The big brother of Bali: Lombok island
Updated: Sep 20
Lombok island surprised us positively. Many people told us before that it’s like Bali but less touristic but we were not expecting it to be as it was. It’s much less touristic than Bali! If you stop in many places you’re alone. You can be alone in the longest turquoise beach that we’ve seen so far during the sabbatical. Moreover, when we were there we found people living there with bamboo houses in front of the beach and the locals interacted with us to practice English or to give us some seaweed or just to say hello. When you arrive at a place where kids say hello in English you know that there are not many tourists going there.
Another plus point of Lombok in comparison to Bali are the roads! They are smooth and with almost no potholes except for the remote places. Riding there is a paradiese compare to Bali or Nusa Penida. Moreover, in the south of Lombok, the roads are pretty empty (except of Kuta beach) and even in Kuta, you cannot compare the traffic to Ubud.
So I think, if you want to practice riding a motorbike, it’s in our opinion a nicer place to do so than in Bali or Nusa Penida.
The culture is also quite different, the majority of the population is muslim in comparison to Bali, which has a Hindu majority. So it’s full of mosks and about half of the women have the hair covered.
Our Highlights in Lombok
The pearl farming
Lombok is the main provider of pearls to the Australian company Autore, which is one of the main pearl producers in the world. These pearls grow only in Australia and Indonesia. There is a pearl farm that you can visit close to the port of Lombok and we would really recommend doing so. It’s very interesting. They show you everything, from how they raise the baby oysters that will have the pearl to how they put a piece of sand inside the oyster’s reproductive organ together with a tissue of another oyster that will generate the color of the pearl. Moreover the pearl farm is in a beautiful location:
Beautiful beaches from the south
We were actually in one beach that was almost private! We arrived and we were almost alone as you can see at the end of the following video
It's the Nambung beach in Lombok and it's about 1h away from Kuta Lombok by motorbike. Since it's a bit far away from the center there are almost no tourists and the locals actually live in that beach with houses made of bamboo. I was flying the drone there and then a kid came to watch the screen of the phone while recording. Then, another kid came and at the end more than 6 children were looking at the screen recording of the drone. They already knew a couple of words in English and it was a very nice experience to be with them. Then they were following us and showing the fauna and flora of the beach. Giving us seaweed or showing which shells had crabs inside for example.
The experience didn't end up there! When coming back to our motorbike, Annie, an Indonesian women started talking to us with a very good English and told us her life story. She said she went to University despite almost not having any money by borrowing money from the community. And she felt the responsibility to help the children there. She teaches English to them and takes care of stray children and she also organizes monthly beach clean ups to try to make the locals understand the importance of having a clean place. It was very emotional to hear about her life and her difficulties she have had. From living in a Bamboo place to learning English by just interacting with tourists. She spent 2 years of her life learning English from the little amount of tourists that came to the place by speaking English in exchange of free food!
And now she has many friends around Europe that helped her paid the university or invited her to visit Germany. It was very inspiring to meet Annie and it was an experience by itself. She offered to cook a Nasi Goreng by a small house that she built in front of the beach while enjoying a beautiful beach. This was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip. I think the take-home message is to just escape from the famous touristy places and take a motorbike to what seems to be a nice place from the google earth views.
Did you know that Lombok is actually famous for Pottery? Trixi and Èric are pottery fans and pottery is our hobby since more than 2 years ago. We’ve been doing many bowls and mugs. That’s why it was very interesting for us to see how the different countries do pottery. We couldn't resist buying a couple of pieces from an old pottery maker that was very happy that we were there and was hugging me and even kissed me on the cheek :D
The bat cave close to Kuta
This is a cave with a huge amount of bats and it has three different kind of bats of different sizes.
It not only has bats but many cockroaches since they love dark places... that's not for everyone but it was interesting to learn that cockroaches actually shed
The scenic ride from the harbor to Kuta Lombok in the south
It's very beautiful to drive on the side of the beaches with a driver stopping by to see the three Gili's from Lombok, the pearl farm or the Singgigi beach.
Lombok is also famous for the big volcano Mount Rinjani (second tallest in Indonesia), which has many different multi-day trekking you can do as well as beautiful waterfalls but we opted to go to the south and west of Lombok instead.
P.S: Èric's sunglasses broke while wearing the helmet when driving the motorbike
but we recommend to be careful which sunglasses you buy while in Indonesia to avoid the Ray Bali glasses hahaha (there's actually a way to see if the glasses are polarized)
And off to the next stop with a tiny plane: Komodo
We hope you enjoyed the post :) Let us know what you think and if you like it ^^