There is always the first time for everything…this quote describes my trip to Lombok..this is the first time I went traveling to a place outside Java or Sumatra (even it’s still within Indonesia)..this trip also become the first time I tried a challenging sport called diving..this trip also the first time I had an underwater hypoglycemia attack..
Lombok is not as famous as Bali, even for some people in this world, they might think Bali or Denpasar as capital city of Indonesia. But if you are willing to go more east, you will find a beautiful place with its tranquility and harmony. You can find Bali in Lombok but you can’t find Lombok in Bali, local people said. Yes, it’s true..you are still going to find a white sandy beach, sacred temple, beautiful scenery..but u still can find another culture which you will not find in Bali. Lombok located in West Nusa Tenggara Province which separated with Bali by Lombok Strait. As many places in Indonesia, Lombok also has rich culture where mostly dominated with Sasak people who culturally like Balinese, but they are moslems. So, you will find a Hindu Temple and a Mosque in one area (Proud to be an Indonesian for its diverse culture 🙂 ).
After arrived in Selaparang Airport in Mataram, I had a lunch in Ayam Taliwang (yes…it’s culinary time), the famous one from lombok. It’s a chicken with a special spice..I highly recommended this food..yummy! My first pit stop will be Sekotong, it’s like 3 hours from Mataram to South West, a quite remote place not like Senggigi or Gili. Sekotong also has a very beautiful scenery and white sandy beach. I stayed in Bola-bola paradise, a small but cozy hotel owned by old couple from Holland *miss them so much*. I picked a bungalow in front of the beach and it gave me a very beautiful scenery in the morning..sitting in gazebo in front of the beach while breakfast, reading a book in a wooden day bed..it’s feel like in heaven! In Sekotong, I tried to do snorkeling in Gili Rengit, Gili Layar, and Gili Nanggu..the underwater world is amazing..some people said they are more beautiful in Sekotong than in Gili Air-Meno-Terawangan..I feel like in the Finding Nemo movie or playing with patrick in spongebob movie..the coral..the fish..I’m thankful that I’m able to see this remarkable underwater world. When staying in bola bola paradise, I had a unique experience when the night comes, Tokek (like lizzard) always “talking”..I barely can’t sleep! Once crossed in my mind to kill that Tokek, but I prefer to ask the hotel’s officer to do it. The hotel officer refuse to do my request since Tokek apparently is kind of sacred animal in Lombok, it’s like a lucky charm. The one who kill Tokek will get bad luck for the rest of their life..Thank God!!!!
The next day planned to go to South East Lombok to Kuta Beach, not Kuta in Bali but in Lombok. Before reach the Kuta Lombok, I stopped by at Selung Belanak Beach, Tanjung Aan Beach and Gunung Perabu look out point. Selung Belanak is white sandy beach with beautiful waves. If you like to surfing, you should try this beach. Tanjung Aan Beach is a nearby beach with Kuta, it has sand as big as pepper grain, yes I’m telling you the truth, it’s like a pepper grain. Gunung Perabu look out point is a hill where you can see Kuta Beach from the top. In Kuta Beach, I stayed at Novotel which has a private-beautiful-white-sandy-beach..I rent a bike in the afternoon to explore the Kuta Area, and to see a sunset..it’s amazing, can’t find words to describe more!
Before I shared my diving experience in the next day, I will give a prologue about me. I’m a type-2 diabetes mellitus sufferer, I have this disease genetically from my dad since mid 2008. As you may read in the link, I have unstable blood sugar condition. I have to consume an insulin to get normal (not normal actually, because it will always higher that normal) blood sugar. I also have possibility to have hypoglycemia attack where my blood sugar suddenly drop which can cause death. To prevent any hypoglycemia, I shall not be tired, hungry, or any situation that can cause it. When you want to dive, first you have to sign the death contract 🙂 , kind of agreement between you and the dive operator that you will responsible for any bad things might happen. One of the check list is “do you have diabetes?”..yes, I do..so the operator recommend me to go to doctor to get their approval. Well, I’m not blame the doctor in Kuta Area, my blood sugar is in normal condition (in my case) for the last two months. So the doctor gave me an approval.
Since I never did a diving before, the dive operator taught me in hotel’s swimming pool for at least 2 hours. Everything was perfectly OK and I declared ready to dive. Some of my mistakes were I did not check my blood sugar before jump to the sea and I did not consumed any food after practiced in the pool. It was 11 AM at noon, when we proceed to dive in the sea. After jump into the sea and I only survived 12 minutes since my heart was beating so fast, my head was spinning around, I felt like about to faint. It’s like all memories in your life pop out like a running text in front of my eyes :). Well, that was the first time and the last time I do diving.
Before going back to Mataram to fly back to Jakarta, I stopped by at Sasak Traditional Village which still has several traditional houses. They make a living by selling hand weaving cloth. Lombok also known with its beautiful pearl. They have some stores to sell pearls for earrings, necklace, or even a brooch.
Since I only have 5 days and 4 nights to explore Lombok, I did not have chance to visit East Lombok, Mount Rinjani, and the famous Gili Air – Meno – Terawangan. However, the amazing days in Lombok makes me always want to come back to this beautiful island. See you soon Lombok!
– More stories are illustrated in my web album “An Illustrated Journey” –