No, it’s not Thursday – not even Friday. #tbt or #fbf won’t work here. But seeing that I’m missing my Indonesian home like crazy, again, the hashtags don’t phase me too much.
Before I started this blog I was still gallivanting around Indonesia. I must be honest, all those posts back in January that followed my moves around Bali and Jogja – those were also throwbacks. Only throwbacks written in present tense. Sneaky. But I left out a huge part of my journey around Indonesia, partly because it was huge and too huge to write about at the time and partly because I just couldn’t be bothered. So here goes, let me attempt to take you on a journey around Lombok.
After the most amazing experiences I had in Jogja (climbing volcanoes, Keraton, Borobudur etc.) I returned with dad to the island I called home for so long – Lombok. It wasn’t so unfamiliar this time because I had been here before scooting around Bali for a month. Nonetheless, it was good to be home. This time I had planned to circumnavigate the island with dad. We had great plans to conquer Rinjani, Indonesia’s second tallest volcano, go gili hopping on the less travelled gilis in the east, see all the waterfalls the island had to offer and spend the days relaxing on the sunny beaches. Sounded like a dream. And it was. Until a week after we arrived when Dad fell sick and left me not knowing what to do for the rest of the month.
Ok, I’m not so sure how this post is going to turn out – bear with me. Instead of detailing my day-to-day activities and miss out half the important points because it was so long ago, let me take you on a journey through pictures. Enjoy.
We began back in the village where I saw all my favourite kids in the world, let them play endlessly with my GoPro, took them on hikes through the rainforests and helped out dad with building works.
After returning to a home with Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and a working shower I decided that I missed riding a scooter everywhere and exploring. So I borrowed my cousins bike and drove myself south, where I found some of the most decent beaches I’ve seen. Seriously, I’m not sure how we lived on this tiny island for 12 years and yet never made it down to these beaches – or anywhere I went this time round for the sake of it.
While travelling through Lombok this year, I decided that, after spending a month in Bali before-hand, I do like the bustling streets of Bali more than the laid back vibes of Lombok. Don’t get me wrong, I still have heart eyes for this paradise and still fall in love with it again and again every time I return, but something about the never-ending list of places to go and things to do in Bali made me miss it while I scooted around Lombok.
Nonetheless, I found my favourite place in Lombok on this day out. I never visited Kuta in my 12 years of living on this island, but from the stories I’ve heard, it wasn’t worth the 2-hour drive anyway. But places change, tourism increases and Kuta has benefitted. This little paradise has the sort of vibe that I can’t get enough of. The popular surf town has funky little cafés and backpacker resorts on one side of the street and amazing coastline on the other. Each bay has its unique features, with mountains that overlook the Indian ocean, surf breaks, wide beaches and rocky outcrops. I really did fall in love with this place while I was here.
Lombok is home to some of the greatest waterfalls I’ve seen. In the month I was here I drove and hiked to 5 different falls. The greatest of these being Tiu Kelep, a monstrous 42m high fall with a pool below it deep enough to swim in it’s amazingly fresh and cold waters. Another fall I liked was Gangga. This one was unique to the rest thanks to the bridge that was installed right in-front of the gushing waters. These photos don’t do it justice.
When dad recovered from his sickness we both packed a small bag of clothes and got on our motorbikes with the plan to circumnavigate the whole island. We started in Senaru at the base of Rinjani. Most people come here to begin their hike up the 3.2km tall volcano, but since dad wasn’t up to hiking for 2 days we decided to give it a miss. Disappointed was an understatement, I must say. This was on the top of my list for when I came to Indonesia. Next time.
We continued along the coast around the top of Lombok before stopping for the night in the ‘tourist town’ of Gili Lampu. Let’s just say not a single tourist was seen here. Our accommodation was cheap, dirty and less than comfortable, the food was undercooked and the ferry crossings to the Gili Islands were far too overpriced. This is travelling, and like I’ve experienced so many times already, not everything will exceed my expectations. And life goes on, again.
Our last day took us to Kuta, after we visited a waterfall right in the heart of Lombok. We hiked a few mountains, swam in the beaches and visited a traditional Sasak village. This was also one of my highlights of the trip, learning about the way the local people group of Lombok lived, physically and religiously.
While this road trip with dad only took up 4 days of my month in Lombok, I spent the rest of them making art for people. Art, as most of you know, is one of my passions and hobbies, so what better way to wind away the slow days by making it. I painted a mural on a guesthouse wall, did a piece in my favourite medium (thread) which didn’t turn out nearly as good as I hoped, and filled up pages in my diary with drawings.
While I didn’t tick off much from the bucket list while I was in Lombok this time round, I still enjoyed my time there. It was good to be home, good to explore home and good to relax after a month of gogogo. Sometimes I think your own home is the place that you know least about. Maybe it’s because everyone has the same, “I live here so I don’t need to rush to see everything in one go” mentality that I do. But after seeing all that Lombok has to offer that I never knew about? That mentality is definitely a thing of the past.
Thank you Lombok, and thank you Indonesia. You are so loved and I can’t wait to visit you again.