Kuta Lombok – Beach Parties, Surfing, Pies and Flat Tyres

After a few amazing and relaxing days in Nusa Lembongan, we made our way over to Lombok island to meet up with our friend Jack from Vietnam.

Lombok is a huge Island in West Nusa Tenggara, which is East of Bali and is surrounded by the smaller Gili islands.  Lombok is known for its pristine and unspoilt sandy beaches, world-class surf and lush jungle vegetation.  One of the main tourist pulls of Lombok is the volcano ‘Mount Rinjani’ which is the second largest volcano in Indonesia, and only erupted last in 2010!  We didn’t end up climbing this, as it is pretty intense and it was never really mentioned, however the people we spoke to that had done it, said it was incredible but bloody hard work! There are hot springs on the way up, however most tours only allow 20 minutes there before continuing up!
Many backpackers skip out Lombok when travelling indonesia, however it really is worth a visit! We headed to Kuta which is South of Lombok Island.
We played a very competitive card game of ‘shithead’ for two hours (great game!) on the boat over to pass the time and help me forget I was seasick.
When we arrived, we found out that Kuta is 2 hours drive from the Ferry port! We had somehow befriended two random boys – one German and one Swedish – that both had a surf board and loads of bags.  So instead of easily finding a car for the four of us, we now had to find a bus for 6 people and LOADS of bags haha but it did actually work out in our favour because we could share the cost!
We dropped them at banana homestay and never saw them again!
We carried on through the very small village of Kuta and drove around for quite a while trying to find the homestay Jack had booked us into and told us it was called ‘Welcome Together’.  After not being able to find it, and almost giving up, it turned out it was actually just called ‘together’ and he had read the welcome sign wrong haha.
It was the simplest and most basic accommodation I have literally ever seen! We were shown to our little pink house that the four of us were sharing and it was honestly like a crack den! At first, it was fine and we didn’t mind too much because we were paying $15 between us each night which is an absolute steal! So we just told ourselves it was fine and that it had ‘character’!  Leanne and Callum had a mattress on the concrete floor and Matt and I had a bed in a dingy red room with the tiniest, least breezey window in the world.  The bathroom also had a freezing and grimy concrete floor, no windows, hundreds of geckos and no light (which I accidentally broke because I thought it was a pully one…turns out I pulled the wire and it fell down).  Like I say the first day there was ok, however after 4 people had been living there a week and it hadn’t been cleaned once, it was gross!! It stank, was dingy, covered in sand and felt so depressing haha thats probably the reason we went out every night!
In all fairness…we could have cleaned it but we would rather live in the filth haha backpackers through and through.
When we had shoved our bags down, we rented motorbikes from the homestay for $5 a day and set off on a mission to find Jack at the beach.  He had arranged for us to meet him at Mawi Beach, however we had been driving for what felt like ages and finally came to a beach called ‘mawun’.  We weren’t sure if he had just got it wrong again but it turns out he was right but this beach was at least 30 minutes from our homestay!  When we got there though, it was a beautiful secluded bay with white sand and clear turquoise water!  It was so good seeing Jack, and he was so excited we were there. It was 3pm and he was already smashed and kept going ‘one more beer for the ditch’ haha.  When he got on his bike to try to ride off, he was going about 5mph up the beach drive and then just stopped leaned and rolled off the bike!  He had a girl on the back that wasn’t impressed so they both just got on the back of other peoples bike to get back to the accommodation! Dolls Head!
This beach is perfect for chilling and relaxing with not many people around, however there is only really one food stall but the nasi goreng was quite nice and was about $2!
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We headed out that night to go and experience the famous beach parties Jack had told us about.
He was informing us of the night before when he had ended up locked in a random homestay 20 minutes down the road.  When he woke up and didn’t know where he was, he tried to climb out the window only to be greeted by a security guard who made him pay for the night before he could leave! haha!
When we got to the beach bar, they also informed him he had fallen asleep there and needed to pay his tab!  Literally everyone in the town knew his name haha.  The beach bar was called ‘shipwreck’ and was pretty cool, the bar was an old boat – so simple but quite effective – all set out with tables on the sand with a live band, flowing drinks and a big dance floor.  Everyone was happy and it was such a nice vibe!
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The locals all look like proper surfer beach bums!  Stereotypically sporting long hair, Bob Marley inspired clothes and normally with a joint on the go.  All really nice though!
We went out a couple more nights but it was only really good the first night when it was new…it sort of got a bit boring after that to be honest.
You get swarmed by the cutest Indonesian local children that try to sell you handmade bracelets.  I fell for it the first few times because they were so cute, and natural born sales people but when you say no, they get very annoying and won’t leave you alone.  One was hitting leanne in the back with his bracelet board for 10 minutes to make her turn around!  I still ended up filling my arm with stereotypical ‘traveller bands’ haha.
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We stayed in Kuta Lombok for around a week, and it was P1080899so relaxing we literally just went next door to a restaurant called ‘Drifters’ every morning for the best fry up (actually tasted like English bacon!) and then head to the beach.
The boys would always buy a pie on the way from the ‘early bird cafe’ as they again were just like the ones from home and after eating Asian rice for so long, its amazing to have home comforts! The pie lady knew us and always stocked up for them!
