Food

Thai chicken pizza recipe + sour cream dressing

24. August 2016

Delicious thai chicken pizza recipe

Thai is one of my favorite cuisines and everyone loves pizza, right? So why not combine the two!

This thai chicken pizza recipe is quick and easy to make and so delicious! You’ll get hooked, I promise. Everyone in my family loves it! My dad even went as far as saying it was the best pizza he’s ever had. So I definitely recommend trying it out this weekend! It’s also great to serve when you have guests over, a fun twist on a dish most people enjoy!

Ingredients

Pizza: Your favorite pizza dough (I’m lazy so I use a ready made 450g dough) // 1 partially frozen chicken breast // any peanut marinade/sauce you prefer // 300g crème fraîche (1 box) // 4 tbs. sweet chili sauce (more if you like it spicy) // 300g grated cheddar & mozzarella mix // 1/2 red onion sliced // 3 spring onions (scallions) chopped // 100g salted cashews // handfull chopped cilantro // 3 tsp. lime juice

Peanut marinade: I use satay peanut marinade if I have it on hand, just because it’s quick and easy. If not I mix 4 tbs. peanut butter with 1 tbs. of the crème fraîche, 1 small garlic clove minced and 1 tsp. lime juice.

Sour cream garlic dressing: 2 dl (1 cup) low fat sour cream // 1 tsp. lime juice // 1 garlic clove minced // about one tbs. finely chopped fresh basil // pinch of salt and pepper

Delicious thai chicken pizza recipe - Perfect for a weekend dinner

  1. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and let it sit in the fridge for at least one hour to let the flavors develop.
  2. Cut the chicken when it’s still partially frozen, so it’s easier to get some super thin slices. Mix the chicken with the peanut marinade in a plastic bag and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 225C / 425F, and place the dough on a baking sheet.
  4. Add the sweet chili sauce to the box of crème fraîche and mix together. Spread the mixture evenly on the entire crust. Top with the cheese first, then the chicken, spring onion, red onion and cashews.
  5. Bake until the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown, about 15-25 minutes, depending on your oven and how thick of a crust you use. Let it rest for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped cilantro and the lime juice.
  6. Serve with the dressing on the side. (I forgot to include it in the pictures, typical me) Enjoy!

Delicious thai chicken pizza recipe - Perfect for a weekend dinner

Let me know if you end up up making this pizza and what you think about it! Did you like it?


Journal

11 gift ideas perfect for travel girls

17. August 2016
11 gift ideas perfect for travel girls
Are you struggling to find the perfect gift? Don’t worry, here are 11 gifts most travel girls will love!

// Contains affiliate links

So I decided to do a different kind of post today. I made this gift guide with the traveling girl in mind, but I see now that most of these gifts can be great for any stylish woman. So don’t expect any survival gear or freeze dried 1-minute meals here. That I’ll save for another time, or probably never! Anyways…

My birthday is fast approaching and I’m constantly hearing from friends and family “you’re so hard to buy for”. I always respond that a gift doesn’t have to cost a lot, just use your imagination. I would rather get a $10 item with a lot thought behind it, than some expensive earrings you picked up on your way home from work the day of my birthday.

I love buying gifts for others. Sometimes I plan ahead for months, researching and comparing different products and experiences. The best part is the look on the recipients face when he or she opens it. To make it more special I always try to find gifts with a deeper meaning, like a bracelet with special coordinates, a personalized camera strap or gifts that give back. So here are 11 gift ideas, that at least I would be super happy to receive (hint hint boyfriend).

Wanderer backpack (discount code below)10 gift ideas for travel girls - Wanderer backpack Pura WidaI’ve come to love using backpacks instead of regular bags. I can’t believe I didn’t realize sooner how much more handy they are, it could have saved me a lot of bruised and sore shoulders. Especially when traveling in southeast Asia, where scooters are the main mode of transportation. This super cool backpack is perfect for a day at the beach or as a way to spice up your outfit. Get it fast as this is a limited edition, so it’ll probably fly off the shelves! You’ll get a free Pura Vida bracelet with your purchase, read more about those further down.

Get 10% off your entire Pura Vida purchase by using code PVSAVE10

 

Gold personalized wanderlust bracelet10 gift ideas for travel girls - Gold wanderlust braceletOne of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received, is this gold bracelet I got from my sister for my last birthday. It says “wanderlust” on a hammered gold filled plate, but you can get the text personalized. What really set this gift apart was the awesome gift wrapping, like you see above. It came in a tiny glass bottle with gold foil, like a super fun message in a bottle. I love it! The seller also offers a lot of other gorgeous items like this gold cowrie shell necklace. All the jewelry is handmade in Hawaii!

