Indonesia Part 2 – Island Living, Cultural Indonesia and the best Scuba Diving of my Life

To check out Indonesia Part 1 click HERE

The day we arrived on Gili Air I was hit hard with Travellers Tummy or Delhi Belly, or I guess I should call it Gili Gut. Whatever I call it, it was miserable. I’ll spare you the gory details but let’s just say the toilet was my best friend for twenty four hours and I had to make sure I was staying as hydrated as possible, drinking black tea and water with rehydration powders mixed in. That sixteen hours of misery reminded me to be thankful for having my health.

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Gili Air is a beautiful little island with no motorised transport, only horse and carts shuttling around supplies and tourists. It takes about an hour to walk all away round the sandy coastal road, something we did often with no shoes and a big smile. We did a few local dives with the excellent Blue Marine Dive Shop, it was great to get some diving in and there are some good spots to dive around the Gili’s.

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In total I think we ended up spending a week on Gili Air not doing very much at all, exactly as we wanted it. We found cheap accommodation, cheap beer and free sunsets. What more could you want.

This trip has given me plenty of time to sit back and relax with my Kindle. One of the books I’ve been working on is Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. Written in 2002 by and avid traveller from the US, it aims to inspire and prepare the wannabe traveller. Although I’ve been travelling on or off for six years now I’ve found it an interesting read that’s reminded me to live in the moment on the trip and remind me why I travel. A message I aim to spread here on pieonthetrail.

After our major chill-out session on Gili Air it was time for something a little more adventurous (and slightly more active), five days aboard a live aboard scuba diving boat in Komodo national park.

Komodo is considered by some to be the best scuba diving in the world with some of the highest diversity of marine life to be found. it didn’t disappoint. To get the most out of Komodo we decided to do a five day, five night live aboard trip and booked on with a smaller company called Current Junkies.

We took a flight from Bali airport to the small town of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores and met our trip director/dive master in a local cafe for lunch before heading to the harbour to board “The Busy Girl”, our home for the next five days

With a crew of just four (including the dive master) and only one other guest it made for a small personal group of seven onboard the busy girl, with a laid back attitude and a mutual passion for diving we all quickly became friends.

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I’ve been fortunate enough to dive in some amazing spots around the world but Komodo for sure steals the number one spot as the best diving I’ve ever done. The vibrancy of the coral was amazing and I saw so many new species, a lot of which were small colourful creatures that I’d never have spotted without the experienced eye of our dive master.

Life aboard the busy girl fell into an easy rhythm of three dives a day interspersed with excellent food from the cook, great companionship and chess games and a few Bintang’s in the evening

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I’m going to be writing a whole post on the how to dive in Komodo and all the logistics involved so stay tuned for that.

Five days later and back on dry land (with wobbly sea legs) we checked into a hotel in Labuan Bajo where would spend one night before flying back to Bali the following day. That evening we spent the night in the company of our new friends from the Busy Girl and some of the other Komodo based dive crew. It got a little boozey with some great margaritas and a few shots of Salmiakki that had been stashed away by a Finn working in the area, not something I expected to be drinking in Indonesia!

We’d decided that we needed to head back to Ubud to see some of the stuff that we’d missed the first time around so headed straight there when we arrived in Bali the following day.

I’d booked us a couple of nights accommodation through Hostelworld at a small Indonesian homestay called Depa House and it turned out to be our favourite accommodation in all of Indonesia. I’ve already talked of the beauty of Bali and it’s architecture and with Depa House we found ourself thrown into the middle of a Balinese compound, mixed with the family that ran the place and a few other lucky travellers.

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I enjoy staying in hostels for a number of reasons but this home stay gave us a much more Indonesian experience. Several generations of the family all lived in close proximity to one another, working together, preparing food together and socialising together. It’s the polar opposite of most western families that barely communicate with one another because of our busy schedules, rushed meal times and tendency to stare at our personal devices during our “free time”.

Ubud has a lot to offer and although It didn’t originally match the vision I’d created in my head it is a very cool place where you could spend months on end without getting bored. So much so that it deserves it own separate post that I’ll be working on in the next couple of weeks.

Our departure date home was slowly creeping up on us and we wanted to get in a little final beach time before heading back home. Nusa Lembongan would be our final destination in Indonesia. Just to the east of Bali, Nusa Lembongan has a similar vibe to Gili Air albeit on a larger scale.

I personally preferred Gili air but Lembongan has everything a beach bums could want plus good diving, affordable food options and sweet sunsets.

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The journey home went smoothly, the first couple of weeks being home were a bit weird, but weird in a nice way. Fast internet is nice, Sauna too, oh and my Aeropress.

Isn’t it a good “sign” that you can come home after an awesome trip and not hate being home or dread going back to “normal life”? I think so.

So where to next?!….


3 thoughts on “Indonesia Part 2 – Island Living, Cultural Indonesia and the best Scuba Diving of my Life

  1. Arlene aka EverReady Reply

    Great videos and thank you for sharing your trip to Indonesia. Loved the underwater adventures!

    1. Pie Reply

      Thanks EverReady. Indonesia is a wonderful place, check it out if you get the chance.

      1. Arlene aka EverReady Reply

        I will keep it in mind. Thx!

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