I finally visited Lombok - Bali's "sister" island, and had lots of fun and adventures exploring it.
Long post ahead!
BTW I made another vlog out of this trip - watch it below :)
Lombok is super easy to reach from Bali - just a 20 minute flight away, which usually costs $35 for a return ticket.
On December 19, 2019, early in the morning, I drove to the airport with five friends. We got on Air Asia flight, one of the shortest of my life. I think the plane started preparing for landing immediately after take off :)
From my window I saw some of the places we were going to visit - like the three Gilis below. Those are not the famous Gili islands - these are other, "secret" Gilis in the south of Lombok (well, not so secret as they were still very touristy).
After landing, we rented motorbikes and drove to Kuta - a town on the south coast of Lombok. Although it has the same name as the Kuta in Bali (which is overcrowded, dirty and not a nice place to be in), the Lombok Kuta is a chill, sleepy town with nice beaches.
We had booked a nice resort a little bit out of Kuta.
The resort was even better than I expected. I had a big room to myself with a nice private patio. There was a nice pool outside (although the water was quite hot due to the Lombok sun). The place was super chill.
We relaxed in our resort for a bit, then drove down to Tanjung Aan, a nice beach nearby.
The beach also exceeded my expectations! It was calm, with clean blue water and white sand.
We went for a swim, then sat down at one of the beach cafes for an early dinner. We got to enjoy a pretty spectacular sunset!
I also made some cute new friends at this beach 😍😊
After sunset, we drove back to our resort, where it was happy hour - two drinks for the price of one :) Of course we had some cocktails in the pool!
The next morning, I woke up early and was the first to have breakfast. I was by myself, everything was so quite and relaxing.
Soon my friends started waking up and joining. We stayed in the resort until noon, enjoying the place.
After checking out, we decided to drive to Pink Beach, which was on the other side on the island.
I had a suspicion that Pink Beach wasn't pink, but I was up for driving and seeing more of Lombok anyways.
However, the drive wasn't very exciting. The south and southeast parts of Lombok turned out very dry, almost like a desert. There was not much to see. Also the drive was getting quite long - over 2 hours already - so we were really looking forward to reaching Pink Beach.
After a while we saw a sign for Pink Beach, finally. We were driving quite fast, anxious to reach our destination.
At one point the road turned into a dirt road.
Suddenly, we were driving on gravel - there were large stones under our bikes. This only lasted a couple of seconds but it felt like ages. I braced myself for falling and getting really hurt. The worst part was, I had another passenger on my bike, which was going to make it worse.
Miraculously, we crossed the gravel successfully, and came to a stop. Two of our friends (also one one bike) were in front of us. They also made it through successfully. I opened my mouth to laugh with relief at the craziness of the situation.
Then I looked back and saw that out two other friends were on the ground, along with their bike! We ran over to help them up. They were in shock, and one of them had lots of blood on his arm.
We started cleaning them up and helping them calm down. Thankfully the injuries weren't serious, but they were in pain, shocked and couldn't walk very well.
Also their motorbike wouldn't start - we thought it probably got damaged during the crash.
We were in the middle of nowhere - nothing around us, just the dry desert-like Lombok landscape.
We decided to go looking for help - the best option would be to find a taxi to get the injured ones to the hotel we had booked for this evening. I took one person on my bike, and my friend took the other. We left two people behind, to keep our backpacks.
First we found a little shack that was also a shop. They sold water and basic snacks. We stopped and try to talk to the owners, but they didn't speak any English. We showed them the injuries of our friends, hoping they would point us to a pharmacy or hospital.
Instead, the woman grabbed some leaves and some hot water and started making a mixture. We decided to allow her to rub this mixture on the injured guy's arm and wrap it with a trash bag - hoping the local medicine would work our.
We were wrong - later we found out the guy was alergic to those plants... the irony.
Anyways - the story continues - we kept on driving in search of a pharmacy, a bigger shop, a hotel or any place could at least help us find a taxi. There was nothing but small huts and dry desert landscape. We had already been driving around for an hour.
Finally, we saw a small shop with a big car parked in front of it. We went in and used Google Translate to convince the owner to drive our friends to the hotel. He gave us a ridiculously high price, but we had no choice.
We let a sigh of relief as we watched the car drive away with our friends. Then we started driving back - we still had to figure out what to do with the bike they left behind (which we assumed was broken).
We passed a motorbike repair shack and grabbed one of the boys that worked there. He drove with us to the site of the crash and looked at the bike. It turned on with no effort at all.... He explained that after a crash, we need to wait 20-30 minutes, and that it was normal.
We still needed him to help us drive the bike back to the rental place. But before that, we decided to finish our drive and check out that Pink Beach.
Just as I thought... I t wasn't pink. And it wasn't clean. It was a very average, unimpressive beach. All that trouble for this.
Anyways - after relaxing here for 20 minutes, we decided to start driving all the way back, to the rental place and then on to our hotel, which was on the other side of the island.
The drive took over 3 hours, but we managed to drop off the (now unneeded) bike, and arrive at our hotel safe. Our friends were already there, they had been to the hospital and the hotel staff had taken great care of them.
We downed our welcome drinks, had some dinner and then immediately passed out in our beds after the crazy day.
The next day, however, everythin was better!
I woke up at 7am. The sun was shining and the air was fresh. Our new hotel was beautiful, right on the beach.
We had a quick breakfast, then arranged a snorkeling trip with one of the local boat guides.
(Our injured friends decided to stay in the hotel and recover).
At 10am we hopped on the boat below and headed for the "secret" Gilis!
Lombok has 3 famous Gilis in the north - Air, Meno and Trawangan. However, it has more Gilis in the south and also in the east! Actually Gili simply means "island" in the local language 😅
We went to Gili Nanggu, Gili Sudak and Gili Kedis.
Our first stop was GIli Nanggu, where we snorkled. Our guide gave us bottles of water filled with mushy bread - which we could squeeze out to attract the fish. I did, and was surrounded by a huge cloud of Seargeant Majors! I don't have any pictures of it, but that was so much fun.
Afterwards, we visited Gili Sudak where we didn't snorkel but relaxed for a bit.
Then we were off to the next island.
From the shore, we saw some floating "houses" built by local fishermen. Our guide agreed to stop at one of them, so we can see it up close - and climb it, then jump :)
On the way to the next island, my friends decided to try an innovative way to ride the boat :)
Apparantely it wasn't as fun as it initially looked, as they soon asked to stop the baot so they can climb back in.
Then we stopped at Gili Kedis. That was probably the tiniest island I've ever been on, just 10-15 meters in diameter with a couple of trees growing in the middle :) It was a bit overcrowded though.
We did see some huge, beautiful starfish here!
After this it was time to start going back.
We got one more glimpse of the floating fishing houses on our way back to our hotel!
At the hotel, I got a shower and rested for a little bit, then decided to go for a drive. This area - southwest Lombok - looked much greener and more beautiful than the rest.
I was not disappointed! I found ricefields, rolling hills, little villages, and an amazing wild beach.
I stayed until sunset, and drove back to the hotel just before dark.
I liked so much that I decided to wake up at 6am the next day to explore more - as it was our last day and we had to catch our flight back to Bali at 12!
I was very happy I made that decision, as the place was insanely beautiful in the early morning light!
We made it just on time for our flight at noon.
Once in Bali, we drove back to Canggu. I relaxed for a couple of hours, then headed to a Christams celebration on the beach - as it was December 23!
We watched the sunset, built a "snowman" out of sand (ok we failed at that) and made a bonfire when it got dark.
Perfect end of the year vacation! Looking forward to all the new adventures 2020 will bring.