Thursday, June 23, 2005

Lombok Island


Lombok lies in the province of Nusa Tenggara Barat, East Indonesia. It is a small island having mainly three tribal inhabitants, i.e. Sasaknese (native Lombok), Balinese and Javanese. The buildings are not very much different with those in Java, though some look obviously Balinese, with the Pura in the front part of the house. Most people are moslems and a few are Hindu.

To get there and back:
  • by plane. Lombok is pretty accessible if you want to go by airplane. From Surabaya it takes only 45 minutes, with the cost around Rp 300,000 to Rp 400,000. Citilink had a cool promotion when I went there three weeks ago, Rp 200,000 for one way ticket. If you are traveling from Jakarta, you'll have to stop in Juanda airport, Surabaya, so that makes you travel for less than 2 hours (1 hour Jakarta-Surabaya and 45 minutes Surabaya-Mataram)
  • by shuttle bus and ferry. It takes almost forever this way. But if you prefer to visit Bali first, you can always order a one way shuttle bus to Lombok (you have to have a specific destination; usually the choices are Senggigi beach, Gilis, Mataram and Kuta beach). The price ranges from Rp 65,000 (2003) to Rp 120,000, depending on which season you're going. The highest seasons in Lombok are in June - August and December - January. If you can manage to visit whenever but those months, do it! You'll enjoy the island more when it's occupied by less tourists. The shuttle buses, anyway, will go from Denpasar to Padang Bai (the time varies) for about an hour, then you will be guided to the ferry, which will travel for about 4 hours (pray that the wave is friendly, otherwise bring a plastic bag for your puke, but normally it's good), then you'll continue the journey by the shuttle bus.
Places of interest:
  • Senggigi beach.
    It's plain.
    People say it's the most crowded, developed touristy site in Lombok. I guess the developer tried hard enough to make it as "Bali" as possible, but it just doesn't satisfy me. There are some souvenirs vendors in the beach and some sellers are really just as annoying and pushy as those in Kuta Bali. Do your best to avoid them.
    Luckily the sky is always amazing in Lombok, in whatever season you visit there. At least the sunsets in Senggigi are worth watching. Just nearby the accomodations area, there is this temple called Pura Batu Bolong (Hollow Rock Temple), that is pretty nice. You can take a bemo for Rp 1500 to the place, which is 5 minutes ride, or an ojek, or you can go by your own rented motorcycle or car. You need to pay some contributions for entering the temple, in exchange of the yellow selendang that you should wear around your waist and fill in the guests list.
    Accomodation: I stayed at Ray Hotel for Rp 35,000-Rp 40,000 for a fan room, Rp 60,000 for aircon one.

    Batu Bolong temple

    Senggigi Beach

  • Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Gili Meno
    Yay! These are my most favourite places in Lombok. Gili is the local language for island. And these gili islands are located in the north west of Lombok, around an hour (or half an hour?) ride from Senggigi. If you are from the airport, take a taxi to this place. It costs only Rp 50,000 (May, 2005), while if you stop at Senggigi first, the taxi will charge you Rp 35,000 and when you want to continue your journey to the gilis, you'll have to pay around some stupid Rp 40,000 for renting bemos (of course it's not that stupid if you go with a lot of friends), so that will make Rp 75,000 in total. OR you can go by public bemo, but be assured that you have much time and patience to wait for it. :)
    When you arrive at the Bangsal, you can buy a public boat ticket for crossing the strait to the small islands. Rp 4500 to Gili Air, Rp 5,000 to Gili Meno and Rp 5,500 to Gili Trawangan. Or you can rent a shuttle boat for Rp 88,000 - Rp 105,000 one way. Now you can choose: Gili Air is a very nice place for diving and snorkelling (though all the other gilis have nice underwater views, too), Gili Meno has a bird park, and Gili Trawangan, the biggest among those 3, is the most inhabited, developed island. I always go to Gili Trawangan for 1. I looove the quiet white beach in the day time; 2. I love to party there at night. The other gilis don't have as many restaurants and clubs. But even as the largest gili, it only takes 2 hours to WALK around the island. :)
    There are some daily tours to the other gilis from Trawangan. It costs about Rp 50,000 and you can get a free drink and snorkel and hop in a glass bottom boat to enjoy the three islands and the sea in between from morning till afternoon!
    Accomodations are cheap, too. It costs around Rp 25,000 to Rp 35,000 ($3) for budget homestays, which is NOTHING. But if you want a bit of a luxury, you can always stay at the high class hotels like Vila Ombak hotel for $80 a night (hahaha.. see the difference!). In short, almost everything is cheap in Lombok, but the food. But if you are a westerner, it shouldn't be a problem, either. :P
    FYI: I stayed at Abdi homestay.

