A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: dan elliott

lombok adventure - Day 2

Second day of our "tour de Lombok"

boat at Kuta Lombok

boat at Kuta Lombok

Another prompt 10am start to the day we had to make a short stop at the Manteram Mall again to pick up a few more things for the Rinjani Trek. 3 days/2 nights I want to be as prepared as I can be! We were soon on the road again though making our way to the beautiful beaches of Kuta Lombok. All though it shares the same name as Kuta Bali, the differences couldn’t be more dramatic. Kuta Bali is a tourist hotspot full of thousands of people crammed onto the beaches with high rise buildings dominating the air. Kuta Lombok on the other hand has very little tourism in comparison, derelict white sandy beaches, lush green hills surrounding the various coral reef bays and world class surf. That is now, but with the locals anxiously waiting for the International airport to be finished its only a matter of time before the tourism bomb explodes.

Lombok traffic

Lombok traffic

overloaded

overloaded

The village of Kuta is very small with the bulk of it being restaurants, surf shacks and small clothing/souvenir stands that line the main road, running parallel to the sea front. So agreeing a time of 3pm to be picked up from a small seafront restaurant car park, we were left to our own devices to explore the surroundings for a few hours. So starting off with some lunch and a grim adventure in the toilet (Bali belly + squat toilet = :- / ), we then took the obligatory tour of the road side shops before I left Sarah on the beach with her book while I went in search of the “world class surf” that is fast becoming the main attraction of Kuta if not the whole of Lombok.

kuta lombok pano

kuta lombok pano

Finding out from a local that the surf is located about 1km away I start to walk down the road, body board and fins in hand before I get a tap on the shoulder and an offer of a lift on the back of a scooter. All I will say is that it was a risk cause he could have taken me anywhere, but the rider (that I later find out is called “captain jack” due to his scraggly hair) did indeed take me straight to the surf and Jesus Christ it was big! Famous for its big right hander that is a coral reef break, thus not really beginner friendly. Il be honest as I paddled out I was a bit scared. The razor sharp reef is 8ft deep one second, then 1 ft deep another. The swells kick up and rips pull you in all kind of directions. Never the less I proceeded, ducking and diving with my board with the monstrosity of a wave my target. Now I’d love to say that I was like a young Kelly Slater, tearing up the wave, but unfortunately it wasn’t so……. Numerous times I was flicked and dunked until I got to the point that I was so tired from dodging the exposed reefs that I almost gave up but I persisted until I caught a wave that flung me into its face with so much speed my knuckles were white gripping the sides of my board ! The fear was in equal proportion to the excitement but I was just glad that I finally got to ride the massive right hander. I returned to the shore feeling victorious (well it felt like it to me!) and I was met by “captain jack” who was on his scooter ready to give me a lift back to the beach where I promised him a nice tip would be waiting for him.

Found Sarah on the beach getting a hardcore sales pitch from a 7-9 yr old selling bracelets. He might have only been that young but some of the lines he was coming out with would have given Del Trotter a run for their money! It’s pretty sad that the kids have to make and sell bracelets whenever they are not at school. Really made me realize how lucky I am to come from a place where that would never usually happen. Il admit that the kids wore us down and although you shouldnt buy anything from the kids as it encourages their parents to keep on making them do it, they can become very persuasive. We agreed to buy some after haggling with them in the same manor i would do with a 50 year old man and as we hand over our cash they run off (thanks then!) signalling about 10 new kids trying to sell us stuff! Obviously I now know thats why you shouldnt deal with the kids, but i guess you have to learn the hard way somethimes.....

It was getting towards 3pm so we thought it would be best to make our way to the car park to meet our driver. “We are 15 mins early, but maybe he is there” I thought……how wrong was I! For a start there was no car, only a waiter carrying a set of bags that looked remarkably like ours.
“I’ve been told to give these bags and this 75,000rp to you and tell you that your driver can’t pick you up”
“Excuse me, what???????”
“I’ve been told to give these bags and this 75,000rp to you and tell you that your driver can’t pick you up”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time, what’s going on? Why isn’t he picking us up? We are on the other side of the bloody island! How are we going to get back to Sengiggi? It is a paid tour, he can’t just leave us?????
To be honest I was as angry as I was confused. What were we going to do? We didn’t even have a phone? We were supposed to be going to the weaving village in the afternoon, actually scrap that, how are we going to get back? With a stroke of luck though, Sarah managed to find out our receipt with an office phone number on it and during the confusion the restaurant manager had come over to see what was going on. We told him and he sorted us out with his phone and even phoned up for us! Bless that man, because whatever he said resulted in us getting a ride with someone else 15 mins later. All this chaos only went on for maybe 30 mins, but talk about stress! Least we were sorted again.

weaveing village

weaveing village

dress up !

dress up !

