Forget Senggigi. Skip the Gilis. Senggigi is too touristy (been there before for twice). And, you need extra time to the Gilis. Go to Central Lombok instead. This place will give you a new alternative traveling in Lombok. Well, if you want to explore the whole island, you will roughly need two weeks (or more). In Central Lombok, you can do a beach hopping. The central area of Lombok offers you most beautiful and crystal clear beaches, even if it’s Kuta beach that locates in the center of Kuta. There are several other beautiful beaches that you need to check.
August last year, my friend Uli and I only had one full day in Lombok. We arrived late in the afternoon. So, the only thing we could do was walking around the Kuta “downtown” and watched the sunset at Kuta beach while watching the locals played in the sandy beach. Some kids sold and offered souvenirs to the tourists (we found it a little annoyed). Beach is my favorite place to be. My head could really light as if I had no burden in life. Everytime I’m at the beach, I always think that I want to have a beach house.
The next day, the only interesting thing we could do was beach hopping (that’s why we’re here, in Lombok). We spent the whole day exploring four beaches in Kuta area: Seger, Tanjung An, Selok Belanak, and Mawun. We started in the morning around 9 am after we had a delicious breakfast in our hostel –Bule Hostel in by pass Kuta with omelet and banana pancake (my favorite breakfast menu, ever!!!). These two things were just superb! Later we knew, that the owner of the hostel was also the owner of Bule Café in downtown Kuta. He used to be the chef in Novotel Hotel chains. FYI, the hostel was quite cheap and clean (only IDR 300,000,00/night) with a huge bedroom. In addition, the hostel was very quiet since it’s like 20 minutes walk from Kuta downtown. Although in general Kuta is really a quiet tourist destination because the city began to be pretty quiet after 10 pm; and no night life. Pretty awesome, eh? :D.
We hired scooter (motorbike) for IDR 50,000.00 one full day (gasoline is not included) from the hostel. We initially wanted to rent a car (because Uli had not been in motorbike for a while, renting car was much “safer” for us). But we found out that the hostel owner could not find any cars available since that time was still around Eid holiday.
We started with Seger and Tanjung An beach which locates closed by. These two beaches are also closed by Novotel, Kuta. We spent quite a while there to enjoy the waves, the sun, the sun, and certainly young coconut water! What’s the best thing to enjoy at the beach on a sunny day other than young coconut water???!!! Lombok – and Indonesia overall – is a heaven for young coconut! I personally love young coconut water because of its capacity to rehydrate, especially during hot and humid weather.
Finished with these two beaches, we headed to Mawun and Selong Belanak which also closed to each other. But, to reach to these two beaches, we needed a little bit “effort” compared to two other beaches. These two beaches were around 30-1 hour from Kuta downtown – it depends how can you speed. Since Uli had not been in motorbike for quite a while, so we went pretty slow compared to those bules with surfing boards who passed us on the way, LoL. We also needed to go on mountainous route with a stunning view. The landscape was quite hilly. Sometimes you could see the ocean from above. Sometimes you just did not see anything because it’s just a quiet road. But we found that these two beaches were really worth the trip.
To me, these two beaches were more “severe” in term of waves and the wind. I tried to go into the saltwater. OMG, the waves so strong till I really gave up and decided to enjoy the waves from the white sand with my favorite thing to do; doing nothing. The wind blew my face. Dry. The sun hit my skin. Tanned. Because of the high tide and strong wind, many bules came to these two beaches just for surfing!.
We managed to get back to town before sunset. We could not imagine passed the same road on the dark.. What if we had a flat tire? And we did not see any “tukang tambal ban” along the way. 😀 😀 :D. One thing we realized on this trip: we’re just so much different with our other trip years ago back to Toraja. At that time, we only needed to have FUN without over think. Now, if we think back what happened in Toraja, we still could not believe if we did these things: hitched hiked trucks twice, trekked in the paddy field in the dark without flash light, slept in the hotel’s veranda and surrounded by drunk people. I guess we’re not crazy, but we needed to have FUN to the fullest.
Well, maybe we need to do other fun and crazy trips in the near future.
Tips in Central Lombok:
1. Best place to eat Indonesian food in downtown Kuta is Nana’s. The restaurant run by a friendly lady named, Nana. She’s from Banyuwangi, East Java. Her cooks were superb, and the price was wallet friend, hehehe. I guarantee that the food is MSG-free. During the dinner, all table was full, so that we decided to join French spouse’s table: Alex and Mona. We shared weird and funny stories over traveling.
2. If you still have extra day – like half day – because you have afternoon flight, spend your time in Sade, Sasak Village, 15 minutes from Kuta. This village is now quite different with 10 years ago when I firstly went there. It’s now more developed. When I was there in 2004, it was still a “new village” with few houses. Now, it’s like hundred.