 

Leather passport wallet10 gift ideas for travel girls - Ethiopian leather passport walletOne thing I always bring with me on my travels is my passport wallet. It holds everything from documents, different currencies, credit cards and of course my passport, so I guard it with my life. FASHIONABLE works globally with women coming from many diverse backgrounds, all looking for opportunity. They seek to “give” an opportunity to those living in poverty by purchasing goods from them, and helping those businesses grow and employ more. This gorgeous passport wallet is handcrafted in Ethiopia using 100% Ethiopian leather. Dimensions are  4″ x 6″ when closed. It’s available in 7 colors: Cognac, Chocolate Brown, Black, Navy, Merlot, Pewter, and Moss. For only $8 you can personalize it with a short name or initials.

 

Personalized hemp & leather camera strap10 gift ideas for travel girls - Hemp personalized camera strapIf there’s one thing I love, it’s one of a kind items. Or at least, a few of a kind. These vintage inspired hemp camera straps are just that. They’re made to order using organic hemp, full grain leather, metal hardware and antiqued nickel details. I always have my camera around my neck when traveling, so it’s nice to have a strap that’s not only comfortable but also an accessory in itself. Personalize the strap by adding a custom leather piece, hand-stamped with the initials of the lucky recipient!

 

Pura Vida Bracelets10 gift ideas for travel girls - Pura Vida braceletsPura Vida bracelets are wax-coated so they’re 100% waterproof. That’s perfect for a traveler, a simple but cute accessory that you never have to take off. I especially love the new collection of beaded bracelets, this one with turquoise beads and a gold palm tree charm in particular. Best of all is that the company is all about giving back. Every bracelet is carefully handcrafted by artisans in Costa Rica, where they now employ 100+ people that were living in poverty. I addition they have partnered with over 190 charities over the years and are a member of 1% for the Planet. So buy these bracelets in good continence. Now you can also give away a membership to the Pura Vida monthly club, where the recipient receive 3 bracelets a month, for as long as you want to pay for it!

 

Travel journal10 gift ideas for travel girls - Travel journalI always bring a notebook with me on my travels, incase I suddenly get a bright idea or feel like scribbling something down. This is a journal for all the goals, dreams, accomplishments and life moments you want to remember forever! Every journal is special, because the maps included are all cut from different world atlases. So it’s the perfect inspiration to think outside of one’s comfort zone and explore parts of the world you hadn’t even thought of before. Or maybe this mermaid journal could be the thing, if your loved one is a lover of the ocean.

 

Stainless steel water bottle10 gift ideas for travel girls - Pura Vida stainless steel water bottleThis is really a unisex water bottle, I included it because I want to encourrage more people to use reusable non-plastic bottles. It’s so sad to see how much plastic is floating around in our oceans and everywhere else really. The first time I came to Indonesia over six year ago, I didn’t see or think about it at all. The last time I went I had to remove little bits of plastic off myself after swimming at my favorite beach. And in some places you have to make way through the plastic trash to get to where you’re going. Now more and more restaurants and cafés, at least in Indonesia, are offering free water refills when using non-plastic containers. So avid travelers, please try to eliminate your plastic waste! And secondly the bottle is damn cute and you get a free bracelet with your purchase, so it’s a win win for everyone!

 

 

World scratch map10 gift ideas for travel girls - High quality world scratch mapThis high quality scratch off world map is a great way to remember all your adventures, but it can also act as a reminder of how much of the world you have yet to see! With over 10,000 different cities and places to mark, this poster size map will look awesome hanging on any wall, so friends and family can get a glimpse of all your travels. Dimensions – 88 x 63 cm (34.6 x 25.2 inches).

 

Leather Luggage Tags10 gift ideas for travel girls - Ethiopian leather luggage tagsAt the moment I’m using a old paper luggage tag I got from an airline once. I’t so worn that you can barely make out my name, so I would be super happy with one of these! This sleek leather luggage tag keeps your information safe while adding a distinguishing look to your luggage. Add a personalization for just $8, it would look super cute with the initials of the recipient. It’s hand crafted in Ethiopia using 100% Ethiopian leather. Dimensions are 4″ x 2 3/4″, it holds a 3.5″ x 2″ business card.

 

Pura Vida Lunar Paradise beach towel10 gift ideas for travel girls - Pura Vida Lunar Paradise beach towelI love large beach towels, especially those with gorgeous designs that looks great in photos! This super soft round towel features a hand-drawn mandala design, white tassels around the edge. It’s large enough to share with friends, perfect for a day at the beach or maybe a picnic in the park! You also get a free bracelet with your purchase, so that’s two gifts in one.

 

Gold world map necklace10 gift ideas for travel girls - Gold world map necklaceI’m a bit lazy, so I love simple gold necklaces that I can wear with everything and never have to take off. This stunning charm pictures the Western Hemisphere and its surrounding ocean, on a 14k gold filled chain. You can even customize it by adding more charms. Maybe a little plate with the recipients initials would look cute?

I hope you can put these 11 gift ideas to good use! And let me know, what’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received?

Sunshine Seeker Travel Blog

Some of the links above are affiliate links and I will earn a small percentage of the sale if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you. This helps me cover the costs of running my site – so thank you in advance ! I only ever link to products and services I use and love myself!



Destinations Indonesia Lombok

The cheapest destination I’ve visited so far!

