Welcome to the Gili Islands, Lombok


Gili islands beaches travel review
Visit Gili islands impeccable white-sand beaches

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.

Transport on the Gili islands
Explore the serene islands

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.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Trawangan

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.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Our island transportation

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.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Casa Vintage bar and restaurant offers an authentic Jamaican menu

Beach restaurants - Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel reviewAlphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Air

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.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Meno

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.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Have you visited the Gili Island’s? If so, comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi


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.

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Interesting facts

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.

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi - Alphabet Lifestyle travel guide

Celebrating Diversity


Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph

With so much ignorance and anger in the world today, we want to take a moment to appreciate & celebrate cultural diversity and our own individual uniqueness, heritage and journey through life. In the words of Michelle Obama “When they go low…we go high”

Faces of the World Photograph by Salvatore Gebbia
Photograph by Salvatore Gebbia
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by
Photograph by Steve McCurry

 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by

Afghan girl photo credit : D Stewart
Afghan girl photo credit: D Stewart

 

 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph Bronia Rosenbaum, from Survivor: A portrait of the survivors of the Holocaust © Harry Borden
Bronia Rosenbaum, from Survivor: A portrait of the survivors of the Holocaust © Harry Borden

Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by

Daphne Selfe photo credit:Guardian
Daphne Selfe photo credit: Guardian
 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Amir Fallah
Photograph by Amir Fallah
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Indigenous Bushman, Namibia by Martin Harvey
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Carol Guzy
Photograph by Carol Guzy
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Alan Sharpio
Photograph by Alan Sharpio
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Arun Titan
Photograph by Arun Titan
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph by Ricardo Moraes
A Kayapo girl with traditional body paintings and hair cut in Sao Felix, northern Brazil – Photo by Ricardo Moraes
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Portrait of a Himalayan woman Source: unknown
Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Photo credit unknown
 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Photo credit unknown
 Alphabet Lifestyle Faces of the World Photograph
Photo credit unknown

Original Valentine’s Day Gifts


Forget teddy bear and chocolates. Be original, buy original, and say I love you with an original art piece from Saatchi Art onlineHere is a selection of great Valentine’s Day gift ideas for those that deserve something unique…

…Alphabet Lifestyle Top Tip:  SAVE 10% on originals and prints for Valentine’s Day Use code Valentine10 at checkout.

‘SEXY GIRL WITH A GUN ABSTRACT ‘ by Cherie Steinberg

Buy saatchi art online Click to order 'Sexy Girl with a gun' by Cherie Steinberg
Click to order ‘Sexy Girl with a gun’ by Cherie Steinberg – Prints from $140 >

‘Lovers’ by Pedro Abreu 

Saatchi Art Lovers Pedro Abreu Shop Now
Click to order ‘Lovers by Pedro Abreu’ – $800  > 

‘We say YES’ by Hennie van de Lande

Click to order ‘We say YES’ by Hennie van de Lande – $1,495 > 

NUDE 4130 from the series “las mujeres transparentes” by Michael Lentz

Shop Saatchi art Nude by Michael Lentz
Click to order ‘Nude’ by Michael Lentz – $250 >

‘Selene 6’ by Juliana Do

Click to order ‘Selene 6’ by Juliana Do – $4,600 >

……And all that jazz!


“The real power of Jazz is that a group of people can come together and create improvised art and negotiate their agendas… and that negotiation is the art”

– Wynton Marsalis from ‘Jazz, a film by Ken Burns.’

Drummer Art Blakeley, the Jazz Messengers
Drummer Art Blakeley, the Jazz Messengers
Thelonius Monk, New York, 1975
Thelonius Monk, New York, 1975

jazz

 

jazz

 

Paul Newman and Louis Armstrong, 1961 :Frank Horvat
Paul Newman and Louis Armstrong, 1961 :Frank Horvat
jazz

Thelonius Monk, New York 1975
Alfred Eisenstaedt, summer jazz workshop -Lennox 1959
Alfred Eisenstaedt, summer jazz workshop -Lennox 1959
Johnny Hodges by Herman Leonard, Paris 1958
Johnny Hodges by Herman Leonard, Paris 1958
Miles David, Guy Le Querrec Paris 8th
Miles Davis, 1969 Guy Le Querrec Paris 8th

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