A few days in Sengiggi
After a leisure morning and breakfast we packed up from the Gilis to head to the main island of Lombok (the Gilis are technically also ‘Lombok’). We opt for the public boat/ferry due to cost and were pleasantly surprised with the transfer to Lombok. The medium sized ferry boat was full but not overcrowded at about 35 passengers all sitting on the perimeter of the boat. As the boat departed we observed some of the tourist transfer boats weighted down with passengers and bags that overflowed onto the boat roof. In the middle of our local ferry was room for bags, although since the locals were primarily commuting to work or taking day trips, our lonesome bags rested against the cases of empty Bintang which were headed for recycling. After the short boat ride we arrived in the Bangsal Harbor where we had to hustle past the local crowd of men trying to make money by carrying our bags and get to the closest BlueBird taxi to get to Sengiggi. We hadn’t booked lodging in Sengiggi since it wasn’t busy season, but had a few accommodations in mind to check out. Once again we were able to negotiate a better rate than online and we settled for a two night stay at the Puri Mas Lombok Resort.
Our Sengiggi stories and highlights:
- Best infinity pool we’ve been in yet! The large Puri Mas pool overlooked the ocean where we watched the sunset. One sunset turned out to be a blood red sun which was fascinating to watch fade into the ocean.
- Dinner at Warung Paradiso where we got to choose our own fresh fish for grilling! After asking the waitress, “what kind of fish is the ‘daily catch’ today?”, she replied, “we have several. Why don’t you choose in the kitchen.” We followed our tiny Indonesian waitress into the beach side kitchen and picked the most appetizing fish out of a bucket. The fish was so fresh and tasty! We also enjoyed an in-season mango juice instead of cocktails.
- Amazing breakfasts at Puri Mas! It was an alacart breakfast, but like a buffet.. order however much you want! French toast with berries, salmon spinich benedict, fruit, juice, coffee, eggs, banana pancake, and croissant. Sure, we will take it all! After all, we did have a full day ahead of us exploring town, beach walking and snorkeling.
- We took the resort’s free transportation into the little central Senggigi area…what a let down! We talked to a few vendors about hiking to the top of Rinjani Volcano, hoping that the volcanic activity had calmed down, but no vendors were selling since the whole area was shut down. Although, one vendor tried to talk us into going with them, saying that it was expensive because they had to pay off the police for access to the volcano area! No way! Bummer since we were planning to hike, but better to stay off of an active volcano with recent eruptions. In the end we decided to head south for some diving in Sekotong and surfing in Kuta.
South to Sekotong
If it wasn’t for the amazing resort we stayed at (for another negotiated rate), the Sengiggi area could have definitely been skipped. But as it goes, it was time to check out a new area. We took a taxi south for a couple hours, and once again arrived without a reservation (not a problem lately) and bargained for a nice room in the best resort in the area (there’s only one – Cocotinos 😉 ) that had a dive shop on site. We quickly sign up for diving the next day and excitedly unpacked and settled in for another 2 night stay.
We filled the afternoon with a snorkeling session. The highlight was seeing lots of bright blue starfish everywhere! The low-light was swimming through the 5 meters of shoreline where seaweeds brushed against your body to get to the open water. Worth it! It was then tea time at the resort where they offered free tea and snacks which we took advantage of. We followed it with a beach walk and seashell hunting. Dinner was served at the hotel dining room steps from the beach. We’ve really enjoyed eating beachside/seaside almost everywhere. Tonight was no exception.
Since our gear was fitted the day prior, we simply showed up for the 20 minute boat ride to the island we’d be diving around in what’s called the “South Gilis.”
Notes on Dive #1:
Limited visibility, but a nice dive. Saw a lot of small stuff: crabs, shrimp, snails. Also saw two cuddle fish and a sting ray. Really large coral, cool fan coral, tube coral, neat stuff. Also, a sea spider, that was cool. Lots of feather stars. Our bodies felt great. No ear problems. Seahorse Pygmy on a fan coral, didn’t quite know that at the time.
Notes on Dive #2
Other side of the island for the second dive. Sandy bottom start and we start looking for small life again. Saw some large puffer fish along with lion fish. Ribbon eel coming from a hole in the sand was fun to see. Small white shrimp on a thin piece of coral. Clown fish protecting their anemones with a crab there as well. Feather star swimming. Large shrimp underneath a large piece of coral. Scorpion fish. Green turtle resting, then Jenny saw it poop as it swam off. Dark blue and black sea slug. Anemones that shut quickly when I got too close.
