Day 3 - Gili Trawangan

what goes around comes around
like a boomerang in the universe
boom boom my heart beats strong
we can't be wrong on top of the world

What Goes Around - Philippe Cohen Solal & Chassol ft. Adam Glover & Tim Gustave

Day 3 was spent going to Gili Trawangan. We were taking a speed boat there and the beach to take it from is somewhere in Senggigi area. It's quite a drive to Senggigi but not as far as the drive the day before to Senaru to see the waterfalls. First stop was at a lookout point where we could see the 3 Gili islands across the water - Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air. The picture below if I'm not mistaken is the Gili Trawangan island.

On the other side of the lookout, you could also see the Senggigi beach. You see more tourists in Senggigi than Mataram where we stayed, but we hardly spent any time in Senggigi at all.

After that we made our way to the beach to take our speed boat. The boat was rented just for us and it was really fast, I think it only took 15 minutes. Our driver / guide already told us that Gili Trawangan would feel more like Bali because there's so many foreign tourists. I first heard about the island from Eat, Pray, Love, the book. I guess many people do too and hence it is increasing in popularity. When we arrived, the island did look quite crowded. The trip we booked included free rental of bicycles and everyone was on board to do this. There's no car in the island, transportation is by bicycles or horse drawn carts. Once our bicycles were sorted out, off we went. The day was pretty hot and I stopped a few times to take pictures. Went to go nearer the empty beach a few times, but the beach wasn't that nice to walk on with the many corals washed up. In fact the nicest beach to walk on was the beach we were dropped off in, but that area had a number of boats so it's not that empty. Anyways below is a picture of some of the swings at the beach that many tourists like to take pictures with. As you can see, they're submerged. I guess the low tide is more during sunset which is the time when many people take their pictures?

Along the way my brother was way ahead that he left us and it's just me and my mom, aunt, and uncle. There were some parts where the path had many sands on them, so it wasn't that nice to ride on. In fact it's pretty impossible that there were a few times when we just had to walk our bicycles. The stupid us kinda overshot our starting points. I guess we're just in a hurry to leave the crowded area with all the restaurants, cafes, tourists (especially the ones newly arriving in boats) not realizing we have passed our starting point. I did have an inkling that we may have passed it, but then I was the last in the group so I just followed the rest until one point when I was super sure that we have passed the same place. So then we had to backtrack. Well as I said at least I managed to get 2 scoops of ice cream when we overshot our starting point.

Our starting point was a restaurant that provided our bicycles and lunch. When we arrived back, it was time for lunch. After lunch, we just sat around and talked. We only explored the perimeter of the island when we went cycling. The perimeter is dotted with hotels, restaurants, and such. More inside the island is where the locals live and I think there's quite a number of residents there. We saw little kids in uniform, so there's a school. There's also a mosque because I heard the call for prayer. I wonder how the locals feel about all this. If they're practicing Muslims, how do they feel about the many foreign tourists with all their merriment which do not exactly fit with the more conservative culture and religious obligations? I don't know, maybe they try to be understanding because their livelihood is dependent on it? That's what we assume at least. Anyways, I guess it's around 02:30 pm when we said we're ready to go. Our driver / guide called the boat and off we went back. The ride back was rougher. The boat guy was saying afternoon waves are bigger. I would definitely get sea sick if not for the motion sickness pill I took that morning. Even though I was fine, it's not a pleasant feeling being tossed with every bump of the wave. I'm glad everyone made it okay. Then we're driven for dinner in Senggigi area. The restaurant was overlooking the beach. It was too early for dinner so I thought we should walk around first, but only me and mom did that. We tried to get to the Balinese temple below, but we were approaching from the side gate and when we went in, the locals were telling us to go enter from the front, but we're too tired to do that, so we went back to the rest.

It's kinda interesting that the beach we were in has black sand. We spent the rest of the time waiting talking and watching the sun set. By the way somehow during all our dinners in Lombok, we always had cats nearby. This time too, there were cats waiting.

Overall I thought the whole trip was pretty good. It was nice spending time with the family and I'm glad all went well. There are other places in Lombok that we have yet to visit, but I don't know if I'll go back anytime soon. Below is the last sunset we had in Lombok while waiting for dinner. For pictures of Senggigi and Gili Trawangan, you can go here.

