Gili Air aka Paradise

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Our complimentary breakfast at Kaluku Bungalows consists of fruit salad, toast and coffee. Not as much as we have been accustomed to eating but I for one have been packing on the pounds so a dietary change is in order anyway.

We walked around island, started heading north. We found a sweeto deserted beach in the southwest that we chilled on in the shade for a while enjoying the beautiful view. The other island in the pictures is Gili Meno, and the mountain in the background is on Bali.

me gili meno from gili air

gili meno from gili air

One the way back we went to Munchies for lunch. I got Urap-urap (a Sasak dish containing boiled veggies with grated coconut and spices with rice) for 15,000 which was AMAZING! This and Gado-gado are my favorite Indonesian foods so far. I need an Indonesian cookbook so I can make this stuff when I get home.

urap urap

Later we hung out in the pool at Blue Marlin Dive shop next door to Kaluku and read all day. We ate dinner at Munchies again, I got really yummy iced coffee for 6,000.

Ryan used the internet at Ozzy’s where you can use their moderate-speed connection for 400 a minute.

At 9:30pm I went to a “big” party at the Blue Bar on the south end of the island where I met a few travelers and lots of locals, most born and raised on Gili Air, but a few from Flores, Sulawesi, and other Indonesian islands. We hung out, drank a few Bintangs, listened to the DJ spin some rave-y music, and I spun fire poi with the locals! Afterwards I headed home and slept in a hammock outside under the stars, it was lovely.

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I woke up to the Muslim call to prayer at 5am. I think it’s a pleasing sound to wake up to. Went back to sleep for an hour and then got up to watch a beautiful sunrise with Ryan.

We packed a daypack and headed to the southwestern beach we discovered yesterday, stopping to trade books and have a lassy and iced coffee at Munchies on the way.

On our trek to the beach we took pictures of these super sketch huge spiders that are all over the trees and bushes. Important warning: don’t wander off the main roads and go tromping through the bushes on these islands, you WILL face plant right into these palm-sized fuckers, they are everywhere. Ugh, gives me the creepy crawlies!

gili air spider

We spent the day lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun and reading. We found a huge pile of seashells and when they started moving we realized most were inhabited by hermit crabs. There were lots of fisherman out, some with nets and some with poles. I dig how this guy has a pack of smokes strapped to his hat.

gili air fisherman

When the tide got really low we waded into the water. Gili Air looks beautiful from a few hundred feet out in the ocean!

ariel gili air

Ryan also had an excellent photoshoot with this crab.

gili air crab

On the way home we stopped at a restaurant on the south tip of the island where they had baby sea turtles that were sooooooo cute!

baby sea turtles

We grabbed lunch at Munchies (now our go-to place because of the cheap lassies we are addicted to) where I got Tempe in a thick spicy tomato based sauce with rice that was fantastic! This was also a Sasak dish.

spicy tempe sasak

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

I woke up to a bright pink room and looked outside to see one of the most vibrant sunrises I’ve ever seen. We went out to watch and then I walked along the beach and gathered seashells.

gili air sunrise

gili air sunrise

In the late morning we snorkeled along the southeastern part of the beach. The current was incredibly strong, it just sweeps you along so the best way to do it is get in on the northeast beach and drift down to the southeast beach.

In the evening we watched sunset over the water from northwest side of island.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Got up early to watch sunrise again. It’s so beautiful every morning and it’s a great way to start the day.

gili air sunrise

At around 10:00am we snorkled getting in in front of the Abdi Fantastik bungalows a few steps south of Kaluku. We floated down to around Manta Dive, then got out and walked along the beach back to where we started, stopping to play on the swings along the way.

gili air beach swing

We did this twice, and we saw turtles! The visibility and reef are much better in the morning. The only downside is the ruthless jellyfish. We’re both covered in little welts from their stings.

Ate lunch at the Green Cafe where I got a vegetable and fruit kebab with a carrot and cabbage salad for 30,000. The kebab was delish but there are tastier things for the price. Green Cafe is right next to Munchies so Ryan ordered a lassy and they brought it over to him.

