Lombok and a Gili Islands, Indonesia: What Bali was like, 30 years ago

The Gili Islands are turtle territory.

The Gili Islands are turtle territory.

Spiritual practice are mostly tough to come by nonetheless we was once changed to tears as a bells of Prague’s Loreta church rang out during an afternoon of flapping erratic many years ago.

On a snorkelling outing in a Gili Islands, however, we find myself spellbound. It’s not a artistic unclouded H2O that has me mesmerised, though a seemly turtle flapping along next me.

It’s all a some-more relocating as I’ve mostly been unhappy during supposed turtle “safaris” in several pleasant climes. But this is turtle domain and we after review that debate operators are so assured of sightings they guarantee to reinstate income if we don’t symbol one.

I follow my turtle along as if in a dream, afterwards another appears and afterwards a third, all a while I’m held adult in my possess hypothetical champagne potion of turtle route froth and a brightness of a topsy-turvy adult sea below.

On resurfacing to demeanour around for a snorkelling guide, we locate a few strains of a observable call to request – a noontime call. Although we can’t see a mosque I’m guessing it will have a immature architecture and some musical orange trim on a minarets, as do many of a 1000-odd mosques sparse around Lombok, usually a few kilometres opposite a water.

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We have scooted over to Gili Trawangan, a largest of a 3 Gilis (the others are Gili Air and Gili Meno), in a discerning vessel from Lombok’s north-west coast.

Once during a pier, carrying given approach to a brightly arrayed horse-and-carriage called a cidomo, we check into a plush Villa Ombak hotel and are afterwards whisked off for a snorkelling jaunt. Although there are simply a dozen boats out there bobbing about and depositing a hundred or so snorkellers into a low (there’s a vast Indonesian discussion organisation in “town”), a beam steers us over all a life-jacketed folk and into my dreamlike state.

The Gili Islands are a snorkeller's paradise.

The Gili Islands are a snorkeller’s paradise.

“Gili T” as it’s called has finished a symbol as a celebration island; we review about a mythological standing everywhere. However, detached from a lot some-more infrastructure (hotels cheek-by-jowl with bars and dive shops on a beachfront) it doesn’t strike me as celebration executive , nonetheless I’m not here for a full moon party.

“Partying” seems to meant anticipating a beachside bar with beanbags, shopping a Bintang and settling in to watch a object penetrate solemnly over Bali, and a barbarous Mt Agung volcano in a west. Post-sunset and everybody looks for a place to eat – and there’s copiousness for each bill – and maybe a dance club.

Villa Ombak was a initial five-star review on a island though we accumulate there are utterly a few some-more these days, utterly swanky Pondok Santi on a west coast.

We go with a island flow, steal a villa’s bikes and cycle along a easterly coast, dress around a small south seaside and arrive in time to find 3 beanbags during Gili Boys bar, that seems matching to a rest, with matching prices.

The philharmonic from a beanbag is good – internal lads are beautifully silhouetted roving their ponies along a beach, tourists poise for photos on enormous wooden swings on a water’s corner and there’s a show-stopping sunset.

A beachside bar with beanbags and Bintang is an ideal celebration in Bali.

A beachside bar with beanbags and Bintang is an ideal celebration in Bali.

Cycling behind is a bit trickier as it’s now dark; there are no travel lights, not many bikes have headlamps and those cidomos can clip-clop along during a enormous pace. we remove my change and tumble off – impiety a two-wheeled and four-legged transport. No repairs finished and positively zero that a good dish and a cocktail on a beach outward Villa Ombak can’t fix.

Gili T is all though a one-night mount and while we would have favourite to stay longer and try to cycle a rim of a island and take a nightfall cruise on a Princess Margaux, a handmade wooden boat, we get behind on a discerning vessel and wizz over to Teluk Kodek, a bustling speed-boat heart on Lombok’s west coast.

From there a 30-minute expostulate south along a one circuitous highway to Senggigi beach review is dramatic; full of twists and turns as a highway climbs hills above Nipah Bay and dips down to cuddle a shoreline. It dawns on me that this is what people meant when they contend “Lombok is Bali 30 years ago”; for on this widen of seashore are small beaches, bustling some-more by locals than tourists, where warungs (makeshift eateries) sell sizzling uninformed fish and slake prawns true from their outside barbecues.