7. August 2016

How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Tanjung Aan Beach// Contains affiliate links

The cheapest destination I’ve visited so far… And why you need to go there now!

Have you guessed it already? The cheapest destination I’ve visited so far is without a doubt Indonesia. So it’s a great coincidence that Indonesia is also my favorite part of the world. But as prices in Bali is on a rise, just like the number of visitors, I’ve had to look elsewhere for the $20 hotels, $3 meals and secret beaches. That’s where Lombok comes in. Ahh.. Incredible Lombok. Keep reading to see why you should visit this awesome island, now!

Southern Lombok’s majestic coastline consisting of cliffs and bays framed by massive headlands, is still mostly untouched and undeniably beautiful. The water is warm and turquoise with waves rolling in from left and right. The sand powdery white with colorful seashells scattered all over. It just doesn’t get much better. I bet this is what Bali’s Bukit Peninsula looked like some 40 years ago. How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Spectacular views drivingDespite it’s beauty the region has historically been the island’s poorest, as its parched soil isn’t useful for much other than growing loads and loads of palm trees and tobacco leaves. And that’s just how the Sasak people have survived down here, drinking coconuts, growing tobacco and also seaweed. The area is still sparsely populated, with limited roads and almost non-excitant public transport. And that’s probably why major development haven’t taken off in these part, until now. As more and more people are discovering the area, I fear that dramatic changes are coming in the near future.

How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Secret beachDon’t mind us, we’re just casually holding hands at the gorgeous beach we had all to ourselves.

So now is definitely the time to visit south Lombok as many of the hotels and homestays are built during the last couple of years, but the demand is still on the low side. So you get fresh hotels in gorgeous locations for a fraction of the price compared to Bali. And if you are like me, prefer to stay away from crowded beaches and places in general, this will be a dream come true.

I’ve talked about Lombok in several posts before, but mostly just about how much I love the south coast and which beaches to explore. So I thought it was about time I gave you some options regarding the kind of important stuff, like where you should sleep and especially what to eat. Most of the hotels on the south coast are scattered around Kuta beach, but that isn’t really the jewel of the area.

Kuta beach is full of hawkers and children selling bracelets, you won’t be left alone for a second. Of course it’s important to support the locals, and I always do, but it’s also nice to have five minutes without being asked to buy something. Don’t worry though as there are plenty of other beaches close by that are much more peaceful.

How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Kuta BeachThe cheapest destination I've visited so far! The south coast of Lombok, Kuta beachThe cheapest destination I've visited so far! The south coast of Lombok, Kuta beachThe cheapest destination I've visited so far! The south coast of Lombok, Kuta beach

Check out: Top 5 things to do in Lombok

Where to stay

How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Family House Lombok HotelFamily House Lombok (above) isn’t the cheapest you can get, but I wanted to include it because I really enjoyed my stay there. The rooms are spacious with large beds, ac, tv and a balcony. What made me book it in the first place were the great pool area and all the greenery surrounding the hotel, and it didn’t disappoint. The only thing I would say they should improve is the wifi, which only worked out on the balcony, by the pool and in the restaurant. The cheapest rooms start at just under $40.

Dream Hotel Kuta Lombok is a new bungalow style hotel located right in the center of Kuta. All the 15 rooms have air conditioning, garden/pool view and a patio with seating outside. The budget rooms start at just over $30, that includes wifi and free cancelation.

Banyu Urip Homestay is the most affordable of the bunch! The cheapest fan room is around $15, and that includes breakfast. It’s nothing fancy, but a great location in walking distance to most restaurants and bars. They even have a pool in the middle of the building, which isn’t to common in this price range. A great place for young travelers to meet fellow backpackers.

Get $35 off your first stay with Airbnb here!

Drop in Surf Lodge This isn’t really a budget place at just under $60 a night, but it’s just so gorgeous that I couldn’t help myself. The main building is kind of my dream house. Mint green, surrounded by palm trees, pink flowers and surf boards. They even have a few rescue dogs, ah I want to move in now! My favorite beach, Tanjung Aan as well as the Surf spots Seger and Gerupuk Bay are only a short motorbike ride away. The bungalows are located in the backyard together with a shared swimming pool. You’re also able to use the living area inside the Drop In House. There are no restaurants in the direct neighborhood and they don’t serve dinner, so motorbikes are needed to get to Kuta in the evening.How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Drop in Bungalows & CafeLa Bangkat Homestay is gorgeously located in the rice fields, a couple of minutes on a motorbike from the hustle and bustle of Kuta. The huge pool area surrounded by greenery, is what makes this hotel so special for the area. And I have to mention the staff as well, they’ll do whatever they can to make your stay a great one. The cheapest fan room will set you back about $25 a night. Don’t worry about it not being right on the beach as you’ll need a motorbike anyways. And secondly, Kuta beach isn’t where you’ll want to spend all your time, trust me!

Family Beach Hotel is also located right on Kuta beach. You get a sea view, air conditioning, balcony, breakfast and free wifi for under $35! That’s a good deal if you ask me. I think this place is fairly new, as the rooms are light, bright and quite clean. Keep reading to see what I mean by that. Definitely one of  my favorites in Lombok.