We left the next morning. I was transiting in Jakarta again. So when my family left, I still had to wait quite a long time :( Now that I'm back, it didn't take long to go back to the downward swing. It should not be surprising, but I did feel rather surprised at how fast I was feeling down :( We have less than 2 months in 2019 and I feel like I have so many things to do and not enough time to do them all. I do hope you have less anxiety than me.

:) eKa @ 8:30:00 PM • 0 comments

Day 2 - Sendang Gile & Tiu Kelep Waterfalls

we tune out all the nasty weather
and it's all in front of you
all in front of you and me

San Francisco Street - Sun Rai

Day 2 was spent visiting waterfalls. It was a long drive to get there and towards the end my uncle started to feel a bit unwell. We first arrived at a restaurant to have lunch before making the hike to the waterfalls. My uncle decided to just sit this one out and not go through the hike for us. The restaurant itself has a nice view all around. From one of its viewing platform you could see small cascading waters in a distance. There's also some monkeys in the area.

Our driver / guide handed us to the local guide who would walk with us to the waterfalls. The entrance wasn't far from the restaurant. It started with a walk down which already got in me quite alarmed because that would mean it would be hard to get back. I like to do difficult things first. There were some monkeys as we walked, but I thought they were okay.

It wasn't that difficult to reach the first waterfall, Sendang Gile. Like all waterfalls I've been before in Indonesia, you can get as close as you want and even soak yourself in the pool below. I didn't see anyone doing that on that day though. One reason could be that the water was going hard. It must hurt a lot if you stand directly under it. I did see a foreign tourist taking out his drone. I may sound like an ungrateful Indonesian, but after seeing quite a number of waterfalls in Indonesia, I'm just rarely impressed now. I wonder if waterfall is not my thing.

After staying for awhile we made the longer hike to the other waterfall, Tiu Kelep. My mom and aunt are not young and I did have some worry if they could make it to this waterfall. I guess I underestimated them. The path to Tiu Kelep also involved some stairs, but there's also the getting up and down of rocks, fallen tree trunk, streams, and I'm just glad there's a guide to help us all through it. This waterfall is the most difficult waterfall that I had ever gone to. It's rewarding though because I have to say, the Tiu Kelep waterfall is more impressive. There's already a group of people there having fun and enjoying the water. The waterfall is wider and the pool underneath it was bigger too. When I put my water on the stream, I like how cool the water was.

After that we made our way back to my uncle. Then we made the long drive back. We stopped by a road in Senggigi that has a warung nearby and sat there waiting for the sunset. A warung is a small Indonesian shop that sells simple stuff and sometime food too. Here the aunt got young coconuts and mom got some mangoes. As the sun went down, I noticed there's a silhouette of a mountain across the sea. I think it's Bali's Gunung Agung. See if you can spot it on this picture below, it's on the right.

After the sun was down, we went for dinner. For pictures from the hike, you can go here.

:) eKa @ 8:55:00 PM • 0 comments

Day 1 - Lombok's Pink and Sandy Beaches

I'm getting thirsty for the marvellous
I'm getting hungry for the best
I'm getting thirsty for the meaningful

Like Mermaids - Lisa Ekdahl

So last long weekend, I went to Lombok with my mom, brother, an aunt and uncle. It was pretty nice spending time with them. I left Singapore Friday night. There are direct flights from Singapore to Mataram (the capital city of the West Nusa Tenggara province and is located in the Lombok island), however the timing didn't work for me. I ended up taking Garuda Indonesia with a transit in Jakarta. I arrived late at night at around 11 pm and the next flight was at 05:45 AM. Since it'd be a waste of time to go home and get back to the airport again, I opted to stay at the capsule hotel in the airport. It's called Digital Airport hotel and it's at terminal 3. I thought it was quite a brilliant idea that they have this. That being said I was a little apprehensive about staying there. I'm not one who's curious about trying a capsule hotel, but as the universe wanted it, I got to experience one and the experience wasn't that good. The capsule itself was okay. It was pretty spacious and there's a TV and a bottle of water. I got the upper bunk capsule and it's not that convenient to get up. They also provided slippers and a locker. What I didn't like was the noise. That night it was particularly full and I was just so surprised that there's so many people going in and out even after midnight. There were repeated sounds of the door to the toilet section being opened, the sound of lockers being opened and closed. I also heard someone snoring, so it's really not quiet and for me who don't sleep easily, it's all too annoying. So much so that I decided to just really get up earlier and took a shower. Shower area wasn't that clean, but soap and towel was provided. Overall I don't want to do this again. Well unless I really need too and have no other choice.

