Just few days left before Christmas. Busy malls are full of last moment gift shoppers, Christmas trees are all sold out, and kids are hurrying to take their pictures with Santa and send him their letters. Expectation of magic is in the air! And as due to my Orthodox origins I celebrate Christmas on a different day, I am planning to stay in a sparkly white& red& green mood a little longer, at least until New Year’s eve.
In Russia New Year celebration is very important. We even have a saying that “the way you celebrate New Year’s will dictate the course of the next 12 months”. But I’ve just realized that out of all celebrations only very few are truly memorable!
One of those most remarkable New Year’s happened on a far Gili Island where I traveled together with two of my friends. Located near the coast of northwest Lombok in Indonesia this destination sounds truly exotic, doesn’t it?!
That’s what we thought too! This island was the last stop on our long travel and we couldn’t wait to stretch out on a sandy beach after a two-week restless exploration of Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia, and let our tired feet be tickled by a warm azure-blue ocean.
Anticipation made our hearts beat faster and faster when a beautiful green land finally appeared on the horizon.
And with the first step we realized that our stay there promised to be truly unique!
10 things to know about if you ever plan to go to Gili islands for your New Year holidays
- Choose the right island and book hotel early in advance
Gili islands represent a group of three tiny islands: Gili Tawagan (left)– the largest and known as a party island; Gili Meno (middle) – laid back and preferred by couples; Gili Air (right) – closest to Lombok and known as a social backpacker island. There are boats commuting between them, however there are very few scheduled at night and it is not recommended to take them when the night falls due to safety reasons.
We stayed on Gili Air cause no accommodation was available at Tawagan, but I believe it was even better option for us.
2. Your first step on the island may land right into the loads of garbage
Some people say it is due to the lack of waste management facilities. Whatever is a true
reason but the issue is there.
3. Plan where you will hide from the rain on a New Year’s night
November to April is a rainy season. And apparently it always rains there at 12 AM on a New Year’s night. So in a few seconds a huge beach party was washed away under the roofs of the nearest bars.
Also even though the nature is beautiful anytime, you are less likely to see those incredible blue sea colors due to the cloudy weather.
Here is what we saw vs. what we expected to see…
4. Try local Pinacolada, Bananalada and Mangolada! This is the most delicious thing I’ve ever had!
5. Stay away from fireworks and firecrackers started off the beach. They fire just next to the crowd! Oh God, how scary it was!
6. Enjoy your privacy as the island looks totally abandoned after the New Year’s night. Everybody seems to leave on the 1st and 2nd of January and it gets VERY calm and quiet.
7. There are no any vehicles. The only means of transport are your feet or horses.
8. Do as many massages as possible! Take the most of this chance to relax both your mind and body. Indonesian spa is an amazing experience and very affordable.
9. Speak to local people. They are extremely nice, kind and helpful. Their life is very different from what we are used to and learning more about them helps to look at many things from totally different perspective.
10. Write your wishes for the next year on a piece of paper and throw the ashes into the ocean. They come true!!!
Even though some things didn’t go exactly as expected, it was one of the most magical New Year’s eve in my life!
And what is your most unforgettable New Year celebration?
About the author:
Oxana believes that every person’s life can make an intriguing story for a book which can teach a lot of wisdom. Life in Russia, England, France, Hungary, USA and lots of travelling around the continents introduced her to exceptional personalities. She loves to share stories about people and destinations which bring new ideas and help to find a way to your true self. This is why she started her blog “In search of the genuine”