On the way back we got to even stop off as planned at the weaving village, a community that works together to make all things woven and all the profits are split equally. It is not just any weaving though. The cotton plants are harvested in fields nearby, spun and dyed in the village and then hand woven in the traditional way. There are no machines to make sarongs and hats in this place as everything is made using methods passed down from each generation. Each sarong made would usually take between 1-2 months depending on how intricate the detail is. We find out this information as our guide takes us to different women and he talks us through the processes of what they are doing. Only being there and watching how fast they work and what they have to do from memory can justify how much work goes into each thing they make.

weaving lady

weaving lady

intricate weaving

intricate weaving

weaving pattern

weaving pattern

As with all tours, you have to exit through the gift shop where hot sweet tea is served and we got to dress up in tradition Muslim garments. All of this is to prime the cogs in your wallet obviously, but we may as well take advantage of the hospitality while we were there I guess! Seeing just how much work goes into the products meant that we just had to buy something better than the tacky machine made souvineers that are in any shop. Size and weight being our only restriction (price as well obviously) we settled on an intricately woven gold and black table center piece. It was expensive at about $40 I guess, but you wouldn’t be able to get one at IKEA. I had a look at a big sofa throw that was super nice but way too big to carry and I got sucked into bartering for it. I constantly told him that It was too big for me but he kept pushing a calculator at me with prices on starting at 800,000 rp. 250,000rp I replied with hoping that the stupidly low price would make him realize that I didn’t want it, but he was determined to sell it to me. 800,000rp came down to 300,000rp and I thought my plan would backfire. Bugger. A few words with his boss later and I was told that 300,000 rp was the lowest he could go and all I had to do was go up a bit more. All I will say is that I didn’t leave with the sofa throw, phew! But what I did leave with was an impression that I was a tight arse white tourist that just wanted to rip the poor lady weavers off! Great…. I did tell him I didnt want it !

We eventually made it back to Sengiggi where we were met at the office by our no show driver. If he hadn’t of ran out with his hand in the air offering apologies and his reasons that he “had to take someone to the hospital” then we might have reacted a bit differently. Tired we decided that we did make it back in one piece so there was no point in arguing about it. After all we had a bigger problem coming our way tomorrow, Mt Rinjani !!!!!!!

Posted by dan elliott 20:06 Archived in Indonesia Tagged weaving lombok kuta Comments (0)

Lombok adventure - day 1

The first day of our "tour de lombok"

We arrive at the travel agents on the agreed time of 10am to meet our driver and to be honest I didn’t hold out much hope. A small travel agent “Lombok smile” is attached to the side of an internet café and it doesn’t really inspire much confidence, but low and behold our driver “Tony” was waiting for us in a relatively new car that didn’t resemble the death trap I had been imagining! The only condition of the trip was a 100,000rp fuel cost per day (about $10 for approx 6 hours a day didn’t sound too bad I thought) His English wasn’t the best, but was good enough to answer questions I asked and he pointed out different things as we passed them. We were doing this all while performing death defying maneuvers to overtake the traffic. I’m usually ok with the extreme edge of life but even this had my knuckles white a few times!!!!

Our first stop off was already well off the tourist track as we arrived at a traditional market located in a small village called Sincdu (think thats how its spelt???). From the moment you enter you are greeted by rows of market stalls, horse pulled carriages and a busy market atmosphere.

