Lombok marked the end of our travel in Indonesia and that was a perfect ending. We saw the most beautiful landscapes of our whole trip here. We were pleasantly surprised by this beautiful island, with wild nature, few tourists, kind people and pretty beaches. To us, Lombok is a must-visit in Indonesia.
How to go from Bali to Lombok
We were staying in Canggu before going to Lombok. To leave Canggu, we booked a Uber taxi which drove us to Padangbai. When we arrived at Padangbai, it seemed that our driver had an arrangement with some local agency. They did their best to sell us a speedboat trip, whereas we expressly assert that we were planning to take the ferry (far less expensive). After 5 minutes of talking when I almost lost my temper, we just decided to walk and find the direction of the ferry by ourselves and asking people around. It was easy to find as the ferry was 10 minutes-walk away. The trip with the ferry last 5 hour from PadangBai to Lembar harbour. Even if it was way longer than the speedboats, we definitely enjoyed more the laid-back trip on the ferry rather than the agitated and quite scary trip we had with speedboats on our way to Nusa Lembongan. Plus, you mostly travel with locals on ferries. So, if you want to travel on budget and feel more part of the local life, the ferry is definitely the best option.
When we arrived on the island, we could take a taxi to drive us to our hotel. There were not plenty of drivers and as the night was coming, we did not have much power in bargaining. We managed to pay 250 000 rp instead of 350 000, but we are sure we could have lowered the price during daylight.
Staying at Krisna Bungalows in Lombok
We’ve been spending a week in Lombok, staying at Krisna Bungalows. This hotel is around 40 minutes drive from Lembar, to the Northwest of the island. Most tourists stay in the south of the island, around Kuta, so we never met any tourists in our area, except those staying in our hotel. If you want to enjoy a quiet place, rather far from mass tourism, this area of the island is the one for you. Be aware that you’d rather rent a motorbike to explore the island if you don’t want to get stuck in your hotel, or to pay a fortune with taxis everyday.
We enjoyed staying at Krisna Bungalows. The room we had was nice but not amazing (lack of light, no air con and a bathroom where you could actually seat on the WC while taking a shower…), but we had a small terrace and the hotel is located right on the beach with a swimming pool. About the price, we paid 20 € per night. A nice free breakfast is served every morning (with nice choice of eggs and pancakes, but disgusting coffee and tea). By the way, the rooms located right in front of the swimming pool are way better. It is also possible to eat at the restaurant of the hotel. After two months in Indonesia, we could definitely notice that the food served is not tasty at all and too expensive compared to the local food. Still, it can be a convenient option if you are lazy to try to find a place to eat outside. Also, the staff there was friendly and obliging.
What to do in Lombok
Avoid Kuta Lombok… or not
If you need western-like restaurants and feel better among other tourists, you should consider Kuta. Out of Kuta, you will not meet (m)any tourists. As far as we are concerned, we tend to prefer to live out of the mass-tourism center (blame the traumatic experience of Seminyak !). Kuta seemed cool anyway when we drove there, but we were definitely happy to stay in the North. The surroundings looked definitely more authentic and local people were very warmhearted and as curious to see us as we were to see them.
Surf at Selong Belanak Beach
If you want to learn surfing or improve your beginner skills, Selong Belanak Beach is the perfect one for you ! The waves are very cool to surf at. Moreover, if you fall down, you’ll only fall on sand which is less dangerous than rocks. The beach is beautiful, rather big and yet very quiet. It cost us 50 000 Rp to rent one board for 2 hours. It was the same price to rent two deck chairs. This is the only beach we have been to and we really enjoyed our time surfing there. From our hotel, it was taking us 2 hours drive with our motorbike to reach the beach. Don’t think it as a short time, as it was sometimes a pain in the ass, given the bad state of the motorbike we rent with our hotel (60 000 Rp per day). The engine was so tired that the motorbike seemed to stall everytime we drove uphill. Note that the roads on Lombok island are in good condition but thin with many turns and climbs. Else, one mirror was missing, both our blinkers were not working and the motorbike had neither papers nor insurance. Nice, huh ? 🙂 At least they gave us helmets…
One day, driving back home from Selong Belanak Beach took us around 3 hours. A sudden downfall poured down the whole afternoon until the night. We waited for an hour under the roof of a shop, then decided that we should drive anyway to arrive before night. The night came, we got lost, Google Maps could not locate us and the rain was endless. We were cold, tired and getting depressed. After 3 hours of pain and of fear to have an accident everytime a car would drive past us at a crazily speed, we finally made it ! But after this experience, we decided that we would not travel so far again on the island, and did not go back to Selong Belanak Beach. Sorry if the only day we took pictures was the rainy day, but anyway, this is the truth of Indonesia in July : it can rain at any moment of a sunny day !
Drive around Lombok and enjoy the amazing landscapes
At least, going twice to Selong Belanak Beach gave us the opportunity to enjoy the amazing beauty of Lombok. No wonder this island is the most beautiful place we have seen in Indonesia. Green valleys everywhere surrounded by a magnificent blue sea. Driving uphill reveals amazing views. The island is still quiet and you can drive for hours without crossing a tourist. We could drive through many small villages and liked to stop somewhere just to watch the landscape and take pictures (we try not to forget that we are travel bloggers !).
Our favorite time on the road is that moment when a herd of cows barred our route. Three farmer girls stepped them aside, but before they did, they stared at us and said hello. We wanted to take a picture of the herd, when one of the girls stand out from the group. She started to pose for us, endlessly laughing. It was a very funny moment ! It was a moment of sharing like we love them while travelling. We could not communicate with words as no one was speaking the other’s language, but we just laughed together for few minutes. Priceless.
Where to eat in Lombok
Warung, warung, warung !!!
As we are used to telling you about Indonesia, the best food you can eat is in local restaurants called warung. The best and the cheapest, what else can you ask ? Drive and stop in any place that serves food. If you are not sure that they serve food, just ask “makan ?” (meaning “eat”) mimicking the act of eating and you’ll get your answer. Well, do not expect too much choice like in a western restaurant. Generally, they only offer one meal and you deal with it. We also noticed that except in very big cities like Jakarta or Bandung, most regions have their favorite meal that they would serve you in all warungs. In our hotel area, every warung was offering a Nasi Campur : white rice (nasi putih in indonesia), meat, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and deep-fried crackers. 3 km away from our hotel, we found a woman cooking a very tasty and spicy Nasi Campur. We enjoyed the place so much as you really felt like been invited home. We had to eat on the terrace of her house, on the place where she usually takes her nap. The whole family and sometimes some neighbours would come and try to speak with us both time we came to eat. Very good times. We really recommend you to dare eating with locals and not be confined in western restaurants. You will save money and enrich your travel by meeting super people !
El Bazar Cafe & Restaurant
We had a lunch in one western restaurant in Kuta Lombok, El Bazar Cafe. It was not an amazing food, but at least the place and the staff were nice. This is one of the highest rated on Google and even though a bit expensive, we had a good time there. It is just a pity that every 5 minutes, some indonesian kids come and beg you to buy one of their wristbands. This is actually one of the rare places in Indonesia where we could see this happening.