Imagine a dreamy little island and a resort-like hostel with a touch of luxury. Healthy, inspiring and absolutely delicious food, good nights’ sleep, and a bunch of like-minded solo travelers looking for a relaxing getaway. Correct – one doesn’t need much more!
Gili Air is my absolute favorite so far, without a doubt, and I’m sad to leave. I knew I’d like it here as soon as I set foot on the island a week ago on Thursday. Compared to Gili Trawangan, the ‘party island’ where I’d spent a couple of days before going to Rinjani, it was a lot more small-scale, cute and cosy, almost a little dreamy. The atmosphere was laid back – there was no need to rush. Zzz…
Once I’d arrived at the hostel that I’d booked for my first three nights, Captain Coconuts, I knew that I’d love this place. I try to avoid using strong, easily exaggerating verbs such as ’love’ if it’s really more about ’liking’, but this place I really loved. The atmosphere was just awesome. I got settled and just a couple of hours later found myself comfortably seated on a beanbag on the beach enjoying one of the most delicious burgers I’ve had, ever, with a random group of people from the hostel, most of whom I’d met just half an hour earlier. For the first time since I’d left home I caught myself thinking that being here is so awesome, so, so awesome. I’m really doing this!
The hostel owners, an Australian-Indonesian couple with the cutest little baby boy, are absolutely lovely, as is the rest of the staff. They opened Captain Coconuts as late as last summer so it’s all very fresh and clean, and ecological, too. The atmosphere is laid back, but the place has a touch of luxury that I haven’t come across in any other hostel. There are two bungalows and 18 bamboo beds hanging from the air in an open loft-like space with views over the pool and the garden. Rocking yourself to sleep at 9 pm has never felt so good…
…correct, no partying here! Awesome.
Not dividing people into dorms or bungalows is a great way to make sure everyone gets in touch with everyone. There were no clicks, no groups. You’d meet someone in the bathroom in the morning and end up spending the whole day with them. Whenever someone new arrived, they’d (be welcome to) join as soon as they’d settled in. Risking to sound as a cliché, it was almost like a little family. To me, however, the best thing was probably going to bed at 10 or even 9 pm without needing to feel a tiny bit boring: everyone else would go to bed at that time, too, so it was all cool. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as much at home in a hostel.
As for eating, breakfast was included and something else than the usual self-made banana pancakes. One could choose between buckwheat banana pancakes, apple pie oats or a vegetarian omelette, and tea or coffee. When compared to where I’ve stayed before the price per night was slightly more expensive, but the breakfast (and all else) made it so worth it.
The days would pass by in the turquoise pool or while reading a good book in one of the bamboo sun beds. Walks around the island, beach time, a few yoga classes, a snorkeling tour, and some sunset watching, not to forget exploring our favorite restaurants’ menus… That’s pretty much what my days were filled with. Time flies when relaxing.
My original plan was to take my open water course, but after a few days of postponing it in favor for one more relaxing day, day after day, and a sick stomach, I had to forget about it. I had already extended my stay for three more nights and would have had to add another two to have the time to do it, so I thought I’d better leave it for Thailand. Also, it wasn’t a bad idea to try snorkeling first. As some may know, I’m kind of afraid of fish and although I think I got rid of my fear of fish, I feel like I have to carefully consider if scuba diving is something that I really want to do or if I just like the thought of it, which has made it something I think that I should do.
As for yoga, I tried a really nice Hatha class in addition to which I finally got to try SUP yoga, which I’ve been wanting to do ever since I got here. It was a lot of fun, but tough, so tough. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky and although it was a calm day at sea, the waves made me a little seasick. Luckily, jumping into the water every now and then made it a little easier.
So, in a nutshell: lovely, like-minded people, tasty food, the best nights of sleep and laid back, stressless days… ‘MEET, EAT, SLEEP, RETREAT’ (as stated on the cafe’s menu) truly captures the essence of my stay on the island.
Gili Air, I’ll miss you.