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MATARAM - I didnít have a clue what to expect from Lombok, as I have already told before. I have never been there, and outside that itís a part of Indonesia, and most people are muslem, there is nothing special about it that I know. My website features some information about Lombok, but thatís not written by me, nor had I visited the island before. My previous story tells a lot about Lombok, in future stories, I will probably write more about it, but now Iím going to write about another Indonesian island, which is seen as an island that belongs to Lombok.

Not too early in the morning, because I have already had enough early mornings during my holiday, as usual, we left for Gili Trawangan by motorbike. Cabe and I were heading for the island to have a short look around, to be back home that evening again. Since we left at ten in the morning, spent some time internetting, it was already eleven before we had left Mataram for the trip over the road along the beach from Ampenan to Senggigi to the point where the small boats leave for the three Giliís, just off the coast.
I enjoy coastal rides, especially when I can enjoy the freedom of driving a motorbike as well. It means we can stop everywhere we want to have a rest, have a look or something to drink. Normally we donít just stop for a rest, because travelling by motorbike is ofcourse not the most fast way of travelling, since you have to be carefull on the roads, especially with the crazy truck and bemo drivers, which can be found all over the island here as well.
The views over sea are good, sometimes obstructed by a big tree, and if you have bad luck, a hotel is built at the beach, or little higher on the cliff. Most of the times these hotels are well-disguised as dense jungle with small huts, to itís not too bad after all. You will get the best views when you are on top of one of the higher parts of the foot of the vulcanic beach, on the cliff-like areas. They are usually located 50 to 100 meters above the surrounding beaches, and give you a nice view over two or more beaches, seemingly located in somewhat protected bays.
Some of the lower beaches have a coral-protected beach, which means that the surf isnít right at the beach, but a few meters upto several dozen meters offshore. Good for people who want to swim, play of snorkle at the beach, but surfers should find other locations, for example the Giliís, which are located in the middle of Selat Lombok, the strait between Bali and Lombok. They catch every wave directly, so the waves which come ashore are pretty high, especially the southern side of Gili Meno seems to have pretty high waves.

After one and a hour of fierce driving, we arrived at the harbour place, where we could make the trip to one of the Giliís by boat. We parked the motorbike in the shade behind a warung, asking Rp 2,000 as a guarding fee.. Thatís not too bad, I have seen much worse in Bali last year. We went to the main office, no more than a old and worn concrete block with some openings as door and windows, to get the boat ticket. The first thing they offered whas the tourist boat, a chartered one, which would cost Rp. 88,000 per person, one way.. oooh mahal! But it would already leave with 5 people, two already signed up.
One the same, badly copied, piece of paper was the standard price of Rp 4500 per person, one way. That was more like it. I donít mind spendin money during my holiday, but asking 20 times more for something that is most likely not 20 times better than the boat we would get now, is a little too much for me. We signed up for the first boat, which would leave when there were 25 people on the list, we were number four and five, still twenty to goÖ It was a matter of waiting and waiting for the people to show up, which were about to travel to Gili Trawangan as well.

While waiting on the other 20 people, I enjoyed having a look around, something which I usually like. People fishing just outside the harbour, boats with passengers coming and going from Gili Meno and Gili Air, and even a boat from Gili Trawangan showed up, only it didnít go back until it was fully loaded again, whatís why we had to wait for it. The trip took about 30 minutes, so that wasnít the problem after all. It was the waiting which took the most time. This also made it very hard, if not impossible to visit the other islands on the same day. Most people donít want to do that, they just get to one of the islands and have their holiday there. I was told that Gili Meno is already passed by the main flow of tourists, which is now going directly to Gili Trawangan, the biggest island with most complete island. The others are more quiet, and Gili Air is the island for people who want to be left alone for most of the day.
After one hour of waiting we started the boat trip towards Gili Trawangan. The first part of the trip is very confortable, because of the low waves, later on that changes because the little boat enters the open waters of Selat Lombok, with itís high waves, just like Selat Bali. Arriving on the island, goes just as leaving the harbour, on the beach. Only the beach on Trawangan is much whiter, not to mention the rubbish which you can find anywhere of course, because itís still a real Indonesian island.
We went for a short walk and found a cafť which served pancakes. That was enough for lunch, and we went there, both having a pancake and a drink, with sea-view. He view we had was one with a blue sea, a blue sky with some clouds over Lombok, and Gili Meno not too far away. The beach of Trawangan was empty, outside a handfull of tourists. The roads on the island are hardly paved, but marked by rows of stones and cement, thatís enough, because there are only cidomo (horsecarts) on the island.
The lunch was good, and we bought the ticket back to the main island of Lombok. The same price again, and now it was waiting again, but the people at the office told us that it wouldnít take too long anymore. We would just have a short walk to the other side of the ticket office.We noticed that internet prices on the entire island were an astonishing Rp 24,000 per hour, more than six times the local prices in Mataram and surrounding areas, and still 50 per cent more than in Senggigi, where they already ask Rp 18.000 per hour. The prices are the same everywhere, not to talk about price-agreements. The prices are even higher than on Bali!
Time to go home. The boat ride was nice, but more bumpy than the way to the island. Luckily the trip didnít last longer than half an hour. When we set foot ashore on Lombok again, it was almost five oíclock, leaving us to get some food somewhere and to go home again. The next day we had to leave early, because we would go to Lotim, Lombok Timur, where we would spend the night with the family of Cabe.


On 7 September 2003 I edited the story on certain small points to make it more understandable for the visitors. The first version was written during my holiday, in a warnet in Mataram. This version should be better though.

Posted in Travel @ 29 August 2003 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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