As we parked our car in a questionable position on the side of the busy road, we found out that what we could see was only the face of the traditional market, the best part was located in “her”. Closely following our guide, we were taking turns down cramped aroma filled alley ways resembling a maze lined with fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, tobacco and flowers . Being a well and truly local event, everyone had little or no understanding of the English language and with my Indonesian restricted to “good morning” and “thank you” buying things could have been quite difficult if it wasn’t for our guide helping us with some translations.

maze of sellers - lombok

maze of sellers - lombok

It might have been uncomfortable for some people, but it felt really refreshing and for the first time like we were backpacking on the other side of the world, out of sight of anything touristy and not one western convenience in sight. Being the only white people in the market we were the focus of lots of stares but a smile receives nothing but warm friendly gesture in return. I did feel slightly uncomfortable taking photos, but I was soon being encouraged to do so with most of the lady sellers eager to get in the frame!

happy seller - market - lombok

happy seller - market - lombok


coconut oil - traditional market - lombok

coconut oil - traditional market - lombok

Naturally, our first buy was some yummy looking cakes. So with our guide helping out with some translations I finished off the transaction by getting to use my little Indonesian and say “thank you” as we left. As we continued to walk deeper into the markets belly, we came to a dusty shed like structure that was home to what might be considered to be souvenirs in a shop, but in this environment they are dustily aged, local ornaments. We leave with 2 small masks that hang on the wall. Sure we could of got similar ones from one of the many popular souvenir shops but the memory of us haggling a price via our tour guide with the owner (that happened to look like a lady in her 100’s !) is what makes them so much more valuable than any others.

anything can be found at the market 1 - lombok

anything can be found at the market 1 - lombok


market goods - lombok

market goods - lombok

Under the expert navigational skills of Tony, our guide, we make it back to the car and on to the next stop, the Pura Lingsa temple, the biggest on the isalnd
Being possibly the only place in the world that is not only jointly owned by Muslims and Hindus but is also open to other beliefs making it unique not only in religious and spiritual terms but aestheticly also. Dubbed the temple of water, it is surrounded by water in the shape of a lakes, ponds and sacred bathing areas. Fed by underground springs the water has been a sacred source for hundreds of years and is said to bring Luck and health. This is because its source is the majestic peak that watches over all of Lombok, MT Rinjani.

sacred figure - temple - lombok

sacred figure - temple - lombok

We arrive we are met by a guide. Straight away we were wondering how much this will cost us, but our driver said he didn’t know much about the specifics of the temple and that if we wanted to have a much better and enjoyable experience than just walking around, then this is the way to go. While walking around at your own pace is all good and well, the temple is an estimated 550+ years old and the layout looks the same now as it did then and with no maps and information around. Though we didn’t know at the time, 100,000rp was worth every cent as over the next hour we were given interesting information, practiced hundreds of years old luck bringing traditions and even had a bath (kind of).
First off all, you have to pay about 20,000 rp to get in and then an additional 10,000rp for a traditional sash to be worn around the waist. It maybe for tradition but in my opinion it is more likely just a mark to say who has paid and who hasn’t.

temple enterance - lombok

temple enterance - lombok

The first part of the temple we went to was a courtyard that is shared by the 5 religions (muslim, hindu, christian, buddist and the native Wektu Telu) with each encouraged to come and pray in peaceful unison. The largest feature is a pool of water surrounded by metal gates. The water is very sacred and is said to literally make peoples wishes come true. How you do this is stand on a stone marker facing the front of the gates, make a wish and then turn around and throw a coin over your shoulder clearing the gates and landing in the water. You have to be backwards so you cant see and also because if you don’t get it in the water it’s said that your wish wasn’t from the heart (or you’re just a really bad thrower, in my opinion).You even get 2 chances, coins provided by the guide. I’m glad to say that I landed both of my coins in the water and looking back I can honestly say my wishes were small but they came true. As Sarah stepped up to the mark the guide told me that you would be surprised just how many people hit the fence. I’m glad to say that Sarah nailed them both as well (hope she wished for a big lottery win!).
Sacred rocks brought down from top of Mt Rinjani are located in an area next to the pool and is an area that people come to pray and leave small offering gifts at.