    Sunrise in Gili Trawangan

    Sunset in Gili Trawangan

    Lomboknese Women

  • Kuta beach
    Alright, what can I say about this place? Never been there. But it's said to be the most beautiful place in Lombok. But the majority of the visitors and the local people always say that the place is not safe. That's probably cause of the lack of development in that place. So if you want to go there, make sure you have your guide with you, or go with as many friends as possible.
    To get there from the airport: taxi for Rp 120,000. From Senggigi, Rp 100,000 per person for a day tour there (or have a bemo to take you there, for Rp 100,000 per journey). Your choice.
    Now if you have been there, I'll appreciate your sharing concerning the place to me.. so email me here. :) Thanks.

  • Senaru & Rinjani mountain
    If you enjoy trekking, this could be the best place to climb in Indonesia! I've only managed to go to Senaru, by taking an ojek for Rp 30,000 (May, 2005) from Bangsal seaport. It was not the high season in the year so I appeared to be the only tourist there. I didn't feel like staying another night so I left the next day. But I did use my time quite effectively to visit the Sendang Gile waterfalls, Granada villa and a traditional village nearby. (I stayed at Pondok Achita for Rp 25,000 per night)

    Sendang Gile Waterfalls
    is nice. It has 3 waterfalls (I only went to the first one, which was an easy walk, there were stairs and stuff), and the second waterfall is believed to be a sacred place where you can be YOUNGER if you bath there. It has a more amazing view than the first one, my guide said but the walk is rougher and much farther. You can imagine the third one, then. :) Oh, and entrance fee is Rp 5,000.

    Sendang Gile waterfall

    Villa Granada is... nothing but a common villa.. but with a sooo beautiful valley covered by yellow flowers. There are many flowers and plants inside the villa, also a swimmingpool that is not well kept. If you watch the sunrise from this villa you can surely enjoy a quite beautiful scenery.

    View from Granada

    Another view from Granada

    Traditional Village. You can directly feel the word "traditional" here even before you step in the gate. The smell says it. Hehe.. It was a little dull when I visited it, but maybe it's a lot more interesting for foreign tourists who are not familiar with Indonesian tradition. :)

    The traditional village

    Segara Anakan Lake. Half way to the top of Rinjani. To get there you sure need to bring your camping equipment as you'll walk soooo far for a day or two and need to stay the night in the mountain. The walk is hard and slippery in the wet season and a local guide companion IS A MUST! Usually if you go from the Gilis or Senggigi, you're automatically getting a guide, but if not, you can always ask a guide residing in Senaru for it. It's quite expensive to go there from Senggigi. I think it's around Rp 150,000 - Rp 250,000. It's very cold, anyway, so be sure to bring your sweater, jacket, socks and gloves.

  • North Lombok
    From Senggigi or Mataram you can go by motorcycle to these places:

    Gunung Pengsong
    It's less than an hour ride from Senggigi. It has a temple on the top of the hill and the walk is pretty easy. There are stairs to reach the place and you'll be entertained by many monkeys (watch out, some are incredibly naughty) on the way. The view from the top is magnificent! You'll feel like you're floating in the air and seeming to be so near with the clouds! Though a bit calm, I like this place.

    Gunung Pengsong Temple


    Not interesting. It's a forest where a couple of elephants used to live there. Now they were "exported" to Bali and I'll say it's losing it's attraction.

    Ask me via email for this, cause I've written so much already I think my fingers are boneless. Hihihi... If it wasn't because of Nyo, who had been patiently "forcing" me to write here, I might be writing it next year. :) So.. enjoy for now.
For more pictures, visit my gallery.


DolphinRider said...

itu namanya menurunkan ilmu hehehehhee thanks anyway...

Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » » »

Anonymous said...

It is Owesome mate... Would love to go there this year.

dave said...

Halo paman, kalo di kuta lombok kok katanya nggak aman itu kenapa ya?, banyak pemalak?, garong?, pemeras?

val said...

saya pernah disana, aman2 aja kok, cuma memang masyarakatnya lebih agresif terhadap turis domestik/non

Jo in Lombok said...

Kuta Lombok lebih terpencil dan kurang aman karena kurangnya pengamanan dari pemerintah daerah setempat. Tapi semenjak akan didirikannya Bandara Internasional Lombok (BIL), kawasan kuta sekarang lebih aman