There’s a time when I heard of foreign land named Lombok with the tales about man have to kidnap a girl to marry her and some other black magic story that scared us. There was no such story about how beautiful Lombok is, ever. I never put any expectation about this foreign land and never on the list of place to visit before I die. But when I stepped on it, I regret of all my thought.
Lombok is such a beauty, heaven if I may. I didn’t put much expectation when I book a ticket, so 5 days is going to be very long week I thought. I was totally wrong. Definitely will come back and visit again.
Destination: Lombok Island, Indonesia
Period: 24-28 Feb 2015
Transportation: Rent a car with driver, Bicycle.
Budget: IDR2,000 000 / +/- RM650
I wasn’t prepare anything for this trip since I was so busy with other before I fly. Thankfully this trip was managed by my travel buddy Zarah & Nas. Zarah bought early morning ticket which takes us 3 hours to reach Lombok International Airport. From there we hire a cab that cost IDR300,000 after bargain (RM27 per person) to Bangsal which is the local jetty to Gili Trawangan or the other 2 Gili. (Gili Meno & Gili Air). After having lunch, we started the 2 hours journey to the jetty. We stop by at a mobile shop to get a sim card. 5GB of data from XL carrier, an Axiata company for 1 month validity cost us IDR36,000 (RM10). That was dirt cheap! We were using the main road which passing by local village & farm along the way. From that moment I realize this is not an ordinary island. Farmers still using barehands for planting & harvesting, no fertiliser products used for the plant, some still using water buffalo to plough. They make use every inch of land they have for farming. Many still using Cidomo (horse cart) as main transportation.
We reached Bangsal around 3.30pm. Bought the local boat ticket for just IDR15,000 + tax (RM4.20) which saves us from boatman who sells speed boat ticket which is not reasonable at all. The boat ride take around 30 minutes only to get to Gili Trawangan along with the locals and other tourist. We didn’t book any hotel coz we would like to compare the prices for walk in. My tough was right, it is much cheaper to walk in. We can even bargain because it is not peak season just yet. Hotel by the beach will cost around RM150 to thousands of ringgit. We opted that out, the first night we stayed at a nice bungalow with huge room and bathroom for just IDR250,000. (RM35 pre head). This island is developing. I believe in future it will be such as busy as Phi Phi island to every inch. Hope they will take a good care of managing waste so that it will last forever. At this moment, I think they still have to improve the cleanliness of its surrounding. Glad it’s an islamic island which doesn’t allowed prostitution legally. But alcohol & drug seems to be out of control. They sell magic mushroom just like juice bar.
After strolling around the beach for a while, we had dinner and head back to our room. Dinner cost us around IDR70,000 (RM20). Thats still cheap coz we had tremendous menu on the list.
The next morning we had corn for breakfast. Lombok is actually covered by corn & paddy fields but they sell grilled corn for IDR10,000 is not reasonable. Maybe we as a tourist deserve that as a price. We asked few bicycle rental shop for daily bike rental ended with IDR40,000 per day (around RM11). Some hotels provide bicycle for just IDR30k. The island is only 7.2KM which takes just about 40 minutes to finish. Our first stop: Ombak Sunset beach. One of the signature in Gili Trawangan is Ombak Sunset swing. We came early morning so no one was there, only one couple coming in queue after we done there. Crystal clear water on the beach. We found a little shop by the beach selling coconut so we decided to take a break. There’s a man living here, Tabib Tasliman who make a living by renting goggles, coconut and snacks with 8 years old little boy. He have been travelling to 70 cities from early age learning about life. One of his skills is massaging. He said people all around south east asia calling him to cure their pains with good money offers. The little boy named Abdulllah is homeschooling. The genius believe god has written every single thing for him so there’s nothing to worry about.
We had lunch at a Jawa stall in the middle of the village after checking out. Instead of having expensive lunch, we spend IDR15,000 per plate at local shop which no other tourist will ever stop. The little girl tough we were locals, maybe, thats why it was so cheap. The next day we had almost the same menu that price triple at the very same shop. Now thats the price for tourist.
Actually, Lombok menu is simple. Very simple I must say. White rice, tempe, fried fish, vegie & sambal. Locals will pay IDR5000 only per plate. Tourist will have to pay IDR15,000. Thats how they make a living.
After lunch we look for a hotel in the village. Trawangan Oasis stays in the middle of coconut plantation but only 150M away from the beach. There’s a nice pool in front of our room, the room it self was spacious that can fit family of four. It only cost IDR350,000 per night (around RM40 per head). We stayed for another 2 night here because it is much comfortable compared to the first one. I must say this is one of the best value hotel in Gili Trawangan. We tried to book Le Pirates Beach Club hotel, a new hotel that originally from Bali but no luck for walk in. The hotel looks really cool. Rate around RM120 per night facing the beach.
We spent the whole day cycling. When we tired, we stop by the beach and swim. Thats what we do all day. I rent a mask & fin and snorkeling at the beach. Gili Trawangan is quite hectic even in weekdays. I’d say this is just not the right place for me. We spent most of the time at isolated beach which not many people was there. The coral looks amazing but doesn’t mesmerize me so much. We didn’t take three Gili’s island trip coz my partners doesn’t like to spend much time on the boat. The current was OK, not to heavy. I get the chance to swim at two different spot for snorkeling away from the beach.
