my room for 3 days, with the occasional excursion on foot. Then I’d be hassled every 10 seconds by hawkers, and I’d slump back into my dark mood and go back to my room.
Looking back, I should have gone on some kind of countryside tour or something, but I had fallen into some kind of depression, and just wanted to be left alone.