Our few days in Lombok were filled with motorbike rides, markets, beaches, getting lost, and epic waterfalls. Lombok is much quieter than Bali and a lot cheaper. The environment is quite different as you begin to see more mosques and less Hindu temples. The progress and growth doesn’t seem to be as vast, and Senggigi Beach, a popular beach town, seemed more like a ghost town of resorts.
For Bali high season, it was quite impressive how few people were floating around this seemingly very touristy spot. It looked as if at one point in a not so distant past many people heavily invested in this place, and it somehow fell a bit flat. Then again, this is Lombok, not Bali.
There are several beautiful beaches and small islands that comprise Lombok, we saw a few along the way, but kept our home base at Senggigi. Kuta beach in Lombok, I’ve been told, is spectacular and serene. In essence, the exact opposite of its counter part in Kuta, Bali.
The island of Lombok is beautiful (at least the small portion of it I saw) and has a lot of unique natural beauty. Our first day, we toured around on motorbikes to a traditional market in Lombok. I love markets in other countries, after waterfalls, it’s one of my favorite experiences. Mostly because you really get to see how people live and interact and buy food.
Eating and food plays such an important part in culture and lifestyle that it’s amazing to see how people treat such a primal, basic yet beautifully cultural need. Food is often what most backpackers miss about their homes after they’ve been traveling for a while. It’s food first, and then people. That’s how important it is.
Market life was quite interesting during the time we were there. It was in the middle of Ramadan, the Muslim’s holiest of holidays where devotees do not eat during the day for nearly a month. We observed people buying food with full restraint, knowing that they cannot eat it until well after sundown. Talk about will power!
The traditional market in Lombok was incredibly cheap and filled with lots of unique food and dishes that are local to Lombok and speckled with some arabic influence. I’m not a culinary connoisseur so I’ll let my pictures and videos speak for me.
When we arrived in Lombok, we had met several other travelers and became a mob of ten people: seven Brazilians, one Belgian, one French, and me. My brain was running a language relay race, leaping over Portuguese and French hurdles. It was really cool and nice to know that my Portuguese is getting better, although a bit sad to see how much my French had been lacking.
Together, we had a lot of fun practicing yoga in the mornings and enjoying the beach. We banded together despite our language and culture barriers, which weren’t really that large, and became a loud and proud family. The next few days that followed are some that I’ll cherish for a very long time. This is the magic of Indonesia.