24.10.2012 30 °C
Lombok is what Bali pretends to be: a tropical paradise with deserted white sand beaches and culturally rich. Bali is beautiful and definitely worth the trip but after a week we've had enough of crowded Kuta, parties, touts, Australian drinking teams (sorry mates) and people in general. So we decided to go to Lombok, an island the size of Bali just 30km away. The journey from bali to Lombok was a real adventure. Since we're always traveling lowest budget possible, we ended up on a huge freighter with no seats and no possibility to hide from the blasting sun...The coal remainder on the ground were soon everywhere on us and made the traveler-look perfect. It was fun.
After 5 hours we arrived in Senggigi and the next day, we rented a motorbike to explore the island. It took us 2 hours to get from the north to the south to a place called Kuta (same name like Kuta Bali!) But the name is all these places have in common! It was incredible, we could count the hotels and tourists on our fingers! At some beaches, there was absolutely NO ONE, except some fishermen and their children. We felt like Leonardo Di Caprio in "The Beach" and where so happy to experience something like this in the 21st century.
Lombok is an underdeveloped region, long overshadowed by its superstar neighbour Bali. But things are changing.
We might have been lucky to experience this island that looks like Bali 40 years ago, but we also noticed the LAND FOR SALE signs everywhere. Investors from Dubai and the States have long discovered the beautiful secret of Lombok and resorts and hotels are in process of planning. (We couldn't find a proper hostel by the way, we were in a nameless, family run homestay with an amazing atmosphere, local children running around naked and singing and cooking together and so on! it was so nice.)
Just a few years and i'm sure i wont recognize the place i just visited. Its a shame on the one hand but on the other hand, it's a great possibility for the people living on Lombok. Now, they are dependend on agriculture, which leaves many villages poor and underdeveloped since Lombok is the driest region in Indonesia and crops are unpredictable. It's a chance for the villages and especially for the children to have another pillar: Tourism. We can only hope that Kuta Lombok develops in a sustainable way and that it wont transform into its namesake on Bali.
There is actually one disadvantage of a lack of tourism and deserted beaches: they are difficult to reach. We experienced real adventures with our motorbikes, since there are no streets and not even ways to walk. So we rode through the desert, gravel and stones to get there. It might have been fun with a dirtbike, but with our little city scooters...Well, an experience indeed. We made it with only a few scratches though.
Whenever we passed local children on our way, they smiled and waved and high fived us all the way down, sometimes even running as fast as they could to say Hello. They were SO cute! And so beautiful. It was a pleasure.
Some families that might have never seen white people before. They were staring at us and the children hid behind their mother's back.
For me, Lombok was a wonderful experience, since it is so different to all the other destinations. Its culture is so authentic and it offers so many untouched places and beaches. I recommend to everyone to get here as soon as possible, before the developers start their big project.
Now we are on the Gili Islands. They are beautiful as well! (do i use the word beautiful too often?? haha.) I will write about my diving experiences on the Gilis soon. I have to recover from a cold first...There is loads of tourism again, of course. But now we really don't mind having some partypeople around us again.. ;-)
IN THIS SENSE: CHEERS AND MANY KISSES TO GERMANY!!