Lombok was our next stop after Bali and we weren’t really sure what it was going to be like. It was a great surprise for us that it was still rustic and not really built up yet, it still has a very local feel to it and we loved that. It was much quieter than its neighbour Bali and with a lot less tourists.
As we were driving from the airport to the hotel, we came across a loud street party and procession so we stopped to see what it was all about.
There was a long line of people walking, dancing, and singing. They were having a great time and the traffic police were enjoying it too. It was a Sasak (the indigenous people of Lombok) wedding. It was a great celebration to see and we wondered why we don’t party like that!
We spoiled ourselves here, we splurged a little and stayed in a really nice boutique hotel that is family owned and managed. It’s set up on a hill above Senggigi with stunning views to the sea and if the weather is clear you can see Mt. Agung volcano on Bali. We watched the small fishing boats coming in every morning while we enjoyed breakfast on the terrace and we had incredible sunsets every evening. We ate most of our meals here because the food was delicious and everything was homemade. They had a good selection of Indonesian dishes and you couldn’t beat the view. For a few days we were the only guests at the hotel, it was like having our own private villa!
On our first day we took a long walk on the beach to the center of Senggigi. The beach was busy with local families having a great time picnicking and swimming. While we were walking a large group of locals swarmed around us, they welcomed us to Lombok, introduced themselves and shook our hands. They asked if we liked their country, how long we were staying, and what country we came from. They were genuinely excited that we were visiting and while we were chatting some of them were snapping away taking pictures of us. We found it amusing that the shoe was now on the other foot because we are normally the ones that want to take pictures of the people from other countries and here we were being photographed. We visited with them for quite a while just laughing and joking around. Before we went on our way they asked us to go swimming with them but we didn’t, we weren’t geared up for swimming and we were headed to town. Gordon felt like a celebrity after that! On our way to town we stopped and watched people bringing in their nets filled with many small fish.
There wasn’t a lot of things to visit in the town, we should have stayed and swam with the locals! Senggigi seemed to mainly be a place for most people to overnight or stay a day or two before they head to the Gili’s (a set of very popular islands just off the shores of Lombok). The small fishing boats that line the beach are really colourful and it’s crazy but those small boats stay out at sea all night long before coming back in the morning. Just off the beach there was a small artisan market that we strolled through and there were quite a few little restaurants and bars down the main road. It looked like it would have everything that a person needed if you wanted to stay for a while.
We decided to hire a car and driver from our hotel to take us to see the interior of Lombok (we don’t really like to drive motorbikes over here and you’ll understand why in our Flores post). We drove through the monkey forest and stopped to watch them play for a while and Wayan (our driver) seemed to really enjoy them too and he spent some time feeding them peanuts.
We drove through small villages and stopped at one of the local markets, surprisingly the locals still use horses and carts to go to the market. It was hard in some places to find a parking spot because of all the horses and carts parked everywhere.
During our drive Wayan explained the way of life on Lombok and the various flora and fauna, and then we made a few stops in different areas growing rice and peanuts.
We visited Tiu Kelep waterfall and Gordon was the first one to jump in (one of his favourite things is swimming in a waterfall). I went in too and the spray from the water coming down was so refreshing . The Sendang Gile waterfall is the biggest waterfall on Lombok and the water comes directly from the crater lake of Mt. Rinjani. These falls are located at the base of Mt. Rinjani Volcano in Rinjani National Park and the entire area was really beautiful.
During our hike to the falls, we came across some villagers that were having a celebration. They were cooking all kinds of food, socializing, and playing music. On our way back from the falls they were all still there but now we could see that they were butchering a cow alongside the river. It was interesting to watch them and see what they were doing and they didn’t seem to mind our curiosity. Wayan wasn’t exactly sure why they were celebrating but he did say that they would only butcher a cow for something very special. Cattle are a very elaborate asset to the local people and they wouldn’t butcher one for a regular meal.
Driving back to Senggigi from the North we passed some beautiful beaches and off in the distance we could see the popular Gili’s (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air). We stopped at a few different places along the coastline and took in the scenery. Wayan was such a funny guy, we were at a viewpoint and it was really windy up there, he spotted some palm branches on the ground and told Gordon to pick them up. We were both wondering what the plan was with the palm branches. He told Gordon to hold them up in the air like a big bird and had me take pictures…we had some good laughs goofing around with the palms. It was a great day!
We booked another full day with Wayan and started our day with a visit to Mayura Water Palace.
After the palace visit, we took a boat to some of the lesser known Gili’s; Gili Nanggu, Gili Sudak, and Gili Poh to get our beach time and snorkel. They are beautiful islands with powdery white sand and clear water. There were very few tourists on these islands which was an added bonus for us. We spent a lot of time snorkeling here and taking in the underwater scenery. The boat ride to the islands took about 45 minutes each way and it wasn’t the most comfortable ride but we enjoyed the scenery.
We had so much fun interacting with the local people and we found that particularly in Indonesia they really like to offer a warm welcome and visit with you. They have a gentle demeanor about them and a great sense of humour, Wayan kept us laughing all the time!
Where we stayed: Sunset Lavinia Hotel
Written by: Tammy Hermann…Live~Love~Travel