The Wild North
After scuba diving on Gili Trawangan we headed to our last stop in Indonesia: Lombok. The island is often referred to as Bali’s little sister. And I have to say, that’s kinda true. Lombok is way less crowded, more „natural“ and authentic than Bali with all it’s fancy lifestyle restaurants and cafés. BUT, and yes there is a big but, Lombok is loosing this secludedness and authentic vibe, because more and more tourists come here and build all the fancy cafés and places you find on Bali. The transformation Lombok went through in the last 5 years is incredible and frightens a lot of locals (Indonesians and from overseas) who want to keep Lombok as unique and traditional as it is. Well, the new international airport here doesn’t really help either…
So this is for the kind of negative part. But Lombok really is beautiful and I totally get why so many people come here to find a bit of the real Indonesia. When we arrived by boat (pretty rocking, was an adventure by itself to get on and off the boat with the huge backpack on my back) we headed straight up north. Our accommodation was a very unique and special AirBnb – the perfect place! We had our own cozy hut at the Saifana Organic Farm and really loved it there. I even got the chance to take a (cold brrrr) bath in the beautiful stone bathtub <3 The couple that runs the farm is truly inspiring, we had breakfast and dinner together (only made with ingredients that they grow on their farm) with fascinating stories from all over the world. If you get the chance definitely check this place out and support them 🙂
The reason we went up north is actually this amazing waterfall. I think the first time I saw it was on a picture on Instagram (of course 😉 ). It looked so amazing that I definitely needed to go there. So I did my research and finally found this hidden gem, located in the middle of the jungle 🙂 We stood up really early, jumped on our scooter and drove to the starting point of the hike. Even the drive by itself was already so beautiful. Especially early in the morning, when everything is still quiet and sleepy, it’s just magical!
The hike to this majestic waterfall is not that difficult if you know where to go, but I wouldn’t recommend wearing flipflops 😀 It was ok, I made it, but it was indeed slippery 😀 There are no direction signs on the path, so we weren’t sure at all if we were heading in the right direction. We only had some clues from a blogpost we found when I did my research, but it was enough to get us to our destination 🙂 In the beginning the path is pretty obvious, but after a while it ends in a river – and yes you have to cross that river, climb a bit up on the other side and then cross it again to get back on the original side, where you can see the path continuing into the jungle. From there it’s not far anymore and you can already hear the water roaring in the distance (*goosebumps warranty*).
And then you finally come around the last corner and your eyes fall on this scenery for the first time. WOW – it is just unbelievable and I have troubles putting this in words. I’ve seen a few waterfalls in my life, but this one is just out of this world. The way the water strains down through the lush bushes – so stunning! You can’t imagine how loud it is to stand so close next to the water… I couldn’t hear anything else then thousands of litres of water rushing down next to me. Which is super fascinating, but also scaring at the same time 🙂
Even though we met some people on the hike, when we arrived at the waterfall we had it all to ourselves, which was just amazing! I absolutely love to get up early with the first light and be able to have such a special place all to myself and time to really enjoy it for a few moments without thinking about the right angle or light and without taking pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I love photography and the excitement you feel when you are at the right spot in the right moment and the lights just gets insanely good and you can’t wait to see those pictures on a big screen afterwards. But sometimes I feel I should take more time to really appreciate those moments and places with nothing but my eyes. To not get distracted, but to be right there in this moment and just enjoy it!
Kuta and South Lombok
After returning from our waterfall hike, thrilled and overly excited with what we just experienced, we packed up our backpacks once again and took a taxi down to the southern part of Lombok, Kuta. Kuta is a beautiful little town with lots of restaurants and the most beautiful beaches around. We stayed in a surf school to finally learn a bit of surfing 🙂 I’ve surfed before, but only randomly for two-hour sessions every few years. And surfing has been on my bucket list for so long, so I was totally excited to focus on this for the next days. Unfortunately, I have to admit, that I can’t recommend the surf school we choose. The owner, a swedish girl, was super nice and the accommodation beautifully decorated. But I was really missing the „theoretical“ part of the surf course (how currents behave, how to spot the right wave for you, how to get out of a large set without drowning :D) and I felt, that this course was not very well organized and didn’t have a plan. Of course, surfing is practical and to learn it you need to spend as much time out in the water as possible. But after our 5 days, I don’t feel at all able to get into the water by myself, spot a good wave for me and get on the board :/ BUT, we went to some crazy surf spots (one was definitely too advanced for us, as the waves were super big) and I stood some amazing waves, feeling free as a bird and riding it till the very end YAAYY! Only problem after a long wave: you need to paddle aaaaaall the way back outside, which is super exhausting for a beginner without arm muscles haha 😀
In the evenings we explored some breathtaking beaches, saw amazing sunsets and ate a lot of delicious food! Life in Lombok is definitely good 🙂
Nevertheless, I want to point out one thing that really shocked me: The amount of plastic garbage lying around everywhere is insane! People just throw everything away and you end up on this pretty beaches, surfing and swimming between plastic straws and empty ice cream packages – not cool and this really destroys your experience! That said, be careful with plastic, always take everything with you that you brought and think about picking up only 3 pieces of plastic every time you are at a beach (no matter where in the world)! It’s definitely not a big effort and if everyone would do that beaches and the ocean would me much cleaner and of course, nicer 🙂
The beaches I loved most on Lombok:
- Tanjung Aan Beach (crystal clear water and awesome swings for the perfect travel pictures 😉 )
- Selong Beach (meet water buffalos in the early morning and evening)
- Mawun Beach (the waves here are big and break directly at the beach, which is a lot of fun!)