Indonesia – Lombok

Lombok is an indonesian island, east of Java island, directly East to a famous neighbour called Bali.

It is less developped, more conservative, and slightly harder to reach because it has no international flights. I travelled there with my girlfriend in April 2011, and even without having time to visit half to the sights, it was already a really good destination.

Our plane landed in Bali and we had planned to take another short flight to Lombok, but these were booked out. So we decided to ask for the speedboat connections, but these were also all booked out that same day…
We were only left with one option: the slow boat passenger ferry, that connects Bali to Lombok in about 5 hours…

On the boat, we were the only tourists with a couple of australian surfer dudes, and well, it was not so comfortable and noisy.
Looking at it positively, the 5 hours gave us enough time to read a lot, including our tour guide and  therefore we could plan better for the days ahead. Whenever I’m on a boat I already feel on holiday and relaxed anyway.

Arrival at Lombok

We had booked in advance a stay at Sunset House, not far from Lombok’s main town Senggigi and about one hour away from the airport. It was really a pleasant place to stay, with very comfortable rooms (although a bit dark), a small pool, and a pleasant beach front location which offers nice sunrise and sunset views.

Because of the long ferry trip, we arrived quite late that day and could not do much except relaxing at the hotel and guess what, this was nice enough!

On the first day, we rented a scooter to explore nearby tourist sites and get a feeling about the place. We saw some nice villages and temples, with little to no tourists around but us.

 

Family having lunch near a temple

 

 

 

Lombok ladies singing karaoke after their meal at the restaurant
For a refreshing bath…

 

Pura Suranadi

On the next day, we had booked 3 dives with a local dive operator. They took us to the nearby Gili islands for what were my first leisure dives after I passed my PADI open water certification (in Singapore and Tioman islands with Deep Blue Scuba)

 

A Nudibranch
Yellow Seahorse
Soft coral waving in the current

The visibility was really great (more than 20 meters), and the sights very valuable to me as a very amateur diver. We visited the following dive sites: Shark Point (Gili Trawangan), Coral Fan Garden (Gili T), Meno reef (Gili Meno), and saw many living sea creatures: white tip shark, calamari, turtles, eel, parrot fish, lion fish, trigger fish, huge gorgonian fan corals, nudibranches, stone fish, moray eels and a sunken floating restaurant…

The current was quite strong at times, especially when we dove to the bounty wreck.

I jumped with surprise when I saw the huge, dark shape of the wreck that emerged from the blue. I will always remember this feeling (as a new diver I was already amazed by the sights of coral, so I had probably kind of forgotten that we were going to see a wreck…)

Bountry wreck

The Gili islands are small and beautiful islands on the north west of Lombok, that were once a small backpacker heaven. Now, it is much more developped since speedboats from Bali drop many tourists, but has still managed to retain a laidback vibe on its white beaches.

 

On the 3rd day, we decided to visit the southern coast of Lombok, near Kuta, which was meant to be beautiful. So we rented a scooter again, and got ready early because travelling time seemed to be slower than what we thought when I first hit those roads.

Indeed, going from Senggigi to Kuta and back in one day was quite a drive…
We went through beautiful landscapes, especially in the southern half of the island, when we were driving through the land of certain traditional cultures.

It seemed so far that we asked locals many times on the way if we were still in the good direction. By the time we reached Kuta, the main village in the south, it was already the afternoon, and we were already anxious about the journey back to the hotel, but we could not give up.

In Kuta itself, there is a beach, but we found it rather uninteresting, since ramshackle shops selling tourist souvenirs and more are facing the main street, and so you get their messy “back office” on the beach side.
So we asked where to head to and went in one direction, hoping to find a nice spot.
We ended up in a small fishing village that was blessed with this view.

 

We spent a few minutes sitting and talking with a ripped local guy, who said he is sometimes taking surfers not far away where good waves are.

After a while though, the conversation got stuck, and we decided to leave.
We had not yet found what we were after, anyway.

After 10 minutes, we reached a beautiful beach where we sipped a deliciously refreshing fresh coconut, and bought jewellery from kids.

But there was still room for one extra little push  on this coast. So back on the scooter for another 15 minutes of road into nice small little paths.

And at the end waited one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.

The perfectly thin white sand and the clear turquoise colour of the water were connected by a deep blue sky. I was nothing short than short of breath.
The hours spent on the scooter had never been existed.

Suddenly, I felt an enormous lot of gratitude to be looking at this place.

We enjoyed this magic for about an hour before we had to hit the road back again.
It was also our last day in Lombok, and I decided i will be back for more.

Trekking the Rinjani volcano before coming down and resting one’s painful legs in these pristine waters sounds like a plan.

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