(This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start from the beginning, click here)
The last day in Lombok started early with breakfast, then a shower before packing up and getting on our taxi to the airport. Senggigi is a long way to the airport, so it was advisable to start off early even though it was a Sunday.
Driving through the island, it was interesting to see weekend life of normal folks on the island. In one small village, we saw folks wearing their Sunday best gathering to repair a the roofing on a house beside the main road. In Mataram, we saw some lots of people gather as they watch workers repair a portion of the road.
Everywhere, we saw women on cidomos (horse drawn cart taxis) with their weekly marketing shopping, some of them with little kids staring into passing cars.
This was the Sunday before Qing Ming (All Souls Day), we saw the Chinese graveyard was milling with very tanned-skinned Chinese families clearing the graves. Its always a source a comfort for me to see our valued Chinese traditions as one of the oldest civilizations on earth still practiced in different countries.
Our slow drive through the island ended in the airport.
Looking back, it was as usual, a very enjoyable holiday for the family. We didn’t buy much stuff back this time, save for some Lombok coffee and souvenirs for friends.
So in retrospect, would i recommend Lombok to my world-travelling friends. In a heartbeat. But there are some caveats. Tourism isn’t really there yet on the island. This isn’t a starter destination, meaning if your family isn’t used to traveling a lot, you might find it quite inconvenient. It takes some experience and legwork to find the right transport, or place to eat, etc. If you’re a beginner traveler, get your feet wet with easier destinations like Bali or Bangkok. Here, there aren’t many tourists, there are hardly any Western restaurants on Lombok except on the strip in Senggigi. Don’t expect shoulder to shoulder restaurants offering burgers here. In fact in Mataram, you have survive on local spicy food. So parents with kids should take precaution. Most local folk don’t speak English except at the hotel. And if your not familiar with Bahasa Indonesia, it might take you some practice to catch their accent.
Gili Trawangan is far more commercialized, although in a limited way, and nothing like anywhere in Bali. There are lots of restaurants, and you can find help in English easily.
But don’t take it wrongly, even if you’re a newbie to traveling, with some proper planning and research you’ll do just fine. There are a lot of stuff to see and do here.
If you are physically inclined, climb Mount Rinjani to see the surrounding islands of Sumbawa, Flores and Bali from above the clouds (we didn’t go for it as you need to spend overnight on the mountain).
Go for the waterfalls.
See the mysterious pink beach. (Didn’t get to see this, it was a day trip)
See the Sasak village.
Swim with turtles just off the beach.
Eat ayam taliwang and cap cai.
Soak up the sun on one the most beautiful beaches in Indonesia.
Until next time, Lombok.