Gili Dreaming Laid-back Lombok beckons AMY BROOK-PARTRIDGE for a return visit.

What to do: The vibe here is extremely laid-back, and much of our time was spent chilling out in the bars, playing cards, and watching the kids play in the drizzly rain and sea. (Although we went in what was meant to be the dry season, it rained three out of the four days.) There are plenty of water activities to keep you busy – you can hire snorkels, it’s well-known for diving, and there’s wake-boarding too.

I’d been once before to Gili Air, the most easterly of Lombok’s three Gili islands, but that was on a hen’s weekend; this family holiday was going to take a rather different slant. The island is small, with no motorised vehicles, so you get around by bike or horse-drawn cart ( cidomo ). It’s mellow and rustic, and there are few frills to the island, but that’s what I love about the place.

Getting there: SilkAir flies direct to Lombok; we paid S$260 per person. We asked our accommodation manager to arrange for a taxi pick-up – the drive from the

Chill Out Bungalows has a great bar and restaurant just on the beach – we found it pretty tough to motivate ourselves to go anywhere else, even though the beach is not as nice as it is further up the perimeter. Head to beach bar Gili Lumbung to watch the sunset, and you’ll find a giant swing in the sea – perfect Instagram fodder.

airport to the boat takes around two hours, traffic permitting. It’s then another 10 minutes by boat to the island.

Accommodation: We stayed at Chill Out Bungalows, which is located just off from the beach. We booked the family room, which has a queen-size bed, bunks and a cot if you need – perfect for a family of two adults and two children; the bathroom is half indoors and half out; and breakfast is included in the rates (US$100 per night). Tip: beach towels are included.

Why go: You can definitely go to the Gilis for a long weekend; it’s accessible, relaxed and good value for money. There are also the other Gilis to explore – Trawangan, the “party” island,

and Meno, which is even quieter than Gili Air. | timsimages



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