Hey, everybody. Can’t believe this is only my second travel blog entry after last year’s maiden Vietnam trip post. If you haven’t read it, you can read that particular post here.
Most of my previous posts were all reflections or on filming or work-related, so I’m not exactly the best versed at travel blogging. So do be kind!
This was a much needed getaway for me after an intense period of work and self-searching for what has felt like an eternity. My personal therapist and close friends have also shared that I looked visibly drained in recent months.
I guess the fact that I’ve had to contend with discernments in both my professional and personal life has exacerbated the process, and made this trip all the more a necessity ahead of the craziness that lies ahead.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Lombok is an incredibly beautiful island, filled with lush greenery and surrounded by crystal clear blue waters. I feel it is way under-rated when placed in comparison to its more famous and illustrious cousin, Bali. Oh, and did I mention that it is a lot more affordable as well?
Being able to speak the language does help me a lot of course, me being half-Indonesian from my mother’s side of the family. But even without this benefit, getting around is not too difficult particularly when the locals are all really friendly.
There is much more to Lombok than what I actually came here to experience this time, with trekking on Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia, a popular choice – usually 3 days 2 nights from what I heard. This includes a stop at the lake after catching the sunrise on the summit.
But I decided to give it a miss this time. I came here to recharge and refresh, thank you, not to kill myself! There are also plenty of other hidden gems on this island as well, some of which you can read here. Thank you Serene for the link for research. 🙂
Food wise, Lombok offers a good balance of local and western cuisine mainly. Food quality is great of course, you seldom go wrong with Indonesian cooking. 🙂 Price wise it is also very affordable, although it does get slightly pricier at touristy spots such as Gili Trawangan.
Snorkeling at Gili Islands
After spending a full first day at the hotel doing practically nothing (I needed this), and a full body and facial massage, the second day was brimming with activity with my visit to the Gili Island archipelago: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Thank you Sol for the recommendation!
I’ve never been the best of swimmers but somehow seeing how beautiful the waters were I just felt it would be a total waste to come here and not experience the snorkeling. So it was a full day of snorkeling off all three islands, with lunch in between.
Apart from some beautiful corals and sea life, chasing sea turtles was certainly my highlight of the day. I also learnt that sea turtles are solitary creatures, much like introverts like some of my friends and family (hur hur) – so they aren’t usually spotted where there is a big crowd.
You can watch my underwater experience in the video embedded here.
This meant we needed to travel to deeper waters and more remote spots, but our effort wasn’t wasted and I managed to spot five sea turtles in the end, all floating around lazily like they didn’t have a care in the world. Such freedom! I am envious.
Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfalls
After a night’s rest, the second day was spent on a mini trek through the monkey forest to visit two of the waterfalls on Lombok. There are others, but these two were relatively near each other – Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep.
Apart from Niagara Falls which I’ve been to several times during my six-year stay in Canada, I have actually never been to any other major waterfalls of note before, let alone to have had the chance to play in one. The one in my mom’s garden doesn’t count!
So let’s just say this was one unforgettable experience for me even though I was travelling alone.
I even made a couple of local friends with the kids and guides along the way. Of the two falls, Tiu Kelep is the more impressive falls for me.
There is nothing that beats the feeling of standing under a waterfall and letting the cool pounding water run all over your body like a free massage and shower. Alright, maybe more cold than cool, but your body feels warm immediately after that.
You can see how much I enjoyed myself in the video embedded here.
I strongly recommend those who haven’t made a visit to these falls before to do so at some point.
The final day in Lombok was spent winding down again, learning to be still and at peace with myself and appreciating the quietness. I am really starting to enjoy the moments of stillness I get these days. My senses are heightened whenever that happens. And those moments feel so full.
I don’t know if you guys know what I mean: there are moments in our lives when we are surrounded by many people yet feel alone, but this is the total opposite. To be surrounded by no one, yet to feel so full, so appreciated. So loved.
Anyway, it’s back to work on Monday. And here’s praying that I will be mindful in my dealings with people, to be fully present, and to bring this fullness into each moment I have at work to allow those around me to share in this fullness and love.
This is JY7, signing off.