If you’re looking for a short getaway, we cannot rave enough about Lombok and its surrounding Gili Islands.
Lost in Lombok
It is almost similar in size as the neighbouring Bali but offers a more quieter, reserved island holiday. Our recent vacation to this beautiful part of West Nusa Teggara, Indonesia, saw us leaving a piece of our hearts behind. Here’s what we have to share from our trip!
It was almost 6pm local time when we arrived at Lombok International Airport (LOP) and despite just a short 3 hour flight, we were still grateful that immigration was swift and smooth. A humble comparison to our Changi Airport, the Lombok International Airport does’t offer much to see but serves its purpose well. Ready up for the locals to offer you rides to your hotels or resorts!
Though it might be cheaper, we highly advise you to engage in the authorised cabs. We landed ourselves a well-informed and sincere cab driver (Mr. Alwan, thanks for the help!) who shipped us to our resort. After a 2 hours cab ride (Yes, it was at the very far end of Lombok), we finally arrived at Living Asia Resort & Spa. We were so pleasantly surprised by the warm and attentive service from the staff.
They were genuinely friendly, which is a rare sight in the service industry these days. Furthermore, our Ocean View Villa was not just a stone’s throw away from the sea and is downright beautiful and lush. The room was clean, spacious and boasted an open-top shower. We retreated to an early night after dinner at the resort’s restaurant.
As sunrise is pretty early, we couldn’t help but to start our day early as well. We scooted off to the beach and embraced the beauty that surrounds us. We headed to the in-house spa shortly after for a relaxing massage to ready up for our next adventure to Gili Trawangan. There are a few ways you can get to Gili Trawangan. One is by the private speed boat (IDR 450,000) and the other is by the public boat ride (IDR 12,000). We opted for the public boat to embrace the locals’ way of life.
The ride is a simple wooden boat (similar to a big sampan) that carries about 30 people and will take an estimated time of 40 minutes to Gili Trawangan. We wouldn’t recommend this mode of transport if you suffer from motion sickness as it can get choppy from the strong waves. It’s also not for you if you’re looking to travel “in style and comfort”.
We checked into Madison Gilli for our stay in Gili Trawangan. Though not the most luxurious, Madison Gili is cozy, comfortable and clean. With only 6 cottages and a central pool, Madison Gili is ideal for a short private stay. The only way to travel around the island is by feet, bicycles or Kidomo (horse carts). Language is also not a barrier as the locals speak fluent English due to the high tourist population.
Wondering where to head, we checked out the highly recommended Sunset Point where we were just in time to catch the skies being painted with the rays of sun setting down. Known to be the “Ibiza of Indonesia”, we couldn’t wait to check out the night life. Drinks were fairly cheap with a large bottle of local beer for only IDR 35,000 at most bars. We absolutely enjoyed the Sama Sama Raggae Bar that was buzzing with excitement thanks to the terrific live band that played - yes, you’ve guessed it - raggae tunes.
With Day 3 left for recuperation, we opted the private speed boat (IDR 350,000) to get to our next island, Gili Meno. It was money well spent as the ride took only 15 minutes and was far more comfortable. Just as we thought the islands couldn’t get any more beautiful, Gili Meno proved us wrong. The sandy white beaches and clear waters left us completely breathless.
As did our next resort - Mahamaya Boutique Resort. This beachfront eco-friendly resort is the perfect place to wind down and end the trip. Our Pool View Villa is a complete luxury with its generous floor area, plush bed and vast bathroom. Better yet, the freshwater swimming pool was right outside our door for ultimate convenience. You can also forward to impeccable service from the staff who were sincere, attentive and helpful.
The day saw us roaming the island in search of the Turtle Sanctuary, trying our hands at kayak and snorkelling, and dipping into the pool for a refreshing swim. It ended with a well-prepared meal dined in the comforts of our bed. Gili Meno was a good end to the vacation. It was a good mix of rest and recreation, with the most beautiful views of the ocean - the one thing that brought us here in the first place.