This island provides some insight on what Bali was probably like before tourism took over. Even though this island is bigger than Bali, there are just 2 main tourist spots that people flock to: Senggigi…being the most developed area on Lombok, and Kuta Beach- the south coast of Lombok that provides a more laid back atmosphere.
We stayed in Kuta, which was about a 2-hour drive from where we got off the boat from Gilly Trawangan. (You can purchase super cheap public boat tickets right at the Gilly T terminal; so don’t get suckered into overpaying at a travel agency.) Immediately after touching land, we were surrounded by taxi drivers. We bartered for our cab ride and then started our journey down the island. The drive itself wasn’t too bad…there was a lot to see: monkeys, cats, dogs, chickens, yacks (cows? water buffalo? Not exactly sure what they were)—all of which were just hanging out by/on the road. Even though vehicles are allowed on the island, we still saw many horse drawn buggies chugging along down the roads. Most people are super friendly, including the kids. Dan was forced to buy bracelets off these 2 little girls…they literally tied them onto him so he couldn’t get them off…they love the hustle! You can’t get mad at them and they know it!
We stayed in 2 different places while in Kuta. One was great and one was horrible…
- Segare Anak Bungalows: Warning…do not stay here! It sucks…that’s all you really need to know.
- Kuta Cove: I had the best night sleep at this place…the beds were soooo comfortable! The place seemed quite new and the rooms were roomy and clean. The food at the restaurant on site was pretty good. They offered various types of cuisine and the service was prompt. During our stay there, there was a plan in the works to install a pool, so that should be a great addition for the future of this hotel. The beach is less than a 5-minute stroll down the road. What I was most impressed by was the customer service! The lady who manages the place and worked at the front desk was so helpful! She even went to the market down the road for us to print out some documents that we needed for a flight. After trying multiple times to give her a tip, she politely refused. This was one of my favorite places to stay in Indonesia. However, I do have one complaint…the noise! I didn’t expect it, because the hotel was off a quiet side street. However, somewhere close behind the bungalows there seemed to be a very busy road. After 11 at night it really wasn’t a problem as both of us slept soundly straight through the night. However, if you are an early or light sleeper, I would suggest some earplugs!
Surfing: Kuta is known to be a sleepy little surf town with waves nearby for all different levels of surfers. You can join a group for lessons or just hire a board for the day.
Rent a Motorbike: The roads on this island are much less chaotic than they are in Bali, which makes renting a motorbike, a great option! We rented ours from our hotel for 50,000 (5 USD) for the day and explored the surrounding areas. We found stunning beaches and even had the opportunity to take a cruise down on the sand. On our way back into town, we stopped by a stick fight match, which apparently only takes place a few days out of the year for a festival and seems to be a pretty big deal to the people of Lombok!
Climbing Mt Rinjani: This is Lombok’s famous semi-active volcano attracts many climbers/ trekkers every year. The locals believe that this mountain is a sacred with Gods living at the summit, and bring offerings to place in the water of lake Danau Segara Anak, located in the volcano’s crater. After ascending the steep trail, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of this lake’s emerald green waters. Around the volcano, there are a number of caves, waterfalls, and hot springs. The starting points for this great trek are Senaru in the north or Sembalun in the east. There a various tour companies and itineraries for Mt. Rinjani, giving options to suit different timelines. We didn’t have the opportunity to climb this volcano while we were in Lombok; however it looks and sounds amazing! If you are big into trekking and experiencing nature at it’s best, this is definitely be a must do!