The barbarous Mt Agung volcano looms over Bali.

The barbarous Mt Agung volcano looms over Bali.

Many travellers bottom themselves during Senggigi, a initial genuine review enclave on Lombok (the Sheraton Senggigi was determined there 25 years ago), among a 30 hotels or some-more strung along a shoreline.

For a ambience of both ends of a island, however, an ideal channel would embody a few days around Senggigi and a Gilis, and another few days about 70 kilometres  divided in a south during Kuta. Yes, there’s a Kuta in Lombok, too.

Once a domain of penetrating surfers, a beaches in a south still secrete that 30-years-ago vibe and if we have a stamina for really rough roads and have hired a good driver, we can revisit a few gems such as Pink Beach (officially Tangsi beach; a silt is comprised of dejected red coral) approach out on a south-east tip where a feeling is of sum isolation.

Instead, we conduct to Selong Belanak Beach about 12 kilometres west of Kuta – a prolonged crescent of powdery silt hemmed in during both ends by high forested hills. This is a beach with impression – out in a sea vast volcanic chunks of stone line adult along a setting and a beach itself seems organized along approved lines.

A flock of buffaloes ramble down Selong Belanaka beach during sunset.

A flock of buffaloes ramble down Selong Belanaka beach during sunset.

I ramble along from west to east, past a common sun-lounges and surfboards for sinecure and warungs, to a bustling small fishing encampment during a other end. Groups of internal boys are on palm to assistance fishermen transport their piragua boats adult on a beach where they join a flattering line of brightly-painted craft. we go for a discerning drop and am streamer behind to my friends sitting during a usually western character restaurant, when we view a organisation of buffalo being herded along a beach by a farmer. We squeeze a cameras and run after them though usually conduct to locate a tail end, so to speak. we assume this is a steer we don’t see each day, though a beam corrects me observant that this is, in fact, a daily occurrence, typically during 5pm.

While aged etiquette continue during Selong Belanak, skeleton are stirring behind during Kuta to emanate a outrageous integrated review formidable of residential villas and four- and five-star hotels, with construction costs sloping during US$3 billion.

The brainchild of a Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation, that combined Bali’s Nusa Dua complex, we locate glimpses of this vast plan that will eventually widen along 16 kilometres of beaches and over 1175 hectares. Club Med and Pullman hotels are approaching to open in 2019, while skeleton also embody a H2O park, inlet haven and even a MotoGP track.

I am meditative that those seeking that Bali of 30 years ago competence wish to bound over to Lombok flattering soon.

Kuta Lombok is a lot like a Bali of 30 years ago - laidback and peaceful.

Kuta Lombok is a lot like a Bali of 30 years ago – laidback and peaceful.

Compare a span – a dual Kutas

What’s a disproportion between Kuta Bali and Kuta Lombok (sometimes spelt Kute)?

– Kuta Lombok beaches are corroborated by forested hills and entrance to a area from a north is around an towering highway affording thespian views. You’ll see buffalos extending nearby.
– Kuta Lombok has usually one four-star hotel, a Novotel Lombok Resort Villas, and utterly a few homestays and bungalows. Kuta Bali is packaged with hotels.
– The due Mandalika Resort formidable will be a five-star enclave like Nusa Dua in Bali, not like Kuta Bali’s frame of three-star hotels, bars and shops.
– The silt on Lombok’s Kuta beach is counterfeit and resembles peppercorns, hence a name a Pepper Coast
– Both Kutas have good surfing for beginners and offer surfboards for lease and surfing lessons.

More information indonesia.travel

Getting around A private driver/car is a good approach to get around Lombok. Ask during your hotel’s accepting or check online forums. Expect to compensate $50 to $95 a day. Transport from Lombok to a Gili Islands is by open boats from Bangsal Harbour and discerning boats from Teluk Nare and Teluk Kodek.

Staying there Villa Ombak on Gili Trawangan is a vast beachside hotel with accommodation trimming from family lumbungs (a normal A-frame pattern house) to pool villas. See hotelombak.com

The Aruna Senggigi is a four-star 157-room hotel with a accumulation of bedrooms and suites and 16 cottages. Choose accommodation during a back to equivocate a sound from a nightclub opposite a road. See arunasenggigi.com

The writer travelled as a guest of Visit Indonesia Tourism Office.


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