Lombok, Indonesia.

Previously, while traveling the island of Koh Tao, Thailand. We had been highly recommended to travel to Lombok (and the Gili Islands) while in Indonesia, instead of spending our full two weeks in Bali. We had done some research in advance and ‘Kuta Beach‘ appeared to be the area of Lombok that most appealed to us. We departed from a boat in Ubud, Bali. The boat was full of tourists all wearing coloured sticky labels on their tops stating the location they were going to- Lombok, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air or Gili Meno. It appeared we were one of the very few going to LombokGili T seemed to be the prime destination that everyone else was going to. After around 4 hours or so on the boat we arrived at Lombok. This was the was the first stop for the boat and they made sure to make to a quick one, where there usually would of been a ramp off of the boat, (I don’t think they bothered to take it down) they literally made us climb up from the boat onto the pier and then passed us up our rucksacks and we attempted to quickly run down the pier with them and get under shelter from the torrential rain!

Out of probably over a hundred people on the boat, we were two of the six people that got off at Lombok. We all immediately got hassled by a bunch of taxi drivers asking where we were going and shouting prices at us before we even got to put our bags down. One couple jumped straight into a taxi while Gavin and I, along with another English couple sat and took shelter and sussed out how far away our hotels actually were from the pier. Turned out our hotel in Kuta was pretty far away- almost a 2 hour drive! We got speaking to the other couple who were waiting with us and ended up splitting a taxi with them as their hotel was on the way to where we were going. It was a long journey and it didn’t stop raining the whole time! Which was a shame as we didn’t properly get to appreciate some of the beautiful scenery of Lombok as we drove through (It’s okay though we saw it all on our return trip back to the pier a few days later). As we arrived at our resort, we quickly paid the taxi driver and grabbed our bags and darted out to make cover for the reception area. The rain was pretty heavy and in the whole 2 minutes we were out in it we managed to get pretty soaked. We stood, dripping at reception while the women behind the desk check us in. We were then given our room key and went in straight away to get showered and into some clean clothes. Due to the weather, there wasn’t a great deal to do but we went out and explored the resort anyway, sticking to the covered areas as much as we could. You can find out more about the resort we stayed at and it’s amazing facilities here – Novotel Resort, Lombok.

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Thankfully, the following day we woke up to much better weather! We spend the day lazying around the resort beach and, my favourite- the infinity pool !! After a very relaxing day, we decided to walk down to the main stripe of Kuta for dinner. It was just over a 2KM walk down to where we were then greeted with a small selection on restaurants and tourist shops. We opted for a little hidden Japanese restaurant for dinner, which was so great- sushi never disappoints!

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The following day was spent pretty much the same- completely relaxing at the resort, soaking up as much sunshine as we could! Then in the evening we booked the Balinese Buffet and dancing show at the resort. We had never properly experienced Balinese food, or seen Balinese dancers so it was definitely worth doing!  There was a pretty big selection on the buffet- lots of dishes I had never even heard of, and some pretty funky deserts that I wasn’t too fond of- no chocolate 🙁 ! Just some kind of sweet rice cakes. But the Balinese dancing was amazing to see and the resort definitely put on a good show. After the show we headed back to the room to pack our bags again for leaving the following morning.

We booked a taxi at reception for 8.30am the next morning in order to catch to 11.15 departing boat to Gili Trawangan. The taxi arrived on time and we got lots of chat from our extremely friendly cab driver for the whole 2 hour trip. He told us about the country of Lombok as we were admiring how pretty the views were of the countryside. He then told us about his family, their culture and religion. He then asked us if he minded waiting in the car while he stopped at a Mosque so that he could pray. Jumping back in the cab after he had prayed he thanked us about 10 times for allowing him to stop on route. He was probably one of the most appreciative guys I have have ever met.

He got us to the pier in good time, and thanked us once again as we unloaded our backpacks from the boot. It wasn’t long before the boat came and we were on our way to the next stop: Gili Trawangan.

To sum up, although our visit in Lombok was short, it was probably just the right amount of time for us. Where we stayed there wasn’t a great deal to do or see nearby, the main attraction for us definitely was the resort itself. I wouldn’t recommend it as a prime backpacker location, more of a relaxing get-away type holiday. However, Lombok is a pretty big place and we only experienced one tiny part of it.

Gillian O'Neil

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