Surf Garden Lombok Villa This gorgeous three star hotel isn’t located in Kuta but in the little surfing village of Gerupuk, about 15 minutes east of Kuta on a motorbike. I had to include it as the location right on the water is just breathtaking. Gerupuk is the perfect place for surfers at every level, the fun part is that you have to charter a boat to get out to the break. You have the choice between a bungalow for two persons, a villa for three or a family room which sleeps four. The bungalow is definitely the best value for money at under $35, just a pity it doesn’t have air conditioning. The two other options is a little on the expensive side.

As awlays the prices I mention are subject to change depending on availability and the time of your stay. I include them so you can get an idea of the pricepoint of each hotel.

The cheapest destination I've visited so far! The south coast of Lombok, GerupukThe cheapest destination I've visited so far! The south coast of Lombok, GerupukOn our way out to the surf breaks of Gerupuk.

Keep in mind that cleanliness won’t be up to western standards, that’s just how it is in this part of the world. I see so many give bad reviews because of this, but it really isn’t hotel specific, just the norm. Even some of the more expensive resorts I’ve stayed at have black stuff in the shower, some missing tiles and dust under the bed. So don’t pay to much attention to this when choosing accommodation. Unless the reviews start mentioning cockroaches, rats or black mold, then I would probably think twice about it.

Where to eat

How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budgetTo save money on food, eat where the locals do, always. The traditional Sasak and Indonesia food served at roadside stalls and beach warungs, isn’t just cheap but incredibly flavorful and delicious. The picture above is from a lunch at Mawun beach, I think we only paid 40k / $3 for this lemon ice tea and Nasi Goreng. As good as it gets in my mind! Try Warung Turtle over at Tanjung Aan Beach and Nugget’s Corner right in the middle of Kuta. If you want to step it up a notch, here are som of my favorite restaurants in the area that still won’t break the bank.

The Summit Dine and Lounge Restaurant offers some fun dishes you most likely won’t find anywhere else on the island. Like chili poppers and the best fish tacos I’ve had in a long time. In addition they also have a great selection of cakes and cocktails. All accompanied by the most spectacular view, and monkeys playing in the trees below. The restaurant is located in a steep hill, about a 10 minute drive from Kuta beach.

How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - RestaurantsHow to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Restaurant view

El Bazar Cafe & Restaurant is where you can get your Mediterranean fix. I love that they have so many healthy option, like this Mediterranean platter and vegetable juices. If you’re working during your stay, this is a great spot to get a lot done as they offer free wifi to paying customers.How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Mediterranean Restaurant

Drop in Cafe is open Wednesday to Sunday during the day for breakfast, cakes, salads and sandwiches. Just like their accommodation, prices in the restaurant are a little higher than the other places I mention. The reason for that is the people running it aren’t locals so they have to pay up for the local produce. In addition to that they wanted to offer dishes you won’t find anywhere else on the island, so they have to import many of their ingredients. But the place is so gorgeous so you should forget about your budget for one day to experience it. Now I’ve made it seem super expensive, but really the wrap and pasta salad were 60k and the baguette 65k, so it’s really not that bad.How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Drop in Cafe

Warung Drifters is a cool warung style restaurant serving up some delicious burgers, wraps, falafel, hand cut fries and homemade ice cream!! The produce they use are mostly local and the staff super friendly. And best of all, their buns are made in house every morning, so you’ll never encounter stale bread in this joint. As you can see we got some juicy burgers, the best one I’ve had so far in Indonesia!How to experience the incredible south coast of Lombok on a budget - Drifters Warung

Cafe’ in is located on Jl. Pariwisata opposite Kuta beach. I don’t know if I remember the name correctly, but you’ll be able to spot it because of all the fun colors and lanterns. The chicken and cashew dish I had was delicious with lots of fresh vegetables. Great value, though I can’t remember the exact price either. On select evenings they have some sort of music/karaoke nights with drinking games etc. We didn’t have time to check it out ourselves, but the waiter had no voice and looked super tired from the night before so it probably was a lot of fun.The cheapest destination I've visited so far! The south coast of Lombok, restaurants

Be sure to pin this or bookmark for later. I’ll keep updating it when I find more great spots I think you guys will like!

What is the cheapest destination you’ve visited? Did you like it?


 

Some of the links above are affiliate links and I will earn a small percentage of the sale if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you. This helps me cover the costs of running my site – so thank you in advance ! I only ever link to products and services I use and love myself!

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Bali Destinations Indonesia Lombok Nusa Lembongan Sumbawa

Travel video – Bali, Lombok & Sumbawa

26. July 2016

Our first travel video is finally finished. This is from our month long adventure in Bali, Lombok & Sumbawa earlier this year. My boyfriend have been working on this for the last couple of days, so thank you Ulrik. I hope it will inspire you to visit this beautiful part of the world. It sure made me want to go back, yet again. Make sure you’re watching it in HD!

