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Make Bali Your Gateway To The Faboulus East

More and more people holidaying in Bali take the opportunity to visit Lombok’s world famous gili islands, especially younger travellers.
The three best known gilis, Trawangan, Meno and Air became popular in the 1990s as islands which, although within sight of well developed Bali, immersed visitors in a comparatively primitive and laid back desert island experience.
Since that time Trawangan especially has been on a fast paced development curve with much of the primitive giving way to world standard accommodation and restaurants.
But like the other two gilis, Trawangan remains at least uncongested. Getting around is on foot, by bike or by horse drawn cart – a novelty for everyone.
Visitors love to chill out on the beach by day or hang out at one of the island’s many pubs by night where there is often live music.
From the beginning, diving and snorkelling have been major attractions on islands where the sea is never out of sight and hundreds of tourists pack into dive boats every day.
Gili Meno, the smallest of the three islands famous for its bird park is beginning to have a handful of modern hotels but otherwise it still retains a rustic homestay atmosphere.
Gili Air is also comparatively quiet and offers beach-side accommodation facing Lombok with unforgettable views.
The gilis are a sharp contrast with the across the board sophistication of Bali.
Returning to Bali many visitors press on eastward to Flores to see the world famous giant lizards on Komodo and Rinca islands.
Your tour base on west Flores is Labuanbajo which not long ago was a quiet traditional fishing village but which is now busy upgrading its infrastructure of accommodation and restaurants.
Accommodation is also available on some of the nearby islands and a fleet of boats is available for every purpose ranging from simple ferrying to diving and charters.
Diving off Komodo has been described as as among the richest and most pristine in the world.
Flores with its volcanoes, lakes, wild life and rugged beauty not to mention ancient cultures and traditions attracts tourists to cross the island from Labuanbajo to Maumere from where they can return to Bali or from Kupang on Timor connect with international destinations.
While Bali is Hindu-Buddhist Flores is a Christian island thanks to Portuguese missionaries who adopted the island during the days of the spice trade half a millennia ago.
From this and my earlier blog you can see that it’s possible to travel  from Jakarta via the Javanese heartland  to Hindu Bali and from Bali via mainly Muslim Lombok to Christian Flores, a varied and fascinating trip. Australians make the journey  the other way round.

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