As travel goes the start of ours is how to put it…basic. After our little ‘holiday’ in Bali for the first few days now the ‘real travelling’ has to begin. We left our friends and their 5* resort, gained Jonnys brother and another surfboard and set off. 2 days and a missed flight later and we finally arrived in Lombok.
First stop from the airport was the nearby town of Kuta. Thankfully Kuta, Lombok couldn’t be further away from its Bali namesake, which is pretty much like an Indonesian Malia.
First impressions could definitely have been worse, it’s calmer, more beautiful and just all round nicer than Bali in my opinion. It’s the landscapes that got me, luscious greenery everywhere and mountains dominating the skyline, finally this was real.
But apparently not quite real enough for the boys, because we left our little bamboo bungalow and moved to Gerupuk, a local fishing village where Robbie spent last summer and trust me when I stress ‘local village’ I’m talking not a sniff of wifi anywhere. I did worry an hour in that maybe this was too basic for me but the little local who appeared on our porch quickly massaged these worries away. Yep that’s right, no sink or showerhead but we did have an on call masseuse. Priorities.
I should warn you that the beginning of the trip is going to be hugely surf dominated, in the boys eyes it’s eat, dream, sleep swells. I half hope that’s the right word, I zone out when they start talking waves but is how we found ourselves in Gerupuk, because evidently there’s a lot of them. A great spot to base yourself if you’re a keen surfer and after a bit of a different experience, right down in the south of Lombok, about 20minutes from Kuta, this would be your way to escape the tourist traps and live with the locals (literally).
Surf wise the area offers plenty of different breaks to choose from and you can rent a boat out with a local fisherman for around 150,000IDR to catch the best morning or evening waves, or in my case for views like this.
Most travellers base themselves in Kuta and then travel to Gerupuk daily for the surf, I don’t think it’s common practice or knowledge to stay in the village but there’s plenty of guesthouses available which are cheap and cheerful. We stayed at Dyungs, don’t expect much but it has everything you’re likely to need for a simple stay. And if nothing else it makes a change from the norm, there’s also something quite refreshing about walking around a small fishing village which hasn’t changed or fully embraced the tourist takeover.
For the first few days whilst the boys surfed I took the chance to run away for a dose of luxury and spend a few hours in the nearby Novotel Hotel, sipping on a coconut, and doing my own surfing…obviously the web. So if you’re a surf widow too definitely check this place out, it’s the only resort I have found in the Kuta area. I’m all for back to basics but sometimes we all need a bit of this.
The key thing to do in Lombok is to hire a scooter, it’s the easiest way to get around and explore the island just make sure to haggle, if you’re getting one for a few days you can get a deal, you’re aiming for like 40,000IDR a day. But be safe, the roads here terrify me because no one seems to have any fear of crashing, or death. There are literally no rules but at least this way you’re free to roam around and get lost in all the gorgeous scenery.
Something you won’t be short of in and around Kuta is a place to eat, there are Warungs at every other shop so you are spoilt for choice and to be honest they’re all pretty much identical, same menu, same risk. If you’re slightly apprehensive always go for the one with the most tourists in, still no guarantee but at least you’re all going down together. For a nice restaurant make sure you check out Ashtari, this lovely cliff side café with incredible views. Take a right at the crossroads in the centre of Kuta and follow the road all the way up a steep hill. It seems quite fancy and you’d be forgiven for thinking when you see the prices that you’re just paying for the view but trust us the foods really tasty and these guys do the best if not the only garlic mayo around. So snag one of the big sofa beds and settle down and watch the world go by.
So far so good for Lombok. Not a bad start.