Why you should visit Lombok Indonesia
Ever since I posted my Lombok Travel Diary to my Youtube channel I’ve been getting a lot of questions from potential sun seekers about my experiences on the island. So here is a quick guide to help you decide whether you want to go!
Travelling to Lombok was by far one of my favourite island vacations of all time. It reminded me so much of Saint Lucia. It has a lot to offer, luscious greenery, never ending savannah, rocky terrain and some of the clearest and bluest waters. The Island offers something for everyone whether it’s climbing the second highest volcanic mountain in Indonesia, feeding peanuts to the monkeys on Monkey Forest, snorkeling with sea turtles off the coast of the Gili’s or just lying on a beach with a Margarita while the sun sets. You will definitely leave satisfied.
Unlike Bali, Lombok boasts beautiful unspoiled beaches and quiet temples that aren’t plagued by tourists (seriously! try driving from Bali airport to Ubud, it’s an hour’s journey that almost always takes 3 because of the sheer number of people!). Not the case in Lombok, there were a few tourists hanging around the prime attractions of course but nothing that would put you off going and when it came to the beaches most of the time I was the only person in the water! Literally had the whole beach to myself!
Be prepared! If you are black you will most likely be the only black person you see and YOU WILL get stared at…A LOT. When I travel, I like to hang out with the locals and live how they do so that I can really experience the full culture. So I went off the beaten track and got stared at by allll the locals! Indonesian people are very short and slim people by nature, so naturally, a black woman who is taller and curvier than they are would be something they want to explore. Didn’t help that my silver hair made me look like Storm from Xmen. ? They came running up to me asking if they can touch me, they touched and played with my hair and wanted to feel my skin and patted my bum and thighs smiling to themselves and telling me in what English they knew that I was very strong and curvy (of course only the women did this). It was all in good taste and I never felt uncomfortable (I am very good at picking up on these things).
2. Where to stay
We stayed at Qunci villas, a 5 star resort and spa. The staff bend over backwards to do anything the can for you. The restaurants …O.M.G! the food was too die for. I would kill for just a taste of that honey glazed french toast I had for breakfast so many mornings! . If you would like to eat out at one of the islands many other restaurants that’s no problem either. Most restaurants send a car to pick you up from your hotel and drop you back after your meal. They really do know how to make a girl feel special! The staff at Qunci can and will organise excursions for you if you ask them and will have cars pick you up. If you stay at Qunci you MUST has a massage. 90 mins on those massage tables and you will feel like you were born without bones. After Tom and I climbed Rinjani (that’s a story that has to be told in itself) we had the Rinjani Recovery package, the best massage…EVER! If we didn’t have that recovery therapy there would be no way we would even be able to walk the next day!
3. “But what if I wanna party?” I hear you say!
No worries! Just jump on a boat and head over to the Gili’s (three islands that belong to Lombok) Gili T has developed a reputation for being the party island and for good reason! Literally every back packing student or drink seeker from all over Indonesia eventually finds their way to Gili T. We spent 2 nights at Kaleydo villas. This place ? …you just have to see for yourself…no words. You will meet people from all walks of life on Gili T and the locals are so friends and happy go lucky it’s infectious! You are guaranteed to have fun, not to mention you will find THE BEST PIZZA you will ever eat outside of Italy there! – On our decent from climbing Rinjani people were talking about taking a boat to Gili T just to go get that pizza! Seriously it’s that good and super cheap a whole large pizza for less than £3.00. The owner is Italian so I guess that’s cheating ?. The outdoor food market stays open until the early morning, so after partying all night you can sit by the beach and get rid of your drunken hunger pangs by chowing down on some delicious seafood made with fresh local ingredients, while the cool sea breeze nurses you back to sobriety.
…Urghh! Take me back!
4. Religious practises and being respectful
It’s important to keep in mind that Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim nation, however Buddhism, Hinduism, Animism, Christianity and Islam are all practiced on Lombok without any issues, so it’s safe to say it’s a very inclusive place. We even went during Ramadan and we experienced no issues with how we dressed or the food that was served. It is important though to remember to be respectful, for example it is requested that ladies do no walk around the Gili’s in their bikinis and you will see signs stating that you must wear a beach wrap when walking around which in my opinion is fair because even though the island is small and practically the whole island is a beach (you can walk around the entire island in an hour) it still has local traditional residents who would rather not see a half naked woman walking outside their front door! They are gracious enough to let us party on their island during Ramadan it’s only fair we are polite enough to follow 1 simple rule! In your hotel or on the actual beach however you can pretty much wear and do whatever you like. 🙂
5. Be real how expensive was this?
Okay okay, so we weren’t exactly living like back packers out there…actually quite the opposite we had the best of everything. Wait! Wait! Wait! Don’t roll your eyes and click out just yet! It was not that expensive at all considering the fact that we stayed at two 5* resorts, one we just showed up spontaneously (much cheaper if you book in advance), hired a private boat, had private cars and personal tour guides take us everywhere we wanted to go, ate at the best restaurants almost every night for 2 weeks and went on all our excursions. In fact it was a bargain! The tickets to Lombok were less than £500 and we got by on around about 14 million Rupiah (roughly £800 each -excluding Qunci hotel -£950 for 2), so no, it wasn’t cheap but if definitely did not break the bank. Also you can live much more cheaply than we did and still have an amazing time. I have friends who have gone to Indonesia and lived very well for 3 months off of £500! I only went for 2 weeks. So I would say if you’re on a budget but still want to have a great time and see a few sights then leave the luxury behind stay at a cheaper hotel, grab a moped and go explore, easily doable for around 800 inclusive of flight, hotel and spending money!
Helpful tips to keep cost down
DO NOT BOOK YOUR EXCURSIONS IN ADVANCE! (Except for Climbing Rinjani, that is best booked in advance with Green Rinjani and ask for Katoot as a guide – best guide ever). But with all other excursions – Trips to the Gillis, monkey forest, Snorkelling, seeing the villages- Get there and haggle your butt off you’re guaranteed to get a good deal if you haggle and say you’re staying at a super cheap hotel.
If you are curious about Indonesia, Lombok is a great island to start your island hopping shenanigans! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.