Giant Sea Turtles in Heavenly Gili – Lombok

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Gue baru aja balik dari liburan singkat di LOMBOK. Aw! Bali terlalu mainstream, jadi kita ke Lombok aja yah hehehe. Katanya, pas tahun 2012 ini adalah tahun kunjungan ke Lombok yang di promoin sama pemerintah. Sampai di Lombok, udah malem, gelappp….suasana Lombok beda ama Bali. Jadi kalo malem gini agak mati gaya, bingung mau kemana. Ujungnya kita minta dijemput sama hotel dengan biaya Rp.150.000. Lumayan…. mengingat perjalanan yg cukup jauh sekitar 1 jam-an.

I just got back from a short trip to Lombok Island, Indonesia. Apparently 2012 is a tourism year to the island promoted by the government. Perfect! There are many ways to get to Lombok. You can go by boat from Bali Island, or fly straight to Lombok’s new airport. I flew there from Bali because it’s cheaper compare to if I fly from Jakarta. So my route was Jakarta-Bali, few hours in Bali (nice!), and Bali-Lombok, arrived at nighttime. We arranged a pick up service from our hotel in Senggigi area for US$ 15. I thought it was fair enough since the trip takes about an hour or so.

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Gue terakhir ke Lombok 17 tahun lalu!!! OH my, lama banget….jaman masi unyu… belum banyak yang berubah dari Lombok menurut gue selain turisme yang sudah jauh lebih ramai ketimbang dulu. Seneng deh bisa balik lagi.

Passing through the winding roads in Lombok, I remember my first visit here, 17 years go. It hasn’t changed much in my opinion. One thing I know for sure; it’s good to be back!

The next day, we took a cab and paid US$7 all the way from Senggigi to Bangsal Port. It was a half an hour drive passing the coastline of Senggigi Beach. Several times we stopped to take some photos. So very pretty! Even the cab driver took photos of himself with the view as the background several times with his phone. That’s funny. 😀

Besokannya kita naik taksi seharaga Rp.70.000 menuju pelabuhan supaya bisa nyebrang ke 3 Gili. Wah, pas ngelewatin pinggiran pantai Senggigi, aduh wajib berenti banget. Soalnya bagusss pemandangannya. Kita sibuk foto2, eh si sopir taksi ternyata sibuk foto foto sendiri juga pake hp-nya. Kan, dia aja yang tiap hari lewat sini masih terpesona ama pemandangan. Apalagi gue kan yaaaaa!

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my happy smile in Lombok.. can you see my charming photographer on my sunglasses?

At Bangsal, the cab had to stop at a terminal and we chose to take a horse cart proceeding to the Port for less than 2 bucks . It was a short ride, less than 400 meters. Bought the boat tickets for a dollar only and we were on our way to the famous Gilis (small islands). The destination was Gili Trawangan (they call it the ‘Party Island’) the most crowded one out of the three islands -Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno-.

Di pelabuhan, taksi nggak boleh masuk ampe dalem. Jadi kita musti berenti sampai terminal trus lanjut pake delman dengan harga Rp.15.000. Kirain jauh, ternyata denget banget, bisa jalan kaki kalo mau. Disitu kita beli tiket Rp.10.000 (murah banget ya) untuk nyebrang ke Gili Trawangan, pulau pesta kalau kata orang. Disitu sebenarnya ada juga Gili Meno dan Gili Air, tapi kurang ngetop dibanding Trawangan.

Arrived in Trawangan after around 20 minutes boat ride with some locals, tourists, even a lady with heavy groceries, we checked in at our humble cottage located very near to the front beach. They allowed an early checked in (10 a.m) and recommended a café next door (‘Café Kecil’) for a good breakfast. We booked the earliest snorkeling tour via our cottage, leaving at 10.30 a.m. for US$ 10 each. Some Germans staying at the same cottage also booked the tour with us. So off we go! The boat has a glass bottom, so those unable to snorkel, such as an elderly lady on our boat, can also have the opportunity to see a wide array of beautiful multicolored tropical fish along the way.