sacred eels and fountain of youth - temple - lombok

sacred eels and fountain of youth - temple - lombok

The main event for us on the tour was located in another courtyard not too far away. It too contains sacred spring water that squirts through 5 different areas in the wall (one for each religion) but the water is then collected in small channels that are home to sacred eels, some up to 1m long and as thick as your wrist ! Nobody knows how old they are or how they even got there, but to see them is considered to be very very very lucky and people come from far and wide to see if their luck is in. Still on a high from our coin throwing success we decided to see if we could catch a glimpse of them but predictably some rupees have to change hands first. 20,000 for the priest (who is the only one able to perform the ritual) and 5,000 for some duck eggs (that are broken up and put on a stick in order to coax the eels from their hiding places). Part of me felt like it was a waste of time, but as we entered the gates part of me was also excited. Swooshing the water with a stick and bating the area with some egg, it wasn’t long before I saw a dark shadow pop his head out and before I knew it he was almost all the way out, following the egg down the watery channel line. This got a big reaction from our guide, saying that we were very lucky indeed, but it was the look of sheer surprise on the priest’s face that got me excited. 2 then 3 more times the eels came out and each time to a cheer. Unable to get the last bit of egg to stay on the stick, the priest held it in his hand resulting in the eel biting his finger! We were being granted with lots of luck, or the eels were just bloody hungry that morning!

attracting the eels - temple- lombok

attracting the eels - temple- lombok

After our encounter with the eels we got to bathe our faces in the sacred spring water that is said to heal the sick and take one year off the age of your face. The sun getting higher in the sky so any chance of refreshment was welcomed. Still not sure if I look a year younger though.
Unfortunately it was a Friday and unless you are a Muslim or Hindu it’s impossible to get into the temple, but due to all the information the guide had given us and the very unique experiences we had just taken part in I wasn’t too upset. So as we made our way back to our car, the tour guide was telling us of his and his son’s support of premier league soccer, the England team and the monarchy. So a rummage through my backpack resulted in me bringing up two, 1 pound coins. He was well over the moon, promising that he would make a necklace from them, he was pleased that he now has something genuine to support England with. He may have left us with a temple experience I never thought I’d be part of, but I left him with genuine excitement. Would he actually make a necklace or just cash them in? Who knows, but it is a nice thought anyway …..

rice fields - lombok

rice fields - lombok

tobacco plants - lombok

tobacco plants - lombok

With no time left to spare we were back on the ever deteriorating roads that wound through smaller and smaller villages. The dust may have increased but the smiles and waves of the locals who we passed didn’t. Our final destination was a set of 2 large waterfalls in the Lombok rainforest, but we would make our way there through the impeccably organized rice and tobacco fields. These two crops are quite fascinating for westerners like us because 1.we don’t have them and 2. We don’t organize our crops anything like they do in Asia. There are many reasons for the stepped plateaus of levels, mainly irrigation, but the way they look is an agricultural wonder and unique to this part of the world.
At the gates to the Mt Rinjani national park, we were met by our 2 young tour guides, who for an amount would take us to the 2 waterfalls. It was at this point that I was convinced our driver was just taking us to his friends who were all looking for a payday from the tourists! But after paying the very small park fee and signing the guest book it states that one of the walks is a 1km walk over rough hilly terrain and any entrance to the park must be with a guide. Fair enough then…..

waterfall 1 - lombok

waterfall 1 - lombok

The first waterfall (sendang gile) was a 5 minute walk and I quote “good for washing your hair” as it is a long, soft fall of stream water that maybe cold but very refreshing. The second waterfall tiu kelep) is a 15/20minute walk up and down steep hills/steps but is much more impressive. Its only source maybe only natural underground springs but it splits into countless different areas over a 30-50m diameter with a much more powerfall waterfalls. This waterfall, I’m told, “is good for massage” and it sure was as I climbed in, on and around the icy cold water getting free massages and seeking some escape from the balmy Indonesian weather. We may have had to pay the 2 young lads to guide us, but they sure did earn it but climbing up trees to find us coffee and coco beans and describe anything that they found interesting. For anyone wanting to go to the waterfalls, I would say that the guides are well worth the small charge for the hot mini rainforest hike !

coffee beans - Lombok

coffee beans - Lombok

waterfall 2 - Lombok

waterfall 2 - Lombok

waterfall tour guides - lombok

waterfall tour guides - lombok

Exhausted we navigate our way back through sleepy villages, drifting off on the quieter stretches and waking up only to the sound of hooters, horns and heavy braking in the busier areas until we finally make it back to Sengiggi. I think it’s fair to say that day 1 on our tour of Lombok was a success. I hope day 2 is just as good.........

