Gili Trawangan

This summer has been very different to our last few. For a start, we didn’t return to the UK or US and we only went away for 10 days (hard life). We decided to head for Bali after sitting through numerous sickening stories about sunshine, indulgence and speedos.

After the long journey to DPS airport in Bali via train, metro, Beijing and Kuala Lumpa we arrived and spent the first night at Pelangi Bali Hotel & Spa, in Seminyak Beach.

The next morning we were up at 6am to be collected for our fast boat journey to Gili Trawangan. Again, we had heard about Gili T (I can use that term as I have been!) from a few friends and we were attracted to the thought of a peaceful desert island. After 2 hours in a minibus we arrived at Padong Harbour where we waited for about an hour to board the boat. The boat had a capacity of about 50 people and had the usual boat amenities like sponge cake, a car stereo pumping out love songs and a work experience guy who would take over the wheel whilst the captain was on the phone ordering lunch for his return. The speed of the boat meant that our voyage was a little rough! Luckily our stomachs managed to remain intact, but the small screaming child at the back was more than happy to show us what he had enjoyed for breakfast. An hour and forty minutes later we cruised into the harbour and couldn’t have been happier with our surroundings. The ‘Central’ area, as it is known, was a backpacker’s paradise with bars and shops lining the streets. This however meant that despite it only being mid-day there were already a few drunk, sunburnt people stumbling around.

We had booked this holiday back in May, as we heard that booking early was essential due to the holidays and the size of the island. We had searched all the usual places to find accommodation (booking.com, expedia, tripadvisor, airbnb) and we finally selected what looked like a hidden gem in the north of the island. With 6 cottages around a pool and a few minutes walk to the beach, Eden Cottages was a perfect retreat. A charm of the island is that it is motor-free (no cars, trucks or motorbikes), so to get to our cottage we used a horse and cart, locally called a cidomo. It was great to not be surrounded by cars and motor bikes but apparently the locals get frustrated with the huge deposits made by the horses on most of the roads and paths, as well as the dust they create. We found the ride in quite surreal, the sound of hooves and jingling bells is quite a contrast to the city streets of Tianjin.

The cottage was everything we hoped for, clean, comfortable and quiet. The staff was unobtrusive and helpful when needed. Amenities provided were basic; breakfast included (Mrs T adored the banana pancakes) and drinks for purchase. This encouraged us to get out each day and see what the island had to offer. After a day or two we settled into the routine of breakfast, beach, lunch, pool, siesta, dinner, Jack Bauer and sleep. It is fair to say that this was exactly what we needed.

There is a lot more we could say about Gili T but I will leave it to the pictures to showcase the island. Would I recommend Gili T? Yes, for sure. It caters to all: from quiet eco villas and posh resorts, to hostels above reggae bars and tattoo parlours. If you asked us where to stay we wouldn’t hesitate in pointing you to the north of the island, it is an escape from the high street (though only a 30 minute walk) and offers lovely beaches with stunning sunset views and some phenomenal restaurants (Wilson’s Retreat: we love you and your cheeky chocolate pudding).

Out and about the island:

Eden Cottages:

 

Gili Cooking School:

Sunset and dinner at Wilson’s Retreat:

-Mr T

Home, again

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Back in Tianjin today. The longer we live abroad and travel the more apparent it becomes that we don’t have just one ‘home’. After a lovely two weeks at ‘home’ in England we arrived home today with oodles of Easter chocolates, my new hobby (cross stitch) biscuits galore and coffee capsules to last us for months. Our apartment was beautiful and clean and we couldn’t have been more pleased to see Ravi, who after about ten minutes of being grumpy with us, hasn’t left our side since we’ve been back.

Cases are unpacked, laundry is done and jet lag is setting in. Nine short hours and we will be back in the classroom!

Glad to be home sweet home.

-Mrs T

Travel Time

Each journey we take I learn a bit more about how to improve the process.  I received this Cath Kidston bag as a gift from my mother-in-law last year and have since learned it is perfect for flying.  It is structured and can hold loads; yesterday mine was filled with wallet, Kindle, iPad, clear plastic pouch with my 100ml liquids, soft pouch containing other necessities, pencil case, scarf, neck pillow, passports, iPhone, Mr T’s wallet, one last spinach fatayer  and probably a few other bits and bobs.  The best part is that it fits perfectly under the seats in the plane and can handle being pushed around by my feet as it is made with Kidston standard PVC coated cotton.

Another lesson I have learned is to always have a writing utensil, I find nothing worse than needing to fill out a landing card and having to borrow a pen from another passenger.  I was doubly prepared for this trip as the Mr. and I received some lovely leaving gifts: Jack Wills pencil case and a gorgeous Swarvoski glitter pen.  Now I will always be prepared whilst also thinking of our dear friends back in Kuwait.

 

Lastly whilst on the topic of travel I must mention the tip I once read and have since followed religiously: always pack a change of clothes in your carry on baggage for that chance your checked luggage does not meet you on the other side.  So far I have never been faced with this dilemma (touch wood), but my dear friends recently arrived in Paris without their three suitcase and I can’t help but wish I had written this post three days sooner!!

Mrs. T