A Quick Escape to Lombok Island

A Quick Escape to Lombok.

It’s been a stressful week. Imagine waking up at 5 a.m in the morning and went to work at 7. Caught in heavy traffic and struggling with deadlines and a few annoying clients we want him dead. Problems here and there and almost no time hanging out with friends on weekends because we mostly spend the day to rest due to the lack of sleep.

Until me and my friends, who are already sick of our work routine, decided to make an escape out of it. We’re planning a 4-5 days trip to Lombok and Bali Island. No travel agencies, nothing fancy. Just bring a few clothes, toiletries, a cellphone with it’s charger and a small Action Camera. Despite all the fun plan we still have a problem: time. It’s a question of when, knowing that it’s really hard to match our schedule because each have their own matters to settle. Luckily it doesn’t take long.

Few days later, once things are began settling down we booked our escape plane ticket from Jakarta to Lombok and for our return ticket, Bali to Jakarta.  And of course we also booked the cheapest, nearest, most comfortable home stay in both Lombok and Bali that we found.

It’s quite a long way from our home to get to the airport. It’s about 3 hours ride by bus. The plane departs at 5 p.m, so we took a ride at about 1:30. It is delayed by an hour, no surprise. We left for prayers and when we get back to our gate, it’s empty and we can’t find our plane. We asked one of the officers about the plane and he said it’s been moved to another gate. Without a hesitation we’re running together there. Lucky for us the plane is just landed, I can see the passengers still busy packing their stuff to the compartment.

It’s a three seat airplane. Two of my friends sit next to each other and me on the other side, alone. The seat next  to me (the middle one) was empty, and in the corner there’s this guy sleeping with his earphone plugged in. While I’m packing my stuff, a beautiful girl approaches me smiling. She wants to sit next to me, not because I’m cool but because her ticket says so. Oh what am I dreaming. Dark blonde hair in a messy bun, big brown eyes, light pink lips and she’s carrying a Novel too, I couldn’t ask for more. I let her in and we both smiled. To be honest this was my first time being this close to a foreigner. I don’t have enough balls to talk to her since I suck in English conversation. The plane is departing.

Few minutes passed, and she’s still turning the novel page. I did notice that she looks tired. Few times she yawns. She’s seemingly having a jet lag and looking really beat up (but still pretty though) until she lay her head on my shoulder. My friends notice this and when I try to sleep closing my eyes, they manage to take a picture of us. We’re having a good giggles after that, because they don’t believe their own eyes seeing a beautiful girl laying her head on me. She sleeps like a log and I don’t want to wake her up. So I decided to hold still like this until we arrived in Lombok.

My shoulder as a pillow

We’re finally arrived. She woke up and apologized and I smiled back, told her calmly but with a shaking voice “no it’s okay” damn. I can’t find a way to open a conversation and the chance to get to know her more is gone. She just smiled, while drinking water from a bottle she bought along. We arrived at the place where we take our luggage. Like in movies, we passed each other smiling.

As in the God’s best scenario, we meet again in the bus. I didn’t notice at first, until I sat behind her and noticing her face. She’s being accompanied by a guy, who at first I thought was her escort. But later I found out that he’s not. I’m quite surprised that a girl like her being alone at night (it was 12 pm at the time) to travel in the land that unknown to her. Thankfully I managed to took a glance on her phone screen by accident that she’s going to meet her friends at the hotel. Somehow I’m relieved.

We don’t have much time to do some research about which place we’re going to visit, but we have a few place in mind, Gili is one of them. So we’re picking a place to stay in Mataram as the nearest and affordable home stay we could find. The people here is friendly. Even the driver went off of his route just to drop us to the home stay. We packed our things and got off. I looked that girl in the eye and we both smiled. I probably will never meet her again. It’s already late, and the owner’s assistance still waiting for us outside. She welcomed us in such a friendly manners. I feel like home.

A room for three

The morning comes, nothing beats a fresh smell of air in Lombok. What makes it even better is that we had a free breakfast. Outside, we meet this guy who’ve been here for months. We find out that he’s a hiker from Aceh, and is waiting for his friend to climb Mount Rinjani. He told us many interesting stories. I never climb a mountain before nor give interest on it so I just smiled while listening as he speaks to my friends, and that makes me think probably I will climb one. We also meet another hikers from Europe and chat for a little bit, until we ask permission to explore the beach in Gili and bid farewell to each other. What a bunch of friendly people, it’s a feeling I can’t describe.

Indonesian yellow rice with chicken strips, bit of noodles, meat wool and tempeh

 

Our rental bike

We finally given permission to rent two motorcycles for three of us at a fair price. And good thing is the gas is more than a half-full. We headed to Bangsal, a small harbor that docks ships to Gili. It’s a quite long road, about 30 – 45 minutes ride. On the way there we stopped in Batu Layar. It is located way above the beach. There are Couple of chair and small table and many merchants selling hot coffee and roasted corns, located way above the beach. The view is really pleasing, it’s like a candy for the eyes. We took a few shots before we head towards the harbor. Lombok is one of the best place to visit. What a beautiful world we live in.