Anyways so then I met my family at the gate. The flight was uneventful. I feel Garuda's quality is dropping, like their meals are not really good now. At Lombok airport we found our driver / guide and we proceeded with the plan for the day. The Lombok island is considerably smaller than Java, but it still took a long time to drive around even without traffic jam and good road condition. We were driving to a beach which I couldn't remember the name to take a private boat which would take us to different beaches by the Lombok island. Day 1 was my favorite day of the whole trip though I think my family would have their own different opinion. The beaches we were going to go were called the pink beaches. They have a few of them and they just called it pink beach 1, 2, and so on. Approaching the first pink beach, we stopped by a small floating platform near the beach where there were 4 nets submerged. In one of the nets, there were lobster. These weren't farmed. They were from the water below. We could buy the lobster and get it cooked at another beach, but the family weren't interested. The lobster weren't very big and I heard it could take another year for it to grow bigger. I like the colours.

Then we were dropped at the first pink beach. Honestly I like it very much because it's pretty and no one else was there. You have to appreciate the rarity of having a beach for yourself. The sand was very soft and easy to walk on. It's beautiful with the beautiful water and sand.

The sand has reddish particles on it which make people call it the pink beach. This red colour comes from the eroded washed up dead red corals. One of our boat guy found one for my aunt. She asked if she could take it home, I don't know if she really did. I did find some really nice washed up dead coral and was really tempted to take one, but I thought its purpose might be better served being there rather than be stored somewhere with me.

On the way to the second beach, we stopped by a place where we saw some foreign tourists snorkeling. I was expecting to snorkel in this trip, but ended up not doing it. One of our boat guy was taking out bread to feed the fish and it was quite funny seeing how fast the fishes swam from deeper water to the bread. On the second beach, we had lunch. Lunch and dinner were included in this trip we booked and all of them had really big portion. I was surprised at the variety of dishes presented to us for lunch. This second beach is the only beach with people living and working in it. It's accessible from the mainland. I saw 2 foreign girl tourists arriving by motorcycle and you just got to admire their tenacity for doing that. In fact we saw quite a few foreigners riding motorbikes around. I guess it's that safe to drive in Lombok? I don't know. I guess the Indonesians renting these out also don't really care about the tourists' skill. So anyways there were a few other tourists here eating lunch too. The island doesn't have fresh water so I heard fresh water have to be delivered by boat. When we were in Lombok, the dry season was in full swing that most of the trees were bare and it was really hot. In my whole entire life, I experienced sunburn for the first time ever that day. I didn't know it could happen to me. Now I'm a bit worried I could get skin cancer :( Anyways, there's kinda a small hill by the beach and I'm glad we walked up even though it's so hot because the view below was unexpected. The water was just gorgeous. By the way the water was so clear in most places that you could see through a lot.

My brother walked up the other higher side of the hill. I didn't because it was too hot. I don't know if the view was good too. After that we went to the next beach. When we arrived at the third beach, there's already a Chinese couple there, but they left soon after. It's really something to have a beach for yourself. I love the beautiful blue water and soft sand. Then after that we went to another beach which the guide simply called sandy beach. When we passed by this beach in the morning, it was submerged, but by late afternoon it's in the low tide and a substantial area was dry and you can walk on it. We saw a lot of starfish, big ones. Unfortunately I don't know what type they are. There's also a number of sea urchins in groups. I don't think the locals harvest this though. Maybe they don't think it's worth the trouble. By the way we did pass around a lot of round buoys in rows and were told that those are to farm pearls.

Walking around this last beach and seeing the different things is perhaps my favorite part of the entire trip. I love it so much. After that we made our way back to the pier and off to dinner. For pictures from day 1, please go here.

:) eKa @ 10:35:00 PM • 0 comments