When booking our trip to Indonesia the obvious island everyone goes to is Bali, but not many people explore the other beautiful surrounding islands that make up Indonesia. We chose to do Lombok because it is only a two hour ferry ride to our final destination in Bali. Normally when booking our accommodations we opt for apartments on airbnb or other sites like it but when looking up apartments we were sadly disappointed because Lombok isn’t quite a tourist destination yet. However, we did find an amazing boutique hotel called Qunci Villas. Looking at their site completely sold us and when we arrived we were not disappointed. We had the most beautiful room with vaulted grass covered ceilings and a large balcony that looked at the ocean. Complete heaven. Jesse and I were so excited to be staying in this amazing hotel for only $120 a night! We couldn’t believe it. We checked in, set up a few excursions for the next few days, set up a “jet-lag” spa special, changed in to bathing suits, and headed over to the pool to grab some lunch. We sat poolside as we devoured our delicious cashew chicken and washed it down with a piña colada…the Indonesian party has started! We walked along the beautiful black sand beach behind the hotel, taking dips in the crisp ocean to cool off. After exploring the beautiful beach for a while we headed back to the pool to have a sunset bottle of Rose. It was a beautiful sunset as we watched the sun disappear behind Mount Batur volcano on Bali in the distance. Once the sun set we were off to the spa for our “jet-lag” special. We opted to make it a couples massage and we were escorted to our room to change out of our clothes and into this weird mesh diaper thing. I had an amazing hour long massage by this little Indonesian man. He was good. After the massage it was time to get a full body scrub. Just what we needed after a long day of traveling! I laid there completely content as he scrubbed my body down and I quickly glanced over to Jesse and she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it as well. They instructed us to follow them to the back where we could shower the scrub off. Once we got back there we realized we walked out to an open air bathroom…including an outdoor shower and tub. The tub was full and on the top of the water were hundreds of freshly picked flower petals. Wait, were Jesse and I about to take a naked flower bath together?! We both looked at each other and instantly laughed. At least we are family! We rinsed off the body scrub as directed in the shower before getting into the fragrant flower filled bath. So romantic. Cousins that take naked flower baths together…stay together. We sat at the opposite ends of the tub just giggling because we realized we were taking a romantic bath together. The guy knocked on the door to see if we were decent and the delivered us the most delicious hibiscus,orange, and ginger tea I have ever tasted. We were in heaven. It was a perfectly crisp night out and we couldn’t have been happier. After a while we got out and went back in the room where they proceeded to lather us down in lotion. After leaving there wasn’t an ounce of jet-lag left. We went down to the restaurant by the pool and I ordered a delicious coconut, pumpkin, and prawn soup. Off to bed after dinner for us. All the romantic spa treatments really did us in.
The next morning we awoke to a knock on the door. The night before we left out a piece of paper by our door with what we would like for breakfast and we were awoken to a beautiful breakfast feast. He set it up for us outside so we could enjoy the beautiful morning and view. We enjoyed one of the most delicious cups of coffee I’ve ever had while devouring our breakfast. Shortly after we were picked up at the front of our hotel by our guide for the day. He was the most adorable met I have ever met in my life. He was so happy and jovial and constantly laughing at everything we said. He was so excited that we were American and very anxious to show us his beautiful island. Now, not every island in Indonesia is like Bali. In fact, most are very different in terrain. This island is a lot dryer, less tropical in the foliage, and not quite as mountainous. The work “Lombok” in Indonesian means “pepper” and it was named that because the entire island seems to be covered in pepper plants. These tiny peppers are extremely hot might I add. We were off on a bumpy ride to a traditional village where they specialize in making dark volcanic ash pottery. Jesse and I walked around the Banyumyler Village and were stopped every other minute by the local people to take pictures with them (they love blondes there!). I purchased some beautiful pottery and we were off to the Sukara Village where they make beautiful tapestries the traditional way. The ladies showed us how to weave and they laughed at us and our poor attempt at speaking Indonesian. I picked up a beautiful tablecloth before we headed down to South Kuta to a secluded beach called Selong Blanak Beach. Our guide drove us to a little outdoor restaurant by the beach named Sempiak Villas. We feasted on delicious lemongrass tea and chicken stay with peanut sauce. Oh my goodness it was insanely good. We got all fat and sassy before heading down to the beach to learn how to surf. Note to self: stop eating so much before putting on a bathing suit. After being handed a surfboard a little Indonesian boy motioned us to the sans for some half ass surf lesson on the sand for a few minutes before sending us out in the water. It was one of the most beautiful beaches with white sand and gorgeous mountains in the distance. If I was to learn how to surf anywhere, this is the place I wanted to do it. We got on our boards and paddled out with our teacher. He waited until he found the perfect wave and then he pushed me into it. I paddled as hard as I could until I heard him yell at me to stand up, which I did. BOOM. First time…stood up! I couldn’t believe myself. I know I’m a picture of athleticism (joke) but even I was shocked at this. I glided on top of the water until 10 seconds later my balance gave out and I fell. As soon as I surfaced for air I wanted to do it again. I can see how people get addicted to doing this. Such a rush! Jesse and I spent the next hour surfing and laughing at all the gnarly wipeouts we had. It was a beautiful day and we couldn’t have been happier. Our guide motioned for us to get out because it was time to head back to the hotel. When we got back they informed us that the restaurant downstairs was having a special dinner along with traditional dancers. We headed downstairs to our beautifully romantic beachside table where we ordered a bottle of Rosé. We cheersed to a great day and ate our delicious meal of banana leaf wrapped fish while watching the dancers. I’ll tell you what…we usually venture out for meals but the food at the restaurant was SO fantastic there was no reason to leave.
