After spending a few nights in Canggu we were ready to find the more “traditional” Bali, so we took a cheap $35 flight over one island to the east called Lombok. The flight took less than 30 minutes but offered a beautiful view from above. By the time the small plane ascended to the right altitude, the captain came on the speakers “prepare for landing.”
Upon walking out of the tiny airport we immediately ran into a plethora of taxi drivers yelling towards us in search of new clientele. After carefully inspecting each driver, we appropriately chose the nicest looking guy (Jokes) and we were on our way towards Kuta. Driving through Lombok over to Kuta beach was instantly a whole new experience. The island is a lot more traditional and slower paced than Bali, which is exactly what we were looking for. Our first traffic jam in Lombok was a wedding in the streets, everyone dressed in traditional Indo regalia.
The taxi man dropped us off at the beach in Kuta, a beautiful coastal town perched on a Mediterranean blue colored bay. We had no idea where we were supposed to go, only that we were looking for a big white sailboat moored in the bay. The boat was offered as a place to stay from an Australian couple who we emailed through Air BnB.
Finally, after miraculously managing to get in contact with one of the owners of Sailing Adventures Lombok, she met us at the bar and showed us the location of our home on water. By bartering with our photography We were able to stay on the boat for free. “You guys have the place to yourselves, you can wade out on low tide, or take the dingy back and forth, make yourselves at home.” We were both super stoked to be staying on a Catamaran for a few days, especially at zero charge. The view we had every morning and evening was breathtaking. We woke up to roosters, wild packs of fighting beach dogs, or local fisherman starting up their boats, which were nothing more than canoes shaped out of tree trunks with a motor attached to the back.
Once acquainted with the boat we headed back on land to find some local beer and grub. While scoping out a menu at a local beach shack, we heard the familiar accent of an American. “You guys should check out this spot around the corner, it was sooo good and cheap! Best deal we’ve found so far.” We quickly made friends with some young ski bums from Colorado. While enjoying the ease of zero language barrier, we sat down with the couple and became fast friends.
For the next few days we enjoyed cheap meals, copious amounts of Bintangs (the local beer) , lightning storms while partying on the boat and scooting through rice fields and jungles in search of warm waves.
When it became time for us to give up the boat, the lovely Australian couple offered us to stay another night, "No worries mate". So, we took advantage and checked out the great local part scene of Kuta. Each venue has it’s own special night of the week that everyone shows up for. All the local kids, the surfers, backpackers, solicitors, bracelet kids (age 5-12 little hustlers that try and sell you bracelets everywhere you go) and the GIRLS, from all over the world are there and it’s great. There's usually a live band or dj playing all the songs you know, while you’re dancing the night away barefoot on the sandy dance floor.
By the way, If a guy walks up to you holding up mushrooms in a plastic bag that look like they were literally just pulled out of the ground, he isn’t the chef running back to the kitchen with fresh ingredients, those are PSYCHEDELIC mushrooms and they seem to be pretty legal in Indonesia. If you make the purchase make sure to ask him to make it into a shake, I hear it goes down a lot easier.
On our fifth night we had arranged to stay in a small home right near the beach. We had no idea that the house was just a stone’s throw away from the boat. It made transporting our bags and bikes no problem at all and we were soon enjoying a large two bedroom home with wifi and a/c. We stayed a few nights and then moved on to a cheap little surf bungalow for our last night, paying just $7.50 U.S. We made friends with the owner of the small property who was local and a surfer, but due to a minor motorcycle wreck was scabbed up nice and fresh. We wished him a speedy recovery and stoked him out with one of our white Monster Wave tee’s.
After saying goodbye to Kuta, we took a taxi service towards the Gili Island’s. The shady cab driver kept insisting on us paying him more money than we originally agreed upon. He eventually dropped us off at what he said was our destination, but after a few minutes of asking around we realized we were still a good half hour away. We found a guy taking a nap in a fancy minivan, so we asked him if we could pay him to take us the rest of the way. He agreed to our offer, so we packed up the van and were off again. This time we made it. Our driver ended up being a super nice guy and made sure not to leave our side until our boat arrived to take us across the water over to a place called “Secret Island.”