We were both in a bit of a daze after diving. Tired, but feeling good. We lounged around until tea time (4pm), took a short beach walk and eventually dinner rolled around. We ate a fabulous seafood plate with prawns, crab that got messy all over the table, calamari and snapper fish. Easily could have paid 4 times what we did; amazing deal for the price, quality and couldn’t beat the location.
On down to Kuta (Lombok)
Kuta, Lombok (differentiating from Kuta on Bali) is a little spot on the south end of the island that is known for beautiful beaches, low crowds and surfing. We were hoping to tackle it all.
After a yet another 2 hour cab ride we checked into Yuli’s Homestay for a few nights. Our first order of business was to rent a scooter so that we could get some food and then find a swim beach.
After checking-in late afternoon we were both hot, bothered and hungry. We stopped at a highly rated restaurant found on TripAdvisor but we waited an hour and still no food. So we left (we didn’t pay either). We then went to the upscale Novatel Resort’s restaurant for a chicken salad wrap and a juice… a tad more expensive, but quick service instantly put us in better moods. We thought about swimming there, but the low tide told us to move on. We headed further east to another beach that was beautiful… if you only looked at the horizon filled with headlands and blue water. Down at our feet and where we swam was full of trash and seaweed. The water felt good, but not all that peaceful of a swim. Would we end up regretting the decision to come to Kuta? We hoped not…
After our less than thrilling swim we buzzed up to a lookout restaurant to view the landscape from a high vantage point. What a view! From the restaurant balcony we observed several of the beaches, the surrounding hills and the lower villages. They served expensive drinks, but what do you expect with a property with a spectacular view? I sipped on a rosé wine while Jenny stuck to a simple vodka and ice before we headed back to our homestay for the night. The amazing view, the fun of touring around on a scooter helped and coming up with a fun plan for the next day lifted our moods.
Let’s go surfing!
The next day’s mission was to go surfing. We had heard that there were some beginner waves to the west, so that’s where we headed after a nice little post-run breakfast.
It was about 25 minutes before we reached the first beach: Mawi. We were told it was beginner but it was definitely for the more advanced — maybe there was just a big swell on? At the beach their weren’t boards to rent! Argh! So naturally we got in a little bit of a tussle as we were disappointed and didn’t know exactly how to solve the issue (where to go? what will that place be like? does everything just suck here?). But, as we’ve learned together on this trip, we put it quickly behind us and got back on the scooter as a team. Our next destination was labeled as the “most beautiful beach” by our homestay and it turned out to be beyond beautiful and exactly what we were looking for. Beginner waves, beach chairs, and plenty of people around for good ol’ people watching (especially the asian man that looked like the singer Psy who was self-teaching himself to surf). We were thankful to have found a nice beach where we both got to catch some waves on two long boards.
Regarding the scooter and driving, the roads we took were in decent condition (besides the dirt ones) and it was fun to drive because the scenery was beautiful (palm trees, beaches, rock hills, farm land). Don’t discount the facts that there were no speed limits, no traffic, and I had a fun and gorgeous woman on the back of my bike (scooter).
After dinner we noticed that the sunset might be a good one so the search was on for a good spot. We headed back to the Novatel area before heading east on a path and across a bamboo bridge to a lookout over the bay – a great spot to watch the sunset together. This was one of the days we’ll miss when this trip is over.
The next day was actually a rinse and repeat of the previous, minus the frustrating stop at Mawi beach :). Surfing and sunset fun at it’s finest.
Back to Bali – flight? slow ferry? volcano?
We didn’t know if we’d have a flight or not out of Lombok to Bali because of the volcanic ash in the air so we were trying to be mentally prepared for a very long travel day. Luckily we found out the airport was open and there were open seats on a flight to Bali, so instead of taking the slow ferry (4.5 hours plus a long taxi once on land), we took the flight out (25 minutes) and thankfully had a short travel day.
After finding lodging at the PinkCoco in Uluwatu, Bali and renting another scooter we headed to the popular bar, Single Fin, for some sunset drinks. Another day, another island. Our next post will share our surfing adventures we had in the Uluwatu area.
Keep on adventuring,
Will and Jenny