After the amazing experience in the Gili Islands, Lombok was very different. We started with a night in Senggigi, which all in all, was a pretty lousy place. Not much to do and our accommodations were terrible! The only good thing about Senggigi was meeting a nice Irish & French couple (both living in Cork, Ireland) with whom we would continue our travels with for the next week.
After a quick night in Senggigi we moved on to Senaru, up in the mountains and jungle of Lombok. The village’s claim to fame is its two waterfalls as well as the fact that it is the base for hikes up the biggest mountain in Lombok, Mt. Rinjani. We wouldn’t be climbing Rinjani, but we did go for a five and a half hour trek through the jungle, rice paddies and local villages to see all the sites.
We saw monkeys, the two waterfalls, locals working in the rice fields as well as the local men carrying the 25kg bags of rice into town barefoot (1 hour each way, all day long). Our accommodations were terrible; we were very happy to have our mosquito net (special thanks to my friends at Aimia) to keep cockroaches, preying mantis’, spiders and everything else off of us for the night.
After a terrible night’s sleep in Senaru we got a driver with our Irish friends and made our way to Kuta beach in the south of Lombok. The highlight of the five-hour drive was when our driver stopped in his hometown along the way to have us taste pancakes made at his families food stand. He explained that if the locals saw tourists eating there, they would also eat there; it was a win-win for everyone! We also stopped in a small village where Sarongs are made by hand; they dressed Anne-Julie in the ceremonial wedding dress.
Kuta beach was great. We had amazing accommodations with hot water! It had been almost two weeks since we had a hot shower; only cold and sometimes salty water everywhere else. The locals from all across Lombok vacation in Kuta. It would appear that many of the kids had never seen white people, which made AJ and I famous for a day as they all lined up to take photos with us.
In Kuta we rented scooters and toured the entire area searching for the best beaches. We tried out all the local bars, constantly got harassed by the local kids selling bracelets (we entertained a couple of kids for an entire night), and ate at a great restaurant who on our third night allowed us into the kitchen for an impromptu free cooking lesson (the video is coming soon!).