The past 2 weeks have been problematic for travelers trying to get to Gili Trawangan. Huge waves & swells have prevented fast boats from crossing the straight between Lombok & Bali.
Fast boats are a convenient way to get from Bali to Gili. The crossing takes about 2 hours and the boats are getting safer & more comfortable. This new mode of transport has made the Gilis & Lombok more accessible to travelers who otherwise would not have made the long slog on a slow ferry or bothered with a flight.
This is a friendly reminder that Indonesia is still very much a developing country with little or no infrastructure. And because we are an island nation smack in the middle of the ring of fire, there is always the risk that travel will be hampered by erupting volcanoes or big waves: Mother nature is a fickle mistress.
Intrepid souls, who can be flexible and tolerant, will be rewarded with clear blue water, white sand and one of the prettiest places in Asia.
I’ve travelled extensively throughout Indonesia & SEA and I have learned a lot. Here’s 10 tips to make your travel in Indonesia a bit easier.
.Snorkeling & swimming in warm tropical waters is the highlight of any holiday . But did you know your sunscreen is partially responsible for killing the very thing you come to see?
Scientific research has determined that the active ingredient in most sunscreens, oxybenzone, even in small amounts, can result in damaged & dead coral. Not only does the chemical kill coral, it also causes early DNA damage that stunts the growth of the organisms living in it.
And dead & damaged coral reefs means no more fish, turtles or other marine life such as octopus & eels to marvel at while swimming & snorkeling!
Eden Cottages loves our oceans and all the creatures that inhabit it, so please be a responsible consumer & purchase sunscreen without oxybenzene prior to your visit. Oxybenzone-free sunscreen is nearly impossible to find in Indonesia.
Both Alba Botanicals & Badger make very good sunscreen without Oxybenzone.
Check out this informative article for more information on oxybenzone & coral reef damage
Lets work together to ensure the Gili Islands have robust & healthy coral reefs for generations.
I find it a bit sad that Lombok gets overlooked by her more flashy neighbor, Bali. But for people who are willing to step off the banana pancake trail there will be rich rewards.
The slopes of Rinjani are truly awe inspiring. Verdant terraces of rice & fields of tobacco & strawberries stretch from the volcanic base of the mountain.
On the north slope you have the towns of Senaru & Teres Genit, which are approximately a 1 hour scenic drive from the port of Bangsal.
You can stroll through rice terraces & walk to waterfalls or just sit back and enjoy the view. In Senaru I recommend Rinjani Lodge , their pool will knock your socks off!
For a more rustic experience, try Rinjani Mountain Garden in Teres Genit. The owners, an eccentric German Couple, Toni & Roland, will be sure to welcome you with their home made palm wine. There is also a menagerie of animals & a spring fed swimming pool. A very unique experience!
On the South side of Rinjani you have the small village of Tete Batu, home to my favorite escape Haikiki Inn, which is owned and run by Gun ( pronounced 'goon" ) and his sister Rose. The views & hospitality are like no other. Gun has a 4 wheel drive & will take you off roading thru the jungle and to the base of Rinjani. Waterfalls are only a short walk away.
Near Tete Batu is the weaving village of Pringgasela where you can buy authentic &handwoven Indonesian textiles. The village is a co-op and if you take a wander down the side streets you will see the women weaving on their tiny terraces.
So, what are you waiting for? Go explore Lombok, you won't regret it.
Good bye big shade tree! This old tree just went kerplop last week taking away a lot of good shade and 2 wheelie bins with it. sigh. Within a day Mister Chainsaw came & cleaned up the mess. It now looks like I have an opportunity to plant some nice hardwood trees like mango & jackfruit that will provide Eden Cottages with years & years of shade.
Things always work out on this little island in paradise
All good things must come to an end..... I've had 4 happy years here on Gili Trawangan but it's time for me to be a little closer to home.
