On Lombok we first went to Senggigi to organize a trek to Gunung Rinjani the second highest volcano in Indonesia. We were planning a 3-4 day hike but it turned out that that was not possible as the little volcano inside the main crater erupted recently last April. So unfortunately we could only do a 2 day trek to the rim and couldn't go to the summit and the hot springs. Like I said it is high season at the moment and we were not alone on the mountain. About 50 to 80 people in smaller( we were with only 4) or larger groups were either going up the volcano or coming down. Porters were carrying tents, mattresses and sleeping bags up and down..
Sometimes it looked like a highway. It was a long and strenuous climb especially the last part but the views on the rim were spectacular. Our guide and porters found a nice spot for us to camp with a great view of the smaller volcano and the lake inside the crater.The sunset was even more dramatic with amazing cloud formations and as it got darker we got to see why you weren’t allowed to go inside the crater and to the top. There was still lava flowing from the small volcano!! During the day we could here the grumbling sounds and we thought that it was just gasses coming out of the volcano but at night when we opened our tent we got to see that small eruptions were still taking place every now and then
It was just absolutely awesome and that the wind was blowing fiercely and it was cold and we hardly slept a few hours didn’t matter at all. We spent a day in Senaru on the slopes of the Rinjani for some more spectacular views, for some swimming in a waterfall and giving our sore leg muscles some rest. Then it was time to relax at the beaches. In the southern part around Kuta, Lombok you’ll find beautiful deserted beaches with mainly Australian surfers and on the northern Gili Islands you’ll find mainly Europeans.
The atmosphere in Kuta is a bit more relaxed and not as crowded. After a couple of days in Kuta we went to the Gilis and decided to go to the smallest, least crowded and most relaxed island of the 3 Gilis, Gili Meno. A lot has changed in 20 years. Back then there were no restaurants and just a few bungalows on Gili Air and Meno. They would ring a bell for lunch and dinner. Now the beaches are lined with bungalows and restaurants with lounge huts overlooking the sea. Although it is busy Gili Meno still has quite a charm. The only thing you get stressed about is when you have to choose between a pineapple juice or a mango juice or maybe a watermelon juice or shall I get a mixed juice.
Then for dinner the same stress. Shall I have a grilled red snapper or maybe squid or or or shrimp or barracuda. Oh such a stressful life we have here. To chill out you just hang around a little bit and watch the rolling waves come in and while having a beer we watched the full moon rising over Gili Air and Mount Rinjani.
Oh and the diving is absolutely great here. On every dive I’ve seen turtles and on one or several occasions I’ve seen cuttle fish, stone fish, white tipped reef sharks, blue spotted sting rays, barracudas, frog fish, murray eels, nudibranches and so on and so on. But after all this stress it is time to move on.
We’re off on a 3 day boat trip to Flores with some more snorkeling and a stop at Komodo Island and its komodo dragons, but more on that in our next blog.
Arriving on Bali was quite a shock. We headed straight for Ubud the cultural center of Bali. Here thousands of tourists were walking on the streets. They were outnumbering the locals. What a change from Papua and Sulawesi. But then it is tourist high season. After a while you get used to it and the greetings on the street from the locals changed from hello boss on Papua to hello mister on Sulawesi into hello transport. Thanks to the number of tourists in Ubud they weren't as pushy as they can be here on Bali. We found a nice and peaceful bungalow with two terraces with a nice view. The food here is a bit more sophisticated which was nice for a change. Basically we just stayed in Ubud for a couple of days to organize some tours, transport and flights for our last weeks on Lombok and Flores.