Posted by dan elliott 00:17 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia market waterfall lombok Comments (0)

Far from lazing in Lombok

A quiet and overlooked jewel in Indonesians crown of islands

_DSC0697

_DSC0697

Being the quiet next door neighbor to the sometimes wild Bali, Lombok rarely gets the attention it deserves. Only a 35 km stone’s throw over the Lombok strait lays an island that has more to offer than meets the eye. You arrive in Lombok expecting a tranquil escape from the usual hustle and bustle, but a scratch beneath the surface revealed a place full of amazing tradition, food, temples and adventure……

Regretfully, we bided farewell to the beautiful Gilli islands and we arrived on mainland Lombok with a mix of fellow backpackers and locals. What should have been an easy transfer to the tourist town of Sengiggi was instead surreal. We were packed into the boat quite tightly accommodating a few more than the legal amount, fair enough i guess, the mini bus was going unusual slow and sluggish, mmmmmm OK, but not only did the bloody thing stall, it stalled half way up the steepest hill in Lombok and we all had to push it up to the top ! So while we all dug deep to gets the ol girl rolling, struggling with the power of gravity I may add, a bloody monkey jumped onto the road, sat in front of the van, and I kid you not, it looked like he was sticking his tongue out at us !!! The monkey jumped out of the way and the van roared to life “just got no petrol, ha!” was the reason ! A short stop at the “petrol station” later and we were finally on the road to Sengiggi.
If this was the start of the adventure, what’s the peak going to be like???????

emergancy petrol stop - lombok

emergancy petrol stop - lombok

Arriving in Sengiggi I can remember thinking “is this it?” For the main tourist town in Lombok it doesn’t really look like somewhere you would come on holiday. The footpath is made up of pretty dire and dangerous sections and by day it’s mainly the locals who can be seen, usually flying up and down the street on their scooters with the odd tourist here and there. Sure it has the expensive hotels dotted down the main street and some bars and restaurants but, as I find out later, there isn’t much to do there, let alone for the adventure seeking backpacker! But what Sengiggi is good for is being a base to book excursions at to explore Lombok and that’s exactly what we did.
Getting a tip from some fellow Gilli islanders to stay at the Indah home stay we asked a taxi driver to take us there. 30 minutes later and were back at square one because he eventually thought he would let us know that he didn’t know where it was! That was possibly the most stressful 10,000rp I’ve ever spent and another Lombok adventure added to the book already!

indah homestay - sengiggi - lombok

indah homestay - sengiggi - lombok

Eventually we did find the hostel…..50m away! Tucked away from the main street, up an alley way, and behind the quiet local village, it was no wonder the taxi driver couldn’t find it! Luckily all the stress paid off because for 100,000rp a night we were treated to a lovely and clean hostel with breakfast, hosted by the lovely Dutch and Indonesian owners. The only downers being cold showers and traditional squat toilets, but for 100,000rp per night you learn to adapt by having a work out before a cold morning shower and shamefully sitting on the slightly raised (but impeccably clean) toilet. The hostel is classed in the village so it has strict Muslim village rules that you are asked to respect. There is to be no alcohol on the premises and that you have to keep the noise to a minimum after 11. You are in return treated as a villager by being woken up every day at 5am for prayer time courtesy of the (very) loud speakers and cockerels! But aren’t these experiences exactly why we travel?

They say the best things are done on a whim, so when we “only” went into the internet cafe/travel agent to check our email I never thought we would leave having booked a 3day 2night trip trekking the majestic Mt Rinjani! After numerous arguments in the past, Sarah and I have made a mutual agreement never to trek anything together again as we don’t seem to get along when there is climbing involved. So what had we gotten ourselves into????

pulling in the net - sengiggi beach - lombok

pulling in the net - sengiggi beach - lombok

sorting the catch - sengiggi breach - lombok

sorting the catch - sengiggi breach - lombok

Actually part of the reason we talked ourselves into it was the deal just seemed too good to be true. For the price of 1,750,000rp ($175 approx) we got a 3 day 2 night, all in, guided trek of the 3784m high mountain that is unique because it is the only place in the world where a mountain has a lake and a small active volcano inside it. Difficult to imagine, but every picture I’ve ever seen has been amazing. To be honest I was sold from the start, but just to get Sarah on board the salesman threw in 2 days of car hire with a driver to take us where ever we wanted in Lombok and Harbor transfers back to the Bali fast boat. So it was agreed, tomorrow would be a free day, then 2 days of exploring Lombok, 3 days of trekking then back on the fast boat back to Bali. It turned out to be the perfect plan!

