Wanderlust: Expat Life & Style in Thailand The Relationships Issue - Page 57


Gili Air

Conjure up an image of a blissful tropical island in your mind ’ s eye and watch it come to life on the Gili islands . A short boat ride from Bali ’ s east coast sits the trio of heavenly habitats . Whilst not strictly belonging to Bali ( rather the neighboring district of Lombok ), these paradisiacal roosts are picture-perfect .
There ’ s a breadth of choice here , too . While the buzz-barometer reaches maximum levels on Gili Trawangan , the largest of the islands , sleepy Gili Meno offers a peaceful , undeveloped retreat from the mainland . Gili Air lingers somewhere in the middle , providing what Goldilocks would surely refer to as “ just right ” for honeymooners .
You ’ ll find arguably the best beach of the Gilis here , as well as a sprinkling of relaxed bars and restaurants along the main strip , creating enough of an atmosphere to provide entertainment every night of the week . Alternatively , you could just … do nothing . Laze by the pool with a book , sunbathe together on glimmering sands , and enjoy a romantic meal for two beneath the twinkling night sky . This is where honeymoon clichés are born .
Snorkeling has always been a perspective-adjusting experience for me . Just over there , beyond the shore , is an entire universe quite unlike our own , teeming with creatures seemingly straight out of a sci-fi movie . I ’ ll never grow tired of having my head above water , taking in life as I know it , only to dip beneath the waves and be transported to a whole new world : one I ’ ll forever love and appreciate .
Snorkeling in the Gili ’ s magnified this sense of worldly insignificance in the most spectacular way . Within a few meters of the bustling beachside cafes and troops of tourists , is a soundless realm bursting with colors so psychedelic they seem unnatural . Gliding through the Bali Sea , my husband and I encountered all kinds of kaleidoscopic life ; we pointed out our fantastical finds to one another and reveled in our discoveries . We even spotted a turtle , the sea-dwelling creatures for which the islands have become well known .
Accommodation in Gili Air comes in the form of bamboo huts and rustic bungalows along the livelier east coast , whilst the west harbors a modest selection of upscale villas . Of those , Atoll Haven Villas comes most recommended , offering luxurious private homes with exceptional attention to detail throughout .
Though a walk from Air ’ s action , the distance is worth it for the sense of privacy and seclusion , plus free bicycles are on-hand to transport you around the island at your leisure . The highlight of Atoll Haven Villas ? The openair bathroom . Somewhat of a staple feature around Bali , these al fresco washrooms are far from gimmicky or primitive . In fact , they ’ re downright luxurious , in the right resort , providing a highly-styled and nature-inspired place to wash away sticky sun cream and lingering sands .
At Atoll , the rain shower sits on a marble island surrounded by plants and volcanic stone twin vanity sinks . There ’ s no bath for a romantic soak , but who needs a tub when you have your very own private pool ? Gili Air , Pemenang , Kabupaten Lombok Utara , Nusa Tenggara Bar . 83352 www . atollhaven . com
Everything on the Island of the Gods shines , from the people — who are amongst the friendliest I ’ ve encountered — to the awe-inspiring views we awoke to every morning . Even colors seemed somehow bolder , brighter , no Instagram filter required . And Instagram you will ; whether you ’ re snapping the rainbow-toned bowl of fruit you scoff for breakfast or the two of you smooching by an amethyst sunset , it will be difficult to resist sharing your Technicolor holiday with the world .