We watched another beautiful sunset on the northwest side of the island before heading to dinner.

gili air sunset

gili air sunset

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

After breakfast we snorkeled again, getting in in front of our place and floating with the current down to Munchies. We saw turtles again and a giant spotted eel!

Ate lunch at Munchies where I got Pelecing (water spinach with coconut and a spicy tomato sauce) which I had tempe added to, costing me 18,000 all total. It wasn’t bad, but not my favorite.


Later we tromped on some central trails to get the the southwest side of the island where we watched the sunset over Gili Meno.

After sunset we bought necklaces from a primary school teacher named Mustafa. He teaches ages 6-12.

At 10:30pm we went to the once-yearly Dark Moon Party at Legends Reggae Bar on the north tip of the island. There were mostly locals there and it was very rave-y. We drank Bintangs, talked with our buddy Rouling from the Munchies crew, and I spun fire again. There are lots more tourists here now, and, surprisingly, Americans. The island is getting noticeably busier and it gets into peak season.

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

We woke up late and went snorkeling a little later than we planned. We got in the water in front of Kaluku at 11:30am and floated south for an hour. The visibility wasn’t as great as previous days because the waves had been kicking up the sand all morning.

We had lunch at Munchies before walking back. We chilled at Kaluku for a while and then went on a new book hunt. We ended up buying one book from Kira Kira Cottages for 15,000, trading our Stephen King book for a 2008 copy of Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia on a Shoestring (such a steal! this book is $26 at home) and trading 2 of our other books for Obedience by Will Lavender. I’m currently reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, the 4th book I have read on this trip (the other three were Stephen King’s The Dead Zone which I liked, How to be Good by Nick Hornby which was a quick and light read, and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown which was not good at all.)

gili air fish seller

gili air street

We watched sunset on the northwest side of the beach again, then headed to dinner at Munchies where I got a traditional Sasak fish dish called Ikan Parapek for 30,000. I thought it was pretty good, untill I found out that “fresh fish” means “caught sometime in the last month, maybe.” In fact the local joke is to say “Fresh fish, caught tomorrow!”

ikan parapek

I have gone mostly vegan here (had to give up lassies!) since dairy is hard to come by and I was already vegetarian anyway. So far I don’t really miss it and I feel great.

Bookmark and Share
  1. Jason says:


    I have come across your blog with great pleasure. I have been traveling to Gili air for nearly 15 years on and off and have watched Wyan grow up, get married, have her son and start Munchies. It is great to see a photo of her looking so well.

    As a diver I also like your underwater shots. I am looking to get a camera for underwater and your shots show the quality that can be achieved with a compact digital. Thanks.

    I also note that you have stayed at the Kaluku bungalows, which are new. What were they like, how much were they? do they have a website yet and do you have any photo’s of the rooms? I am planning to return to Gili Air in Oct this year and any info you can give me would be much appreciated.


    • admin says:

      Hi Jason, thanks for your comment!
      The Kaluku bungalows cost us 300,000rp a night, but they are usually 450,000rp a night. They are very nice, I would recommend them. If you want to dive with Blue Marlin they offer a package with dives and a stay at Kaluku, you can read more here. Here is a picture of the outside of the bungalows.
      Enjoy your trip!

  2. Jennifer says:


    Saw that you requested a recipe for Gado-Gado and I have the perfect one! It is a Gili Air-original, made by a local named Miskah who lives behind the Gili Air Hotel. I do not know if it is as good as the one which you experienced at Munchies, but I can asure you that this woman cooks like a god! I personally cannot eat Gado-Gado due to allergies agains peanuts, but she has made me Urap-Urap instead which is basically the same dish but without the peanutsauce (and the name, of course). Anyways, here is a link to that recipe if you have not managed to find one already. Enjoy:

    It is nice to read about the Gili’s from another point of view. I have been to Gili Air together with my parents every year since I was four years old (19 now) but I could not make it this year due to work. Reading this entry made me realise how much I actually missed it this year. Thank you for bringing back good memories!

    //Greetings from Sweden!

  1. There are no trackbacks for this post yet.

Leave a Reply