Bear with us as this is our first attempt at putting together any kind of footage. For filming we used a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and a gimbal for the first time.

Our itinerary:
31-2 Jan. – Legian, Bali
2-9 Jan. – Whales & Waves Resort, Sumbawa
9-14 Jan. – South coast of Lombok
14-19 Jan. – Nusa Lembongan & Ceningan
19-23 Jan. – Ubud, Bali
23-29 Jan. – Canggu, Bali

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Destinations Gili Islands Indonesia

Gili Islands – The ultimate travel guide

30. June 2016

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili Meno// Contains affiliate links

The ultimate Gili Islands travel guide!

Two hours off the coast of Bali lies three desert islets, called the Gili Islands. Consisting of white sand beaches, palms trees, seashells and prestene turquoise waters; the Gilis are the epitomy of a tropical paradise.

Ten years ago the Gilis were somewhat of a backpacker secret, but over the last couple of years they have skyrocketed in popularity. I guess the secret is out! Or it probably hasn’t been a secret since the 80s, but at least it felt like it. These days the little archipelago are booming like nowhere else in Indonesia, new hotels, restaurants and tour operators are popping up all over. But somehow they’ve managed to keep the development inline with the islands own esthetics, you won’t see many concrete monstrosities here.

What’s so interesting is that all the islands have their own special characters. Trawangan, or Gili T, is by far the most developed of the three. Once referred to by a fellow backpacker as “fist pump island”, I don’t think it needs any further explanation. Gili T is party central. The middle and smallest island is called Gili Meno. In contrast to it’s big brother, Gili Meno is calm, cool and collected. A place of true peace and serenity. Gili Air is somewhere in between, no all night ragers but it still has a quite vibrant and fun atmosphere.

So it’s not hard to understand why people are drawn to the allure of the Gilis. They are what most people think Bali is, all white sand beaches, palm trees and turquoise water.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoHow to get there

I’ve used quite a few different fast boat companies over the years. Semaya One Fast Cruise, Gili Cat, Bali Brio, Blue Water Express, just to name a few. I think Bali Brio is my favorite so far. I felt very safe in their boat, the seats were comfortable and we got both a packed lunch and a bottle of water. Most of the boats depart from Sanur, Amed or Padang Bai. Usually they go to Lombok first, then Gili Air and Gili T last. Many of the boats don’t stop at Meno so you’ll have to jump on a local boat from one of the two other islands. The additional 15 minute ride will cost you about 25k Rp. and departure is once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

The boat schedule depends on the weather, if it’s windy and ruff out at sea they will push the departure time or cancel it all together. I haven’t experienced this myself yet, but it’s important to be flexible! Don’t plan on heading back to Bali the same day as your flight, it can get expensive.

One way tickets are 600-650k and a return ticket is about 1.2 million, a little less for children. It includes pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Bali. Be sure to organize your ticket at least 24 hours in advance to avoid extra late reservation charges. Always get a seat in the back if you get seasick easily, it’s usually quite a bumpy ride. And if you opt to sit on the roof you will most likely get soaked, consider yourself warned. If you look closely you might spot a dolphin or two!

Gili Getaway fast boat is one of the companies I’ve heard great things about, but haven’t been able to experience for myself yet. It departs from another harbor called Serangan and takes about 2 hours to get to Gili T. It’s a little bit more expensive than some of the other companies, but supposedly their great service makes it all worth it. You’ll even get a seasickness pill before departure. A return ticket costs around 1.25 million.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoIf crowded boats isn’t your cup of tea, then you should charter a helicopter with Air Bali. They have over 20 years experience and a 100% safety rate, at least their website say so. The 45 minute flight from Bali to Gili T for a maximum of 5 people will run you about 41 million Rp / $3000 / 25500 nok.

Or you could fly commercial to Lombok, jump in a taxi for about an hour anda half to Senggigi and then a 15-30 minutes boat transfer. I wouldn’t recommend this option if you’re coming from Bali though, as a boat transfer is much quicker.

No cars, no motorbikes, no worries.

There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island, which means bicycle time! Yay. Renting a bicycle have become a bit expensive though, or at least compared to what it used to be. I think I payed 70k a day on my last visit. When you arrive on the island you’ll see small horse drawn carts wanting to give you a lift to your accommodation for about 50k per person. Please don’t do it, as many of the horses are treated quite badly by their owners. Of course this might not apply to everyone but the few I saw last time were very skinny and had open wounds.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoWHEN TO VISIT

Peak season: August and December 20 to January 9.

High season: July, September 1 to September 15, Chinese New Year and Easter.

Low season: January 9 to June 30 and September 16 to December 2.

Rainy season: November – April

My favorite time to visit Bali, Lombok and the Gilis are February through May, except for Easter. Then it’s still green from the rainy season and mostly nice weather in my experience.

