My friend George and I are riding our motor bikes around Lombok for a few days. George enjoys touring and I’ve been wanting to visit NZ friend Julian to see his subdivision in Kuta-Lombok (https://www.kutaheights.com/) as well as ride over Mt Rinjani an active volcano and the second highest mountain in Indonesia. We plan to head over by ferry, ride around and overnight on the north coast, and then ride over Mt Rinjani, down the east coast and across the south to overnight at Kuta-Lombok and then back to Bali the next day.
Seminyak Bali to Medana Bay Lombok
A nice ride in the early light to the ferry at Padang Bai, we squeeze our bikes onto the deck and sit back to watch the loading chaos. Passengers push and hustle as food vendors calmly go about their ritual. The ferry is tired and in no hurry to reach Lombok so we arrive an hour or two late.
We ride north in the late afternoon winding around the coast as we queue behind a funeral procession, and later we patiently queue again behind a marching band. Then it’s past the smoked fish stalls and the rowdy village soccer games. As the sun sets we settle into the Medana Bay Marina and as we watch the yachts bobbing at anchor in the quiet bay we chat to a couple of German adventurers sailing around the world.
Medana Bay to Kuta-Lombok
Morning ride around the coast through rural villages with smoky fires and around fishing bays. Up the mountain road winding through dappled light broken by the occasional village with racks of onions drying in the sun, the temperature drops and our ears pop. Sembalun village with its vegetable fields and colourful mosques sits in the mountain pass, it’s the salad bowl of Lombok and the starting point for Mt Rinjani trekking.
It’s a lazy Sunday so families relax, children play and pickup trucks full of young girls wearing colourful head scarfs wave and yell ‘hello mister’. Down the other side and onto the humid coastal plains. At Haji a fishing town we lunch and chat to the locals as dokars loaded with produce clip-clop around town. Then it’s on to Kuta-Lombok the new boom town where we catch up with Julian and head out to dinner.
Kuta-Lombok to Seminyak Bali
Only us in this small hotel, breakfasting as we overlook the transformed but deserted beachfront. Gone is the shanti town of warungs replaced by a wide paved promenade. We join Julian for a tour and intro course in Kuta Lombok Real Estate and Development. The international airport has been completed, two massive resorts have started, land for the Club Med has been allocated, a Grand Prix circuit has been cut and filled and a giant mosque completed. Julian’s development on the hill overlooking the bay is coming along nicely. George comments on the number of cars with plates from Surabaya and Jakarta. The vision for Kuta and southern Lombok rebranded Kuta-Mandalika is huge and the wealthy are starting to circle, as Julian observes there are always opportunities for the brave and swift.
We head back to Lembar and hang around the dock. There’s the usual scramble onto the ferry, we’re outnumbered by the vendors and then an out-of-tune band plays as a member passes around the hat. The ferry refuses to leave until it’s ready, relaxing a little longer during the ‘call to prayer’.
Finally we head out into Lombok Strait, hire a mattress and nap on the deck cooled by a gentle breeze. More chaos unloading in Bali, we take it in our stride and head down the highway and home as the sun sets.
We’ve had a delightful few days, thank you Lombok for your beautiful coastline and countryside, your dramatic Mt. Rinjani and your charming local villages. But mostly thank you for your lovely friendly and helpful people.