Trip Start Jun 25, 2012
12Trip End Jul 24, 2012
Checking out from the Padangbai Beach Resort - Absolute Scuba, we get the unpleasant surprise that the bill from the restaurant has to be payed in cash. Visa is not possible for the restaurant bill, although the room itself can be payed with Visa. This takes a chunk out of our remaining cash budget, and we will need to refill at an ATM later.
We are on time at the Perama office. Perama officials guide us to the ferry, and we settle on the top deck. It's clouded. A little after 9AM we leave for Lombok. A 5hr trip is ahead and once in open see there is a strong wind. Traveling on a slow ferry across the windy Lombok strait is quite uneventful, until you get to Lombok and you see a coast with pristine white beaches and turquoise blue waters. Arriving in the port of Lembar, a Perama official puts us on the minibus that goes straight to Kuta. During the ride, we are surprised to see that roads are in better shape than on Bali; a 2-way highway most of the time. But Kuta is still a small village, not even matching up to Padangbai. I can believe that people say this is the Kuta Bali from 20 years ago. A few warungs, some guesthouses and not as many scooters as we've seen before. We skipped all those as we had rooms reserved at the Novotel Kuta Mandalika Resort.
For the final stay in our holiday and at the end of our journey with our toes in the Lombok sand, we wanted something more relaxed,higher luxury standard, a sun sea sand splurge. That is why we booked at the Novotel Kuta Mandalika Resort.
We arrived after a long day of travel around 16h30. The room with king size bed and day-bed was more than large enough for us 4. And a luxurious large shower with constant warm water !!! Ah, what a splurge. In the evening we have BBQ buffet - an amazing amount of food.
Thursday 19 July
We're still tired of yesterday's travel. It feels like the wind at sea yesterday blew our brains out. No plans for today except getting breakfast, swimming in pool, drying in sun,swimming in sea, drying in sun having lunch and dinner.
The beaches at Kuta Lombok are virgin white sands, with even more turquoise blue water than we saw before, and nearly nobody there.Paradise. We looked for seashells on the beach. And we did some sleeping on the beach bales. Touts are being kept of the Novotel private beach. Only a group of little girls and boys - probably the children of the women having a batik stall on the report's beach. Otherwise no hassle.
Friday 20 July
Anja and Diewertje are having a 2hr splurge at the Spa; Coffee scrub, yogurt splash and milk bath. Sietse and I have fun in the kiddies pool chasing the watermelon ball we bought in Padangbai Diewertje starts to have some contacts with Australian children and is called "The girl with the difficult name". It could be the title of a James Bond movie.
Saturday 21 July
Every day we find the sand flattened on the beach of the resort. We thought they had some machine for this. However, at breakfast we see that the machine is actually a farmer and 2 cows pulling a wide plank over the sand. The cows are called "Good" and "Morning".
The food and drinks are good, and the morning and evening buffets plentiful. Sietse eats for free and Diewertje at half price, which is certainly a budget advantage. However, the prices as indicated are without tax& service. At the end of the bill this means +21% on a price which is already at the high end.
Since yesterday we have an Indonesian band playing live music, and requests! In a broken English they played The Police, REM, Bob Marley, Simon&Garfunkel, The Beatles, Stairway to Heaven, Kings of Leon. Crazy - we had breakfast with view on the sunny beach and blue sea, with an Indonesian band playing With or Without You (U2).
Around 11AM we left for the Tanjung A'an beach. This is a regular excursion organized by Novotel, with driver, guide and security person. Since we were the only participants it felt like a VIP trip with our own security guy keeping an eye on our belongings. It is said that there have been some safety issues here, and the souvenir sellers might have been pushy. Nevertheless, we bought 2 handwoven sarong with gold thread for 300.000 Rp.
Tanjung A'an beach is paradise!
The most magnificent turquoise blue waters and a virgin white beach stretching around the bay for about a km. And only about 15 people. Tanjun A'an is divided over 2 bays, with a big rock in between. The beach on the right of the rock has some warungs on the far right, but difficult to put your towels as the water washes over the sand. The bay on the left of the rock is good to lay down, best somewhere in the middle as the first 100m left of the rock have seaweed and garbage. At the far left of this bay is the Slow Café which offers free beach-chairs and serves drinks at low prices.
In the evening we have a hiking tour in the hills around Lombok Kuta and Tanjung A'an. The Scenery is breathtaking. Not only because it is incredibly beautiful and at nature's best, but also because the wind blows so strong. We stay to watch sunset.
Sunday 22 July
This is the LAST DAY! The last day. Hard to imagine that tomorrow we'll be on the plane again, heading home.
Going home ? That's what our tickets say, while Australia is just 3hrs away...It would be such a waste...what do we do ?
This last morning we went to the Kuta traditional market, which is held every wednesday and sunday. So many people! It was very crowded. An explosion of colors and smells overloads the eyes and nose. Through narrow alleys women are selling live octopus, calamari, fresh fish and shrimps. Ramanadan started yesterday and in this one month of fasting, Muslims cannot eat between sunrise and sunset. Respect. Grilled ready-to-eat food preparations would not find any customers, and no fish or satés were being prepared. Women also sold dried fish, shrimp paste, soy beans, soy paste, tempe, coffee beans, peanuts, maniok, "Marlboro quality" shredded tobacco, palm sugar, candy, a local sweet made from palm sugar and soy paste (tried it, ok but no wow-effect), soy sprouts, papaya, coconut, mais, boontjes, cole, peanuts, green and purple weird-shaped aubergines, tomatoes, water spinach, tamarind, garlic, shallots, green banana, dried and fresh chillies. Yes, fresh chillies, yummie. I tried one, ate it completely, on a scale of 5, its a 3. Not the hottest I've eaten. The local guide said he could not eat one himself. Sasak cuisine (Lombok regional cooking) is said to be one of the hottest of Indonesia. There was also a traditional medicine man, and we followed his show-off of all his potent and healing potions for a while. The children received a lot of positive attention from the locals. Many pinched Sietse's arm or cheek. However, although we were properly dressed, we did get the looks from some of them. On these trips organized by the hotel, we were accompanied by a guide and a security person, which is not a bad idea. We bought some shirts and souvenirs at good prices.
A lot of people here use a horse & carriage and demands were high for this way of transport.
In the afternoon we had swims in the sea and pool. Ah, the sea was so nice. Anja and Diewertje did some cano at sea and Sietse went with me to see some grey monkeys. In the hills between Kuta beach and the Novotel beach, there is a colony of grey monkeys. We fed peanuts to them which was pleasant and Sietse liked it a lot. One inconvenience however was that we were followed by a bunch of coconut boys on the way to and on the way back from the hills. It was not a comfortable situation. The remainder of the day we enjoyed the sun and swim at the resort.
Ah we'll never forget the sea in Lombok. 19-25°C warm water, the most turquoise blue water we've ever seen and swimmed in.
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