Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 12 May 2014 • Destination
The idea was to spend my birthday with Diyan by riding around Lombok Island. Unfortunately he couldn’t leave work, so I went by myself because the plane tickets were already purchased. Since I can’t ride a motorcycle, I shifted the plan to a less-visited gili (island) around Lombok. After consulting with Gilang from Lombok Vacation and browsing about the gilis, I chose Gili Gede as my 3-day weekend destination. One of the reasons was Via Vacare Resort in Gili Gede.
Via Vacare is one of a few resorts in Gili Gede. I stumbled upon their website and fell in love instantly. According to the website, guests can sleep in bungalows or the budget bamboo platforms (they call it ‘backpacker platform’). I was going to take the backpacker platform but then an Indohoy reader from India, Rasika, was joining me for a night. So I took the bungalow and shared it with Rasika.
There’s also a common area that include dining area, kitchen and book corner. It’s a semi open-aired space, where they have to roll down the blinds when it rains heavily. It’s so nice to laze around the area while getting to know the other guests.
The owner of Via Vacare is Jet, an Indonesian that spends more of her lifetime in Netherland. Too bad she wasn’t there during my visit because I would love to have a chat with her. Having an interest to own and run my own accommodation, I’m always interested to dig out stories from owners of unique accommodations such as this resort in Gili Gede. Maybe next time.
The bungalow is roundish in shape, with wide glass doors facing the side and the sea. It’s partly built with wood and bamboo materials, as applied to the furniture as well. It gives a natural feel to the whole room. It also feels kind of romantic. Good thing it’s a twin bed and we were also separated by the mosquito net, so we didn’t have to feel awkward to be in bed with the romantic ambiance.. LOL.
Chairs and coffee tables in the bedroom and on the terrace are perfect for reading, sketching, or simply daydreaming while looking and listening to the ocean’s subtle sound. There is no air conditioner, so if you feel hot, just turn on the fan or let the sea breeze in.
Electricity is self generated and are on up to about 10 p.m. But to those that want to read afterwards, the reading/night lamps are available as they are solar powered. Go green!
The bathroom also takes you back to nature, in a way that you’d be showering under the sky. Wait, but the shower in my bathroom didn’t work, so I bathed the Indonesian way: scooping water with a gayung (hand-bailer or a small bucket with a handle) and pouring it over my body. Water was abundant, but it didn’t look too clean although they put a lid on the earthenware barrel. I guess it’s a part of being in touch with nature, maybe..?
Via Vacare provides yoga classes, art lessons and cooking lessons, but neither has a fixed schedule. They can’t even promise you the availability because the classes are provided by any guest who has the respective skill and is willing to teach other guests.
I was excited about the cooking lesson because Jet, vie e-mail, told me that I could join the cooking staff preparing one of the meals. I assumed they were going to cook a Lombok special dish, but that’s the thing with assumption. You’re sometimes wrong. They were preparing nasi goreng (fried rice) for lunch, which is like the first thing an Indonesian cooks when they start learning to cook. It maybe a new dish for you, but definitely not for me. Moreover, the girl staff, who seemed to be in charge of the kitchen, didn’t look so thrilled about me cooking with them. But they at least let me help mincing the chili and tomato. Oh, well.
Jet hands over the management of the resort in Gili Gede to Ratu, a Balinese guy that she considers as her own child, whenever she’s not around. Correspondence via email is still handled by Jet, but more detailed arrangements like pick-up at the airport, at the port and everything else is handled by Ratu. He’s also a very friendly guy and likes to joke around.
All the staff was nice and helpful. The girls were sort of shy and didn’t talk much even when I asked them something in Indonesian language. Beats me why.
Ketut, also originated from Bali, guided me walking around the village nearby and explains to me a lot of things about the village and the island life. Denny is quite shy but he hangs with us. And another guy, oh darn I forgot his name, was always being funny and didn’t hesitate to pose for my camera.
During my stay on a weekend in low season, there were only three other guests. Rasika, Bobbi from The Netherlands and Anna from Germany. Everybody was traveling solo, but thanks to the common area, we all could mingle with each other, exchanging stories, also with the staff. There is also a gazebo where Ratu was playing the guitar and everybody else could sing along while waiting for the sunset. I went to bed early that night and still could hear Ratu playing the guitar and Anna’s laughs until I was off to slumberland…Via Vacare Resort in Gili Gede Email: email@example.com Phone: +62 (0) 8123 7324 565 / +62 (0) 8214 4215 074
Prices: check out this page, but you could try to haggle for low seasons.
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