Gili Trawangan

Gili T comes to life after sundown, especially the east coast where most of the bars are located. The “party strip” serves up all kinds of entertainment and music, so you can keep it going into the early hours. The west coast, also called the “sunset side”, is where you can kick back and enjoy the sunset in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Gili Trawangan got it’s name from the word Terowongan which means “tunnel” in Indonesian, as the island has a cave tunnel constructed by the Japanese during WWII.

Where to stay
Even if you’re going to Gili T with partying in mind, I would suggest getting a place to stay on the west coast away from all the mayhem. It’s always nice to be hungover in peace and quiet you know! Though you’ll find most of the budget accommodation on the east siden.

Le Pirate Beach Club is the perfect tropical location, a little peace of the Caribbean in Indonesia. Think white beach huts with turquoise trim, a pool, hammocks, sun loungers and palm trees, all right at the beach. Their hut with bunkbeds is the cheapest option at 850k a night, while the largest family house is 2.5 million a night. Of course like with any other place, the prices depends on the season. I’ve never stayed at their location on Gili T myself, but you can read my little review of Le Pirate Beach Club on Nusa Ceningan here.

Though incredibly stunning Le Pirate is quite expensive, so for a cheaper option check out Blue Moon Homestay. It’s nothing fancy, but they offer clean and bright rooms where you can sleep off those hangovers. Located a bit inland on the east side of the island, it’s an easy walk home after a night out. 250k Rp. will get you a room with a fan, private bathroom and free wifi.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoWhere to eat

The Night Market is your best bet if you’re on a budget or if you just love the local food like I do. My favorite is the “warung tegal” style meals where you choose either rice or noodles and then an array of different meat and vegetable items. It usually only comes out to around 40k for a huge portion, which can’t be beat in my eyes. Other than that you can get everything from soups to lobster, so everyone should be able to find something to tickle their fancy. Sit down and enjoy the tasty food and the hustle and bustle at one of the makeshift seating areas scattered around the market.

Pituq Cafe is the nr. 1 Gili T restaurant on TripAdvisor for a reason. Fresh and healthy deliciousness for a fraction of the price of other places you say? Yes please!! Located on the busy part of the east coast this is a fantastic place for breakfast, lunch and dinner, except for Thursday and Friday when they don’t open until 4pm. Have a smoothie bowl for 35k or a veggie ball and avocado wrap for only 45k.

Casa Vintage is a bohemian paradise right on the beach west on the island. Think white reclaimed wood seating, driftwood, lanterns, pineapples and colorful pillows and flowers. It doesn’t get much better than that. You’ll get a delicious hummus dip platter for about 70k, a Caribbean beef chili for 90k and juices and smoothies ranges in price from 30-40k.

You should also check out Pearl of Trawangan, located just south of the mains strip. In addition to stunning accommodation they offer a great restaurant and one of the nicest beach clubs on the island.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoWhat To Do

  • Rent a bike and go explore the island. Be sure to not only keep to the main roads, venture into the palm tree jungle and find hidden spots you can have all to yourself. Biking around the perimeter of the island will take you about 1.5 hour.
  • Go on a hike to the viewpoint, located on the southern end of the island. There you’ll have the most breathtaking view of the other Gili Islands, Bali with it’s majestic Mount Agung and Lombok with the even taller Mount Rinjani. places on the southern half of Gili Trawangan.
  • Lounging at the beach and frolicking in the water is what the Gilis are all about. There are beach clubs all along the coast of all three islands, so your hardest task will be to choose one. Sip on a fresh coconut, rent a paddle board and just have fun!
  • Go shopping! Even though the islands are small they have some great little boutiques, like the vintage store at Casa Vintage on Gili T.
  • Probably the most instagrammed spot on the Gilis, the swing at Hotel Ombak Sunset is a must. Keep in mind that it’s often pretty crowded and a line to get on the swing. But I’ve heard rumors about more swings popping up around the island, so it might be worth looking into.
  • The Gilis aren’t the best place in Indonesia to surf, but you can still catch quite a decent swell on the south coast of Gili T and Air.
  • Explore the island and ride into the sunset on a horseback. Stud Stable is the only company offering horse riding on the Gili Islands. I think it’s about 250k an hour.
  • Do some yoga at one of the many yoga studios like Soraya Yoga Wellness Centre or Gili Yoga.
  • If you’re into being under water, I’m not, then you should definitely go diving or snorkeling. Supposodly the Gilis are one of the best places in the world to do both. There are a lot of different dive operators, so do your research and ask around for prices. Snorkeling gear is available throughout the island.
  • And most importantly, be sure to watch the magical sunset every evening.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili Meno

Gili Air

Where to stay

Gili Air Bungalows (pictured below) is set within a lush garden on the east coast, about 200 meters from the ocean. There you can enjoy a large pool and breakfast on the patio in the morning. Prices ranges from 700k for the Lumbung style bungalows up to 1.5 million Rp for the large family room. When you arrive on the island you can easily go there on your own. Take the main road straight ahead from the harbor and then walk until you get to a dirt road leading to the right, it should only take about 10 minutes.