The highlight of our free day the following day was taking an A-team style taxi to the islands capital of Materam. Its 50,000rp one way, but loads safer than a scooter on these busy roads! Materam is the islands city that’s home to the parliament buildings, art galleries and heaps of shopping from street market stalls to the islands one and only mall. The main purpose of our Materam trip was in fact the shops, as we needed things for the trek in a few days time. The Mall is defiantly something to be seen. 5 floors of shops that range from clothing to electrical to getting your feet eaten in a fish tank called fish therapy, all while dance music pumps out from speakers on the first floor making it sound more like a rave than a relaxing shopping experience. If you do make it to the top floor then you will find the “piece de la resistance” 2 5 aside soccer pitches, a fairground style dodgem track and arcades. Any shopping mall equipped with that is a winner in my eyes! While we managed to get all our hiking equipment from the camping shop (located on level 2) the best bargain came in the form of the best haircut I’ve ever had. All for 2 quid and about 3 words of English exchanged between us!

manteram shopping mall - Lombok

manteram shopping mall - Lombok

Our way back to Sengiggi only confirmed why I didn’t want a scooter because the traffic simply goes where it wants. There are roundabouts but it’s a free for all, the only rule being to give way to the biggest! How we didn’t hit anyone I will never know, but what i did notice was nobody as much looked at each other in the wrong way when a questionable maneuver took place, even when it looked like a crash was inevitable ! In the UK dirty looks, foul words and fists would be spewing from the car windows, but not here......and you know what? I kinda like it (in that scary roller coaster kinda way !)

Back alley markets, Temples, Rice fields and waterfalls. Check out the next entry to see what happens as we explore the island of Lombok with our own chauffeur ………Gulp !

Posted by dan elliott 09:06 Comments (0)

Gilli Air

The final island in the trilogy

If Meno is still too touristy for you then Gilli Air should be just right. Although it’s the closest island to the mainland of Lombok it’s the most overlooked in terms of development for the holiday maker even though it was the first island to have a permanent population. It’s this grass roots atmosphere that attracts most of the people. With quiet beaches, enough shops/restaurants to be comfortable and super friendly locals it’s hard to imagine why more people don’t come here.

Good bye Gilli Islands

Good bye Gilli Islands

Arriving on the island hopping boat Gilli Air is very much like Gilli Meno its welcome mat being white sandy beaches, clear blue waters and lush green palm trees. Just another example of why these 3 islands are a must do thing when you go to Bali or Lombok.

Sun and the palms

Sun and the palms

Again it didn’t take too long to for us to head inland and find accommodation in our 100-150,000 price range with breakfast. It is maybe the worst of the 3 accommodations we have had but good enough for a few days. It didnt matter too much though because the free breakfast the next day was maybe the best pancake ive had in Indonesia. They are great here because they are the flat English style ones. Just what you need when the home sickness kicks in !

Last of the GillI accomodation

Last of the GillI accomodation

The food and drink is the same on Gilli Air as it is on the other 2, by the way of it offering something for every budget. When you are tight ass backpacker every penny (or rupee) counts, so we found a little cafe tucked away at the harbour front that served up the usual Indonesian delights for backpacker freindly prices. What I liked about it though was it was cooked in front of you, so you know what went in and had a free cooking class at the same time !

The only sauces you will ever need in Indonesia

The only sauces you will ever need in Indonesia

After an afternoon walking down parts of the island, snorkling and catching some rays on the super hot beach we both agree that Gilli Air doesn’t really offer us anything different to the other islands and that one day and night is maybe enough for us.

