Paradise beaches, movie nights and scuba diving – Phuket, Thailand. Kuta, Bali and the Gili Islands, Indonesia

Saturday 2nd January

Before we went to Bali, we had to stop over one night in Phuket, to then fly to Bangkok, and from there to Bali. We got up and made our way down to the pier, stopping off for breakfast on the way. The boat took us to the mainland.

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Happy Chappies

We had organised a transfer to our hostel with the boat ticket and the oldest, smallest man in the world met us off the boat. I have no idea how he reached the pedals to drive the mini van. He was a very slow driver, which was probably for the best. We set off,  Meash was staying at a different place to us, so after some difficulty finding the place, we dropped him off first. Then the fun started. The old man clearly had no idea where we were going. All we had was an address but that didn’t seem to help him. He drove around for a bit and must have got out and asked 5 different people for directions. We didn’t know where we were meant to be going but I could see we were going away from the beach. He was driving down this road and we were all telling him to turn around. He either couldn’t hear, or understand us because he paid no attention and carried on in completely the wrong direction. Nightmare!!! After stopping to ask a few more people, I got annoyed and got out the van with him to ask directions myself. We were literally down the road from where we needed to be and must have driven past the place 5 times! Ugh. We made it eventually and checked in. That evening we met Meash and we all went for dinner down on the beach.

Sunday 3rd January

We weren’t due to fly to Bangkok until midnight so we had the whole day to relax. We spent the day by the pool near Meash’s hotel. It was lovely. I accidentally put my kindle on a wet towel and it some how sucked the water up through the charge point and died 😱😱😱  I was horrified. I went to the little market near by and bought a kg of rice to put it in to hopefully dry out. I was gutted!!

At about 8.30 we made our way to the airport to catch our flight to Bangkok. It was only an hour flight but a bit delayed.

Monday 4th January

Our flight out to Bali was at 6am in the morning. We landed at 1.30am we went to find somewhere to get a few hours kip. Impossible. They were playing the loudest most annoying music. It was like Santa’s grotto music on speed. The air con was pumping out as well. I think I managed about 20 minutes sleep. We eventually went to check in to our flight to Bali. I bought a new neck pillow which I was very glad of when we got on the plane. It was about a 4 hour journey and we were all shattered.

The first thing you notice about Bali is the heat! Oh my, its warm!!!
We all got a taxi to our hotel. I immediately really liked Denpasa. Its all small roads and little streets. No massive highways or anything. Meash had booked our hostel and it was very basic. We had a fan but the room was sweltering. We sat outside the room for a bit chatting to the guys that worked at the hostel. I had heard mixed reviews about the Balinese people. I loved them straight away. They are so lovely and always up for a laugh and a joke. One of the guys who was from a remote island kept asking to take my picture. Haha. Not accustomed to blonde hair. After a bit, we decided to go for a wander.

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We were staying south of Denpassa, in Kuta. The culture of the place is so apparent. There are temples and statues everywhere. Not massive ones, but little ones built in amongst the shops. They have these gargoyle (Bygone) statues everywhere. I presume there are a protective thing.

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The floor is also covered with tiny square baskets made out of bamboo with all kinds of herbs and flowers, cakes and bits and bobs in. You have to be careful not to step on them. I researched it later on and apparently they are offerings to the gods to keep the peace. They are outside all the shops and at junctions on the road because this is where incidents or altacations are more likely to happen.
After exploring for a bit we decided to try a bit of local food and went to a place called Bamboo Corner. I had chicken satay and it was delish. Kuta is very popular with the Australians as a place to come and surf, so we decided to check out the beach.
The waves were huge and aggressive!! I wasn’t used to it after the calm seas in the rest of Asia.

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We went in the sea, it was not a relaxing experience. I nearly lost my bikini a few times and was dragged round like a rag doll. It was fun but exhausting!
We stayed on the beach for a bit before heading back to hostel and for a shower before dinner. I had to sit next to a fan for 20minites after my shower to cool down. You just immediately start sweating again as soon as you step out. We went out for dinner and then came back to endure the sweatiest night ever. We all just lay on our beds… Dripping. It was great.

Tuesday 5th January.

The day before, we had booked our boat over to the Gili Islands, next to Lombok. Meash wasn’t coming with us so we said goodbye to him and were collected by our minibus, to take us to the harbour. On the way to the harbour we were driven through the more touristy part of Kuta. There was macdonalds, Starbucks and loads of clothes shops. I was glad we stayed in the more local part, down the back alleys. We had to wait for a bit before we got on the boat so we had some food and got attacked by wasps. 😤
The speedboat over to the island took about 2 hours. I have been told before how beautiful the Gilis are but you don’t appreciate it until you arrive on the beach and see the crystal clear waters and the white sand. Its mesmerising. The Gills themselves are like another world. They are three tiny islands off the coast of Lombok (the island next to Bali). We went to Gili T first. Much like Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, there are no motorised vehicles. Instead there is an abundance of bicycles to rent and the streets are full of horse and cart. The main road across the front of the island, near the harbour, is all shops, dive centers and restaurants. We walked down the little dirt paths dodging the horses and eventually found our hostel. After checking in and basking in the aircon we went out for a walk and to find some food. We settled on a sheesha and Indian restaurant on the beach front.

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After dinner we walked a bit further along the main strip and found an open air cinema!! Perfect! They show two films a night and you get free popcorn in with the ticket. We settled down to watch the second film they were playing that evening; Entourage.

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The best thing about that day was that I gave my kindle one last chance and tried to charge it. It worked!!! KINDERELLA LIVES ON!!!!!

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Wednesday 6th January.