Si Pitung Village is a cheaper option with AC bungalows for 300k a night. They also have fan rooms which should be even cheaper. I never asked about the price as I can’t live in Indonesia without an AC, but if you’re on a tight budget this should be the spot for you. Don’t worry about the location being in the middle of the island, as the beach is still only a five minute walk away.

As I mentioned in my Bali guide I mostly use Agoda when traveling in southeast Asia, as some smaller hotels and homestays are only listed on there.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoWhere to eat 

Beach club by day, sunset cocktail bar by night, Mowie’s Bar is an all day hangout spot. Enjoy fresh coconuts, healthy smoothies and salads during the day and indulge in their famous pizza and tuna burger at night. Dishes ranges from 40k-80k in pris, so it really is gourmet on a budget. Located along the main road southwest on the isand, it’s an easy spot to find only about a five minute walk from the harbor.

Pachamama Organic Cafe & Villa is a cool little bohemian spot northeast on the island. Whitewashed wood, seashell chandeliers, driftwood and lots of green plants, me like!! The food is fresh, tasty and all organic, so you can stuff your face in good conscience. My favorites are the eggplant wrap, the granola bowl and the colorful smoothies served in fun milk bottles.

For some cheap and tasty Indonesian food check out Eazy Gili Waroeng located on the main road just north of the harbor. With Mie Goreng, Nasi Campur and Gado-Gado for only 25k, they offer some of the greatest value for money on the island.

To get your sugar fix check out Scooperific, an Italian inspired gelateria. In addition to gelato they also have several non-dairy sorbet options. The waffle and the Nutella crepe are my favorites! And best of all, their products are 100% made in Gili’s. 

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoWhat To Do

Just like with Gili T, Air is all about lounging in the sun, snorkeling, diving and biking. So I’m not going to repeat all the suggestions above. You can go around the whole island on a bicycle in about an hour. One stretch of the road is only sand, so either you have to push your bike or get one of those “fat bikes”.

For you divers I’ve heard a lot of great things about the 7 Seas Dive Gili, they offer many different packages and courses. But there are a lot of different dive operators, so do your research and ask around. As for snorkeling gear you’ll find it all over the island, and just ask anyone they will know someone who offers boat charters for snorkeling trips.

If you’re a foodie like me you should also join a cooking class to learn how to make some delicious Indonesian food. Gili Cooking Classes offers 3 different courses, ranging in price from 275k to 385k. It’s located on the corner of the main roads, just to the right of the harbor.

Gili Meno

Where to stay

Mahamaya Resort is a boutique eco-hotel on the northwest coast of the island, which blends perfectly in with it’s surroundings. The name Mahamaya means “ultimate paradise”, and that it truly is. This is affordable luxury done in a understated kind of way. Stay in of of the pool suites right off the beach for about 2.3 million Rp. / $170 a night. The vibe is super romantic, so it’s the perfect place for honeymooners and other couples alike.

Seri Resort Gili Meno is a more affordable option located northeast on the island. With bright and cleans rooms, a huge pool and incredible views, this place offer good value for money. You can stay in a strawhut with shared bathroom for 450k or in a suite with garden view for 900k a night. Remember to check online to get some great discounts, especially during low season.

You should definitely book your accommodation in advance as the little island fills up quickly, especially in high season.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoWhere to eat

Sasak Cafe is situated right on the calmest part of Gili Meno’s beach, northwest on the island. As you probably guessed, it’s all about traditional Sasak food, which is characterized by fresh fish, vegetables and spicy sauces. Spend the whole day lounging at the beach and enjoy fresh fish and calamari, caught every morning by the father of the family. Even though heir chef has won awards for his cooking, it’s still cheap.

Ya Ya Warung is cheap cheap cheap. As far as I can remember they’re located on the north side. Don’t be discouraged by the scruffy appearance of this place, they serve up some tasty Indonesian dishes. Fried noodles for only 20k, Gado-Gado for 25k and chicken satay for 50k! You’re not going to do much better than that on Meno.

In the middle of the Mahamaya hotel is an Asian-fusion restaurant and bar overlooking the beach and sea. What’s so fun about this place is the open concept kitchen which means you can see the chef whipping up all sorts of fresh and organic yumminess. Come evening, the outside area turns into a haven for romantics with candles and lanterns hanging from the threes. Combine that with delicious, beautifully presented food and you have a winner. So be prepared to pay a premium.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili MenoWhat To Do

  • Bolong’s Turtle Sanctuary is doing great job trying to save the turtle population of the waters around the Gilis. The baby turtles are raised in the small pools and after about 8 months they’re released into the wild. Try to catch one of their releases and for a donation of 100k you can even choose a turtle and release it yourself. It’s located on the east coast.
  • Another place you can see tropical birds is at the Gili Meno Bird Park, which is home to more than 300 birds. It’s located in the middle of the island and entrance is 50k per person. I haven’t visited myself so I don’t know the state of the park and the birds, but I thought I should include it anyways so you know it’s an option.
  • Go on a walk to the salt lake located northwest on the island. The lake is surrounded by a lot of flowers and plants you won’t see anywhere else on the islands. If you look up you should be able to see quite a few species of tropical birds. And if you’re very lucky you could also get a glimpse of the huge Monitor lizard.
  • Gili Meno is home to the best dive sites and snorkeling reefs in the Gili Islands. Gili Meno Wall is the best spot, the reef drops to a sandy bottom at about 22m. I addition to large turtles, you could also encounter tropical fish like Spanish dancers, cuttlefish, scorpion fish and an array of other ocean critters. The dive is suitable for all levels.
  • Blue Marlin Dive and Divine Divers are the top dive centres on the island. They offer a lot of different packages and courses to suit every level. If you want to get your PADI certification, then Gili Meno’s serene waters is the perfect place to do so.

