(This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start from the beginning, click here)
Day 4 starts as the second day on Gili Trawangan. Beach looks calm and beautiful in the morning.
The night before we had tried to find a cheap snorkeling transport to Gili Meno, where there was supposed to be some awesome dive spots. But they were all quite expensive (at least IDR 1mil), especially for the few hours we wanted to go. We were checking out at 12pm, so we decided snorkel off the beach. So we started walking along the beach going down south. There didn’t seem to be any nice beaches comparable to the one we spent on yesterday, even until we reach d the end of the restaurants and chalets. So we decided to talk to this tout on the beach, he seemed to be offering a less than expensive rate of IDR 800,000 for 4 hours of snorkeling and ride on a glass bottom boat.
So, not able to find a good spot off the beach, we decided to go with this guy.
The glass bottom boat was just okay, the main reason was to go to Gili Meno.
Gili Meno is but 10 minutes away, maybe less. the best snorkeling spot is about 200 meters from the beach, but the seabed is pretty deep.
I would say the corals and fish off Gili Meno were quite beautiful, but not much different from what we saw the day before on Gili T, and probably on par with Ko Lipe. There was also another baby turtle. We spent about 45mins at that spot, boy I can tell you that snorkeling even with fins and life jacket is really hard work…
We landed in Gili Meno for a walkabout. As beautiful as the island is, the beautiful is covered with broken corals, making walking on it a dreadful affair. After clearing the beach onto solid ground, the guide took us inland for a walkabout. There is a really small village on the island, at first it looked like a strange cult inhabited here…
What we saw in the middle of the island is weirder still. walking through a dirt path made out of even more broken corals (ouch, ouch, and ouch! We were barefoot) there was a large saltwater lake. the water comes out of the ground, not from the sea. the water here is apparently far saltier than the ocean, the guide told us the villagers here held an annual ceremony to collect the water and make salt.
Nothing lived on or in this lake, except for some small tadpole-looking fish, and a certain kind of lotus plant. But this lends the lake to a very serene and calming feel.
By twelve we were back on Gili T to take a cold bath and check out of Marta’s. I’d recommend Marta’s to anyone. Very affordable and friendly staff. We left our bags at hotel and went for lunch. By now I started to realize I may not have enough rupiah to last the rest of my trip, so we decided to find a restaurant that accepted credit card. We chose Egoiste, a trendy Italian pasta place, that served great pizza (the pizza actual came from another take-away only shop next door, but they had some table sharing thing going). Egoiste is really nice, actually. There were divans under the trees on the beach facing the sand, you can lie down and enjoy pizza and sipping some Bintang beer.
But we opted for the table.
We had some time to kill before the boatman came at 2pm, so we took our time with the pizza and beer, enjoying the breeze.
On the way back, I tried the CIMB Niaga ATM (yes, they have ATMs on the island) but couldn’t withdraw money. So I had to exchange Ringgit to rupiah at a dodgy looking currency exchange stall. Poor rates but it was only a small amount.
Anyway, we ended our sojourn in the Gilis, as boat and then car brought us back to Senggigi in Lombok.
Our next hotel? Qunci Villas.
Qunci is a beautiful hotel. I know I used that word a lot during this travelogue, but this place took my breath away. It was the hotel that convinced me to come to Lombok (seeing the photos on the website). And it really exceeded my expectations. Rarely do you find a place more impressive than the photos, but this was it. It’s a pretty expensive place (one of the most expensive on Lombok, according to my driver) but they allowed us to fit an extra bed in addition to the existing day bed, making it affordable for my family of four. In fact, Scott, the owner, is one of the friendliest hotel owners in the Tripadvisor forum. Usually, hotels answer posts with a standard answer, but Scott takes time to participate in forums and offering honest opinions.
Anyway, like I said, photos don’t justify the place.
Qunci has 3 pools right next to the beach, all facing Bali and the sunset.
We spent the whole afternoon napping and swimming, after the tiring morning of snorkeling.
Suffice to say, sunset here is pretty awesome.
For dinner, we didn’t want to spend much, so we followed Wikitravel’s recommendation of a good warung on the beach next to Qunci. The aforesaid warung wasn’t there, but there was another even more ramshackle place called ‘Warung Sasak’. Good food, though.
We had yellowtail grilled right out of the sea, grilled chicken and cap cai.
Next – Waterfalls.