Lombok - which Gili is right for you?

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In Lombok's local language, Sasak, the word “Gili” simply means “small island”. And, besides the famous three off the north coast – the ones that most of us mean when we talk about “the Gilis” – there are over thirty more Gilis scattered around Lombok. Most, however, have neither permanent inhabitants nor anywhere to stay.

Why diving in Indonesia rocks

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On any dive boat, pretty much anywhere in the world, when you're chatting about the world's best diving, Indonesia just keeps coming up. Obviously, 17,000-odd islands offer plenty of options, plus delightful surface intervals on palm-fringed, white sand (or even pink sand) beaches. Further, occasionally ropy safety standards, not to mention the currents, can make for outstanding bragging rights.

Indonesian public transport

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Lombok and the rice field of dreams

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“He's fishing for eels”, our guide Bot tells me as we walk carefully on the narrow grass banks which run along the perimeter of the rice fields. We have been watching a man pulling a line and bringing up his furiously-wriggling prey, waving to us with one hand while reeling in his catch deftly with the other. “They are used for medicine" he tells me. "When the doctor tells someone they need more blood, they go out and eat an eel; it contains more than 90% blood.”

In praise of Singapore

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After months bouncing around on dirt tracks in tuk-tuks, lugging bags onto sampans and ferries, and navigating sidewalks cluttered with plastic chairs and infested with open manholes, sometimes that humble invention, the pavement, can seem a rare and beautiful thing.