Doing nothing & everything on Gili Air

It’s been a full week on the little island of the coast of Lombok, Indonesia called Gili Air. We’ve spent hours lounging in the shade of a large tree by the ocean, intermittently snorkeling in the clear blue water, eating, talking business, life and love with our friends, the Pearce family. We’re celebrating our 2 year anniversary together 🙂

There’s not much to do on Gili Air – which is the reason for being here. And yet, there is so much to experience.

We snorkel right off the beach, bike ride in the soft sand, trek through the village, get sun, eat, drink coffee everyday, swim and somehow…a week or so passes.

Our routine

We spent full days parked on the beach in the shade of a tree. We watched the kids create tunnels in the sand, find loads of plastic straws buried in the shallow water (you’d be surprised at how many there were) and make fun activities out of nothing but their imagination.

Our view from the shade of a tree.

Our view from the shade of a tree.

No one asked for an iPad. No one wanted to watch cartoons (until we got inside). For a change of pace, we played in the pool – for hours! Our fingers hurt from the wrinkled skin. A quick warm shower and off we go for dinner. And then to Scallywags for a mint chocolate chip ice-cream cone. This was our routine…for 10 days, more or less. Some days we took a bike ride or did a small adventure, but we had no agenda. We were just there to be.

Biking past the tiny town area.

Biking past the tiny town area.

G sharing with Baby Aysia.

G sharing his ice cream with Baby Aysia.

Vacation Cartoons

Vacation is a break from the everyday. We don’t have a television at home, so the kids were super excited that our new hotel room at The Waterfront had one. G & Miss I were happy to have the distraction of watching the Disney channel and Nickolodean cartoons in the morning. And truthfully, so were we. It gave Mr. King and I time to sit in the morning, enjoy our coffee and breakfast on our patio and chat. I’m glad we don’t have a TV at home, as it’s such a passive device, but we enjoyed it’s availability for the week.

Zoned out with cartoon bliss.

Zoned out with cartoon bliss.

Yoga on Gili Air

There is one dedicated yoga studio on the island. H20 Yoga and Meditation Center was founded 2 years ago by Bindu, a dedicated yogi with a nice accent. He led a beautifully choreographed practice in the round, open air yoga dome that is the centerpiece of the property. Yoga classes are everyday at 10-11:30 am  and 5:30 – 7 pm. He also had meditations Mondays and Thursdays from 3:45 – 5:15. I took a yoga class and then hung around for a  delicious carrot, apple and ginger juice made by Qi Gong teacher, Rich. H20 yoga is located in the interior village of Gili Air. There are signs around the island leading you to it.

Glass Bottom Boat Snorkeling Tour

We met a few families on the island and got together to charter a glass bottom boat. We had 6 adults and 7 children with us, ages 21 months – 9 years old. The trip took us to three snorkel spots around Gili Meno, with a stop on the island for lunch. The snorkeling was average, as most of the coral around these islands is dead or dying. There wasn’t much color, but there was still abundant fish is some places. We saw turtles, many colorful schools of fish, starfish and loads more.

Glass Bottom Boat Tour to Gili Meno

Glass Bottom Boat Tour to Gili Meno

Fishing on Gili Meno, waiting for our lunch.

Fishing on Gili Meno, waiting for our lunch.

The charter cost our four families 650,000 rph($65) for the day, which included snorkel gear for those that didn’t have it. Public tours are also available for 100,000 rph ($10) per person.

Fisherman on Gili Meno

Fisherman on Gili Meno

Looking out for Jingles

Gili Air does not have any motorized vehicles on it. Transportation is one of three ways:

  1. By foot
  2. Bicycle
  3. Cimodo (a horse drawn cart)

The cimodo horses are little and well decorated. Their bells jingled in the distance, thus we nicknamed each and every horse “Jingles”. The kids would jump to the side of the road when Jingles was passing.DSC03343

Snorkeling on Gili Air

The best snorkeling on the island was right in front of our hotel. That is the location where I had my experience with the turtle. The kids had fun snorkeling just 5 meters from the waters edge, the colorful fish swam along the bottom and nibbled sea grass. DSC03583

 Looking for Land to Buy

Towards the end of our vacation, being in a totally relaxed state, we thought about future plans and that ONE day, it would be nice to live by the beach, open up a little BnB resort and entertain people and families from all over the world. It’ll happen one day and it’s a good idea to start looking now, just in case we find a great deal. Mr. King went with our real estate agent / bartender to look at 120 are. It was a beautiful block of land on the north side of the island, with sunrises and beautiful sunsets overlooking Gili Meno. There was plenty of beachfront to put a great cafe and lots of coconut palms to make me happy. 16 billion rupiah to make our dreams come true. We talked it over for a long time. Should we do it? $160,000 US for all that land seems cheap, but maybe we could negotiate.