Sampai di Trawangan (perjalanan pake kapal selama 20 menit kurang lebih), kita turun dari kapal. Itu kapal btw ya, penuh banget sama turis dan orang lokal yang bawa belanjaan kayak ayam hidup, kambing hidup dan sayur mayur! Seru! hehehehe. Kita pun cek in di hotel (baik banget boleh cek in sebelum jam 12 siang) dan makan pagi deket situ, lalu pergi Snorkeling langsung!! Bayar Rp.100.000 per orang, kita dan beberapa turis bule naik ke kapal menuju lokasi  3 lokasi snorkeling di Gili. Ayo masuk air!!!!

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check out our BOAT

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me underwater

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I just love snorkeling. Nothing can be as relaxing as floating amidst a beautiful coral reef watching the undersea life. We were taken to 3 different snorkel areas among the three Gilis. The first dropping area was all right, but the second stop was so amazing! Guess what, we got to see the giant sea turtles! Yeay! Our guide dove in around 10 meters, probably saying hello to the turtles, and not very long the turtles swam up right next to us. Everybody was blown away with that. It was an unbelievable experience, at least for me. In total we saw 5 giant sea turtles swimming around. We even took some clear photos of them. I couldn’t be happier.

Gue jatuh cinta sama kegiatan snorkeling ini. Nggak ada yang lebih bikin santai di hidup ini ketimbang mengapung di lautan luas sambil melihat keindahan bawah laut ciptaan Tuhan. Di lokasi snorkeling kedua, gue terkaget-kaget karena pertama kalinya ngeliat penyu berukuran besar (seriusan gede, gue nggak lebay) berenang kesana kemari. Total ada 5 kali penyu gede berenang disekitar kita. Kata mas guide-nya, nggak boleh dipegang penyu-nya. Cuma boleh diliatin dan difoto aja. Okay! Gue berenang di deket penyu aja udah bahagia banget kok, nggak perlu sampe pegangan….. senangg!

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The third snorkel area was out of this world. I haven’t been to many snorkel places in this world, but this one (Gili Air water) was really really beautiful. It was like a park with colorful flowers, underwater! The corals were alive, and sit nicely just under the surface of the clear blue water. I seriously think 30 minutes given to us to snorkel there were NOT ENOUGH! I was the last person back on boat and seriously straight away planned the next snorkel at the same place. It was heavenlyyyyyyy!!! And it’s in Indonesia!!! ß— proud talk 😀

Dua lokasi snorkeling lainnya nggak kalah cantik. Koralnya hidup, warna warni, ikan disana sini, pokoknya nggak nyesel deh bisa kesini. Bentuknya beneran kayak taman bunga gitu, tapi versi lautan. Bangga banget jadi orang Indonesia karena lautan kita dalemnya sekeren ini.

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Anyway, after that last one, we were taken to Gili Air Beach to have lunch at one restaurant there. Different from my previous snorkel experience where lunch is always included in the paid package, we had to pay extra for this one. The restaurant was pricy and the food was just okay and the service was slow. But who cares! We just witnessed God’s amazing work underwater. That put a smile on my face for hours and hours.

Setelah puas di air, kita dibawa ke pantai di Gili Air untuk menikmati makan siang di salah satu resto disitu. Kirain gratis makannya dan sudah jadi bagian dari paket. Tapi ternyata nggak. Ya nggak ngarep juga sih sebenernya, kan bayarnya cuma seratus ribuuu…Masalahnya, disini makanannya biasa aja dan harganya lumayan mahal. Untung kita bawa duit, kalau nggak kan gigit jari kelaperan. Jadi yang mau snorkeling kesini, jangan lupa bawa duit lebih ya.

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The underwater view of Gili Air was truly mesmerizing. I really should return, maybe soon before everybody else finds out about this place. Haha!

Back to Trawangan, I rented a bicycle for US$ 4  per day and rode around the Island on my green bike (gets pretty challenging at times because of the sand). After an hour, my bike broke down. The chain fell off and the bike alarm couldn’t stop ringing. Arrggghhh! There was a horse and cart passing by (they call it ‘Cidomo’) and helped me carry my bike back to my hotel where I rented it. Along the way, almost everyone asked me what happened. I was a showstopper that noon.

