Monday, 16 July 2018

Indonesia: Kuta, Lombok


Lombok is what I imagine Bali was... thirty years ago. 

Situated just to the east of Bali, and pretty easy to get to by boat or plane, it absolutely must be on your Indo travel list.

Getting there
We came to Lombok from Ubud by boat, costing 275,000 rupiah (around £12 in 2016) per person one way. We were collected from our accommodation by minibus at around 7am, and taken to Padang Bai harbour. I remember getting a boat from PB back in 2011 and it being hectic... and not much had changed this time round! The boat was again, as I remember it - rapid and ridiculously bumpy. Not great for my fear of open sea and boats, but we survived. We arrived at Teluk Nara and haggled a taxi to get to Kuta down from 500k to 300k - no Bluebird taxis here and some definite taxi mafia in operation! The journey took around 2.5 hours from the port to Kuta.

Where we stayed
We hunted down an AirBnB in Kuta - Lazy Inn. A double room with a huge, comfy bed and massive bathroom for around £23 a night. There's a pool, breakfast included and they were able to get a bike (moped) for us as soon as we arrived. The owner Cheryl was so helpful even before we arrived; helping us find a taxi from the port - and giving an idea of how much we should pay! Lazy Inn was about a 2 minute bike journey from the main drag.

What we did
Lombok definitely has a much more chilled vibe than Bali, and Kuta (Lombok) could not be more different to Kuta (Bali)!

Hire a bike and explore - this should come as no surprise to you! The coastline is just insane and totally worth checking out. The roads aren't as well established as in Bali, but we found some of the most beautiful journeys. The road from Kuta to Selong Belanak beach is especially stunning. 

Go to the beach - Selong Belanak in particular. Wow - just wow. About 20 minutes from Kuta on bike, and completely otherworldly. The best beach in Indo? I think so! Hire a sunlounger for the day (we paid 40k rupiah a pair, around £2) and get settled in. The beach in Kuta wasn't nearly as nice; full of rubbish and mess. We stopped at Ashtari Cafe on the way back for amazing views over the bay at their viewpoint cafe - it was pretty fancy and expensive, so on our second trip we stopped at Summit Cafe which was much more chilled. 

Surf - Rich took a surfing lesson at Selong Belanak, where the waves were far less intense than in south Bali. He paid 280k (~£13) with a guy called Arna (it was a 1:1 session) and spent a good couple of hours out in the waves.

Climb Rinjani - just to be clear, we didn't do this! We had Ijen and Bromo coming up, and were saving ourselves for those. It is apparently one of the hardest volcanoes in Indonesia to scale; the second highest peak in Indo and a real slog. One couple we met said that for every few steps you take, the ash slides you backwards a couple of steps. Ouch. From what we heard its not just a physical feat, but a psychological one too. 

Where we ate / drank
Cafe 7 - the only place open when we arrived, but a good spot for a basic but nice lunch. (TripAdvisor)

KRNK - pretty fancy food for Lombok! Western burgers and the like, but not cheap. (TripAdvisor)

Corner Boutique Cafe - smoothie bowls and banana shakes, lush. (TripAdvisor)

Frida's Burrito - reallllly good Mexican food, for Indonesia! (TripAdvisor)

Bus Bar - amazing place for drinks and pizza, great vibe. 35k cocktails in happy hour! (TripAdvisor)

Drifters - the best gourmet burgers. (TripAdvisor)

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