The drive from Kuta to the beach was just stunning.  It reminded me of the set of Lost, like a beautiful green jungle that rolled into perfect sandy beaches.  It was amazing.
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The beach we ended up spending most of our time at was Selong Belanak…this has a few more options of restaurants that Mawi beach, but is a lot busier as it is the best beach for beginner surfers.  Matt took Leanne and I out surfing and we were still so crap!! I managed to get up on one leg but that was after 2 days of trying!
One of the days, the boys went on a mini surf trip and hired a boat and went to a surf spot break called Gerupuk.  It was a really big swell this day and Leanne and I knew there was zero chance we could get out the boat and have a go so we decided to leave them to it and go and sunbathe with our new no factor oil (SO stupid I know but there was no choice in the shop haha).
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We got a bit bored of sunbathing and decided to hire boards ourselves and try and master the sport once and for all, and then boast to the boys that we managed to do it without them.
This was not a good idea.  It did not end well.  As I said, the swell was huge and no one was even really surfing in Selong Belanak which should have been a major warning sign!
We headed to the end of the beach as someone told us thats the only bit for beginners that was safe that particular day, but the current must have dragged us to the centre of the beach, with the biggest and roughest waves!
We both stupidly paddled for the same huge wave, obviously misjudging the size of it, and literally nose dived straight into the sea bed as the wave was breaking, and smashed the boards into us.  I landed on my head and every time I tried to get to the surface another huge wave would smack me on the head!!  We both dragged ourselves out the sea – looking like the most uncool people on the whole beach – and we had attracted quite an audience.  We had seaweed all in our hair, wedgies, and terrified but very embarrassed expressions! We both stormed up the beach, handed back the boards and swore that was the end of our surfing career.
This was of course never mentioned to the boys!!
They turned out to have a really good surf trip and Matt caught a fair few big ones!
It was here we extended our visa for Indonesia to two months.  It was very easy to do (even though it turns out we didn’t even need to do this because we left in time) and all we had to do was pay someone in a travel office $70 each and they sorted everything for you.  They just had to arrange a day to take us down to the embassy to get our photo taken and finger prints recorded.
On one of our last days, we decided we needed to see more of Lombok, and set out to visit Air Terjun Bengang
IMG_3079Kelambu waterfall, which is 2 hours from Kuta.  Every man and his dog tries to sell you a tour here, however it is just as easy to just go at it alone, and probably a lot cheaper.
Well I say it is easy, and for most people it is, but obviously this is us and things often go pear shaped!
We set off and it was all going well, we drove through busy towns, on main roads until we finally got out and into the small villages.  It was so lovely as everyone w
ould wave and the children would shout hello and be so excited when we greeted them back.  These people must get barely any tourists passing through!
Anyway, it was all going swimmingly until… we got a flat tyre.  Perfect!
We kept going for a while but it got to the point that we had to change it, and we had already passed a tiny garage a while back.  I had to get on the back of Callum and Leannes bike, while Matt floored it to the garage as quick as possible before it broke the inner tube and actual frame.
When we got there, no one spoke English and the mechanic didn’t really have a clue what he was doing.  I was playing with the adorable children so I was quite happy, but the tyre was no closer to getting sorted.
Matt and Callum eventually took over and just started to work on it themselves with the most basic and oldest tools in the world!
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We made good friends with the locals that owned the stand, even though none of us could speak the same language!
An hour later, we were finally ready to set off towards the waterfall! Literally after driving not even 5 minutes the skies opened up and torrential rain began!! It was crazy! HA we looked as though we had been swimming in the waterfall before we had even arrived…and to top it off, it was bloody freezing as we were now up in the mountains.  We hadn’t really felt the cold like this since Dalat in Vietnam.
When we finally pulled up, we were all drenched, shaking from the cold and really over the waterfall before we had even seen it! But we soldiered on through and told ourselves it was good to explore new things rather than sit on the beach all day every day!P1080966
There were several tour options you could take depending on how many waterfalls
you wanted to visit etc.  The most was 5 waterfalls, but this also meant about 3 hours of walking through the rain forest.  We agreed on three waterfalls and to take to mopeds rather than walk!
I immediately regretted this decision when we were led down a steep, slipp dirt track.  We were slipping over all over the shop and the surf board stand on the side of the bike kept hitting rocks…it was so terrifying Leanne and I walked in the end! Anyway after a long traitorous journey we finally made it to the waterfalls.  It was too cold to get in and we ended up just standing there looking at it for a few minutes before moving onto the next one.
The next one was huge and they give the option to dive in.  The boys were all up for it but it was just far too cold and a bit pointless.
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So in honesty…the waterfalls were a let down.  I’m sure when the weather is perfect and you haven’t been stuck on the side of the road for nearly two hours with a flat tyre, they would have been impressive, but we just left feeling a bit like it was a waste of time.
All in all though, Kuta was a fab place to go and chill out without spending loads of money and we would definitely go back and visit different areas of the island of Lombok.

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