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 trip report from Lombok

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Windy
Lombok Virgin


Number of posts : 2
Location : San Francisco
Registration date : 2009-01-19

PostSubject: trip report from Lombok   Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:04 am

I flew to Lombok after 10 days in Bali. It was real culture shock to go from crowded, modern, dreadful Kuta, Bali to Mataram, with donkey-drawn carts, mosques, fog cooling the mountains. All this in half an hour!

I spent 4 nights at Windy Cottages in Mangsit north of Sengiggi. This is a gorgeous location, if slightly remote, on a beautiful stretch of beach with a lovely pool. I had to take a bemo (2000 rupiah--about 20 cents) or a taxi 15,000 rupiah to central Sengiggi. Cottages are traditional, with great porches, thatched roofs, etc. I had booked a/c for 400,000 but ended up taking a fan-coooled one because it was cool at night--considerably cooler than in Bali. The waves were big because of the full moon, so I ended up swimming more in the pool than the ocean.

There is cheaper oceanfront accommodation in Sengiggi--it was pretty slow, and lots of places were more like 200,000. But Windy's beach is better.

I hired a great driver, Hasan, for a couple of days. You can reach him at hsn_y@yahoo.com or 081 854 8227. He had driven the author of the new Rough Guide around, and can provide history and gossip for the whole island.

One day we headed south to Kuta, Lombok, one of the most spectacular beaches I've seen and sadly one slated for development when the new airport opens. Unfortunately it was pouring rain and much of the day was spent in various crafts villages. I hope the development from Dubai doesn't destroy such a gorgeous coast.

The other day we went up to Senaru to the incredible waterfalls. I liked this scenery even more, especially the Sunday markets, daily life (weddings, farm meetings), and swimming at Sire beach. Hasan picked up a bag of fish sate for me, from two ladies not too far from Bangsal. He said this was a well-known spot.

I took a boat with Dream Divers to Gili Air for a day of snorkeling. Decent visibility and fish, although the reefs at Pemuteran in NW Bali are in better shape. Gili Air's snorkeling is better than Gili T's, at least where I was. The Dream Divers' boat had the advantage of avoiding Bangsal; but there's no snorkeling tour, just equipment rental. However they were happy to store my bags for me.

Gili Air was so quiet I took the ferry to Gili Trawangan, which is a sort of backpacker paradise/hell depending on your perspective. Lodging prices were ridiculous--550,000 for a place that would have been 200,000 in Sengiggi. They fell to 400,000 the next day. I got a clean, conveniently located fan room at Blue Beach for 190,000. But suffered from proximity to the mosque with its 4:30 a.m. blaring wakeup services.

Food and drink on Gili T were well priced though. The reefs are suffering from all the boats and people. I'm a little sorry I didn't skip Gili T in favor or Gili Nanggu or a few more days in Kuta Lombok.

After all the worries, my domestic flights were great (and fast boats had been canceled after one sunk). Merpati left on time and arrived early. Trigana flying back was 90 minutes late, but still within reason. BTW there's free wifi in the airport.

It is a bit of hassle trying to figure out how to buy airline tickets. An agent on Gili T (A&T) booked my return flight and didn't appear to charge commission. But people who flew back with Merpati paid less than I did booking ahead....If I had it to do again, I'd buy both tickets at the cheapest price at the airport and just call Merpati or Trigana as needed to change the date.

No one worried about excess checked luggage. Merpati let me change to a later flight on the phone to travel with a friend. Compared to the hassle of wading into the water in pouring rain, hanging onto your bags against the fierce porters in Bangsal (I lost, and paid off one guy and then refused a cidomo ride), and ferries with engines that die in the middle of rough seas, flying in Indonesia is a pleasure.

Best massage: Hatnah, who works at Windy Beach in a tiny pavilion for 50,000 or 60,000 per hour. With the sound of the waves crashing. She gave me a bag of local coffee grown by her sister, which I'm enjoying as I type.

I had a couple of disappointing meals in Sengiggi and regret not making it to one of the warung tendas, which were packed. My stomach had been iffy, and the night I found the place by Holiday Resort, it was pouring rain. We ended up at Qunci Villas, which is pricey (120-200,000 with service and drinks) but very attentive staff. The bartender at Windy makes mean arak cocktails. I brought home several Lombok-made sarongs and a giant wooden bowl from Asmara in Sengiggi (about 90,000 without bargaining).

Lombok is definitely interested in tourism, and I met a number of people who had attended tourism school and wanted to talk about politics, economics, etc. It was an interesting contrast to how rural and in some ways remote life is in Lombok. Compared to Bali, less negotiating was required. Very clean, fewer scams. My friends in Bali said that education in Lombok is much better than in Bali. I'm very glad I went.
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Gemma
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Number of posts : 591
Location : Kuta Lombok / Jimbaran Bali
Registration date : 2008-07-01

PostSubject: Re: trip report from Lombok   Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:07 am

Hi Windy & Welcome to Lombok Lovers

That is a great JBR, thanks for coming across and sharing it with us here too Very Happy

Feel free to post photos too if you wish!

I look forward to hearing more from you in the future sunny

Gemma
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outahere
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Number of posts : 415
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Registration date : 2008-07-02

PostSubject: Re: trip report from Lombok   Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:36 pm

Glad you enjoyed your trip Windy. I love that Lombok coffee too and always bring some back. Mine's run out though.. Crying or Very sad So will you post some photos?
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DB
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Location : Kerobokan, Bali
Registration date : 2008-08-01

PostSubject: Re: trip report from Lombok   Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:19 am

Excellent report! Cool
Really enjoyed it on a rainy Saturday morning in Bali.

Thanks,
DB
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Gemma
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Number of posts : 591
Location : Kuta Lombok / Jimbaran Bali
Registration date : 2008-07-01

PostSubject: Re: trip report from Lombok   Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:13 am

No rain up on the bukit this morning (for a change!) sunny sunny sunny
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