The Gili Islands off the north-west coast of Lombok, Indonesia, are truly special. The tropical island getaway has something for everyone; picturesque white sandy beaches, stunning coral reef, deep turquoise seas and most favourably, no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions.
The word ‘Gili’ actually means ‘small islands’, with the most popular of the small island locations being Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan.
Previously renowned as a backpacker haven, Gili Islands now attracts a diverse group of worldly travellers looking for the perfect tropical escape.
The pristine waters around the three islands are abundant with thriving corals and thousands of species of tropical fish, attracting popular PADI dive companies and serious divers, as well as those looking to take it easy and snorkel the impressive array of sea life.
We arrived at Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands, by boat from mainland Bali. The journey typically takes around 1 hour 30 minutes by ‘fast boat’ from Padang Bai.
We dropped our bags off at the hotel accommodation and hired bicycles. Immediately the feeling of freedom from noise, fumes and chaos created by the lack of vehicles is truly liberating. There is a real ‘laid-back’ feeling about the whole island, so leave your suitcase at home and pack a weekend bag with only your favourite beach shorts, sandals and t-shirts.
Gili Trawangan is a 2.5km total round trip, which is achievable to cycle in under an hour – and not at all challenging even after a few Bintang local beers!
The island has two very different sides. The west coast (which is the opposite side to the landing dock) is very chilled and is ideal for daytime sun worshippers, surfers or to view the most amazing sunsets. You will find bars and restaurants dotted along the beachfront. The surf is small yet enjoyable, and boards can be hired on the beach at around 100Rp per hour. By contrast, the east side of the island (which is where you dock, and accommodates the many dive centres) is much livelier.
Admittedly, we arrived during the holy month of Ramadan and with most of the island population being Muslim, the party scene was quiet during this time. However, it is important to note that Gili Trawangan is labelled ‘the party island’ so be prepared for lots of young travellers and sun seekers during the high-season.
In contrast to Gili Trawangan, Gili Air (just 20 minutes by local boat or 5 minutes by speedboat) is undoubtedly less ‘touristy’. A laid-back travel destination with cool beach bars and simple cafes, however over recent years the island has seen luxury accommodation developments added along the beachfront.
Gili Air offers low-key, unspoilt nature with the idyllic beaches and great surf locations. The views from the island are stunning but the east coast offers probably the most dramatic scenery with views across to Lombok and Indonesia’s second largest volcano, Mt Rinjani.
And finally, the island of Gili Meno; the ‘couple’s island’. Gili Meno island is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly peaceful haven in the tropical sun with uncrowded beaches, beautiful clear seas, tranquil evenings – and a guarantee of no rowdy bars or full moon parties!
Gili Meno is a haven for those seeking an unspoilt island escape. With a population of only 400 people, the entire island is possible to explore and walk around in just 90 minutes.
Have you visited the Gili Island’s? If so, comment below and share your thoughts.
Take a look at this dreamy Parisian apartment owned by interior designer Emilie Bonaventure. Hidden away in Pigalle in the 9th arrondissement, the feminine space offers a discreet and elegant refuge from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant French city.
The high ceilings, marble fireplaces and herringbone parquet flooring creates a calming sanctuary, whilst retaining a sense of French simplicity.
Give your home space a dose of Parisian chic and opt for designs with calming neutral hues and blends of white, ivory, cream and caramel tones. Offset with geometric patterns and lighter textures to make your scheme work for the summer season and beyond…
MASTER THE LOOK & SHOP THE EDIT:
Do you want to make a bold statement? Do you want a piece of furniture that will last a lifetime? Are you looking for stylish furniture that is functional and practical? Then look no further; meet The Black Leather Sofa.
Firstly, we need to rid ourselves of the old stereotype of the black leather sofa sat coldly in the bachelor pad. Who needs that? Time to rethink the black leather sofa as it’s so versatile! Think modern, monochrome, contemporary, industrial, stylish, classic, sophisticated and pure glamour.
Here are a few living room ideas that will inspire you to reinvent your black leather sofa:
For more home decor ideas, interior design and garden inspiration, we recommend that you click here to check out our Home Decor section of the Alphabet Lifestyle blog.