The next morning we had another delicious breakfast in our room before heading out with our guide for another fun filled day. We drove about an hour away from our hotel to the waterfall at the edge of a volcano. We arrived in the city of Senerru and began our journey with our new guide Mogely who claimed they wrote the Jungle Book about him. He was hilarious, but the hike to the waterfall was not. It was quite treacherous actually! We crossed fast-moving rivers, through monkey infested forests, under vines, and over rocks for over an hour before arriving at the majestic Sedang Gila Waterfall. No one was there and it was completely worth the hike. It was breathtaking. Mogely motioned for us to get in and swim around in the brisk water. We did without hesitation and waded into the water very carefully without trying to slip on all of the rocks on the way in. The water was chilly but refreshing after being so sweaty from hiking. Jesse and I swam around in awe of such natural beauty. I just floated on the water on my back watching the water come down. It was something I can’t really describe. Pure happiness and content and joy. I wish I could bottle that feeling. After swimming for some time it was time to make the dreaded hike back. Once we got back to the entrance we grabbed a quick meal of mei goran (traditional noodle dish) and then headed to a very traditional village in the mountains. There was no electricity in sight, only people walking around barefoot on dirt around their huts. Very poor place but it is a good reality check on how some people live their lives and lucky we are. We got back in the van to head back to the hotel. On our way our guide mentioned that he knew of an amazing fish satay roadside stand. It was his favorite and he wanted to show us. We of course were extremely excited and said yes. He pulled over and we got out. It was just two ladies sitting on the side of the road over a small grill. One lady was coating the fish and putting them on skewers and the other lady was grilling them. As quick as they were coming off of the grill we were gobbling them up. They were unreal. A tad spicy but completely addicting. We couldn’t stop. After about 10 or 12 or maybe even more we finally got full. I asked him to ask the lady what the ingredients were for the marinade and he translated it for me: Crushed up macadamia nuts, then chili sauce, coconut milk, garlic, onions, salt, and pepper all perfectly pureed. The fish were smothered and then grilled to perfection. Another note to self: try and make this recipe. Our guide dropped us off and bid us farewell. We were being picked up by a boat for a romantic sunset side. Are you seeing a common theme here with this trip? This precious little fisherman motioned for us to get on the boat and we rode off into the sunset and along the beautiful rocky coastline. He dropped us off at the beach behind out hotel and we spent the rest of the sunset with a bottle of rosé on the beach. Another great day. We changed out of our bathing suits and went back down to the restaurant for dinner. We started off our dinner with a coconut water and lime leaf martini. Whoa. That thing was delicious. After a few of those we were getting hungry. I ordered the green coconut curry. It. was. crazy. good. One of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I still dream of that beautiful curry that I devoured out of a coconut. Jesse and I waddled back to our room for the last night. Tomorrow we were off on another adventure.
The next morning we had breakfast by the water and soaked up the last bit of the Lombok rays. We sadly checked out of our beautiful hotel and headed towards the beach to board the ferry. We were off to the very small island of Gili Trawanagan for more fun. Beautiful Lombok, lush Quinci Villas, and our adorable guide made our trip to this lovely island an unforgettable experience. We had such an amazing and I highly recommend a side trip from the hustle and bustle of Bali to check out Lombok.