… Snorkels & goggles – check
… Bathers, hat & sunscreen – check
… Mozzie spray – check
… 2 kids, 1 husband – check
As Aussies we are beach lovers by nature so an island destination is the perfect spot for a quick 5-day adventure. I really do love living among the rice paddies but I must admit that when Liam mentioned the idea of a trip to ‘Lombok’ I could almost taste the salt air and feel the sand between my toes – I made all the arrangements before he could finish his sentence.
Living here in Bali has given us a great opportunity to take time to discover the Islands of Indonesia, and so far we’ve ventured to Gili Trawangan, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, with Gili Air the next stop but for this trip it was Lombok.
I’ve got to admit that I was a little nervous about Lombok after our experience a few years back on Gili Trawangan – let’s just say it’s not our favorite destination, so with Lombok being one of its neighboring Islands, and within such close proximity, I was hoping that the feeling of Gili T didn’t flow over onto the shores of Lombok. Well, I’m thrilled to report that that certainly wasn’t the case. Where I felt animosity and an underlying hostility on Gili T, Lombok was a sharp contrast with lots of genuine smiles and connections. Everything was easy, the interactions and the transactions. The kids were welcomed and loved and the people of Lombok made us feel right at home, it felt great!
We stayed in the small village of Kuta, which is located in the South of the island. It’s a pretty basic, but fun little village and is a perfect base for surfers as it’s surrounded in world-class breaks, all within easy proximity and accessibility. I dig the feeling of the surfing community (once again the Aussie in me!) Everywhere you look you see the darker than normal Indo boys with great big smiles and wild wild hair. Their once naturally black locks now a golden shade of caramel thanks to the bleaching power of the sun. Always smiling, always so accommodating.
Liam’s really enjoying his surfing at the moment so why not take advantage of being in Indo right? It’s known to be the home of some of the most enjoyable and best waves in the world – and without sharks!
Most beaches we could travel to on the scooters, which made the journey a whole lot more enjoyable, not to mention a little less expensive as we could eliminate the need for private drivers. Another added bonus was that we could all venture out together, the kids and I would stay on the beach and play, swim and just enjoy the open space while Liam caught the long boat out to the break. He could spend a few hours out there paddling about and catching some waves, and then return to the beach to continue the fun with us. Surfing can be such a solo sport so we’ve never really been involved in Liam’s surfing ventures before. It was really enjoyable to be a part of it, and I know that Liam loved coming back into shore to see his little family all playing happily by the waters edge. Hmm, am I finally, after 15 years, becoming a surfer’s chick, waiting patiently by the waters edge? – maybe? (still not carrying his board tho!)
After much research, we stayed at the Novotel, which was the only beachfront hotel in the Kuta area. It was comfortable, as you would expect a big name, chain hotel to be, with all the amenities that you come to expect – great pool, nice sunset bar (albeit with a hefty price-tag) and super friendly staff. As you can probably read in my tone, I’m not usually one to seek out the 5 star accommodation. I’m happy to bypass the 5 stars for a little bit of adventure, culture, and especially like-minded travelers, and I’ve never really got that feeling from a resort – BUT, with all of that said the kids loved it, Liam really enjoyed the luxury and I admit that it was pretty lovely to come home from a day of salt, sun and sand, with 2 little ‘exhausted’ adventurers, to an air-conditioned room with very plump white pillows! (Maybe as well as a hidden surfer’s wife there’s also a 5 star girl in me somewhere!)
BUT, for me, the absolute ‘hands-down’ winner in Lombok are the beaches! We spent everyday at the beach, and finding the perfect one is certainly not a problem. Every little road and pathway seems to lead to another breathtakingly beautiful beach. All with white sand and turquoise water. The water is warm and calm, with a little rolling wave that the kids ‘body-surfed’ until their little arms and legs couldn’t power them anymore. Then of course a few hundred meters out is the surf break, where Liam would disappear to for a few hours at a time. There were a few local Warungs scattered along the top of the beaches with hand roasted corn on the cob and freshly cut coconuts – surely it doesn’t get much better than that right? Needless to say it was pretty easy to spend a whole day – or two – or three – just simply being there, and enjoying these wonderful beaches, and it’s all ‘oh so simple!’ No hawkers, no constant pull to buy, just an easy day enjoying the best of what life has to offer. My kind of lovely!
When the kids took a well-earned rest from the body surfing they wandered up and down the endless stretch of gorgeous, white sandy beaches, discovering all types of treasures and creatures. And there were many – shells, seaweed, old bits of coral – but, without a doubt, their most favorite discovery of all was the ‘ghost crabs’. A friend told me their name and it makes perfect sense. Ghost-like because they’re so teeny and quick that even though you swear that you can see them all scurrying about, you really can’t tell if they’re there or not? It’s quite a strange sensation, sort of like your minds playing tricks on you. The first thing that draws your eye is the incredibly artistic and very groovy patterns that these little crabs create around their homes. As a student of design this really gave me a buzz. It would have been a real sight to the locals, a middle aged woman, head down – bum up, ooing and ahhing with delight at this ‘all natural’ art show. The patterns are made from thousands of perfectly formed balls of sand – minute and just adorable! THEN … back to the ‘ghost crabs’ … was that something ducking between all those little teeny holes?
While I was bum up – head down I also took the opportunity to start clicking madly, and I’m so glad I did! I happen to click at the perfect time, then, later that evening when we were re-living the story for Liam’s enjoyment I brought up the pics, zoomed in, and found another exciting discovery … we could see a whole little army of them – so teeny and so sheer that the normal eye would easily miss them! No wonder I was going cross-eyed just trying to focus on them!
So, please, please … share our excitement and very cool discovery – zoom in and take a look and see how many you can find!
Lombok was great! Adventure, relaxation, and lots of life’s simple pleasures. We all returned home totally exhausted, with salt starched hair and sporting that sort of glow that only the ‘beach-life’ can give.