Gilli Air snorkling

Gilli Air snorkling

sarah snokerling

sarah snokerling

So we spent our last night on the Gilli Islands we finally got a ride on board a horse and cart and it took us to a place where we can do what we do best........ dinner, beer, beach and a killer sunset !

Horse and Cart ride to Sunset

Horse and Cart ride to Sunset

Taking 5 mins to chill out.........

Taking 5 mins to chill out.........

Lazing in paradise is, well…… paradise, but with soooo much left to see in Indonesia, ripping ourselves from the powdery white beaches is a sacrifice that you sometimes just have make. Its a hard life isnt it???????

last few rays of the day

last few rays of the day

Posted by dan elliott 07:29 Archived in Indonesia Tagged islands bali indonesia air lombok gilli Comments (2)

Gilly Meno

The middle Gilli Island

Situated in the middle of the 3 islands and only 1 km away, Gilli Meno is a perfect day trip escape to a place that is much quieter than its bigger brother Gilli Trawangan. Having a few shops, dive centers and restaurants to be comfortable, the main appeal of the island is that there isn’t actually much to do. Diving, swimming or a walk round the island are the usual favorite past times but sometimes it’s best to just simply kick back and soak up the hot Indonesian sun............

suprises from the sea - star shaped coral

suprises from the sea - star shaped coral

Sat at the Gilli Trawangan harbor waiting for the island hopping boat (costing 15,000rp each), I was surrounded by way more people than I thought possible to fit on the small vessel that was bobbing in front of us . I was pleasantly surprised to see us all fit aboard though, albeit with some people having to stand at the bag and sit a little wonky in the water. One thought that constantly entered my head on the way was just how clear the sea is, with it only being broken up by the different variations of blue. No wonder these conditions are a divers dream then !

usual meno island path

usual meno island path

It’s not too difficult to find accommodation because once again the accommodation finds you by plenty of people looking to fill their beds. The best value places are a short walk inland and although you don’t have the beach on your door step the prices are 1/4 of what you pay for a beachfront place. So for 150,000 we got a new super clean thatched style "hut" (aptly named "my bungalows" because the 2 "huts" formed a McDonalds shaped M) and some killer banana pancakes for breakfast.

my bungalows

my bungalows

Bags dropped we decided to explore what the island had to offer and what better way to do it than to walk around the whole island. A 2 hour casual walk is the time it should take to do the island loop, but with camera in hand there always seemed to be a photo opportunity, a friendly local or someone selling something. So a 2 hour walk took us 3 hours, but time doesn’t exist on a tropical paradise like the Gillis.

Dirty feet after the island walk

Dirty feet after the island walk

With a dramatically smaller tourist population living on Gilli Meno the opportunities for the sellers are much smaller so they seemed to push a bit harder to make a sale. On our island walk we kept on bumping into one guy who was selling hammocks and with each of our polite declines the prices continued to drop. We eventually agreed to look at a purple one a bit later on at the harbor and it was actually really nice, so we snapped it up for 200,000. We might have been able to get it cheaper elsewhere, but every time I climb into it back in cloudy England I will be able to imagine im in Gilli Meno!

Hammock man

Hammock man

Just the same as Gilli T the best food is Indonesian style with fresh fish ready to be cooked in front of you on the bbqs. After eyeing up the options one night I paid 50,000rp and received the best tuna steak I’ve ever put in my mouth. Tender as you like, with more flavor than you could shake a stick at! Most of the restaurants add 10% tax on but it’s well worth a treat like that now and again!!!!

towering palm trees

towering palm trees

Its a cats life....

Its a cats life....

The Meno wall is a popular dive site location but also offers good snorkeling as well. Unfortunately the coral isn’t in the best condition but there are still parts that are thriving with plenty of fish to keep your eyes busy. I even saw a group of lion fish. Result!

meno salt lake

meno salt lake

Our final night was a walk through the middle of the island where a perfect view of the Lombok mountains reflected in the salt lake and while we kicked back with some dinner and a beer, we watch the sun set over the ocean ending our Gilli Meno experience in perfect chilled out island fashion.......

sunset dinner at meno

sunset dinner at meno

twilight at gilly meno

twilight at gilly meno

Posted by dan elliott 07:13 Archived in Indonesia Tagged islands lombok gilli meno Comments (1)

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