Inspired by our recent travels to Bali we have gathered a few of our favourite photos showcasing how to extend your home into the outdoors in that exotic way that the Balinese people do so well, whilst creating a tranquil space that exudes that Bali essence.
From winding stone paths to decorative garden accessories and cushions, there are lots of creative ways for urban gardens that work brilliantly. Take a look at our pick of John Lewis high street must-haves below.
Shop must-have Balinese inspired garden furniture at John Lewis…
John Lewis Kelim Pouffe, Blue
If you are visiting the UAE, consider taking a 1.5 hr ride to Abu Dhabi to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The sheer opulence and beauty is truly breathe-taking. Entrance and guided tours are free. In our opinion, a definite Must see. Remember that this a holy place and be respectful. Appropriate dress can be provided.
Note: check the guided tour schedules as they vary throughout the year.
1. The project was launched bySheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late president of the United Arab Emirates. He wanted to create a that united the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the modern values of art and history.
2. The construction began in 1996 and was completed over a period of almost 12 years, covering an area of 22,412m2 and costing approx 2.5 billion AED.
3. The Mosque can accommodate 41,000 worshippers.
4. The main dome is the largest mosque dome in the world.
5. Seven gold-plated crystal chandeliers garnish the mosque in different sizes, embellished with millions of Swarovski crystals.
6. The main prayer hall features a 5,625m2 large carpet, hand knotted by approx 1,300 Iranian craftsmen using 35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton. It’s estimated value is 30 million AED.
7. Natural materials were chosen for much of the design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities. These included marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones and crystal. It was built by an Italian company using 3,000 workers and approx 38 contracting companies.
8. The courtyard is made up of 1,048 columns and 82 domes. The domes are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl.
9. The mosque is decorated with Greek and Italian white marble, considered to be the purest in the world.
10. Rihanna was criticised for posing in a provocative manner with the Mosque in the background during a private visit and was asked to leave by staff following the incident. Selena Gomez was also criticised for revealing her ankles on photographs taken at the mosque for her Instagram page.
Take a trip to Amsterdam over the Easter break and make the most of the four-day weekend in the cool, stylish and laid-back city. We highly recommend that you rent a bike like a local and cycle along the many canals, browse the boutiques, pick up trinkets from the canal-side markets and browse the vibrant art scene. You’re never far from a cool coffee shop to stop and take a break to people watch.
Rich with cultural history, Amsterdam has something for everyone. Architecture, museums, and galleries to rival any large city, a vibrant nightlife, traditional bars serving local beers to high-end nightclubs attracting world class DJs.
We loved the city so much and can’t wait to go back! Share with us your favourite places to visit in Amsterdam in the comments section below!
We all have those treasured travel pieces that we carefully packed into our luggage to bring home, only to find that we don’t know what to do with them. See our travel inspired interiors for ideas how to blend them into your home decor.
Transform a simple white scheme by adding ethnic prints. This interior is lifted by simple black and white themed prints and the addition of a few pieces of raw wood accessories.
Display handcrafted artefacts against a simple, crisp white background. Group tribal, ethnic materials to create this out-of-Africa vibe.
A bohemian styled interior is given the travelled look with the addition of raw wood, weathered iron and tribal prints. Think Turkish delight.
Create a display of treasured travel objects, or group your favourite travel photographs to make a statement wall display.
A cool mix of blue and white will add a Greek island vibe. Greek homes traditionally use blue and white both indoors and outdoors. A simple way to create a laid back island vibe.
Architect Marc Appleton and Joanna Kerns’ dreamy Californian garden oozes rich memories of summers spent in the Mediterranean, sipping on chardonnay in the warm evening’s sun. With a dreamy mixture of northern Italian and southern French influences, we adore this garden setting and simply cannot wait to take inspiration and apply it to our alfresco events this summer!
Whenever I’m looking to spruce up my home, a quick trip to the garden centre solves the problem. For me, personally, the bigger the better. I love large plants in textured pots, grouped together to create impact and make a statement.
Here are some inspirational ideas to add plant glamour to your living space and bring elements of the outdoors into your home.
Is a bohemian scheme ever finished without an abundance of flora?
Let us know what you think