Eden Cottages is FOR SALE. This is a turn key business and is Editors Pick in Lonely Planet. For more information please contact me & be sure to check out the for sale website here
I've always wanted chickens. I love the fresh eggs they provide and having chickens will always bring back lovely memories of spending time on my grandparents farm.
I've always been a believer in farm to table eating and it's one of the things I miss most about life in the Willamette Valley, well that, and pinot noir.
The compost bin has helped our soil so we now are growing tomatoes, peppers, basil, thai basil, cucumbers & squash. I made my first green papaya salad from our own papaya trees and the mango tree is getting so tall! we hope to have mangos in the next year or 2.
The compost bin has also helped reduce our rubbish production. Our sweet little island is drowning in rubbish so by composting, not using plastic bags, banning plastic straws & sorting our plastic & tin Eden Cottages is contributing to a more sustainable future. The staff were late adopters but have really embraced sustainable thinking and will hopefully will carry those practices back to their villages in Lombok.
The eggs that you buy here on the island are a sorry bunch: fragile shells, watery whites & pale yolks. The chickens that produce those eggs are malnourished and treated as badly as one would expect a chicken to be in an Indonesian egg factory.
Its been a long time coming, from idea to implementation, but the chooks & their cozy house ( thanks to the amazing carpentry skills of one of our own staff, Gimo) are finally here.
Now Eden guests will have farm fresh eggs in their complimentary breakfasts.
There are 7 ladies: Posh, Scary, Ginger, Baby, Sporty, Margaret Thatcher & Queen Margaret.
So, welcome to Eden, ladies, may you live long and produce many eggs!
We get a lot of rave reviews about our breakfast. The pancakes are the reportedly the best on the island. But what we really get asked about is our bircher museli. So, for those of you who want to recreate your Eden Cottage breakfast experience at home here is our recipe. Availability of some ingredients can be unpredictable so sometimes we substitute dried mangoes for raisins or pumpkin seeds for sesame seeds. Don't be afraid to be creative!
Eden Cottages Bircher Muesli
1 cup instant oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
¼ cup dried fruit ( raisins, craisins, chopped apricots etc)
¼ cup toasted coconut
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 grated apple
1/2 cup milk
1 cup yogurt
mix all ingredients together & refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Top with fresh fruit & toasted coconut
I spent nearly 18 months backpacking through SEA and India & have spent a fair amount of time pondering the contents of my backpack. Here is my Top Ten of "Must Haves" when traveling to a sunny island paradise, or anywhere.
1. Headlamp or torch. Streets & paths on Gili Trawangan (and most small islands) are not lit. Power outages can also be quite common especially in high season when the power grid is stressed.
2. Sunscreen. For some reason sunscreen is ridiculously expensive here and with bright sunny days you don't want to run out of sunscreen
3. A comfortable hat.
4.Compression sacks. Compression sacks can take loads of stuff and compress it into a tiny disc. Pure Magic.
5.Quality water shoes. Shoes like Tevas, Chacos. etc. cannot be found in asia. These a great for walking over coral rubble as well scrambling up a hill or two, if that's your thing.
6. UVA/UVB sunglasses. While asia is chock o block full of knock off Pradas, sunglasses that actually protect your eyes are expensive & nearly impossible to find, except in larger cities.
7.Smart phone. Smart phones are a great way to stay connected to friends & family, book plane tickets, use email..... the list is endless. Sim cards are cheap & readily available throughout SEA. *if you live in the US be sure to ask your carrier to unlock your phone before you depart
8. Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a handy anti-inflammatory great for all those bumps & headaches you get when traveling, In most of Asia you will have to find a pharmacy with a live pharmacist to dispense it and it will be more costly than in the West.
9.Kindle or EReader. I was a late adopter, but now I am smitten. Books are heavy to lug around (Shantaram) and books you actually want to read are hard to find in book shops/exchanges.
10.Sense of humor. No matter where or when you travel, something will go wrong. Guaranteed. How you perceive the mishap is up to you. Lighten up. Be happy. Be grateful. Be gracious.