The ideas we came up with! A cafe with healthy fresh food. A family focused resort complex. A detox retreat center. The possibilities!

Blasted! The decision was made for us the following morning when we realized that we neglected to add an extra zero in our conversion of currency. So the land was $1.6 million US…a little bit OUT of our comfortable price range, if you know what I mean. And at that price, it would take a long time to recoup your investment. So, the search continues, but it would be a beautiful view, wouldn’t it?

That little zero spoiled this sunset!

That little zero spoiled this sunset!

Instead, we buy pearls!

Lombok has many pearl farms and pearls are plentiful. There are plenty of guys walking around the beaches selling them out of suitcases. They’ll start with a high price, like 150,000 rph ($15) for a pair of earrings, but if you’re a good negotiator, you can compromise on 30,000 rph ($3) for the pair. I bought a two pairs of pearl studs.2
And sometimes I enjoy a little dangle of an earring, but I like things plain. The more simple the better. The vendor made some for me on the spot with my choice of pearls using tools found in every garage, rusty needle nose pliers and patient yet quick hands.

Getting custom pearl dangles made.

Getting custom pearl dangles made.

We did nothing, but enjoy being with our friends.

One of the irrefutable laws is that like energy attracts like. We met the Pearce family over 2 years ago in Costa Rica and we’ve been great friends since. Our backgrounds are different, but our chosen lifestyle has many similarities which provides us hours of conversation. Brandon and I can talk about online business forever. He’s the technical master, while I hold my skills at creative marketing. Mr. King enjoys his daily dose of international business talk. We chat about how we love Ubud, with it’s healing and creativity and mystic vibes. And we eat together. A lot. How else do you spend a full week together?



Walking to Dinner in Gili AIr

Walking to Dinner in Gili AIr

Jen & Brandon Pearce

Jen & Brandon Pearce. Crazy? Yes.

We’ll be back.


Maybe with 1.6 millions dollars. Or not.

The last night I became quite emotional. The 10 days on Gili Air were special. Spending tiem with great friends, watching G and Miss I shine…it was blissful. G is in his element, has full freedom. The last night we walked along the beach, looking up at the almost full moon and Mr. King and I presented G with a carved coconut necklace of the symbol for Gili Air. I’ll never forget his reaction. At first he smiled and quickly, as the gravity and depth of appreciation and love swept over him, his face became subtly serious. This boy understands so much on a deep level. And he’s been wearing his necklace since.

View from Wiwin Restaurant Gili Air

View from Wiwin Restaurant.

Now…off we go for a 4 day sailing trip to Komodo Island….


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7 Responses to “Doing nothing & everything on Gili Air”

  1. Hannah @ Getting Stamped April 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Great article! Sounds like a great 10 days! You sound like us, thinking of leaving the USA and opening a little BnB!!! Yeah all the 0’s do get confusing, totally see how you got 160,000 mixed up with 1.6mil! Hopefully the Gili’s don’t become over touristy because they are amazing the way they are!!!

  2. Nichola April 6, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    Ahh… looks so beautiful! Seems like you’ve been having a great time 🙂 Dam that extra ‘0’ ay, the search is still on.. Look forward to hearing about Komodo Island.

  3. Jennifer Pearce April 6, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    Such beautiful photos, Sabina! Thank you for inviting me to go with you to that yoga class. I really enjoyed it. I love those photos of Aysia and I, and the one of G sharing his gelato. ❤ That last photo of the good looking, yet crazy, duo especially caught my eye. 😀

  4. Catherine Forest April 8, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    It looks like you guys had such an amazing week!! And that darn 0!! I hope we’ll catch up with you in Bali one day!

  5. Kirsty November 19, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    Aaah it’s lovely to read you’re experiences on Gili Air, it’s now my favourite place in the world! So much so we’re heading back there tomorrow (sadly we’re in Gili T – Paradise Lost!) your blog is fantastic, very inspiring – I look forward to reading more…


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