From Gili islands, we move forward to the island of Lombok. The first days we stopped in Senggigi town, on the west side of Lombok Island. We had a super good hotel, a large swimming pool, a hotel garden full of different flowers, and a room overlooking the sea. In the evenings we also had a company, geckos who walked upside down on the roof of our balcony. The presence of geckos is always a good sign as they scare away other unpleasant insects like ants, mosquitoes, and cockroaches.
Unfortunately, we were not particularly impressed by Senggigi. The beachfront area was mostly private beach of the resorts and the beach itself was not very beautiful. There is a small handicraft market in the city center, but it was basically empty.
We found only one restaurant that suited to us both price and food quality wise. There we heard that, as a result of the recent earthquake in Indonesia, the number of tourists has fallen significantly and the locals are in great difficulty to cope. So we were walking on the street like a big target for all the souvenir sellers. Luckily, however, we also had one positive experience when we were overwhelmed by local Muslim girls who wanted to take a picture with us. This time we were a great attraction. We felt like giants because the girls were so short and tiny. Jaanus accidentally placed his hand on one of the girl’s shoulders, and there was a lot of giggling and laughter and then he was asked to remove the hand by a look. This is a different kind of cultural space that we are not used to 🙂
One day we rented a scooter to travel inland to see Benang Kelambu. For this, we also needed to drive through the city of Mataram, where traffic is rather chaotic. We also skipped the Mataram market, but because it was so much overcrowded and insane. Air pollution in major cities is bad. But, fortunately, as soon as you get out of town, beautiful views of rice fields and palm trees can be enjoyed. The locals work between the rice fields and dry their crops right beside the roads.
Benang Kelambu was a positive surprise for us. We had previously studied this place on the Internet, but we couldn’t imagine that place so powerful. The entrance ticket was, of course, quite expensive for Indonesia (nearly 7 euros per person), but we didn’t have to regret it. We also got a young guide for that money, who first took us to the waterfall of Benang Stoke. On the way, we saw grey monkeys who did not greet us very warmly. They’re probably used to keeping that beauty in the jungle all to themselves. The first waterfall didn’t make us particularly impressed, but watching the monkeys made me feel good.
We also saw black monkeys on the way to another waterfall, who bravely moved between the treetops. The path to Benang Kelabu was quite difficult. We had to go up and down on the stairs for almost 20 minutes. But when we arrived there was a wonderful view of the water curtain that ran down the green and rocky walls. Kaija received from the guide a wreath that the young lady had crafted while on the road, as she was not tired at all walking the stairs. It turned out that our young guide was also a good photographer and we got a lot of good pictures.
On the way back to Senggigi we decided to make a lunch stop. We found a nice dining place in the town of Mataram, which was empty, but the view was beautiful. In addition, we were able to see the local life, as kids were playing football on the street, and the goats walked freely along the way. As usual, Jaanus ate some kind of curry and Kaija noodles with vegetables.
After lunch, we stopped at one of the temples, which was right on the shore of the sea. During our visit, there were quite a lot of locals who were carrying out some sort of ceremony. We observed them for a while, but because the weather was quite hot, we decided to move forward.
Kaija’s colleague suggested visiting one of the bars called Nuf Said Waroeng near Senggigi. It is a wonderful little family restaurant that tourists and Estonian, amongst others, have supported so that this place can get back on its feet after the earthquake.
The bar is located on a wonderful beach with local fishing boats and numerous tourists, as there are several large resorts around. Jaanus was haunted by a local merchant who tried to sell some local music instrument. Since there is no room for souvenirs in our backpack, the merchant was left disappointed this time. For some reason, they do not accept our apologies that we lack space in our backpack’s. But if we start with a long story about traveling around the world with only small backpacks, it will be even more complicated for them to understand so it’s usually easier to just say “thank you, no”.
From Senggigi, we moved forward to Kuta. You can read more about our adventures in Kuta already in the next post.