After a quiet, blissful three nights on Nusa Lembongan Island, in all honesty it was a shock to the system arriving in Gili T. In fact, I felt very disappointed initially. I had heard all of these rave reviews from friends about how amazing it was and for the first few hours, I hated it and desperately wished we had stayed put on Lembongan.
I don't think it helped that the journey there was far from pleasant - I had a bit of an upset stomach and the fast boat cruising at speed against the crashing waves for two hours left me feeling pretty traumatised! Then dragging our suitcases through the dirt tracks avoiding horse shit and the hoards of fellow tourists to our Airbnb place, I felt even more confused. Of course, I had heard that Gili T was the party island but I'd also heard about how beautiful it was and I just couldn't see it.
However, in n case you couldn't guess by the photos, over the next few hours and coming days, I learnt that you really shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.
I came to realise that part of Gili T's charm is that on this tiny island, you really can experience it all - the party central, the touristy main strip with shops and bars and restaurants galore, the chickens and horses running free in the back streets where the locals live, the signs in the same back streets telling women not to walk around in bikinis, the 5am wake up calls from the local mosques, the aquamarine water, the almost white beaches, the local men sitting on the street offering you mushrooms as you walk past them, the bustling night market with the cheapest yet tastiest barbecued meat and fish you'll ever taste, the beach bars with the comfiest bean bags to sip cocktails on whilst watching the sunset, the perfect snorkelling spots to spy some giant turtles, the most luxe restaurants and resorts, the huts on the beachfront where you can get a foot massage whilst watching the sea, the dancing to Sean Paul at the liveliest reggae club on the strip.
We ended up extending our two night stay to three nights, so that we could continue to enjoy the vibrant island. We had some of our funnest evenings on Gili T, drinking Bintang and dancing to local live bands singing famous pop songs (who mostly didn't know the lyrics), until the early hours.
I left Gili T feeling astonished that I had managed to fall in love with an island that initially I loathed. And that truly is the beauty with Bali and Lombok, they will worm their way into your heart and make it hurt so much when you inevitably have to board the plane home.
I have one more post left in the Bali Blogs and that's Ubud - and yes, you guessed it, I fell in love with it too!