Crafts - Making and Buying
Our tour was the Craft Villages Tour. The first village they were doing woodworking. We drove to another village and there were horse carts which the guide said would go a couple of kilometers down the road. I went on the pony cart. It turned out that the place they went was the pottery village, and I got to make a dish. At the very end the lady put grooves in the edge and said it was an ashtray. But I did NOT want to make an ashtray so I have denied that it would be called an ashtray.
I managed to carry the dish all the way home to Miami.
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
One thing to look out for is pearls from Lombok. I found this showroom for pearls in Senggigi called Gem Pearls ,our driver took us there before we went to Kuta Lombok. They have a large variety of South Sea Pearls and Fresh Water Pearl Jewelry at good prices. The showroom is very large and they have a huge variety of pearl jewelry to offer any kind of taste or budget.
I added a photo of the box ,it has the address of the showroom.
Kuta Lombok is very different to Kuta Bali ,quiet and very beautiful. Kuta Lombok is really very beautiful with beautiful white beaches and a great surfing destination. A really great place to relax and just to walk around and enjoy the natural beauty with very dramatic landscapes ,cliffs and lagoons & palm tree forests all behind you. The 1st place I have been to where buffalo`s walking around close to the beach and grassing.
Another nice thing about Kuta Lombok is that it`s not too far from the airport so maybe a good place to start your vacation in Lombok.
Snorkling around the Gili Islands
We booked a snorkeling trip whereby the boat took us to various sites where we could snorkel around Gili Trawangan ,Gili Meno and Gili Air. From the map that the guy who sold us the tickets showed us the trip would be and where the guys on the boat took us was different but still great. We visited some ship wreck and also another site where we looked for sea turtles. Then we snorkel close to Gili Air where the fish is different from the other sites ,they more like Clown fish and so on. There is plenty of fish to see and the price we paid was about 100 000 IDR per person for the trip which we shared the boat with other tourist. The boat also stopped at Gili Air where we stopped for lunch. If you wanna charter a private boat you can do so as well.
The only thing we had to rent was the flippers and life vest and the mask and snorkel was provided.
When cycling around Gili Trawangan ,there is alot of beaches and all of them seem different. The water is clear around the island but some of the beaches has reef starting from the beach and some of them the reef is abit deeper which is great to swim in and also to snorkel. There is also some beaches which is rocky and not good but at the west side of the island where there hasn`t been much development for a few resorts the beaches there is not really that great but they have some great views of Lombok.
Watching the Sunset over Gunung Agung
If you want to watch the sunset on Gili Trawangan you got to head over to the north east part of the island which is close to Villa Grasia.
The Sunset here is very beautiful as the sun sets over the huge volcanic mountain in Bali Gunung Agung. Just make sure you take a flash light with if you if your hotel is far from here as there is no street lights or lots of hotels around this area.
Turtle Conservation "TURTLE HATCHERY"
On Gili Trawangan they have Taman Koservasi Penyu which is the Turtle Hatchery which is doing Turtle Conservation on the island. They have turtles in glass pools which they keep until they big enough before letting back into the ocean. The turtles is on display on the main road in the centre of Gili Trawangan just look out for them. Also any donations is welcome as they use this money for the running cost to feed the turtles and so on so it`s a really great initiative to support.
I spoke to one of the guys there and he said they actually pay poaches for finding turtle eggs or these turtles might find themselves on someones plate in Bali as they a delicacy in Bali. They re-bury the eggs and when the turtles hatch they keep them in the pool and care for them for about 6 months or so until they big enough to release them back to the ocean.
Another Great Way to See Gili Trawangan.
One great way to see the whole of the Gili Islands is to rent a Bicycle. It cost about 50 000 IDR and you can just rent it from the hotel or just see for the bicycle rental places in the center of Gili Trawangan. It`s about 9km or so to circle the whole island but it`s really great as you can stop at the various beaches and take in the views or just beach hope if you wanna swim from one beach to the next. Really great way to see the whole island.
Mount Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia and is still in danger of erupting and is closed off for trekkers at certain times during the last few years. I started my trek from Senaru village at 600m, doing it alone without a guide. The trail is easy to follow and passes through thick forest until the upper regions before the crater rim. I camped just before the treeline ended and got up early the next morning to climb the final 600 m to the rim. The view is outstanding and i was able to see Bali and Sumbawa. The ascent to the lake and hot spring was very steep so i decided not to do it as a tourist had died the previous week. The rim is at 2,700m but you can continue to the 3,700m peak if you are in prime condition.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
In my opinion Kuta in Lombok is worth visiting much more than Kuta , Bali as there are many different beaches for swimming, surfing and other water sports. From Kuta you can walk east or west to find these beaches and the scenery is absolutely spectacular. My favourite beaches are Muwan, a pristine sandy beach with clear water about 8 kms west of Kuta and each time i went there i had the beach all to myself, admittedly it was a few years ago but i heard that it hasn't changed much. Another favourite is Tanjung A'an with it's clear turquoise waters, a few stalls are there now selling refreshments.
