Day 3:24 pm
I’ve always had a soft spot for Lombok. After a short visit here in 2008 I couldn’t wait to get back. So today was spent on the journey and then relaxing at our lovely hotel.
It was a quick hop from the hotel to Ngurah Rai airport, perhaps only twenty minutes. I felt sad leaving the lovely folks at the Bali Nusa Dua hotel who felt like old friends after three days of conference and two of holiday.
Bali airport has a chilled out smooth vibe and within a few minutes we were through security and into the lounge. There are some good shops. I treated myself to a gorgeous Indonesian silk scarf. And the kids got treated to Kinder eggs – strictly to keep them occupied on the flight.
A bus trundled us across the runway and we walked up the steps to the flight. It was filled with locals. The flight was short and comfortable. Soon after the seatbelt lights went off, the captain announced preparation for arrival. We were flying Garuda, which meant we had a generous inclusive weight allowance, plus a useful little snack box.
Lombok is an even cuter airport. We walked in from our plane, collected our luggage and out the other side in about ten minutes.
We stepped out of the building and the monsoon struck.
Lombok is much less developed than Bali and the vast green fields and mountains in the distance have a more soothing and homely feel. The mosques have unusual cone shaped domes and the capital Mataram is just a provincial capital with low buildings and much less development.
An hour on the road reached the sea and from our view on the high up road the sea shimmered silver in vast glory. We passed through the tourist town of Sengiggi with its hotels and restaurants. A part of me wished we were staying here so we could walk along the road and be part of the buzz.
But when we arrived at our hotel we were not disappointed. It was like a travel catalogue brought to life. Can’t wait to take a dip in the infinity pools.continue reading
The story goes that a 16th century religious figure Niratha sat on the rocky outcrop island at Tanah Lot (Land in the Sea) and the fisherman down below started coming to give him offerings. So he told them to build a temple as he felt this was a religious place. The legend says that below it in the waters snakes guard the temple.
We wanted to see some of the local history, religion and culture, so this was a great choice. The Temple made for a good half day trip from our hotel in Nusa Dua. We passed through Denpasar after a cheeky stop at KFC – entirely at the request of the kids who seem tired of trying very hard to eat Indonesian food and just craved some halal chicken nuggets. An hour later after driving through stunning rice fields and whizzing through small villages the glorious silver sea greeted us.
We paid for entry to the compound and found ourselves in a long marketplace. It had all the usual tourist offerings. But also useful things like lots of toilets, ice cream (it was hot, this saved us from cranky kids!) Eventually the walkway descends down the sea through imposing gateways until you reach the black sandy beach.
Our timing was unlucky, we arrived at high tide so we couldn’t walk to the temple. But the kids had fun on the rocks, and the black sand was unusual. As it was Sunday the crowds were large. And it is also the period of Kuningan festival so everywhere was festooned with yellow cloths and offerings. The other smaller temples were also closed only for worshippers, so we missed out there too.
But the fresh sea air was invigorating, and a relief from the humidity. And what could beat watching the glinting sea and crashing waves while eating a cornetto with your kids?
Around 430 we set off again, to return to Nusa Dua and enjoy dinner at the beach. We took a promenade along the beach front, the golden yellow sand soft, the beach quite quiet and the beachfront hotels and restaurants looking welcoming. With hungry kids we picked the first one – Agendaz, and sat perched on their epic beach beds. I ordered – you guessed it – satay. And boy was it good. Although a light meal for the four of us it was definitely the priciest, but the view was priceless. Nusa Dua might be a bubble for tourists, but boy is it a well-manicured, hospitable and relaxing bubble.
Then it was straight back to the hotel for an early night – after all further adventures await!continue reading