Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 29 May 2014 • Itinerary
So you’ve whined about how touristy and crowded some places are. Honestly, so have I. That’s why I chose Gili Gede as the place to ease and relax for a weekend a while ago. It’s not a “hidden place” as it’s got a few resorts on the island, but it’s tranquil enough to practice that “art of doing nothing”.
Lombok, an island and also a regency, is more popular with its little islands in the northwest; Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. While Gili Gede is located southwest. Gili Gede does not have a party scene unless you create one, which I don’t recommend, and it does not have pipes you can surf through like in Kuta, Bali. However, it offers you serenity and the warmth of local people.
You could: do yoga, snorkel, read, walk around the villages, trek, and so on. I summed up my activities in Gili Gede here. Have a read for your references on your next visit around Lombok.
Via Vacare Resort, Gili Gede
The bungalows are cute and spacious, they can also be romantic. The staff is super nice, the sunset is gorgeous, and the price is moderately midrange. I haven’t tried other resorts on Gili Gede, but I would recommend you the Via Vacare.
You can read my complete review here.
This is a hotel located in Mataram city, on Lombok Island. I stayed there for a transit between my stay in Gili Gede and my flight back home to Jakarta the next day, and it was actually my second stay there. Find out why I chose to come back there out of other hotel options in Mataram, all in this post.
Getting to Gili Gede
To get to Gili Gede, I flew from Jakarta to Mataram by Garuda Indonesia.
A pick up was arranged by the Via Vacare. It should take about 1,5 – 2 hours from Lombok International Airport in Praya to Tembowong port. In my case, we had to wait for drinking water supply to be delivered in Mataram, so it took us 3,5 hours before arriving at Tembowong.
The last public boat from Tembowong to Gili Gede departs at around 5 or 5.30 pm. We were crossing with Via Vacare’s boat at 7.30 pm. I would recommend crossing to Gili Gede earlier to get a better view. Sitting in the dark for about 30 minutes on the boat was pretty boring.
Public boat costs IDR 50,000 / pax.
The pick up service was IDR 250,000 / car, including the boat fee to Gili Gede.
The plane tickets with Garuda Indonesia could be as pricey as IDR 6,000,000 return trip, depending on the season, obviously. The average price would be about IDR 2,000,000 return.
I got a sweet deal on their early bird promo, which was IDR 1,000,000 for return tickets, purchased several months prior.
So many good words are thrown in about Garuda Indonesia, being so-called the best airline in Indonesia. But they just had to delay my Jakarta-Lombok flight for 2 hours. The return trip was on-time, though.
On Gili Gede, you’ll only find wooden wagons, motorbikes, bicycles and boats to get around. That is, aside to walking.