Our Lombok experience didn't start all that well. We took a taxi from the airport and negotiated a price for 2 days as we wanted to see the north before taking it easy in the south. Soon enough we realised that our taxi driver was mental. He changed our route, kept screaming at traffic and drove like a madman. We first drove to Sembalun valley on the eastern road which should be one of the most scenic trips but we couldn't enjoy it properly. I had a short viewpoint hike marked down in Sembalun, however the driver didn't know how to reach it and just kept driving. We managed to catch a few glimpses of Mt. Rinjani from the east but it was cloudy anyway. Somehow we reached Senaru alive and checked-in a very simple Anak Rinjani Guest House with a super friendly host. Ari lifted our spirits.
Senaru is known as the key gateway village to trek up Mount Rinjani. We didn't have enough time for that and we came for the nearby waterfalls, which we visited the next morning.
& Tiu Kelep
Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep waterfalls alone were worth the trip north. We started early in the morning and walked for 10 minutes to reach the top of the village where the entrace is. We paid a small entrance fee and continued down the stairs alone. Sendang Gile is easy to reach, but the second one is just a bit more tricky. We could get a guide as they kept saying we'd get lost, yet we winged it anyway, crossed that "treacherous" river (twice) and reached the beautiful Tiu Kelep in about 25 minutes. Not a soul around!
Benang Stokel &
The taxi driver was already waiting for us at the guesthouse and sadly we had to move on. This time we drove counterclockwise, passing the Gili islands and turned east in Mataram. We got stuck in traffic and the driver lost it completely. I'm fairy certain he should be medicated somehow.
It was a waterfall kind of day. We reached a more developed forest area with an entrance to multiple waterfalls. They forced a guide on us, so we had to go with him. In hindsight, I should insist we didn't need one. The main two waterfalls (Benang Stokel & Benang Kelambu) were beautiful but the crowds and marked paths just didn't give us the same feeling as exploring alone at Tiu Kelep.
After that on to Kuta and goodbye to the nervous wreck of a driver.
A shy week of scootering and discovering the southern Lombok. Situated in Kuta. Quite different than the one in Bali. It's a small, relaxed village with two main streets and plenty of restaurants. We were instantly impressed by the service here. The food was probably the best we've had.
We stayed in Lazy Inn. The lovely Cheryl welcomed us and gave us plenty of awesome recommendations on where to eat and what to see. The hotel only has a few rooms so everything's more personal. The staff were super friendly!
So we rented a scooter and started exploring the south coast day by day. We've had some lazy days of just lying on the beach as well. And eating.
As the sun got lower we usually climbed on one of the nearby hills and waited for the sunset. Seger beach is really nice in the evening. Tourists grab a beer and head on a neighboring hill to relax and watch the tides change. A couple of local surfers made the scene especially interesting.
Bukit Merese was probably our favourite spot around. It's a hill with numerous tiny white beaches around where we were usually alone. It's a challenge to find shade however. And it was scorching hot most of the time. We also drove to Gerupuk village and visited Tanjung Aan beach in the afternoon. Gerupuk village seemed very dirty and raw, there's supposedly a great surf break though. Tanjung Aan was empty and peaceful - only a few beach dogs were wandering around.
One morning Nina went on a morning yoga class with a beautiful view over Kuta. I took the scooter, explored the hills around and watched Lombok waking up.
This was our first time on a surfboard. We booked a session through our hotel and got two friendly instructors. We headed all the way to Selong Belanak. It’s a calm beach with steady swell coming in narrowly, so it’s much easier for first-timers to stand up. We spent 3 hours paddling and surfing and we were done! So tired. But it was fun, we both stood up and caught some of those small waves. Something bigger next time for sure!
Beaches of South Lombok
Each day we hopped on a beach or two. Since we already explored the beaches east of Kuta (around Bukit Merese, Tanjung Aan, Seger … Kuta beach and Mandalika beach weren’t worth visiting), we went west as well. The first one is Are Guling, a huge piece of sand and not crowded at all. Then comes Mawun, considered one of the nicest but it was pretty full. Next one is Pantai Lancing. 2 km long beach. Not a single person around.
Our favourite beach was Mawi or the one north of Mawi with no name apparently. Mawi is a surf beach. But for advanced surfers. And it was amazing watching them. The road to Mawi however is the worst.
Another gem should be Pantai Semeti - looking at the maps you make a left on your way to Mawi and boom, there you are. There are some interesting black rock formations as well.
Another sunset over at Seger beach, this time from a different hill. The evening light was stunning and the skies were clear. Mount Rinjani showed itself and we could clearly see the summit.
Like I said, the food in Lombok was amazing. The main street in Kuta is packed with bars and restaurants. We enjoyed in KRNK, Milk Espresso, Warung Drifters, The Bus … Our favourite one was El Bazar, a bit on the fancy side but not too expensive. It’s a fusion of Moroccan and Indonesian food. We ate there a lot. The service is nice as well. I could return to Lombok for El Bazar alone.
On our last day in Lombok we hit Merese hill once again and claimed a beach for ourselves.
A friendly Lazy Inn staff member took us to the airport the next day. Early in the morning. Sunrise. Mount Rinjani. Gili islands. Perfect. On to Yogyakarta.