Escape To Lombok

Lombok, an island in West Nusa Tenggara (Nusa Tenggara Barat or NTB) province, Indonesia. It forms part of the chain of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with the Lombok Strait separating it from Bali to the west and the Alas Strait between it and Sumbawa to the east. It is roughly circular, with a “tail” (Sekotong Peninsula) to the southwest, about 70 km across and a total area of about 4,725 km² (1,825 sq mi). It is surrounded by a number of smaller islands locally called Gili.

Map of Lombok

May 21st – 25th 2013
I travel with ten of my friends, eight of them hiked Mt.Rinjani three days earlier.

If there is one thing every traveler need to concern about taking a trip to Lombok is its transportation. The island has a limited, but promising growing infrastructure. It’s a blessing for me meeting a local driver who is willing to drive us along our trip, Mr. Saidi. Not only he provided us with great service, humble attitude, the willingness of compromising our route of trips with the price, but also lots of inside tips of each delicacy in Lombok. Truly, we are being treated with comfort from a local. I highly recommend him for those who want to experience Lombok. I linked his contact number under his name I mentioned above.

Time Stops at Gili Trawangan
Located in the western side of Lombok and among the islands of Gilis (Gili Meno and Gili Air), Gili Trawangan is an escapade for those who want to momentarily stop their routine of tight schedules, stressful job, burdening workloads, crowded city and business. A getaway. Gili Trawangan is a perfect treat for yourself. There is a saying time stops at Gili. Well, that happened to be true. At least, that is what I feel. This is how the day goes in Gili : you wake up, have yourself a light delicious breakfast, step out from your inn and welcome the breeze of tropical wind, fresh air and the color of turquoise blue of the sea, then you can choose to walk or bike along the main road which no motor-engine vehicle has polluted because it is prohibited here, and experience the underwater paradise of Gili by snorkeling or diving. Mid day, there are numerous of decent lunch menu along the beach and afterwards, you can have sweet treat of Gili’s local gelato or cold beer while you enjoy the sun sets before you very eyes. The night just get even better with one fine dinner of fresh seafood dish and you can wrap up the night with a party beach-side or simply soothed by chilling tunes over a nice drink under the moon light. There is no reason not to treat yourself every day in Gili Trawangan. Obviously, an escape once a while is what we all need in life.

People in Gili is very warm and welcome. You do not have to worry about where you are going to sleep because everything is available here, from a cheap bed-and-breakfast to five-star accommodation. One thing I learned about my trip to Gili is that the price of hostel (not all of them) is bargain-able. Yes, I bargain the price of my room. I stayed at Gili Diver’s Hotel. Over a friendly talk, the manager welcomed us warmly. Fresh water, hot water, air-conditioned bed rooms, a decent pool and nice setting beach side, everything we could ask for in a hostel in a compromise-able price, is a great deal! So, bargaining in Gili, is not impossible.

A prologue of my Gili journey was watching the breathtaking view of colors of the sky, as the sun slowly rise and the silhouette of the second highest volcano in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani at sight. Magical. Afterwards, I spent my time biking around Gili Trawangan. Measuring 3 km long and 2 km wide, I only need three hours for a round trip. The sun as a companion and the soothing sound of waves, yes, time stops at Gili Trawangan.

Another must-do-thing in this beautiful island is of course, the underwater activity. I took a snorkeling trip to the three islands of Gili with three different snorkeling spots. Started at the shallow water of Gili Trawangan where I found sea turtles and numerous colorful corals and then Meno Wall at Gili Meno where the steep wall underneath are covered with corals, and then Fish Garden at Gili Air. A must-see paradise.

Fresh seafood is the best delicacy you have to eat in Gili. Along beach side and it’s main road, there are lots of seafood restaurant with variable menu, but my best dinner ever here, was the Yellowfin Tuna with Black and White Sesame Seeds of Pearl Beach Lounge. The resort itself has a really nice setting on the beach, colorful comfy beanbags, nice music and it serves a superbly delicious breakfast in the morning. I have the Banana Pancake with Honey and Omelette with Roasted Mushroom. My palate is having the time of their life in Gili by the food of the German chef in the Pearl Beach Lounge. Definitely become a favorite that I still linger today.

The thing is, so much to do in Gili Trawangan and so little time left. I easily tempted to spend the rest of my trip here, but I also eager to explore the rest of Lombok. It is true then what they said, one time is never enough Gili. Time will always stop in Gili Trawangan. After three days of getaway, I head back to Lombok to my next and last destination, Pink Beach.

The Hidden Pink Beach
Tangsi Beach

Tangsi beach located at the east side of Lombok, in the subdistrict of Jerowaru. There is no accomodation near Tangsi Beach since it is not a commercial destination of tourism. I spent the night before at Praya, which located 36 km from Pink Beach. Planning to see the sun rises from the Pink Beach, I departed from Praya at early dawn, four in the morning. Almost three hours later I arrived there at that hidden beach. The journey to Jerowaru is very bumpy, the road is still unpaved. But that did not hold me back to see the pink sandy beach. Plus, along the way, I had fun. Where else I would find myself on a rough road trip at early dawn with a driver who fought hard to overcome his sleepiness by singing classic rock songs with lousy english and off-key tone voice. It was one of the most joyful ride of all time. I missed the sunrise. As I reached the beach, the light of the sun had touched all the area of the beach which brings out the pink color of the sand formed by deteriorated coral Homtrema Rubrum and also in sight, the landmark of Lombok, Mount Rinjani. The panoramic view of the hidden beach eased out the bumpy ride. It was definitely worth it.

Pink Sandy Beach

In five days of escape, I got my gift. Seeing the beautiful mountain from two sides, the west side view from Gili Trawangan and the east side view from Tangsi Beach. A getaway I will always remember. One time is never enough for Lombok. As I promised to come back here whenever I need to have the feeling of “time stops” again.

Until next time, then, my escapade.

– i –


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