- Published by Anu
The Island of Lombok has pristine beaches dotting its coastline. The coastline alternates between high undulating cliffs and rupturing waves eventually subsiding to form perfectly crescent shaped coastal beaches.
At the very heart of this island is the marvelous and sacred Gunung Rinjani aka Mount Rinjani. It is the highest and an active volcano in Lombok. Uniquely situated in the middle of a crater lake within a crater and is aptly named as ‘Segara Anak’ meaning 'Child of the Sea'.
Natural beauty combined with the architectural grandeur makes Lombok a must visit destination.
So here's my first impressions about this island.
1) Natural beauty and tranquility coexist.
The 360 degree views from the upper deck of our speedboat are astounding. We spot Bali's mighty Mount Agung standing tall amidst the dense forests on one side, the perfectly oval specks of the 3 Gili Islands in the front and the welcoming shores of Lombok on the other side.
A 2 hour speed boat ride from Bali gets us to Lombok. As soon as we stepped out of the harbor and rode onto the streets of Lombok, we were pleasantly surprised.
The streets were mostly uninhabited, surrounded by lush greens on both the sides. Roads frequently opening up to gorgeous blue beaches and humongous cliffs offering spectacular views of the surrounding islands at every single curve and bend.
It was peaceful, perfect and a striking contrast to its bustling and touristy Bali counterpart.
2) The people of Lombok are the most humble people I have met.
A short ride from the harbor in the west lies the town of Senggigi. It is the main tourist area on the island. This quaint little area hosts few restaurants, chilled out bars, pretty little cafes, shopping areas and a hub of tourist centers. We hopped onto a horse cart to explore this central area.
The horse cart rider when asked for the fare politely asked us to pay him whatever price we thought was the right price. At first we were doubtful, but he was insistent and gladly accepted whatever little amount we paid him.
We came across a similar incident of generosity when we had hired a car for two days and a driver who would drive us around Lombok.
On the first day of our tour, I asked him if he had some Bollywood songs to play throughout the day. As it would make the ride more fun for us. He politely refused since he had CD's of only Indonesian songs.
On noticing my small expression of disappointment, he actually bought a whole pen drive full of Hindi songs for the journey on the very next day. He had asked his son to download all possible Bollywood hits onto his pen drive for us . He even gladly obliged to change the songs frequently while driving whenever we felt like moving on to the next number . Overwhelmed by his efforts we thanked him and drove away on our journey singing at a high pitch. Although he joined in with the singing and swaying, intermittently asking us the meaning of those songs.
It turned out to be quite hilarious translating those songs from Hindi to English. Nevertheless it was a really sweet gesture.
3) The beaches are fabulous and insanely picturesque.
If there's one thing I would want to go back to Lombok for, it would be the beaches. It has some of the finest beaches I have ever been to. Beautifully located and isolated white sandy beaches (or even pink sand ..yes u heard it right, at the pink beach) are abundant here. You can easily find a quiet beach for yourself and spend the day lazing around or splashing along with the local kids.
4) People are crazy about Bollywood and Indian Television series.
Every single local we met on our trip in Lombok as well as Bali would ecstatically ask us if we are from India.
As soon as we nod affirmatively, the locals would jump with joy (literally) to know we are Indians. Guess why? Bcoz their favorite Indian television series actor from Mahabharata - who plays the role of Arjun , is from India and off course they love him.
While in Bali the locals love the Jodha Akbar duo leads. Even heart-throbs are religiously chosen :P . They would go on and on about how much they love them, who they are dating etc etc Bollywood masala. We had to go through this ritual at least 10 times a day for the entire two weeks of our trip (I am not exaggerating at all). We would simply smile and gladly oblige.
Bollywood love is at a completely next level here. Local kids sing Bollywood songs everywhere, its at the tip of the tongue. They know all the Hindi lyrics of songs by heart. Cheerfully humming the tunes even while they are playing around in the water on a beach.
A lady who was selling coconut on a beach, spotted us and was nudging us to buy a coconut from her. To our surprise she sang Kucha Kucha Hota Hai song in her Indonesian accent on realizing we are Indians. We actually ended up buying this huge coconut from her, because of her singing effort and for the fact that I have literally never seen that big a coconut in my life before.
Click to enlarge the images :
5) Local cuisine is definitely worth a try.
‘Lombok’ in Bahasa Indonesia means ‘chilli’. The island lives up to its name when it comes to food .
Varierty of dishes found here are quite hot and spicy.
The traditional ones are Ayam Bakar Taliwang, Pelicing Kale, Satay Ikan Tanjung and Bebalung. We promptly tried the Ayam Bakar Taliwang along with Pelicing Kale, since I am not quite accustomed to other forms of meat beyond chicken.
It turned out to be a spicy dish with quite a lingering taste. The Senggigi town has few (malaysian/indian/middle-eastern) food stalls which served finger licking pancakes for the sweet tooth and the deep fried Martabak for the spicy soul. The portions were quite humongous for us to finish a single pancake.
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Martabak and Pancakes
On one particular day we thought of sticking to the Indonesian staple of Nasi Goreng and Mei Goreng. So all we did was grab a chair, a bottle of Bintang beer as cheap as 20000 IDR i.e roughly 100 INR at the happy cafes and unwind to the live music bands playing in the background.
Watching the sun set over the horizon and Mount Agung fading away into the twilight was a perfect way to spend the evening.
Happy Cafe Nasi Goreng
Would love to come back here and explore the places I couldn't visit in my previous trip .
Lombok is most definitely still on my travel list for its unexplored exquisite beaches, majestic volcanoes and for its hospitality. I fell in love with this place and its people. A part of me is still there wanting to go back and experience it once again.
Until then Sampai Jumpa , Lombok - c u soon.
Useful info :
1) Bali to Lombok by speed boat costs around 1100000 IDR (return fare for 2 people) which includes hotel transfers to and from the harbour in Bali .(Make sure to cross check this with your booking agent to avoid discrepancies)
I found the price quite high for the distance covered and the kind of boats used for the journey, but was the least I could get it down to after much of bargaining.
2) Generally the fast boats from Bali dock at the Teluk Nara harbor at Lombok. You need to personally hire a cab for to and fro transfers from the harbor to Senggigi town/hotel or other parts of Lombok. Make sure to bargain here as well.
3) Lombok is also directly accessible by air. If you wish to skip Bali altogether and head directly to Lombok (which I personally would prefer for future travel) check out for flights which land at the Bandara Internasional Lombok (BIL) in central southern Lombok near the city of Praya.
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