Bali – Gili

Surrounded by about 25 caterpillars, a blue sea, a white beach and some really friendly indonesians, I finally found the energy to write down a new part of my journey. The first couple of days in Bali weren’t my best one, although I had an amazing couchsurfing host. When you arrive from a really remote and unique place like Sei Silau, into a really commercial and touristic place like Bali, you definitely are experiencing a culture shock! My first 4-5 days I really had a hard time adapting to the new environment of clubs, fat tourists and people who try to lure you in to their shop. Anyhow, after a couple of days I managed to retrieve my positive energy and made the best of it!



The first nights, I did couchsurfing at Ketut’s place, a professional guide with a Tripadvisor certificate of excellence.

Couchsurfing is an online platform where you can stay and sleep at the place from locals or other travellers for free. You create a profile, describe your interests, point out where you have traveled and you’re up to go. If you have a couch at home, you can also host travellers. Couchsurfing is meant to connect people, make friends and have amazing experiences hanging out with your hosts/guests. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way and some take advantage of others people hospitality and kindness. After being hosted or having hosted, you can write reviews for each other.

I try to make the best of couchsurfing and I think Ketut really appreciated this!
He showed me some nice places around Bali by motorbike.

Ketut explained me some of the local traditions in Hinduism. Every evening he would pray and do an offering to the house god so it would protect the house. The offering could consist the following items:

  • Incense
  • Flowers
  • Fruit
  • Food
  • Herbal tea

Pira Tirta Empul is a water tempel with a holy spring. Hindus would come here for a ritual purification by bathing in the spring. I still felt pure from my stay in Sumatra, so I didn’t took a bath. 😉
I really enjoyed staying at Ketut’s place and hopefully he’ll be able to host more couchsurfers! Terima kasih beli!

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The next few nights I staid at the Kayun hostel, a clean hostel with an amazing staff! It was situated in Kuta, a real commercial place filled with fat tourists (sorry, but it’s true), clubs and big hotels.

Anyhow, I was able to meet some nice people at the hostel and became good friends with Maria, the receptionist. She helped me with my Indonesian, and I helped her with her English.

Apa yaaaaa? (how to say this?) – Janti Maria Abbas

I also tried surfing for the first time, which went remarkably good! It felt like I started learning snowboarding again… It asks a lot of patience and practice! Kuta is probably one of the best places to learn surfing: lots of schools with cheap lessons and the waves are perfect for beginners.

I also had the honour of hanging out with Shari, a Sumatran/Jakartan girl studying and living in Bali. She showed me some other nice places in Bali and told me more about different cultures and languages from Indonesia.


Gili Trawangan

Being recommended by my Scuba J friends from Koh Tao, I took the ferry from Bali to the Gili islands. It’s an amazing place to do scuba diving! If you see the pictures below, you can easily see why! Such a huge diversity in life below the sea lvl!

For the first nights, I staid on Gili T (or Gili Trawangan) which is the biggest island from the three. It’s also the place to be for nice parties!
Small detail about the Gili Islands: there are no cars, no motorbikes and almost no street lights on the island. Which makes it really quiet and brings really nice starscapes.

I was lucky spending a crazy Halloween night on Gili T! With the few clothes I carry along, I was able to disguise myself as a ninja. After about seven weeks of travelling, I finally ran in to a girl from Antwerp! Such a relief to be able to speak my own language without thinking too much! Sometimes you have to be happy with the small things in life 😉

A video posted by Mats Van Mieghem (@matsvm) on

Gili Air

After a couple of nights on Gili T, I moved to Gili Air. Gili Air is a more unique place with much smaller restaurants and no clubs. My diving school, Scallywag Divers was based here. My dive instructor Nat from Koh Tao, recommended to dive with these pirates. The instructors and divemasters were really nice and professional! High quality equipment, comprehensive briefings and lots of fun before, during and after the dives! Thanks guys!

Fantastic hostel was the place I called home on Gili Air. A hostel made of tipis where they only accept nice people I think. You arrive as a guest and leave as a family member! If you ever come to Gili Air, this is the place to stay!

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As for the next part of my trip, I’m flying to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. Here I will try to get a visa for China, where I will fly to the week after. In Beijing, I’ll meet up with another old friend I know from Malaysia: the lovely Maja from Sweden. With a little bit of luck, I’ll be able to join a Kung Fu camp south of Beijing. Fingers crossed!
First I’ll have to buy some winter clothes before flying to China :p

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