Exploring Lombok: One of Indonesia’s tropical gems

OMBAK SWING. This is one of Gili Trawangan's attractions- a pretty swing by the beach!
OMBAK SWING. This is one of Gili Trawangan’s attractions- a pretty swing by the beach!

The next leg of our Indonesian getaway happened in Lombok, an island found in the province of West Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia. It is located at the east side of Bali, having Lombok Strait separating it from its more famous neighboring island. Unbeknownst to many, Lombok is the place to go to when you are looking for less crowded beaches, impressive waterfalls and beautiful terraces. Not to forget, it’s also home to the volcano that had the largest eruption in the past 2,000 years: Mt. Rinjani. Read along to learn how you can go to this interesting and beautiful place when you are in Indonesia.

This is the 5th leg of our great Indonesian getaway. Please refer to the primer, the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd and the 4th legs of our travel if you want to learn more of our adventure in Indonesia.

Here are the places of interest here in Lombok:

GILI TRAWANGAN

STREET ART.
STREET ART. This is just one of the street arts that we’ve seen near our homestay in Lombok. Am I to miss taking a picture with it considering it has the same color as what I was wearing? Hehe.

Gili Trawangan is one of the three Gili Islands found at the northeastern side of mainland Lombok. The most popular among these islands, Gili Trawangan is a haven for tourists, especially foreign backpackers, who seek a quiet place to stay at day and yearn to party at night. The beaches here are filled with restaurants where one can dine in. Various accommodations can also be found here, from cozy hotels to affordable homestays. If not in front of the beach, they are just several minutes away from it by walking. The beach also has shops that arrange diving sessions.

INDOMIE!
INDOMIE! It was mid-afternoon when we settled down on our homestay. It was a good thing that Dua Nina offers their guests food like IndoMie, Indonesia’s answer to our pancit canton!

We stayed in Dua Nina Homestay, which is just about perfect for a group of travelers as they have large air-conditioned rooms that can accommodate 3 to 4 people. Not to forget this homestay is affordable as well.

ON OUR WAY.
ON OUR WAY. After resting for a bit at the homestay, we decided to go to the beachfront to watch the sunset. We found ourselves passing through this pathway towards Gili Trawangan’s “woods” where we really knew nothing about aside from what we were seeing on the map. Thankfully, we were able to find our way to our destination! Haha.

 

SUNSET IN LOMBOK. Ombak Swing with Mt. Agung at the background.
SUNSET IN LOMBOK. This is Ombak Swing with Mt. Agung at the background during sunset time.

Here in Gili Island is where you can visit the Ombak Swing and capture the sunset with Mt. Agung at the background. You can also capture the sunrise over Mt. Rinjani at the other side of the island.

PERFECT FOR COUPLES.
PERFECT FOR COUPLES. The swing is actually perfect for couples such as this lovely one that we’ve seen.
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HORSES FOR RIDING. There are locals who encourage tourists to try riding the horse along the beach.

Internet connection (if you have availed Indonesia’s telecom services) is only strong at certain areas. It was mostly weak when we were roaming around the island. It is good to point out, though, that some restaurants have free Wi-Fi connection. We dined in a newly built restaurant and they have relatively fast connection.

PREPARING FOR THE EVENING.
PREPARING FOR THE EVENING. This was one of the restaurants that we’ve seen while strolling along the beach. Beautiful, isn’t it?
TIME FOR DINNER!
TIME FOR DINNER! This was where we ate that night in Gili Trawangan. I really forgot the name of the place. Do you happen to know?

One of the party places you can go to in Gili Trawangan is Sama Sama Reggae Bar. Reggae music was played the whole night we were there, which was pretty cool considering we wanted our night out to be just chill. Unfortunately, all the bars operate only until 1 AM, that’s why we continued drinking (there were convenience stores along the beach, by the way) at the homestay.

SAMA SAMA REGGAE BAR.
SAMA SAMA REGGAE BAR. This was the scene before the reggae singers graced the stage at the bar.
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BREAKFAST TIME! Now, you can have this kind of breakfast when you order at Dua Nina.

 

SENDANG GILE WATERFALL

BEAUTIFUL.
OVERLOOKED BEAUTY. You might get an impression that Sendang Gile is just like any other waterfall that you would see once you’re already there. But, if you’re going to look really closely, it is really beautiful with its towering height and calm, almost calculated fall.

With a height of 30 m, Sendang Gile is one of the two majestic waterfalls that we were able to visit while in Lombok. It would only take about 15 to 20 minutes going here from Senaru Village, the jump off point not only to these waterfalls but also to Mt. Rinjani. Yes, these waterfalls are found at the base of Mt. Rinjani! It would have been great to go to Mt. Rinjani; however, as we only had about 3 days here in Lombok, we were not able to hike the active volcano that could take several more days.

CROSS THAT BRIDGE.
CROSS THAT BRIDGE. You’d see yourself crossing this bridge while going to the waterfalls.

The pathway to Sendang Gile is mostly cemented, which is why it is easier to go here compared to Tiu Kelep. If you already got tired from walking, you can avail refreshments from mini stores that are available in the area.

