If there is something we learnt while traveling is that the more you know, the less you actually do. There is not two similar places on this planet, and it would be a waste of energy trying to compare them.

Indonesia is one of these places that brought us so many insights and perspectives on what diversity, acceptance and respect mean.

One of Indonesia’s island, Lombok has been one incredible finding. We spent about two weeks in Bali before flying to Lombok. We thought at that point that we had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

How wrong we were!

pantai pandanan Lombok

ANOTHER ISLAND, ANOTHER CULTURE

Raphael (the second half of @letyouwander, my boyfriend) told me about this face of Indonesia.

We knew these facts:

– Lombok has Islam has main religion (Indonesia has 6 dominant religions!).

– We’d find a place less influenced by our western culture (yoga, avocado bowls, wifi,…) and we were excited about that.

– We had no idea what to expect except from that.

That was enough for us. Expectations can ruin experiences, and we’ve already been through that.

We took a bus at the airport, as we travel on a budget, to avoid expensive taxis. And it left us just in front of our hotel Ibludan near Senggigi.

We had the most welcoming guest. She showed us the way to our eco-friendly bungalow through a jungle-like garden. Be prepared to hear prayers from the mosques (it’s crazy the amount of them on the island). They play recorded prayers in Arabic very loud, 4 times a day (one is at 5 in the morning). If you’re lucky like us to have two of them pretty close you might hear two different prayers at the same time. Lucky lucky!

WHEN TRAVEL MEETS CULTURE

Rapha and I grew up in the Caribbean, on the same island but two different countries: The Dominican Republic and Haiti. They shaped our love for travel and cultural discoveries.

When we arrived at the beach Pantai Pandanan we felt that passion again. We had the chance to be the only tourists sharing the beautiful scenery with locals.

The beach is full of little palm houses for fishermen coming back from a long day of work. And their boats floating as the sun goes down, made us feel like we had the world to ourself.

The second beach we went to, Pantai Nipah  is not far away by scooter and is as beautiful as the other one. We recommend both!

Pantai pandanan lombok blue beach

HOW NOT TO GET YOUR SCOOTER STOLEN

The second city we did in Lombok was Kuta. We stayed at Lara Home Stay, a budget-friendly (and with hot shower) guest house. Really nice breakfast and very comfortable for the price!

We had the most unpleasant experience at the beach Tanjung Aan.

We refused to pay the parking the second day as we felt it was a waste of money (and the men were not nice at all).

Trying to outsmart them we find a bad place to hide our scooter, and we walk to the beach with a feeling of pride.

We ended us searching for our “lost/stolen/confiscated” vehicle for hours. The cops had taken “so people wouldn’t steal it”.  So please, even if it’s annoying and you feel like they’re making you pay for nothing: just pay. We honestly got lucky that the police had taken it and not just a thief (they tried to ask us money for the inconvenience but Rapha didn’t have his wallet, “lucky us”).

Apart from this, the beach was beautiful. White sand and deep blue water. Note that it’s a bit more touristic so you’ll have children trying to sell jewelries with a heartbreaking pitch. We recommend not to buy, child labor is not something we support. These kids should be in school.

Tanjung aan kuta Lombok

MOST BREATHTAKING SUNSET SPOT

Not so far from here you can find the most beautiful sunset spot. Bukit Merese is at the end of a not-so-easy path with the scooter. But it’s so much worth it!

Again, you pay an entrance as they “keep your scooter safe” but honestly it’s so little money. Why taking any risks?

We walked to the hills and we waited for more than an hour for the sunset. We could see from the cliff locals down to the water as it was low tide, fishing for seafood.

The sunset was one of the most beautiful we’ve seen. A red sky with a huge light going behind the mountains and the ocean. It feels surreal to witness this. You feel so small on the top of your hill. It’s beautiful.

We fell in love again on this island, and for this we’ll be forever grateful. We hope that Lombok will be reconstructed and shine again.

Bukit Merese sunset Lombok

by Kim Bernet & Raphaël Lauture from @letyouwander

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