Life had been understandably quite stressful for me in recent weeks, but with a new camera and passport and a good while since any life-threatening disasters had happened to me, I was feeling much happier and ready to move onto my next destination. Indonesia was a place I’d wanted to visit for a long time, though I can’t really pinpoint a reason why. Needless to say, I was very excited. After a long night in Kuala Lumpur, I boarded my flight to Lombok. Things got off to a disappointing start when the plane made an aborted landing and then I discovered Indonesia’s new visa-free policy only applied at certain airports and Lombok wasn’t one of them so I had to fork out 500,000 rupiah (£25) for a visa on arrival. At least my new passport is starting to fill up though!
At the quaint airport, I grabbed a taxi to Kuta in the south for 90,000 rupiah. Lombok’s Kuta is apparently world’s away from its namesake in neighbouring Bali. Whereas Bali’s town is known for late night partying and boozing, the Lombok beach destination is quietly chilled but still with stunning beaches. As someone remarked to me, Kuta Lombok is pretty much just two or three intersecting roads rather than a town. My accommodation, Same Same Bungalows, was great, close enough to the action but also slightly out of the way. Breakfast in the little garden was a particular highlight.
Most people hire out motorcycles to whizz around Kuta and its surrounding beaches, hence the large number of Westerners looking like they have no control whatsoever. Given the fact I don’t drive and my last jaunt on a quad bike left me in hospital, I played it safe and remained on foot. The town itself has a large stretch of sand which is picturesque but a nightmare to walk on. A stroll along the beach involves you sinking half a foot into the sand and then having to wade through. It’s best to pick a spot and stay there.
Further afield, I only ventured to the east but Seger Beach was about an hour’s walk away and was beautiful. The sea was dazzling, the sand was walkable and there are some great nearby hills to walk up and soak in the view. There’s not much in the way of refreshments at this one so bring your own food and drink. Kuta itself has got plenty of restaurants – from cheap warungs where the average meal goes for 20,000 – 30,000 rupiah (£1 – £1.50) to Western places serving pizza and burgers. You can eat ridiculously cheaply in Indonesia. The bars were great too. There’s usually live music playing somewhere, whilst the bars on the beach will normally get a campfire going to battle the surprising chill which hits when night falls.
Kuta was chilled out and a great introduction to Indonesia but you had to go further afield to get the amazing beaches. Bogged down by laziness, I wanted paradise on my doorstep so it was time to head North to the Gilis…