The boat stopped. Nobody got off, except for us. An island full of jungle, green mountains and cliffs reaching the coast laid in front of me. With hardly any houses to be seen, Lombok felt much more isolated compared to Bali.
We drive through mountains, jungle and along wild coast Lines. Lost buffaloes cross the streets. Passing monkeys, small villages, volcanoes and stunning ocean views. We end up in the sleepy surf town Kuta in the southern part of the island, where evenings are best spent listening to reggae with a Bintang in your hand.
The next days were spent discovering the island with motorbikes, as public transport is limited and so are the roads. The first beach we stumble upon is Segar, about 2 km from Kuta.
From across the ocean we watched the clouds shift in the distance. Minutes later it started to pour heavily. As we took shelter under the bamboo roofs with a few local Sesak people, the rainfall became more intense and we just sat there watching the surfers riding the waves. And maybe the rain made this place even more magical.
Lombok seemed like a forgotten island, full of adventure, wilderness, deserted beaches, jungle, waterfalls and much more. I felt as if I was Leonardo Di Caprio who just discovered the beach when we chanced upon the untouched white sand bay of Tanjung Aan. We spent the entire day floating in the smooth turquoise oean, while the sun glistened on the water. Eating the local purple fruit mangosteen for lunch.
The next day our journey of discovery took us further north to explore the Tiu Kelep waterfalls at the base of Mt Rinjani. On our way we passed locals working in the rice fields. ‘Where you from?’ one of the guys asked with a curious smile ‘Ah Belanda! You want try?’.
He handed us sharp knives to cut the rice stalks from the fields and then we smashing the stalks to a wooden shelf like real human rice machines. It was probably a good thing we did not know about the poisonous snakes that live in the rice fields and can kill you instantly.
After checking out some monkeys and waterfalls in the jungle, we head over to the picturesque bay of Selong Belanak where the smell of Nasi Campur draws us towards the beach warungs. A friendly old man who’s missing two front teeth grills corn on the cob. Others sell coconuts, pineapples, beach chairs or surfboards.
Selong Belanak is bordered by green mountains and the blue fisherman boats decorating the water make the ocean look even more turquoise. It’s a perfect spot if you want to learn how to surf. No wonder this beautiful bay is full of people trying to practise the art of wave riding. Some are being pushed into the waves by instructors, who cheer enthusiastically when one catches a wave. Others dance over the waves in pure happiness. And as I watch them, I can’t help to feel nothing but love for this beautiful island.
- How to get to Lombok
Lombok island is located east of Bali and is almost the same size as Bali. It’s possible to catch a flight from Bali to Bandara International Airport. You can also catch a boat from Bali.We took a fast boat from Padangbai to Senggigi. But keep in mind that safety is not always a top priority for the local boat companies and there have been many reports of accidents due to the turbulent ocean. Check the weather before you go and do some research about which company to travel with.
- Where to sleep
Stay at one of the afforable pink bungalows at the surfers inn or choose one of the many cheap homestays. Looking for a backpackers place to stay? Check out pipes hostel for some good vibes. If you have a little more to spend, check the lovely drop in surf lodge & cafe, Bombora bungalows or Kies Villas.
- Favourite beaches
Seger Beach, 3,5 km east of Kuta
Tanjung Aan, 7 km east of Kuta
Mawun, 8 km west of Kuta
Selong Belanak, 12 km west of Kuta
- Where to eat
On a rainy day, head over to Astari for some yoga, amazing food and the best ocean views of Kuta. Try out Frida’s burrito for some good mexican food, happy rasta vibes and colourful wall art. El Bazar Cafe & Restaurant is a great place to taste some moroccan food. Head over to apache surfer bar or the bus bar for some laid-back drinks in the evening.