To counteract the disastrous effects of turtle poaching, a local initiative was set up in 1995 to protect the islands turtle population. Turtle meat and eggs are considered a delicacy in Bali and poaching of turtle eggs from the waters around the Gili Islands was wiping out the population to such an extent that the Gili Trawangan Turtle Hatchery was set up by a local restaurant owner to safeguard the turtles and cultivate the population of Hawksbill, Green and Loggerhead turtles. The turtle hatchlings are raised until they are about nine months old before they are released into the sea. Visitors to the island are free to have a peek at the turtle tanks at the hatchery and watch the thrice daily feeding where the hatchlings are fed chunks of fish.. While the project gets a small sponsorship from the Indonesian government donations towards this worthwhile project are very welcome and are the main source of funding for the project.
If you are not qualified or interested in diving, the good news is you still have great opportunities to explore the plentiful sea life of the Gilis. Armed with a snorkel and mask you can encounter all manner of sea life just a few metres out from the shoreline. The eastern coast of Gili T has great snorkelling spots where you won’t have to wait long to be immersed in a bewildering variety of marine life, including turtles, angel fish, clown fish and trumpet fish. I have never been anywhere else where this variety of fish and sea life is so accessible from the beach with out the need for scuba equipment. Generally the best points for snorkelling are along the northern stretch of the eastern shoreline of each island.
While not strictly a ‘Thing To Do’ but rather a ‘Thing To Be Aware Of’ the Gili Islands conservation efforts have become a high priority for the people of the Gili Islands. In 2002 the Gili Eco Trust was set up to protect and safeguard the island’s fragile eco systems. The project was initially set up to protect the reefs around the islands and to educate the local fishermen on the implications of using inappropriate fishing techniques such as dynamite fishing. Net, spear and line fishing were encouraged as better and safer methods of fishing.
In 2004 an innovative and promising Bio Rock Project was set up by the Vila Ombak Dive Academy to promote the growth and repair of the reef systems around the islands. The Bio Rock project uses low voltage electrodes panted along the seabed to stimulate the growth of the coral. The effects have proven positive and plans are afoot to extend the project. You can see the Bio Rock project for yourself at certain points around the island. While snorkelling or swimming, don’t be alarmed to see some of these metal rods and cages around the reef.
The Dive Schools on the island have made commendable efforts to protect the islands marine life and ecosystem too. Every diver who visits the island has to pay a reef tax of 40,000 Rupiah. This tax is used to pay the fishermen not to overfish the waters and also for beach clean-ups, eco projects and reef clean-ups. Some of the dive schools also train and employ locals as dive masters at the dive companies. Manta Dive is one such company who employs a number of locals as dive masters and boat operators.
Apart from the beautiful beaches, the Gili Islands other main draw is the spectacular, accessible and relatively easy dive sites scattered around the islands. Gili Trawangan has the best facilities and choice of dive companies but the other two islands also have dive schools who arrange dive trips for all levels.
While the reef around the islands has been badly damaged through inappropriate fishing techniques and the El Nino effect in 2000, recent efforts to conserve and repair the reef has had very positive results and the coral is now starting to develop again. (The situation had gotten so bad on the island that the dive companies had to pay the fishermen not to fish so that the reef and the marine life it supported would not be totally wiped out!)
Today the reefs support an amzing diversity of marine life including a great population of black and white tip reef sharks. Stingrays and Manta Rays, octopus, cuttlefish, moray eels, scorpion fish, lionfish, sea snakes , sea horse and a huge number of turtles...you are almost guaranteed to spot turtles!
All the dive companies on the Gilis offer great value fun dive packages and a range of PADI and SSI courses. We choose Manta Dive on Gili Trawangan for our fun dives. All the companies offer similar prices but we found the equipment and staff at Manta Dive to be of a very high standard. The staff here were very welcoming, considerate, safety orientated and flexible to our needs. We were made feel relaxed and comfortable from the moment we walked into the dive company and we used them A LOT during our stay on the island. Highly recommended, especially for novice divers like us :)
Lookout – Gili Trawangan
An essential Gili T experience is making the short walk up the hill at the southern end of the island. From the eastern side of the island there are several trails up the hill from behind the village. The best access point is along the trail leading up from the jetty but from further south you can still access the hill...if unsure locals will happily point out the way.
The best time of day to climb the hill is for sunrise or sunset when you can watch the sun rise and set. There are great views west towards Bali and you can watch the sun set behind Gunung Agung on Bali’s east coast...a quintessential Gili experience :) on the way up the hill there are also great views out over Gili T and the other two Gili Islands.
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