We had a bit of a lazy morning before heading out to find some food. We did intend to walk round the island but it was too blummin hot and we got distracted by massages. I had a good but rather painful foot massage. We spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach. There was a slight storm so we had to hide for a bit but the sun came back out again pretty sharpish. That evening we went out for dinner and then had a few drinks and a good dance at the Irish bar.

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Thursday 7th January

Another lazy day on the Gili T. We got out nails done and sunbathed a bit more. That night Erin wasn’t feeling very well but me and Bros went out for a sheesha and some red wine. We had an absolutely fantastic time. We ended up going to a bar and having a sing song with some people until the early hours. Before we knew it was 7am and the sun was coming up so we sat on the beach to watch. Such a great night!!

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Friday 8th January

Obviously having spent all night awake, we went to bed for a few hours. We got up again at 12 and went to find food.  We spent the rest of the day hungover but rented out some sunbeds at a rather gorgeous resort and I supped on lime juice

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That evening we abused the outdoor cinema and watched The Theory of everything and Jurassic World. 👍👍

Saturday 9th January

Alice was heading off to the mainland to catch her flight to Hong Kong and me and Erin were heading over to Gili Meno. We said our goodbyes to Broster (😢) and made our way to catch the 10 minute public boat to the next island. Meno is a much quieter island compared to Gili T. We arrived and managed to find our £4.30 a night luxury bungalow. Its very much a honeymoon island. Very chilled out and relaxed.

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We dropped our bags and went to explore. The island is beautiful and so quiet. We walked down the wooded paths and came out near the harbour. They have a tiny turtle sanctuary there which we went to have a look at. All the baby turtles were so cute!!!

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We continued our exploring and found our own private beach. It was completely untouched and so beautiful!

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We spent a few hours there before heading back. That evening we went out for dinner and then had a quiet night in reading.

Sunday 10th January.

After breakfast, we decided to explore the island. There is a lake on the island so we set off in search of it. The island is only 3miles wide at its largest point so it didn’t take us long.

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We spent the next two hours walking  along the beaches and through the wooded parts of the island having a good look around. It was absolutely sweltering hot though. We were absolutely exhausted by the time we got back.

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Such a beautiful place though. The locals are all lovely. After we made it back, sweating profusely, we went to a pool near our bungalow and spent the afternoon hiding from the sun. On our island exploration expedition we did find another open air cinema. It was on the other side of the island to where we were staying, so about a 20 minute walk away. That evening we set out to watch a film and have dinner.

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It was fun, but slightly scary, walking back down the little paths in the pitch black with only our torch and the geckos for company 😄

Monday 11th January

I had an awful night from an upset stomach. I had been suffering a bit for a few days. I stayed in bed for most of the day trying not to move while Erin, my hero, went out to get medicine for me. I managed to drag myself out later that afternoon to meet Erin near the beach for some food. I spent the rest of the day sitting in a little beach hut trying to recover. That evening we trudged back to the cinema to watch The Martian. We love a film!!!

Tuesday 12th January

Back to Gili T! We got an early boat back across. The hostel that we had booked to stay in was completely deserted so we sacked it off and went to find another one. We had to walk around in the heat for a bit but eventually managed to get a good deal for a private room. After we checked in we went to book a snorkelling trip. The boat was leaving within the half hour so went down to the harbour and collected our flippers and got on board the boat. We did three snorkelling stops. The water was so beautifully clear and the fish were amazing.

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On the second stop the guys doing the tour found a turtle for us. We jumped off the boat and swam quite far out until we found one. He was absolutely beautiful and quite big. It was upsetting though because everyone crowded him and they were sticking their go pros right in his face. Poor little guy. I did manage to see him slowly drift to the surface though to take a little gulp of air. 😍
After snorkelling, we stopped off at Gili Air to have lunch. We didn’t get to explore the island though. That evening we went for dinner and then inevitably, to the cinema 😄

Wednesday 13th January

Goodbye Erin!! 😦😦 She was leaving to go back to the mainland to make her way home. We said goodbye early and then I chilled out for a bit in the room before making my way to the dive centre. The day before, I had booked a small refresher course and a dive in the afternoon. I arrived at 11am and met my instructor. A lovely Swedish girl called Amanda. It had been about 5 months since I completed my open water PADI so I though it was wise to have a quick go in the pool to see if I remembered everything. We just did a few breathing, mask and buoyancy skills. Turns out its like riding a bike and I was set to go! I went to have some lunch but was back at 2pm, raring to go! My dive master was a local man called Adi. He was lovely. I was also introduced to Kim, who was also diving with us. She was brilliant, a lady from Australia. We got on board the boat and got kitted up

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The dive was epic! We were diving at the meno wall site. We jumped in the water and descended down the side of the coral wall. The coral was so beautiful. We saw loads of really cool fish…. And then the turtles came. Adi signalled to me to wait and then look up at the wall. There was a big turtle sitting on top of the wall. He pushed himself off and then ever so gracefully swam down towards me. As he got near me he pulled up and glided right over the top of my head and then swam off in to the blue abyss. It was so amazing! They are so big, yet graceful. We saw two other turtles, one was fast asleep in a little alcove in the coral. We stayed down for about 45 minutes, exploring. Adi had a brilliant eye and was pointing out all kinds of amazing fish and clams that I wouldn’t have seen. It was incredible to be back diving again. I love it so much!!! When we got back on the boat, Kim very kindly invited me out for dinner and drinks with her and her daughter. I joined them that evening at the Irish bar. I had a lovely time chatting to them. There were a few people there from the dive centre as well so we sat with them for a bit too. Such a lovely evening!!

Next stop… Ubud, Bali.

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