My end of year holiday was something that I had desperately been looking forward to. I was in need of some much needed rest, and the plan was for my whole family to be together for the festive period, something which hasn’t happened for quite some years.
Despite us having under 2 weeks of holiday, the itinerary was such that I was to fly from London to Kuala Lumpur, then to Lombok, back to Kuala Lumpur, then onto Sydney, before returning to Kuala Lumpur and then back to London. Yes, I know, that’s a lot of time to be spending in airplanes and airports over 11 or so days, but it was necessary, what with my family living in different parts of the world.
My blog already contains a number of posts on Malaysia, so I’ll skip that leg of the trip this time round and jump straight to my time in Lombok, Indonesia. Bali aside, I’ve never visited Indonesia before and was really looking forward to experiencing the comparatively more basic pleasures of what this island has to offer.
Rather than giving you a day by day account, it’s probably better if I just give you the highlights of my trip in Lombok as large parts of it was spent relaxing and recuperating with my family. This isn’t a definitive “What to do in Lombok” list by any means, but just a list of what I managed to squeeze in during my short and sweet trip to this Indonesian island over 4 days.
1. Sun, sea, sand and beaches
So this is what I spent a lot of time doing – lying on some outdoor covered beds, in the sun, on a sandy beach overlooking a warm sea. Not much to complain about here and pretty self explanatory I think. 🙂
2. Getting a glimpse of Sasak culture
The Sasak people make up around 85% of Lombok’s population. We passed by many of their farms, plantations (mostly rice and tobacco) and homes whilst making our way inland from the coast. We were given a songket weaving demonstration during one of our stops, where silk and cotton fabric is hand woven into intricate patterns with gold and silver thread.
3. Driving across the island
It’s easy to pass all of your time sunning yourselves on the white sands by the beach but you’d be missing a trick if you didn’t at least spend one afternoon going inland to checkout the local markets, plantations and food!
4. Lombok waterfalls
There are numerous waterfalls located near the foot of Mount Rinjani (the second highest volcano in Indonesia), but the waterfalls I visited were the Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu waterfalls in the Aik Berik Village. Benang Stokel (which means “ball of thread”), a 20 metre high waterfall, is about a 10 minute walk from the park entrance. The more magnificent 35 metre Benang Kelambu is located another 30 minutes-or-so walk away, though the route there is more “off road” and you should be prepared for some good uphill and downhill stretches.
We had a tough choice to make between trying the snorkelling at either Gili Nanggu or the Gili Islands. To clear up any confusion, the Indonesian word “gili” means “small island” so a lot of the islands around Lombok actually contains Gili in their names. The Gili Islands however, refer to the archipelago of three small islands named Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, located just off the northwest coast of Lombok.
The world renowned Gili Islands are a pretty popular tourist destination, much more so compared to Gili Nanggu which is where we opted to go instead. Whilst we did do a bit of snorkelling and saw some corals and fishes, I’m not sure I would really recommend it as I wasn’t all that impressed. If you do decide to come here, note that there’s not much else to do on the island (it’s a private, small island with I think just one restaurant), so come prepared to do some snorkelling or be ready with a good book! There are also many more locals here, compared to tourists, so I’d recommend dressing conservatively if you do decide to visit.
And that sums up pretty much all that I did in Lombok. Have you ever visited this island? What were your highlights?