Diving And Surfing In Gilis

I actually did this trip on last Dec, i completely forgot to write about it, what made me writing it now is because i just got an email from PADI a moment ago, telling me that my dive shop just proceeded my certification card! My goodness, it’s been 3 months and they just proceed it now? Unbelievable!

Aside from that unpleasant service, it was the best holiday i have ever had! I went there on my own, so i got to decide whatever i want to do and i came there at exact perfect time before the rainy season getting heavy. I flew from work (yes straight from work with work outfit) with last flight Lion Air had, as i went with tight budget, i didn’t expect much from them, you know with delay time and everything, but turned out we flew on schedule, one in a million case, lol.

Arrived in Mataram at midnight, i was told that it’s safer to take Shuttle Damri bus rather than taxi, since it’s a new airport branded taxis haven’t operated in there yet. I had no idea how am i gonna get to my hotel in Mataram, because this new airport is located outside the city. Lucky, i met a nice girl from States, she works in Bima as an English teacher, we made a few chit chat and i asked about how to get to the city, and she said she headed that way herself and has used this shuttle bus a couple times, i’m saved i thought.

So this shuttle bus operates 24 hours whenever there’s flight arrived and stops in bus terminal, Mataram city, and Senggigi. So if you head to Gilis you can make transit in Senggigi or Mataram city, what i did i stayed in Mataram for a night, at a hotel called Bidari, a balinesse owner hotel, quite nice and convenience location, just 5 mins walk to Mataram Mall and easy to get Taxi from there too.

And then early in the morning i caught taxi to Bangsal Pier for 120 thou Rupiahs or around 11 USD. And boat to Gili Meno cost me 1 USD. Why i chose Meno instead of Trawangan or Air, because i wanted to get away from crowd, relaxing on my own, only me and my thoughts. But if you’re looking for a party vibrant then Trawangan is the best choice, and Air is in between. My choice was right, this island is a perfect getaway.

Arrived there around 10 in the morning, made a few arrangement with my diveshop, met my instructor, arranged my fun dive sites, etc. And then took a walk to my bungalow which located on the other side of the island, haha.. it was quite a walk, but i took beach walk so it didn’t really get me tired. It was beautiful, the island is stunning! Still untouched, way far from touristy athmosphere. I stayed at this eco-bungalow called The Sunset Gecko, very cheap, only 70 thou per night, thats around 6 uSD for a single room with outside bathroom. With Beruga just in front of the beach, i went snorkeling right after i put down my backpack and put on my rashie, really couldn’t wait to take a plunge in the ocean!

The only thing i can complain is the food, i’m sorry to say this but it was yuck and expensive too. So i got my meal somewhere else. Again, since i was on tight budget i got my food from local warung, sometimes from satay or plecing kangkung (water spinach with peanut and chilli sauce) a lady with sarong who usually sitting in front of my dive shop brought. It was tasty, alot more tastier than food i got from flashy restaurants in the island. I just got enough with western food such as pizza or local food like satay with western taste, there’s nothing local about it. And getting local was my objective. So breakfast for 6 thou, lunch for 8 to 10 thou (super hungry after my dives), and dinner for another 6 thou. Well, this is my big achievement on saving money during my trip, haha..

 I moved to another bungalow with bathroom inside and closer to Blue Marlin, this one called Jepun Bungalow, got a good deal for my long stay in a twin room, not a biggie, as long as it’s cheaper, cost me half from published rate, good eh? It’s owned by Swedish, but this Balinese  guy who runs it is really nice. He always said hi and asked me every afternoon when i came back from surfing. And food in there was good, not really great but acceptable. What i love about this bungalow is they have small library with good books i can borrow, silly me only brought one book, so it was like finding an oase.

Well this is my day usually goes, in a first few days, i started early for my course (boring stuff, lol) spending all day at the shop wathching video and exercising some stuff. But after my course finished i started my fundive early without breakfast to avoid my seasick, came back at 1030 perfect time for breakfast, then had one dive in midday, came back to the island, had a tasty lunch, then ready for afternoon dive. After approx one to one and half hour at the sea, i already sit on the shop porch getting my surfboard ready, then another one hour at the south beach riding some waves. What a blissful days.

The dive itself is quite pretty, depends on the site, i found one or two sites are not really pretty, i hate strong current, low viz, and less coralize (you know only sandy bottom with nothing to see). So again it actually depends on your kind of scene, but tell you what, i was shocked knowing that on one of my dive, we went 43 meters! Crazy! It almost broke my UW housing. But it was worthed, i saw sharks, many sharks, octopus, and lots and lots fishes and of course micro creatures like pygmy seahorse, shrimps and many more. Kinda make me curious cos one site could be completely different from the others but they located close one another, i don’t know how to explain it, lol. 

If i didn’t go for afternoon dive, i usually walked around the island, where you can find a bird park and turtle sanctuary, so much to do in such a tiny island. Ah last but not least, on my last night in the island, the dive shop crews and instructors invited me to a small sunset party, where we were chatting, watching sunset, having local dinner, and having one or two shots of local drink and weeds. They all are really nice, we went diving and surfing together enough to make us friends. So my objective with local stuff accomplished made it trully an unforgetable trip.

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