Discovering Lombok, Indonesia: The Best Trips Usually Happen When They Are Unplanned

In most cases, Bali is probably the first place that will pop in your head once you find out that your tropical summer dreams will take place in Indonesia – behind your average knowledge in South East Asian geography, you’ll discover in a travel brochure that this country is actually an archipelago of 17,500 or more islands.

One of them is an island east of Bali called Lombok. If you look it up on YouTube, then most likely your eyes might pop open of wanderlust astonishment. You see, the majority of these videos will live up to their titles, “Lombok, Better Than Bali?” because it might actually be so.


After securing a 2-way ticket to Bali from Manila, I thought I was just gonna be jumping around major cities of the islands of the gods and Eat, Pray, Love my way for the whole 14 days. But if I was going to compare my intention for this trip as a writer then I will be a pantser all throughout.

A pantser is someone who, “flies by the seat of their pants,” meaning they don’t plan out anything or plan very little.

Slumber Party Hostel

Did I plan to go to Lombok?

Never at all. This story all started one afternoon while chilling at Kuta Beach with my Filipino-Canadian friend (and my best friend for the whole Indonesian trip) Jerome and in an honest manner, it was really his plan to take the 25 minutes plane ride to Lombok to chase statuesque magnificent waterfalls and immensely splendid beaches.

And as a pantser traveler that I am, I said, “okay screw my plans this weekend in Ubud, we’ll take the first flight tomorrow morning.” And so we did.

To tell you the truth I was intentionally planning to stay on this island for only 5 days max because I still want to spend another weekend in the uplands of Ubud and I couldn’t miss the invitation of spending the day in a place called Jungle Fish. But what actually happened is I ditched my flight going back to Bali because then again, Jerome did a successful job for brainwashing me to come to see the village of Tetebatu and the Gili Islands, which I will be talking about for the following blog posts. This was about as unplanned as it gets and I am proud to tell you this, but I have no regrets at all and I’d do it all over again.

Merese Hill

What I’m personally trying to say here is that I enjoyed Lombok way more than Bali. But I can’t shout one island as the winner while the other one as the loser because clearly that outcome depends on what you are looking for. And what I was looking for was an authentic island experience with free-spirited world travelers.

By that time, Lombok turned out to be the sole island that could offer that.


WHERE TO STAY IN LOMBOK?

Lombok is such a breath of fresh air. We stayed mostly in Kuta (please don’t be confused; same name but not the one in Bali) while we were there. A laid-back surfer town that is indeed a perfect introduction to this island. Slumber Party Hostel was our home for many nights where I met a lot of people. Amazingly good people. I highly recommend booking a bed in Slumber Party because if you read the full story of my trip to Indonesia, you will know that it was one of the best decisions I made when I was on this trip! And I would ALWAYS go back because it was home.

Less tourist, more nature

Since there wasn’t a lot of tourists around and because of the absence of Gojek and Grab apps, renting a motorbike leveled up the whole picture from being good to legitimately better. Having a well-researched friend like Jerome who was convincing me to drive to the west and then to the east of this island for beach hopping purposes make it the best. I was meditating with my senses to drive extra safely because I grew up in the country where driving on the left side of the road is punishable by law. Thankfully, I managed to drive with an average speed of 30 km/h and I even went slightly above the speed limit of 70.

The following photos do not take justice for how they look like real-time in front of an actual living human body. Forgive my photography for the meantime as I try to become better:

Pantai Mawun
Mawi Beach
Selong Belanak
Tanjung Aan

Peace and quiet for a good hour

From my own perspective, I, therefore, conclude that there were no tourists in Lombok; there were travelers. And I turned out a fine traveler myself while I was there – going out of my comfort zone, seeing places through the backdoor, and conversing with locals.

One of the things that I like staying in Kuta was getting on my motorbike, stopping at Fresh Market (because they accept credit cards lol) to grab beers and snacks and go to the empty Kuta Beach to just bum around under the sun, share stories with new friends from the hostel, talk to dogs, swim to complain about the water being cold, and watching my mates set up their drones in the air. We do it in the morning and we do it in the afternoon.

Delicious food

For the love of fulfilling the stomach, probably the famous food in Indonesia is Nasi Goreng. And I’m no chill for having it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s the truth! And I love the fact that almost every food in Lombok is served with Sambal Sauce. Based on my deep research from Wikipedia, it is an Indonesian chili sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice. Which is just another description for I love it.


2 things that I really didn’t like about Lombok are pushy street vendors and the garbage found on streets and beaches.


The mad famous josh shot from Slumber Party!

CONCLUSION

Looking back now, my unintended trip to Lombok has taught me many lessons that I can totally use for my future travels: on how spontaneous trips often lead you to a door full of surprises, learning how to vibe with the vibe, and the importance of embracing the detour.

So Lombok, I don’t know when the next time’s gonna be. But I promise I will be back.


You may also read My solo travel to Indonesia: Bali, Lombok and Nusa Penida for the full story of my 14-day backpacking trip.

Are you up for random and spontaneous trips? I would love to hear your stories down below!

28 Comments Add yours

  1. Lombok looks great! Always nice heading to places that are less full of tourists

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is really great! Haven’t seen some of the top sights yet (saving it for next time) but the good thing about renting a motorbike is it lets you see the place through its backdoors and sometimes you end up to undiscovered beautiful places!

      Like

  2. It looks really cool. I’m moving to the region next year potentially so cheers for the advice! Greetings from London.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, old sport! I hope you don’t miss Lombok.

      I was supposed to be going to see my friends in London this year but I’ll just have it next year hopefully.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good luck to you! I think it will be fine by January. Stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Was thinking going around June because my mate wants to go to Scotland but I guess I’ll just figure it out. Good luck to you too! So stoked now that I am following your journey!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Scotland is beautiful. When you come over, let me know and I can give you loads of cool places to visit! I’m fired up to follow you too! Stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That sounds like a hella plan! When you come to the tropical islands of Southeast Asia, let me know as well and we could be bumping up with each other or wherever parts of the world. Stay safe, brotha!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Graymand says:

    Sanaol ♥️♥️♥️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha! Let our be response be!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Rishabh!

      Like

  4. Sander Janssens says:

    I have a mate that went to Lombok in 2018 and I’ve been longing to go there since. Planning to go there in January, thanks for the review! Cheers from Antwerp.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. markbierman says:

    Looks like my kind of place,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is your kind of place, Mark! Quiet, laid back, and relaxed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. markbierman says:

        Your are correct!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It is very frustrating to see these pictures when your country is still on lockdown and you are not even allowed to go to the nearest beach…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll take it as something to loook forward to. It’ll be much sweeter when everything’s back to normal 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Definitely: the hell with this quarantine!

    Like

  8. Doree says:

    Unplanned is the best ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It certainly looks like you have had an amazing time, it’s a beautiful Island, thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly is! Thanks for reading, Gina. Appreciate it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your welcome, I really enjoyed it

        Like

  10. Miishuangmu says:

    Glad to know that you enjoyed your Indonesian island getaway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely yes. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Marron Santillan Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s