TIU KELEP WATERFALL

TIU KELEP
TIU KELEP. The more celebrated waterfall between the two waterfalls in that part of Rinjani National Park, Tiu Kelep is gorgeous! Sometimes compared to our very own Asik-Asik, this waterfall is actually very different: it’s a bit taller and a lot shorter in width. Besides that, its waters splash aggressively towards the base, which doesn’t happen with Asik-Asik.

Splendidly beautiful is the second waterfall in that part of Mt. Rinjani National Park: Tiu Kelep. According to Lombok’s tourism website, the name of Tiu Kelep came from the Sasak language. Tiu means pool while kelep means fly. It’s no wonder if it was named as such as we can attest to the fact that the waters that came falling from Tiu Kelep seem like splashing all over the area! Think about our very own Hulugan Falls in Luisiana, Laguna. If you have been there, you can say that the waters coming down the imposing waterfall are flying over the whole area, wetting the people who come to visit. I can say that it is also similar to Tiu Kelep, albeit more restrained and limited as it is not as high as Hulugan. As a consequence, it could be really challenging to take a good picture of Tiu Kelep without wetting your camera!

RIVER CROSSING.
RIVER CROSSING. There are going to be times like this when you’d have to cross rivers to go to Tiu Kelep!

It would take you about 45 minutes going to Tiu Kelep. While the pathway to Sendang Gile is easy, going here is more challenging. You’d have to cross a river going here as well as trek slopes that could be muddy and wet.

KIDS IN LOMBOK.
KIDS IN LOMBOK. These two kids were just a few of the children that we’ve seen assisting visitors in the area. One of them was wearing a sort of a crown made up of leaves that he did by himself while in the area.

LENK RINJANI RESTAURANT

INDONESIAN FOOD.
INDONESIAN FOOD. The restaurant offers delicious and authentic Indonesian food!

If you’re looking for a restaurant that offers authentic Indonesian food, Lenk Rinjani is the place to be. We ate our lunch here before heading to the waterfalls that day as it is already located at the jump off point. Another good thing about dining here is that you’ll be treated with beautiful scenery while eating your chosen Lombok dishes.

BEAUTIFUL SCENERY.
BEAUTIFUL SCENERY. You’d be treated with this kind of scenery while eating the restaurant.

SELONG BELANAK

CALM WATERS.
CALM WATERS. This kind of scenery relaxes me every time I go to the beach.

The first beach we went to was called Selong Belanak. It was a good indication of what was to come that day as we witnessed white, creamy sand in this beach. It was an ideal place for swimming, but it also was perfect for just chilling out.

CHILLING OUT. This was the place where we ordered our fruit shakes and yes, the overall mood here is just so relaxing.
CHILLING OUT. This was the place where we ordered our fruit shakes and yes, the overall mood here is just so relaxing.
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SURFING. Yes, this beach is also ideal for surfing. You just gotta find out what months it is best to go here to surf.

Surf schools that also have restaurants by the beach offer refreshments for visitors. Also, local vendors selling freshly caught fish at a very affordable price can be found here. Imagine a medium sized grilled tuna on a stick for only 10,000 IDR! The mango smoothie that we bought was even more expensive: 15,000 IDR!

PREPARING THE FRESHLY CAUGHT FISH.
PREPARING THE FRESHLY CAUGHT FISH. Here’s one of the ladies we have met while preparing a huge fish to be grilled.
ALL SMILES.
ALL SMILES. This lady was all smiles when we asked if we could take a picture of her.
SERIOUS.
SERIOUS. Now, this lady here was really serious while putting a freshly caught fish on a stick!
SELONG BELANAK. Here’s a view of Selong Belanak from another perspective.

MAWUN BEACH

Impressive with its white, fine sand and clear, blue waters, Mawun Beach is the second beach that we visited in southern Lombok. We didn’t spend much time in this beach, though. What occupied our time here were the merchandise being shown to us by the local vendors there. Pretty sarongs, table runners and other woven items caught our attention and so we bought many of them!

PRETTY.
COLORFUL. They are just two of the ladies who sold us pretty sarongs, table runners and other woven items in Mawun Beach.

KUTA BEACH

THROWBACK.
THROWBACK. This is a picture of Kuta Beach captured by my friend, Louis Brian (IG: @bryehero), back in 2012.

Said to be the most famous beach in the southern part of Lombok Island, Kuta Beach is filled with accommodations and restaurants for tourists and travelers. The area is under development when we visited; a lot of construction work was being done with roads and other infrastructures.

According to this Indonesian tourism website, festivities in Kuta Beach happen on the 19th day of the tenth month of Sakar lunar calendar (that probably falls around February or March). You gotta watch out for that should you want to join.

TANJUNG AAN

THAT BLUE COLOR!
LOOK AT THOSE COLORS! Among the four beaches that we were able to visit, it’s Tanung Aan that I found the most beautiful.