We spent the afternoon watching sunset by the beach. That was most memorable beautiful sunset I have ever seen. We bought our dinner at the night market and bring it to the hotel. Tiger shrimp, octopus, grilled fish, and lots more for IDR65,000 per head. Fruit juice taste real good here and cost just IDR15k. We had a very good night and happy tummy.
Same old-same old. We spent the third day cycling and swimming and swimming again. Spend the day by the beach and in the pool at night. What else to do in an island? In the evening we stay at a surfing beach watching surfers having their fun with waves. Thats sums up our third day.
That’s not the end of the story. Lombok is much bigger than that. The Three Gilis was just a stop by. We took the first boat in the morning back to Bangsal. From Bangsal our driver bring us to numerous beach and villages on the East Lombok. We had other options to spent the day in 3 hours ride to Rinjani mountain but we saved it for later. 1 day in Rinjani will never enough. So we decided to wandering these beautiful beaches on the east. From Sengigi to Kuta. Words can’t describe how beautiful this place are. Here’s the photos for feast of your eyes. I have been to Western Australia last year, there’s some place in the east of Lombok that looks similar to WA. In fact the beaches are facing to WA with almost the same timezone. I believe thats create almost identical landscape back in early ages.
Our supir (driver) stop at Sasak Village, the only village that still practicing Lombok custom. Nearly 700 family lives here. We learned a lot about Sasak culture and that change my perspectives about Lombok people kidnaping girls for marriage. I asked the driver to takes us where no other tourist would go visit, he agree. Lots of local village and beaches where no one there other than us wandering around.
We stop at Seger beach where I found a unique landscape of hills by the beach that looks like a slope on hills paddy field but its not. I went up there alone to see closely how the landscape was made. I was surprised the landscape was made up by water buffalo that eat the grass on steppe hills. I never though of that, ever.
From top of Seger Beach, I can see amazing landscape along the beach. If I travel alone, I will definitely drive to each beach and hills to enjoy the beauty. Or maybe if I bring Sudin along, I might definitely camp there. Lunch with Nasi Lombok by the beach was amazing. At that time it was ikan tongkol (tuna) season. They just simply stick the fish on a stick and grill it just like that. Fresh.
We head back to the Mantaram city in the afternoon, had dinner at a restaurant that serve Ayam Taliwang (like a roster but smaller) as their special menu. I ordered one Gurami Bakar (grill tilapia with chili sauce), but instead of sending 1, the waiters send us 3 sets of Gurami which is 5 fish! Damn… Misunderstanding. We had tummy full of Ayam Taliwang and Gurami that night.
We reached the hotel quite early, so we decided to walk to the town to get some souvenir. The city center was just minutes away from Idoop Hotel. The minute we finish bathing and about to sleep, i felt my bed was swinging. My first tough was my partner Nasriq shaking his bed. But then again it getting stronger, I asked him what happened? It was an earth quake! Everyone getting out of their rooms to make sure everything is fine. Luckily it was just a small earth quake hundreds of kilometers away in Flores. Well that was a very good experience. lol.
Early at 7 we check out of the hotel and start our final day journey. We decided to take a boat trip to Pink Beach. 2 hours ride to Tanjung Luar from Mataram city using the old road. On Saturday morning there’s a lot of market along the road selling goods and there’s one unique market for farmers to bid cows & buffalos.
The boatman waiting for our arrival. The ride cost us IDR550,000 for one boat. (RM150) Just the three of us for one big boat to numbers of island and beaches for as long as we like. The boatman Pak Sulaiman was very friendly. Our first stop was an island where nothing else but pile of sand. They called it Gili Pasir. The water tide was low at that time so we can see that lil island. Normally when tide is high it will disappear. We stop by few stop for nice beach and snorkeling spot. This time I’m amaze by the coral and fish! It looks like the place was untouch from mainstream capitalization. I regret I didn’t bring any underwater camera equipment along. This side of Lombok are one of the best. Along the beach are corn plantation. Corns everywhereeeee.
Gili Petelu offers amazing coral and colorful fish. Thousands of fish play in your hands. That moment makes me forget I have to go home today. Darn it. The water was crystal clear I can see 30feet away easily. The current was just smooth doesn’t carry me away so far. Sea breeze blew like silk makes the heat goes away.
The pink beach located far away from civilization. There are two Pink Beach not to far from each other. I believe red dead coral make the landscape looks like pinky sand. The blend between pinky sand, white sand, blue water create amazing landscape. Not to far from the beach was another corn plantation. If we come here using car, we will definitely pass through beautiful corn fields. At the end corner of the beach there was steep rock formations thats looks amazing. One of the rocky hills have a hole in between each hills that create a bridge. I could stay there for days staring at the sea.
Before we head back to the jetty, we had packed lunch at the second Pink Beach. No other beach can challenge its beauty as far as I’ve seen.
Lombok is just amazing. 5 days is just never enough. I’m planning to visit Lombok again someday, rent a bike, travel from one village to another and stay longer if I may.