After a private boat tour with Gili Getaway because there was no one else traveling to Lombok, we arrived at this gorgeous hotel in the middle of a local neighbourhood. When you read about Lombok, you actually think it’s quite a boring island, but because so much is still untouched it has beautiful scenery and very friendly people. I actually also like the food much better in Lombok than in Bali when it comes to local food. Balinese food is absolutely different than the Indonesian cooking that I’m used to from my Indonesian grandmother who comes from Surabaya. So yes, I love spicy food and Lombok fired up my heart!
There is this restaurant THE LEAF CAFE that Almi and I visited twice because we absolutely loved the food. They have the most amazing local Rendang Daging (beef), which I’d love to have again. I tried to make this Rendang Daging myself, but I didn’t find the recipe yet as it’s not the same as the well-known traditional one. We also ordered the Ayam Percik (chicken) the first time, and the Ayam Taliwang the second time, of which the latter is a local delicacy. Both had such rich flavours that you eat everything to the bone and still want to chew on it for a while. You can’t have enough of this food, it was that good!
The next day Almi and I got ourselves a private driver to the Tiu Kelep waterfalls which was another hike on its own, but so much easier compared to the Mount Batur trekking I did at Seminyak (tip: use sandals to walk in the water or simple flip flops next to your sport/walking shoes because the rocks in the streaming water hurt on your feet). There are a few beautiful waterfalls around there and if you like you can take a small tunnel on your way back, but because of the rain season the water was too strong for us to walk there. Although refreshing because it was cold and the weather was still very humid.
Along the way you’ll find many stops where you can get pisang goreng (deep fried banana), deep fried tempeh and some other food which yo have to try! I kept on saying: “Makan dulu tidur!”, food first, then sleep! After so much deep fried banana and walking for a few hours, you definitely want to go for a nap 🙂
After the hike at the waterfalls our private driver took us to a Sasak village, which still has a small population living without electricity and in traditional Sasak houses. Interesting to see, but I felt it was more a tourist trap.
On our way back we drove along the coast line back to Sengigi, from north to west, and there are some look-out points you can stop to take pictures. Although most points are beautiful to see with the eye, a picture doesn’t do it justice at all. I still wanted to share below picture of this cow, because it was absolutely adorable and very curious.
The next day we rented motorbikes for both of us to explore Lombok and this is absolutely the best way to soak in the local life and getting the chance to visit some local temples and towns. Almi and I got a sim-card with 4G so we used Google maps to lead our way, after looking up some temples the evening before, and deciding on a route to follow while having breakfast. I’m fairly sure the below pictures show how beautiful Lombok is.
We drove from Sengigi to north of Mataram and circled around the city (clock-wise) because we didn’t want to drive through the very busy traffic in the city itself. These were the more scenic routes through rice fields, fruit plantations and local towns. South of Mataram there is a dead end around Kuranji, but it’s beautiful to drive around Prampuan.
Overall the experience was great because locals, and especially children, come to you for a little chat, to help you find your way or just to say hello. Seeing these happy and curious faces made my day!
A few of the temples we visited are Taman Pura Lingsar and Taman Narmada. Sometimes you find locals selling fresh fruits such as lychees and mangosteen, but also food that I don’t recognise which we tried nonetheless and I would recommend for everyone to do the same. The best experiences are when the food is delicious, but you’ve got nu clue what your eating. Just make sure it looks clean and fresh so you’re sure not eating dog meat or insects, for example.
While driving away from Bundaran Patung Sapi (landmark of Lombok) over a road that has “no name” (according to Google maps), we took a road parallel to the main road and found a little supermarket there where we got freshly made milkshakes. While in need of something hydrating, refreshing and cold, I couldn’t resist to take an Oreo-tasting milkshake. Although sweet and delicious, it got me thirsty for more.
Almi and I also walked for a bit and followed the Jl. Raya Sengigi, which is like a coastal walk, until we reached Pura Batu Bolong. We arrived around sunset and the view was absolutely stunning!
One last thing you don’t want to miss out on is going to GULA GILA at Sengigi, which is a coffee corner with amazing creations of coffees and snacks (check out their IG: @gulagila). Ever tried Popcorn coffee, Mocha Nutella, or an Avocado Nutella smoothie? When it comes to the sweets think of Chocolate Peanut butter banana cupcakes, pandan mini bundt cakes, chocolate cornflakes, red velvet oreo cakes.. and the savoury stuff? Can I have some more risoles and lemper, please? You can’t miss out on this place!
I only explored the West-side of Lombok because I didn’t have enough time, but I heard it’s worth visiting the rest of the island too. Anyone that considers going to Lombok, I can tell you one thing: don’t hesitate, GO! Visiting Lombok was definitely one of the highlights of my holiday. I loved it and it’s all very picture worthy, breathtaking scenery and absolutely friendly people. Did I say how good the food is?
PS. as a woman please keep in mind that you dress properly though. The locals appreciate it when you’re a bit more covered.
My final days I spent at a resort in Nusa Dua, one of my dreams came true at Nusa Penida where I snorkelled with Manta Rays, and celebrated Almi’s birthday in Canggu before heading home. Want to find out what else I did in Bali and Lombok? For the rest of my travel stories click here.