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Click here to read about my arrival in Gili Air and to get more information.
There are lots of bicycles and rentals are easy to find and fairly reasonably priced at about 35k per day.
The waterfront path is easy riding around half of the island on the southern side and, of course, everywhere inland.
The minimum wage in Indonesia is meant to be 1.2m per month (NZ$120) but this is not always paid. Workers can get less than that and employers can bypass this minimum by bringing them on as trainees.
Even a top local chef in a waterfront restaurant will only get about 2.5m a month (NZ$250).
Yet, there is almost no crime on the island. They don’t even have a resident policeman. You, probably, have more to worry about from fellow tourists than you do from the local islanders.
The locals are genuinely friendly… everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you stay or where you eat, you will always be greeted and treated well. And… unlike somewhere like Kuta, they do it because they are actually glad that you are on their island on not because they ‘have an angle’.
Yes, they want you to spend your money in their resort, restaurant, or bar. As you walk down the path they will try to tempt you in but it is far from the type of harassment that you get in places like Kuta.
Just remember how much these people earn and be polite and respectful. A simple smile and ‘no thank you’ is all that is needed. It works even better if you say it in their language ‘tidak terima kasih’.
There are no sports bars and few places have a TV.
Bel Air has a flat screen TV at the bar where you can watch cable TV sports (such as English Premier League soccer). Their food and drink prices are above average (e.g. their large Bintang beer is 40k rather than the normal 35k) but you get to watch a game.
The beaches are coral based and sharp underfoot… bring water shoes.
This continues well into the water.
The water is shallow for a long way out.
The coral sand and shallow waters stretch around the island but you should find that the South side is where the best swimming is.
WHERE TO STAY:
Outside of Bali (which is predominantly Hindu), Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. That means that there are Mosques and that there are loud speakers from the top of those Mosques calling the faithful to prayer several times each day. One of those calls to prayer is at 04:30 in the morning. A voice on a microphone from the top of a Mosque can carry a long way!
Gili Air is small… you can walk around the island in 1.5 hours and across the middle of it coast-to-coast in about 20 minutes.
As a general rule, accommodation in the village is the best value. For equivalent accommodation on the waterfront expect to pay 150% to 200% of village prices.
But my advice is that (unless you are Muslim), if you are going to stay in the village, find out where the mosque is first… and look on the other side of the village.
Click here to read about getting away from Gili Air.
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