Tanjung Aan was the last travel destination in Lombok that we have visited. Blessed with a wide stretch of white sand and turquoise blue waters, Tanjung Aan also has impressively rugged hills around it. You may want to choose to swim, sunbathe or hike the hills to have a good view of the area. Refreshments are provided by vendors around the area, so you won’t have to worry how you would deal with the scorching heat of the sun.

ANOTHER SHOT.
ANOTHER SHOT. Here’s another picture of the Tanjung Aan.

ROUGH DRAFT OF OUR LOMBOK ITINERARY

Just a recap: If you’ve been following my blog posts about Indonesia, you would know that our Lombok trip was preceded by our Komodo National Park adventure. If you haven’t visited that yet, it’s about time that you do!

Take note: From Labuan Bajo, we flew our way back to Bali before heading to Lombok. After going to the domestic terminal of Bali (Ngurah Rai International Airport), we took a flight and headed to Lombok Praya International Airport. It was only in the airport that we were able to talk to a car rental/ tour guide and there, we were able to talk to him about our intended itinerary.

We spent three days in Lombok and this is just a rough draft of our itinerary:

DAY 1

10:55 AM – Flight from Bali to Lombok

11:25 AM – ETA in Lombok. Make travel arrangements (e.g. car rental service, etc.) in the airport. Head to Lombok Harbour.

1 PM – Lunch at a local restaurant

2 PM – Continue heading to Lombok Harbour.

3:30 PM – Ride speed boat going to Gili Trawangan.

3:50 PM – ETA in Gili Trawangan Island.

4:15 PM – Arrive in hostel. Settle down. Wash up.

5:30 PM – Head to the beach for the sunset.

Past 6 PM – Take sunset pictures in Ombak Swing.

7:30 PM – Look for a restaurant for dinner.

9 PM – Head back to hostel and wash up.

Past 10 PM – Head back to the beach and look for a party place.

SPEED BOAT.
SPEED BOAT. This is one of the speed boats that is used to transfer passengers from mainland Lombok to Gili Trawangan and vice versa.

DAY 2

7:30 AM – Wake up, eat breakfast, wash up and prepare things. You may opt to wake up earlier to catch the sunrise.

Past 9 AM – Head to port. Wait for the speed boat. Ride the speed boat going back to mainland Lombok.

Past 10 AM – ETA in Lombok Harbour. Meet with tour guide/ driver. Head to the jump-off point for trekking waterfalls at the base of Rinjani.

12 NN – ETA at the jump off point.

1 PM – Start chasing waterfalls.

4 PM – Head back to the jump off point.

4:30 PM – Ride car going to homestay.

8 PM – Dinner at a local food chain.

9:30 PM – ETA in the homestay. Settle down. Rest for the night.

 DAY 3

7 AM – Wake up, eat breakfast and prepare for the day’s activities. You may opt to wake up early to catch the sunrise.

9 AM – Start of beach-hopping: Selong Belanak, Mawun Beach, Kuta Beach and Tanjung Aan.

2 PM – Head back to hostel to wash up.

3:30 PM – Leave for the airport.

5:30 PM – Flight to Bali.

 

LIST OF EXPENSES

Day 1

Car rental service

Lombok airport to Lombok Harbour – 450,000 IDR (originally 500,000 IDR) per group

Speed boat from Lombok Harbour to Gili Trawangan – 350,000 IDR per group

Bar expenses: 50,000 IDR for one bottle of beer

After bar expenses:

250,000 IDR – a bottle of whiskey

35,000 IDR – Lemon beer

30,000 IDR –Pringles

Day 2

Speed boat from Gili Trawangan to Lombok Harbour – 400,000 IDR per group

Lombok Tour (waterfalls chasing then Kuta Beach) – 500,000 IDR for 8 hours per group

Roy’s Homestay

100,000 IDR – room with air-con

120,000 IDR – room with fan (for some reason, this room has a higher rate because it is larger than the one with air-con)

Day 3

Beach hopping Tour – 120,000 IDR each (included here is escorting from homestay to airport after beach-hopping)

TOTAL (per pax, without personal expenses such as food & souvenir): at least P1,785.85

 

WHO TO CONTACT

Bil Local Transport – The person whom we talked to at the airport works for Bil Local Transport and their services were the ones we have availed during our trips around Lombok.

No. 1 Tanak Awu – Pujut Lombok Tengah

087765986550

081803632949

http://www.billocaltransport.com

***

Thank you very much for reading, guys! I hope this blog post about Lombok inspired you to travel there. While we have done many things here in Lombok, there are much more activities that you can do should you opt to go here with longer travel time. Try to hike Mt. Ranjini, spend more time in their beaches and explore more of the Gili Islands.

SHEMBOT SQUAD IN LOMBOK.
SHEMBOT SQUAD IN LOMBOK. Here’s the squad after chasing the waterfalls of Senang Gile and Tiu Kelep. From left: myself (IG: @karl_olivier), James (@callmejames007), Fllip (@flipbardinas), Brye (@bryehero), Denmark (@denmarkisthename), Ardee (@ardeemd) and Carlo (@carloenriquez21).

Watch out for my last blog post about Indonesia, and that is about the place where seemingly everyone around the world would want to discover and explore in Indonesia: Bali!

 

 

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