Clear morning view in Batu Layar

We finally arrived and park our motorcycle in the parking spot. Heading to the ticket booth, people are offering to join his fast boat and checked in for a snorkeling trip under his agency. We politely refused and bought the normal ticket instead. We bought the ticket to Gili Trawangan which costs Rp. 15.000 per person. You get what you paid, I’m not really sure but I think it’s like a simpler version of Launch, to make it simple let’s call it a wooden motor boat.

Boarding pass
Docked ships

About 30 minutes later we have arrived in Gili Trawangan. It doesn’t take long until few locals come at us offering their snorkeling tour at various prices. We shake the price  a bit because we want to make this trip’s budget tight, and we manage to get the price as low as possible (20% – 30% cheaper) but this time we won’t get free lunch they provide. Who needs them anyway? when it’s lunchtime, we can always find a local merchant who sells a Nasi Bungkus with various side dishes like chickens, fishes and eggs which costs less than Rp. 20.000, it’s worth the price plus we can get to know them more.

Long story short, we did an Island Hoping and the Snorkeling trip went really well, until I just realized that after hours of snorkeling deep in the middle of the vast ocean I still have the motorcycle key inside my pocket. My heart stopped for 0.00001 seconds but thankfully I can feel the key is still there. It was a dumb move indeed.

It’s getting dark because it’s about to rain and we hurried our way back home. Alas, the rain pouring so heavy along the way and no place for us to take shelter (it was treeeeeees all the way, not to mention the thunders that might struck if you sheltering near). So we put our phones and camera inside the luggage. And without a raincoat, we just run in through the heavy downpour. The rain stopped but it’s still a long way to go. Too long even our clothes begin to dried up by itself.

We took a rest at Batu Layar, the first cozy spot we’ve been in the morning. I’m hoping to see the sunset, but sadly the weather is still cloudy. We ordered a cup of hot coffee and of course, the roasted corn too. We had a great time talking about anything we’ve had in mind. I wish it would last forever, but no. We have to get back before it’s dark, so we paid for the coffee and the corn and then we left.

The sun is hiding behind the thick cloud
An evening in Batu Layar

On the way back home in the cold evening, we have stumbled upon this little kid, who’s standing on his mother’s lap all the way long, riding a motorcycle, naked. He seemed to enjoy it and I don’t want to know what’s in the mother’s mind. We’re having a good laugh and I told my friend to take a video of it to view later.

We arrived and took a rest for a bit and hang our wet clothes and pants outside, hoping it would dried up in the morning. I know it won’t do anything but it’s better than to leave your wet clothes inside a plastic bag, leaving it all night until it smells like trash. After a quick shower and our cellphones are fully charged, we’re looking for something to eat. It doesn’t end up pretty well for me.

Another morning comes. We finally bid farewell to the residents and the owner. It was a pleasure to be in such friendly environment. I would recommend to anyone who happens to visit Lombok  and looking for best place for a price, to stay here. Our last stop for today is Lembar Harbor and we should get there in the evening. A trip from Lembar Harbor to Padang Bay Harbor in Bali took about 4 – 5 hours depending on the Ship.

By this condition, we predicted that we will arrive in Bali at around 10 p.m and take a mini bus to our home stay in Denpasar for about an hourSo we rented a car along with the drivers to escort us to various interesting places we can possibly visit along the way. The full-day rental plus the driver’s fee is just Rp 400.000. The driver is so friendly that you will forget that you just meet him few minutes ago. Lombok is the friendliest place I’ve ever visit.

Rumah Lumbung in Sade Village
Tanjung Aan beach

After a day exploring the beach and various places, we have arrived at the port. We bid the driver good bye, shaking hands. He wish us good luck on the rest of our journey. Wish granted. While our ship began to set sail, another ship bumped into ours. Everyone started panicking as it caused a big cracking sound. Turns out that there is a severe damage in the ship’s hull. The captain begin his speech, noting that he wouldn’t allow the ship to set sail further because it’s dangerous. We’re all feeling relieved because our ship haven’t set sail yet. Crowd started to cheer.

Our first Ferry
The crowd

And we have to wait for more than 2 hours  in the damaged ship until we’ve been moved to another Ferry. 2 Days remaining until we get back to Jakarta, now our schedule in Bali is falling into pieces. That’s because we arrived at Padang Bay at 2 a.m, and we have to wait for the minibus in the nearest coffee shop 3 hours later. And I’ve lost my beanie hat on the way.

And that’s our very first experience in visiting Lombok. You can find the other picture we took on the “Story” section.

 

 

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