How nice it is to revisit Lombok and just recoup on what is another wonderful aspect of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Flying from Sydney to Denpasar we arrived at around 1.30pm. The onward flight from Denpasar to Lombok departing at 5.50 so plenty of time to head into Kuta, change money – a better rate then on Lombok, purchase a local sim card, grab a bit to eat for lunch and a quick shop before returning back to the airport for the onward flight.
Across the channel and east of Bali lies an island with better beaches and fewer traffic jams- Lombok here we come!
Bandaruoara International airport is only a 30 minute flight from Denpasar. At present the Indonesian Tourist Board is pushing Lombok as the New Bali – which it certainly isn’t. But the volcanic, Muslim island has its own temptations which have been long sort after by the travelling Europeans who love adventure. Direct flights from Australia will hopefully be available in the future as tourism islands first progresses. The location of the new airport is in the south closest to the best surfing waves of Desert Point, the other Kuta – Mawun & Grupuk. The gorgeous stretch of white sand at Selong Belanak finds a farmer casually walking their herd of cattle along this stretch at sunset – just magic This area is opening up with small hotels and cafes for travelers wanting diving and snorkelling. The new airport io well positioned for these activities.
In the north west of the island – the town of Senggigi around a 2hour drive from the airport. The Senggigi area is what Bali was 20 years ago. Lovely sunsets, beautiful beaches – although the sand in the north is dark due to the volcano Mt Rinjani. The town offers lots choices of accommodation, food is cheap, and many nightclubs, try Senggigi Square, Marina café, Papaya Café or Happy Café there are many pubs and clubs in this area.
A visit to the traditional Sasak village for pottery& then horse & cart to the Ikat cloth weavers followed by a lovely lunch on Kuta beach is a perfect day of sights on Lombok.
The Gilis are located to the northwest and are a definite tropical chilled out splendour. Trawangan is the pick. It’s the biggest of the 3 islands and has the best bars and restaurants. Bars stay open until 2am, however on full moon parties beach raves have been seen dancing to pumping music until the sun rises over Mt Rinjani. There are no cars or motorbikes on Trawangan, life moves to a reggae beat and transport is by horse & cart or pushbike. There are many a great story of the bike ride around the island ! The snorkelling and diving is magnificent, the beaches are clean and the sea turtles are friendly.
If you want to capture a little of the spirit of a travel adventure rather than battle the bogan rampages in Bali? Lombok is the place. Keep in mind that Lombok is very poor so facilities, roads & English can be basic. It is a Muslim country so keep your shirt on and it can be a little difficult to get a snack during Ramadan. Lombok is hustling for the tourist dollar – give it a whirl…you can always have that DVD, surf wear shopping hit on the way home in Bali or perhaps an island hop to Java to Mt Bromo the beautiful temple of Boroburdur another exciting adventure and another diary story…..