Lombok Part 1 - Between Rinjani and The Gili's

Lombok, is an island east of Bali and west of Sumbawa, very well known for its beautiful beaches and the mighty volcano Rinjani. Last October, I had the chance to visit a little bit of both, 10 days trip, including 5 days hiking the Rinjani. Yes, I know, I mentioned the Gili's but I will not discuss about the 3 famous Gili's (Gili Air, Gili Trawangan, and Gili Meno). Gili actually meant little island in Sasak. 
There are 2 ways to reach Lombok, you can either take airplane to Lombok Airport Praya (LOP) or take a boat from Bali to Pelabuhan Lembar (Lembar Port). I chose airplane myself, as I was departing from Jakarta. There are plenty of airlines offering direct flights to Lombok, from the cheap to the expensive one.

Day 1 - Between Delays and Rushing to Sekotong

I have a habit of get everything planned and detailed, all the transportation and accommodation, timing, everything. But sometimes, things doesn't go according to plan and you have to adjust your timing and everything. We chose Batik Air (high end class of Lion Group) thinking that we can avoid the delay, but the universe was against us, we were stranded for 5 hours in the airport, and the only explanation we got was the plane which supposed to take us to Lombok wasn't there yet, it still stuck in Palembang due to the smoke from forest burn in Kalimantan.

Our plan today was to go to Sekotong, the west side of Lombok, because my cousin will go diving the next day. We have been warned by local people not to go to west area after the sun set, as the road is quite (not in a good way), and there were lots of case where the motorcycle got hijacked, and your personal belongings will be taken away. Given the delay, we only have 1.5 hours to get there before it gets dark, just enough to cross 70km-ish distance from Lombok Airport to Sekotong.

Luckily we have pre-booked a motorcycle from Lombok Pirates (A young couple, who owns a tour operator, renting motorcycle and provide backpacker style tour around lombok), so we can ride the bike to Sekotong.

We were hungry by the time we arrived in Lombok, so we bought Nasi Puyung, at Rumah Makan Cahaya right across the airport, and rode all the way to Sekotong, with prayer, hopefully nothing happened.

My cousin has booked a hotel online called bola-bola paradis, which ended up being a stranded hotel in the middle of nowhere with no airco, and salty water (I rate this hotel 1 out of 5).

Day 2 - Snorkeling at Sekotong
My cousin booked a diving trip to the island at sekotong area, lacking of diving license I only managed to snorkeling around the area. The underwater view was amazing, too bad I didn't have my underwater camera with me so I couldn't capture the underwater view. But in my opinion it is better than the one in Menjangan. The dive operator is very professional, they will assign a guide to help/assist you and the equipment you can borrow from them is also the high quality one. I think it cost around $10 for the snorkeling trip, while diving will cost you around $200

Boat to Snorkeling/Diving zone

Once we're done with diving, we packed our bags and went straight to the hotel, and drive miles away to the north part of lombok (Tanjung). On our way there we found a food stall selling grilled fish. We had our "lunch" there and it only cost us IDR 80.000 for a grilled fish and squid with rice and plecing kangkung (water spinach with sambal). For dinner we had Ayam Taliwang, from a stall next to a football field in Tanjung area. It was good, and it only cost us IDR 120.000 for 2 grilled chicken and plecing kangkung

Grilled Fish Stall
Ayam Taliwang & Plecing
We stayed in Mina Tanjung hotel, it cost IDR 440.000/night and it worth every penny, the hotel was new and very clean. We finally had a good night sleep there.

Day 3 - Snorkeling at East Lombok

Gili Kapal, Gili Kondo and Gili Petagan are the famous three Gili's in the east lombok. You can contact Pak Jefry, and he will be happy to drive you around to the best snorkeling areas. It is advised to come here early in the morning, that way you can pass through the mangrove forest. But since we arrived late, we couldn't pass the forest anymore. So we went straight to the snorkeling area. Picture worth thousand words, here I share a view underwater pictures

Gili Petagan
Gili Kondo
Gili Kapal
Gili Petagan

We didn't prebook our hotel here, but don't worry there are lots of hotels/homestay here where you can get a room with airco and free breakfast for around IDR 300-500k/night

Day 4 - Sembalun and Relaxing

We woke up late and took the day slow. We rode the motorbike to Sembalun, the starting point for our Rinjani climbing trip. We arrived a day earlier than the rest of the group, so we had time to relax and calibrating with the temperature. Again, we didn't prebook our hotel/homestay here. You can find lots of homestay with wide range of price. We stayed at Rinjani Family Homestay, 2 bedroom cabin with hot water facility and free coffee and tea. You can see the mighty Rinjani from the back of the homestay, it gave a kick in my stomach when I saw the mountain, the mountain is huge and I keep trying to convince myself whether I really should do the climb or not.

Because we had nothing else to do in Sembalun, we visit one of the waterfall called Mangku Sakti. You can use your motorbike to reach there, but the road is really bad and slippery, so be careful. From the parking lot you will have to walk around 30 minutes to the waterfall. But it's worth the trip

The Mighty Rinjani
Mangku Sakti Waterfall
It's not that hard to find a food here, there are lots of "Warung Nasi" that sell rice with simple dish, like fried chicken and vegetables, the price vary between IDR 10k-20k.


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