(This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start from the beginning, click here)
Day 2 started very early at 6.30am. Don’t know why I always wake up really early while on holiday. But the 6.30am is bright like our 7.30am in Malaysia. Breakfast only starts at 7.30am at the hotel restaurant, so the kids had time for a morning swim in the pool. After the swim, you can just walk up and have breakfast poolside. So convenient.
For a small hotel, I’d say Kebun Villas & Resort has quite a good breakfast spread. I like that even though its fully booked, its not packed at all and I don’t have to wait in line at the eggs station, they even send your order to your table. They should change their toaster, though.
After a slow and easy brekkie, our driver Dzul picked us up for a island tour (IDR550,000 for 12 hours, all inclusive). First order of business, a visit to Pura Batu Bolong, a 5 minute drive away from our hotel in Senggigi. It is a Balinese temple right next to the main road. The name is derived from a crevice in the black rock face where the temple is built around.
The empty throne Tunggal altar perch on a narrow precipice jutting out to the sea makes for a rather stunning photo op.
Its not difficult to see why this spot is favoured to be a temple for the invading Bali folk – the ominous crevice, the black volcanic rock just like on Bali, and most importantly, you can see Gunong Agung from here. You know, the holy mountain in Bali, where Pura Besakih is located.
View of Senggigi beach from atop the temple.
The beach at the temple has dark coloured sand, making it rather unappealing. But the water is crystal clear, though.
Next up was the a visit to a local market. Here, we had a choice. The older market in Mataram (sorry can’t remember the name) or the newer one in Bertais, just outside the capital. The former is more congested, the latter is more spread out. We drove past the older market, but upon seeing the crowd outside we decided to go for the newer one in Bertais.
Well, ‘newer’ is of true in the sense of relativity. We didn’t expect it to be LIKE THIS. Its REALLY a local market – no tourist. Really off the beaten track. the walkways are muddy and littered with rubbish. The market is hot and stuffy, definitely not for the queasy. But that aside, it is an experience in itself, you’d see and smell things you’d never see anywhere else. Every village and town in Lombok has a daily market like this, (we passed one in Narmada too) but this is the mother of all markets.
This actually is one of the cleaner and drier pathways.
Name all the grains!
Its a good place to get fruits. You see rambutan stalls like this all over the market and Lombok.
Old school weights.
5 points if you can guess what this treasure is.
Easy to find this. Just follow the smell. What people did before they had refrigerators.
unfortunately due to the heat, we didn’t last half an hour at the market, plus many stalls were starting to pack up already (next time come earlier). Our driver was a little disappointed he didn’t even get to finish his drink at the stall.
Next up – a pottery factory. A word about all these factory and cottage industry visits. As touristy as they are, I just love them. You get to learn a lot of stuff, plus I love making corny jokes while at it. But here’s where you can really see Lombok not being as commercialized as, say Bali or Chiang Mai. There are no tour guides here, heck our driver acted as the tour guide, telling us the process to make these pots. No swanky air conditioned showroom selling the finished products. Just a steaming hot wooden shed.
This is the latest trend in Lombok pottery. Clay pots covered in egg shells. Very popular with Aussie tourists, apparently.
This is the aforesaid steaming hot shop.
I saw a Lombok gecko here. MY GOD they are big. About one foot long and fat.
This was followed by a weaving factory. A little less impressive but equally hot. The tradition here is geometric patterns, don’t think it looks as attractive as weaving from other countries.
By now we were hungry and it was a little out of town to turn back for babi guling (yes, they DO have it here too), so our driving took us to a local eatery to try Nasi Balap Puyung.
What’s that, you say? This is what it is.
Its basically fried kampong chicken (very tasty) with spiced shredded chicken (even tastier). its served with fried anchovies (they seem to fry everything) and veg. This was one of the cheapest meals we had in Lombok.
After lunch it was on the road again, taking in the scenery.
Then we reached the Sasak village. this would be one of the highlights of the tour, giving us a fascinating insight to the lives of the Sasak people.
150 families live here. One of the most fascinating things I learnt is that for 15 generations, the villagers inter marry among themselves. Wow, 15 generations of in-breeding… must a genetic headache. Plus, they’re very traditional and communal, electricity only came here 3 years ago. 80% of the folk here can only speak Sasak, which is very different from Bahasa Indonesia. What was most fascinating was that our guide, Emran, one of the few villagers who can speak English, learnt English BY HIMSELF. Through books! No internet, as they don’t have electricity all this while, remember? Wow, my utmost respect.
This is the headman’s house, right near the entrance. Its a hereditary position.
This is a kelambu where a few families store their grain. If you notice, this shape is the symbol of the Sasak people used all over the island. you see it everywhere, on road signs, streetlights, shopfronts.
This is a typical village hut. They worship a mix of Islam, Hindu and animism. The guide was proud to tell us they spread cow dung on the floor every month, like some Hindus in India do.
Spent the late afternoon in Kuta beach (there’s one in Lombok too) and Tanjung A’an.
They have some of the best beaches on the island.
There’s a boulder that separates two types of sand on the same beach. One is fine powdery sand, the other side has this grainy sand. Here’s the 2 types together.
See the special grainy sand? See? SEE? OK, fine. Its not as impressive in the photo, gotta see in yourselves. Looks like pepper seeds.
Next up was Pura Lingsar, a popular Hindu temple.
The guide will tell you a long story about how this temple is holy to all religions, they have also have Buddhist shrine, a well for Catholics, and a Muslim prayer area.
After a long day, we had an early dinner before going back to the hotel. Our driver brought us to the most famous restaurant serving Ayam Taliwang, Lombok most popular dish. I’d described it as fried or grilled skewered chicken, doused with spicy sauced. A bit like our ayam percik.
After dinner, we went back to hotel for a evening and night swim, then an early night.
Next – The Gili islands!!