Paradise | Gili Trawagan and Seminyak, Bali.

Living in Asia for almost the last two years has allowed me to visit some pretty amazing places. When deciding whether to move to Hong Kong, the locality of many amazing tourist destinations in Asia was a hugely positive factor. The last two years Arron and I have tried to use our holidays wisely and visit as many places as possible; and of course not forgetting our annual trips back home to England! In the past two years we have managed to visit Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Tram (Vietnam), Phuket, Phi Phi (Thailand), El Nido, Puerto Princesa (Philippines), Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) and Macau (China). This Easter break was no different, we were off to discover somewhere new…we decided to head to Bali!

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Jumpsuit: Zara (last summer) // Hat: Forever21 // Bag: Seminyak Flea Market // Flip Flops: Tory Burch.

After speaking to many friends (and seeing so many Instagram pictures), we knew when in Bali we had to make the trip over to Gili Trawangan. ‘Gili T’ as it’s commonly known, is the largest and the most visited of the three Gili Islands, all three of which are just off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia.

Lonely Planet described Gili Trawangan as “a paradise of global repute” .

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Gili did not disappoint, in many ways surpassing my personal expectations. Many of the other ‘paradise islands’ in Asia, come with the feeling that everyone is out to make money (rip off) tourists. Where as; Gili’s taxi service (horse and carriage) had set prices displayed in every cart, happy hours were available in most of the bars and super cheap bicycle rental was available everywhere. The feeling of slight anxiety I’ve had in many other destinations in Asia, simply disappeared when in Gili T as I allowed the this tranquil place to wash over me.

 The horse and cart (the taxi service of Gili T) adds contributes to this feeling of tranquility.  As this is a no motor vehicles island, the only road noise is the gentle sound of horse bells jingling along the shoreline.  This perfectly reflects the peaceful vibe of the island.

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetSunset Beach Front Gili Trawagan

Whilst in Gili T we stayed at Pandok Santi Estates, I could not recommend this place more highly. If you are looking for a little slice of heaven when in Gili T, this is absolutely the place to stay. The estate is situated far enough away from the bars and boat pier, that their private beach section is pretty quiet. With just a five minute bike ride you can be back in the lively bar and restaurant area, perfect for evening meals and drinks. The staff at Pondok Santi were amazing, so attentive in fact that one of the hotel owners noticed Arron’s sunburn, and within the hour the staff had brought fresh aloe vera leaves over to sooth the burn. The private beach bungalows offered a true feeling of luxury, and the outdoor showers are a lovely touch.  To top it off, the food was delicious, as were the cocktails, especially when drunk at the swim up bar!

When in Gili, snorkelling is absolutely a must, not only because there is a good chance you will see turtles, but also to experience some of the clearest waters in Asia. Unluckily when we went snorkelling we didn’t see any turtles, we later found out that morning time is your best chance of seeing them.  However we did see so many amazing fish, and some unforgettable reefs; all captured on on the GoPro to share with friends and family.

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetProcessed with VSCO with p5 presetSwimsuit: Asos // Trousers: H&M (last summer)
Pondok Santi grounds.

If you are planning on taking a trip to the Gili Islands when you visit Bali, I would be aware that if you book the fast boat, which is inclusive of transport to and from your hotel they may try and swindle more money on your return to Seragan. Our personal experience was all very good on the way to Gili, however when the boat docked back at Seragan, we were told the journey to our hotel will take three hours(!) on the shuttle bus that we had already paid for (a journey that took just one hour, just a few days previous). The company proceeded to explain that the delay was because we now had to make many more stops, and conveniently they knew so many taxi drivers that could take us for extra money. Although the extra only worked out to be around £20, it was still frustrating to say the least. So a word of advise; to take extra money or be expectant of a much longer journey, or maybe even try your luck on the shuttle bus, as there is a good chance the whole thing was a scam!

We did not just stay in Gili on our trip to Bali, we also spent time in Seminyak. Seminyak is easier to reach than the Gili Islands, as it’s only a 30 minute car journey from Denpasar airport. Seminyak has a completely different vibe to Gili T, it is packed full of; amazing restaurants, quirky coffee shops and cool independent boutiques. Perfect for that holiday shopping spree!

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetProcessed with VSCO with p5 presetShirt: Zara // Shorts: Asos // Flip Flops: Tory Burch // Bag: Seminyak Flea Market
Two photographs above: Petitenget Beach, Seminyak.

During our visit, we stayed at Bracha Villas. Our stay here was great, each villa offering a private pool, spacious living area, comfortable bed, while also having the option to even eat your breakfast in your private pool. Whilst in Seminyak Motel Mexicola is a must visit for dinner or even just drinks; we ate there once and had drinks another night. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera both times, however the atmosphere and interior is something that can not be missed. It’s a cool and casual Mexican bar with a relaxed feel, which turns into a crazy fiesta at around 9pm.

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetSwimming Costume: Asos // Sunglasses: RayBan

If you are a market lover, like myself, head over to The Flea Market whilst in Seminyak. Of course they have all the usual knockoff sunglasses etc., however they also have a good selection of jewellery, leather goods and beach wear stalls. I of course purchased a few treats! This is also in a great place for a cheap beer, with different open air bars at the back of the market…who doesn’t get thirsty after shopping?

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Overall, the trip to Bali was a fantastic one, and I have to say one of my favourites since being in Asia. Without a doubt I would recommend Gili Trawagan to anybody traveling to Bali, and for anybody who likes a little more atmosphere I would absolutely recommend Seminyak.

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