Balik ke Trawangan, kita nyewa sepeda seharga Rp 40.000 untuk bebas dipakai seharian. Di Trawangan pilihannya emang cuma ada tiga: jalan kaki, naik delman dan naik sepeda. Motor nggak boleh disini. Baru dipake satu jam, sepeda ijo gue RUSAK total. Rantai nya copot dan bel nya nggak bisa berenti bunyi. Krrriiinggg! Adoh bikin malu ajaa… semua makhluk yang lewat termasuk kuda yang lagi ngangkut penumpang nengok semua ke gue! Bayangkan! Akhirnya gue berentiin aja Cidomo (delman di Trawangan bernama Cidomo) dan sepeda ijo gue diangkut balik ke tempat penyewaan. Ganti baru ya Pak!

With my new bike, we cycled fast chasing the sunset in the west side of the island. It was pretty far from our hotel, tricky sandy route, but the effort was worth it. The sunset point was perfect! Enjoyed every second of it. There is a café there, called “Paradise Sunset Bar” that offers a fire show after the sun has set. We spent quite amount of time watching and take photographs of it. Cycled back to the center of Trawangan, the bars and cafés have opened and offered any kind of food you crave for dinner. We stopped by at “Beach House Resort Restaurant”. I ordered a very tasty “Spaghetti with lobster served in coconut, lime, coriander and tomato sauce” (US$ 6). Awesome! Afterwards, we had Mojitos drinks (US$ 4) in “Trawangan Café” and had a good time under the FULL moon light. Cheers!

Dengan sepeda baru, gue bisa keliling pulau dengan nyaman (walau rute kadang berat dan berpasir), dan pergi ketempat matahari terbenam, duduk manis, menikmati detik-detik langit berubah warna. Indah banget! Malamnya, kita mampir ke Resto “Beach House Resort Restaurant”. Dari banyak sekali pilihan cafe yang ada, ini kayaknya yang paling menggoda. Makan malam gue sambil ditemani bulan purnama ialah seporsi Spaghetti lobster (Rp.55.000) yang super enak plus segelas minuman favorit, mojito dingin (Rp.35.000 per glass). Malam yang sangat menyenangkan.

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BERHASIL motret bulan purnama-nya – the full moon captured

I remember Boracay (a beach in the Philippines) when I look at Gili Trawangan (read my previous writing on Boracay!). They are slightly similar. Only Boracay has better sand. One thing I realized that here in Gili, we as Indonesians feel like tourists in a foreign country on our own land. Beside the workers and some locals, more Westerners are spotted here compare to the Indonesian people. It is very famous abroad indeed. The Indonesians always thought and say that Lombok is way pricier that Bali. So most of domestic tourists choose Bali compare to Lombok. Ah, they don’t know what they’re missing. Sugary white beaches, amazing underwater view, turquoise water, not crowded, rarely rain (only 2 weeks in a year), no motorized transport, and simply stunning with palm trees that conveniently line the beaches. My only concern was the trash here and there and the horse poo’s smell. They should find a way to handle the issue. Other than that, the Gilis are highly recommended.

Kalo gue bisa bilang, Gili Trawangan mengingatkan gue pada Boracay di Filipina. Bedanya, Boracay memiliki pasir yang lebih putih. Tapi suasananya terutama di malam hari, miripppp banget. Orang-orang banyak yang tetap memilih Bali ketimbang Lombok, padahal Lombok punya pesona yang indah banget menurut gue. Rugi kalo nggak kesini. Satu-satunya yang mungkin harus diperbaiki oleh Trawangan ialah bau kotoran kuda yang ada disana sini. Selain itu, it’s all good.

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can u see the little blue fish – low tide- laut surut Gili Trawangan

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soaking in Gili’s view

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this is Trawangan beach

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The next day, after enjoying a beautiful sunrise we traveled back to Lombok Main Island and ready to explore! Let’s go!

Istirahat kita nggak lama malam itu karena mau bangun sepagi mungkin besoknya untuk bisa menikmati matahari terbit yang terkenal cantik di Trawangan. Setelah itu, gue segera balik ke pulau utama Lombok untuk jalan-jalan lagi. Yuk!

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no matter how many times tides wash the golden sand anew, my prints on the island can never be erased -olivelatuputty.com -@shiningliv

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