Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Review: Scallywags, Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia!

Imagine crystal turquoise and deep blue seas, fine white sand beaches, chilled out sounds of reggae music, the tinkle of a bicycle bell, the sound of horse hooves trotting along, the laughter of playing children and the smells of sate and sambal….welcome to the Gili Islands!

The Gili Islands were our first stop in Indonesia and they were a fantastic choice to relax and prepare for our adventures in Asia.  To get to the islands you have to fly to Bali and then take a taxi and boat over. The taxi from the airport to Padangbai port takes about 2 – 4 hours depending on the time of day and the traffic.From Padangbai you can take a ‘fast boat’ which takes an hour to the Gili’s and arrive in 2 hours! There are 3 islands making up the Gili’s – Air, Meno and Trawangan and the boat stops the Air and the latter.  If you want to go to Meno you need to charter a boat or take the taxi boat from one of the larger two islands.

Picture from Wikitravel; Gili Islands

Gili Trawangan receives the most tourist traffic currently, but don’t let this put you off as when we arrived we were surprised that is was not overrun and had a great feel to it.  If you wonder to the left when you leave the boat you will come across the ‘noisy’ area of the island, where the bars are as well as guesthouses.  The luxury hotels are also at the far end when walking in this direction.  If you walk right as we happened to it’s a bit more relaxed and quiet and there aren’t really bars that come alive at night. There are more day time beach bars and cafes with cushions on the beach serving smoothies and beers.

We found a great little place to stay for under $5 and it was perfect.  From there we chilled out, could wonder over to the beach and snorkel off the beach which was idyllic, and walk and explore the island. The snorkelling here is stunning and I can't recommend it enough…you can swim with turtles if you are patient to find them, but definitely are guaranteed to see hundreds of beautiful brightly coloured fish.

As you are surely now picturing – it’s a hard life here!!  So after all this activity you will find yourself hungry, and when you do there are plenty of options.  We tried out a café called ‘Scallywags’ which looked really inviting and had some good reviews.  This was a good decision as it is comfortable, had a great menu and the food and service were brilliant.  I tried my first nasi goreng here and instantly fell in love with the dish.  As we discovered throughout Indonesia it is hard to find a truly bad nasi goring in Indonesia….however, you can find a few that are really exceptional and stand out and looking back I think this was one of those!  James sampled a more ‘international’ dish of chicken in mushroom and white wine sauce which although was very tasty, was very rich and a large portion so he struggled to finish the whole thing!

However, I would definitely recommend this café for a nice meal and if you need to get onto the internet you can also use wi-fi here whilst enjoying your meal or just drinks.


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