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The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a group of three islands off the northwest of Lombok Island – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. They are all stunning turquoise droplets in the deep indigo ocean and have a very laid back Robinson Crusoe chic, no cars and a slow pace of life that appeals to people looking for easily reached paradise from Bali and Lombok.

 

Sleep

Karma Reef, Gili Meno

The ultimate intimate beach hideaway is on Gili Meno at Karma Reef. Set in a sprawling four-hectare plot, only one has been sustainably developed to keep the feeling of serenity in nature and maintain the integrity of the surrounding area. Lounge away lazy days in ten luxury lumbungs, originally rice barns. Carefully crafted in bamboo and traditional alang alang thatch for the ultimate in sustainably chic tropical cabanas that respect the pristine environment of the island.

Facing straight onto the azure sea a short amble over powdery white sand, this is the epitome of luxury eco escapism. The marine life is bountiful, snorkelling off the resort will bring you into a swirling kaleidoscope of colourful tropical fish, wander off down the beach and you may see a turtle heading to the sea or take out the Karma boat and explore hidden coves and dive into the deep blue.

Each lumbung can sleep up to four people making them ideal for families or just having a spacious retreat to relax away from the stresses of modern lie. The beauty of this resort is that it has taken care to symbiotically blend with the natural beauty of the island using laid back tropical architecture and style. This has made minimal impact in an area where rapid development is fast becoming a problem by damaging the surrounding reefs.

Gili-02Karma Reef also has one of its world renowned beach clubs located here that is free and has an innovative modern Mediterranean menu. Guests can enjoy sun loungers on the crystal clear beachfront, or enjoy the comfortable open air dining and lounge. This is a great alternative to the bustling beachfront establishments of busier Gili Trawangan.

This is a wonderful eco enclave that really immerses the visitor in the magical beauty of Gili Meno.

www.karmaroyalgroup.com

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La Cocoteraie, Gili Trawangan

A great glamping hotel, La Cocoteraie, with an eco ethos has opened in Gili Trawangan, the liveliest of the Gili Islands. This eight-tented resort, however, is a haven of tranquillity in the middle of a coconut plantation. Beautifully decorated with a touch of rustic chic, these tents are surrounded by small gardens where fresh vegetables are grown.

The crystal clear sparkling sea that the Gili Islands are famous for lie a mere 300 meters away on the north of the island. The main beach is further, but bicycles are provided to explore both the quiet and busy parts of the island. The main area of the resort is for enjoying the communal areas and is a vast traditional building with plenty of areas for relaxing to read or make use of the restaurant and bar.

The Gili Islands possess fantastic snorkelling and diving on your doorstep, explore the underwater world of turtles, parrotfish, reef sharks and a myriad of other tropical fish. Paddle boarding, kayaking and much more are available for those who prefer to keep their head above water. For those searching for more cultural pastimes there are Gili Cooking Classes on offer to learn traditional Indonesian dishes, chilli content optional.

www.lacocoteraiegili.com

 

Savour

Pearl Beach Lounge, Gili Trawangan

This is a wonderfully laid back lounge with an eco ethos, a healthy and hugely varied menu, perfect beachfront spot and laid back vibe. However it is the innovative approach to the creation of this venue that sets it apart from the rest.

The Pearl Lounge Bar was designed to be a totally temporary structure that can be removed and not leave a trace on this part of the beach. Inspired by the ever increasing development that has taken place on this increasingly busy island. They have created a sustainable and sensual curvy structure from an innovative use of bamboo that perches on the edge of the turquoise sea.

There is everything a beach lunge should have including good music, tapas, great food, smoothies, coconuts and naturally a wide range of cocktails. This is a wonderful place to hang out and soak up the sun, swim in the sea or pool or enjoy a relaxed and refined dinner. It’s a perfect spot away from the busy main street to take in the natural beauty of Gili Trawangan.

www.pearlbeachlonge.com

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Scallywags Organic Beach Club, Gili Air

Scallywags is located on the east side of Gili Air, the quietest of all the Gili Islands, and probably the most relaxed that is perfectly reflected in this cool little club right on the beach. Best of all however is that this place is totally organic meaning that wonderful fresh ingredients from the sea and the surrounding area are sourced to give naturally nutritious culinary creations throughout the day.

A wonderful place to while away the days and indulge in some delicious fresh juices, like papaya, pineapple and mint, great brunch through to the nightly barbeque of butterfish, prawns, squid, tuna and all sorts of other seafood fresh from mere meters away. Pair that with some great cocktails and amble your way home with nothing more than cows and coconut trees for company.

www.scallywagsresort.com

 

Sculpture

The Gilis are famous for diving and their fun loving, carefree attitude. With this spirit in mind a collaboration was born between the Marine Foundation, Deus and the Bio-rock® restoration method.  A custom motorbike was made in the Deus ‘Temple of Enthusiasm’ in Canggu and transported over to Gili, where it was reassemble and submerged at a depth of five meters off the beach.

This installation is maintained and managed by The Gili Eco Trust (www.giliecotrust.com), which is an N.G.O run by Delphine Robbe that is dedicated to preserving the fragile reefs that ring the Gili Islands. These are under constant threat from damage and degradation to increased tourist numbers, pollution, boats, storms and various environmental factors. They manage the bio-rock project, ensuring it is working correctly and providing a sanctuary for the fish that have taken up residence.

The bike also has provided one of the most astounding photo opportunities for those wanting to be photographed ‘riding’ underwater. Take along a waterproof or contact Johan Bratt at Gili Divers (www.gilidivers.com) to capture your interpretation of the most rock and roll reef recovery spot in the world.

 

Spirit

Gili Yoga is an incredible place that is centered around a large yoga studio but also runs courses in free diving. It makes sense that two deeply meditative practices coexist in this amazingly serene seaside sanctuary.

This calm environment provides drop in classes of mainly Hatha and Vinyasa, as well as longer term courses and retreats. The free diving courses run from a couple of days for absolute beginners to a longer period for those who would like to move on to the more advanced levels. A large swimming pool is a safe environment where the practices meld seamlessly together to combine the two disciplines.

A perfect place to experience inner peace and a new way to explore the clear calm sea that surrounds the Gillis.

www.giliyoga.com

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Scuba & Snorkel

The Gilis is best known for its amazing snorkelling and diving and the myriad of magical marine life swirling below the suface. Giant Parrotfish and Triggerfish meander through currents and dart around the large coral beds. For snorkelling it’s best to negotiate a boat to take you out for the day and discover shallow reefs and hidden beaches. If you are a scuba diver or want to learn then Blue Marine Dive Shop operates from both Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. It is a scuba diving company that offers everything from beginner fun dives, to open water certification, to advanced courses.

They also offer free diving courses and have fully qualified instructors that hail from all over the world. All the dive shops on the island have price agreements too so you can be guaranteed that you get the same price everywhere. However this is one of the best around for teaching people of all abilities and knowing where are those all important underwater secret spots. There are regular trips to Turtle heaven that is definitely as the name describes. Pop over to this lovely base for some sub aqua exploration.

www.bluemarinedive.com

 
 
© 2014 The Eco Gypsy - Ethical Exploration.
   


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