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili Meno

Tips

There are around ten ATMs on Gili T, two on Air and none on Meno as far as I know. Keep in mind that they’re stocked irregularly and due to frequent power outs on all of the islands I would suggest you bring some money with you. Especially if you’re paying for your accommodation in cash, which many of the cheaper options require.

Same goes for the wifi! If you’re dependent on an internet connection on certain times a day I wouldn’t bother going to the Gilis at all.

I think that about sums up my knowledge of the Gili Islands. It might seem like I’m super excited about Gilis, but that’s actually not the case. Although undeniably beautiful I get so easily bored when I’m there. I’d much rather spend my time in the south of Lombok where you can drive around and explore for hours and hours. All with the same white-sand beaches, turquoise water, even more palm trees and way less people. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this Gili Islands travel guide and can put it to good use!

Read about my top 5 things to do in Lombok here!

Have you ever been to the Gili Islands? What are your thoughts?

A guide to Gili Islands, Indonesia - Gili T, Gili Air & Gili Meno

 

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Bali Destinations Indonesia

Tegalalang Rice Terrace Ubud – Visit or skip?

19. June 2016

Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one Bali’s most famous tourist attractions. Located north of Ubud at 600m above sea level the air is cool, however down in the valley it gets really hot and humid. From the top of the road you get stunning panoramic views of the terraces, which is an irrigation system called Subak dating back to the 8th century. The drive up from central Ubud took us about 20 minutes on a motorbike and is mostly straight forward. So even if you’re not the most experienced on a motorbike you should be fine.

As with anything in Ubud I would recommend going as early as you can manage, before the tourist buses start pouring in at around 11 am. There is something magical about being there all alone as the sun rises and the temperature is still somewhat low. Don’t stop at the first sight of a parking, go a little further and see if you can find a spot a bit away from the crowds.

There’s a small entrance fee of 10k Rp. per person and when crossing some of the bridges and pathway you are encouraged by the locals to make a small donation. We paid 40k in total for the whole visit, which is less than 4 dollars. You’ll also find some small stalls scattered throughout the terraces, selling cold drinks and an array of knick-knacks.

I had quite the scare when we went to Tegalalang on our last visit to Ubud. As I mentioned we drove our motorbikes there. After a extremely hot and humid couple of hours I was so excited to get back on our bikes, drive off and feel the breeze. But when I reached into my pocket to get the key I didn’t feel anything but a big hole. I panicked searched through all our bags while thinking of how much this would cost. Do I need to pay for a new key? Is it even possible to get a new key? Do I have to pay for a totally new bike?

As far as I knew my trip was over. Yes, I’m quite dramatic. I ran back to the stalls we’d just checked out, but no one had seen the key. If I’d lost it in the actual rice fields it would be like finding a needle in a haystack. I went back to our motorbikes feeling totally distraught thinking of the phone call I would have to make to the rental place. Trying to explain that they would have to come and get me and my bike, and again thinking about how much that would cost. My boyfriend however kept on searching. After what felt like an hour (probably 5 minutes), he returned with a big grin on his face. A very nice cafe lady had found it on the ground just in front of the entrance. What a relief, trip saved!

So back to what this post is actually about, to visit or not to visit Tegalalang Rice Terrace? Although astonishingly beautiful, Tegalalang is geared towards tourist almost to the point of cheesy. Most of the “workers” are only there to take pictures with tourists and sell hats made from coconut leaves. There are also stalls selling the typical sarongs and handicrafts on both sides of the road, where some of the vendors can get quite pushy. But if you can manage to look past all that, Tegalalang is definitely worth a visit. Just smile, say no thank you and remember that they’re only trying to make a living.

Be sure to not only settle for the view, venture deep into the jungle to take in and appreciate this ancient form of engineering. Despite all the mayhem I guarantee you’ll be able to find a spot you can have all to yourself. Sit dow, relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. After climbing back up all the stairs, have a cold drink at one of the warungs overlooking the rice terraces. I had my probably 54th lemon ice tea of the trip, nothing tastes better after a strenuous day in the heat. All in all it’s a stunning, easy to reach location which you can be in and out of in an hour if your time is limited. However I would recommend setting aside at least three hours to get the most out of your visit.

Have you ever been to Tegalalang Rice Terrace? What did you think?

Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud Bali - A must see or skip?