Sunday, 23 September 2012

Discovering Lombok

If you enjoy exotic locations, stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, and glorious tropical blooms, you have a treat ahead in my next few posts. Mind you, there's lots to see, so you might need to make yourself a 'cuppa' (or pour yourself a glass of chardonnay for that matter) and put your feet up.

I was only back at work for a short time in Jakarta before I was needed to attend a conference to be held in Senggigi in Lombok. The conference concluded on a Friday, which gave me the opportunity to stay on for a couple of days and have a look around the nearby Gili Islands.

For those who haven't heard of it, Lombok is the next island to the east after Bali. (Jakarta where I work is on Java, the much larger island to the west of Bali.) I flew into the new international airport at Mataram quite late and then had a long drive to the Jayakarta Hotel at Sengiggi where our conference was to be held, so it was not until the next morning that I had much idea of the terrain. Needless to say first impressions were very favourable. However it wasn't long before I realised to my horror that I had left my camera battery recharging on my desk back in Jakarta.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it wasn't till day two that I was able to duck out and buy a new little camera and start clicking, although I didn't master the macro settings in time to be able to share any good close ups of the local blooms.

I'm not normally a big fan of kitsch in the garden, but I fell in love with this quizzical monkey.

Garden bed including rhoeo, canna, iris and gokarna jasmine (not sure of the name of the variegated plant though I have seen it often, a type of euphorbia, perhaps?)

 The splashes of lime foliage in the garden beds come courtesy of the Gokarna jasmine Pseuderantermum reticulatum, (also known as the Gold Net bush and the Gold Vein eranthemum) which I featured in an earlier post on Bali. You can see the pretty two-toned flowers at this link. 

Another example of the orchid-coconut shell combo (especially for African Aussie)


I love the large-flowered, marblised flowers of this euphorbia

An out of focus Bleeding Heart Vine Clerodendrum thomsoniae

This yellow iris is used widely throughout much of south-east Asia, including Jakarta, as a bedding plant.

Pandanus marked the division between hotel grounds and the beach.

Looking north from the hotel towards Senggigi

Once formalities were concluded on Friday, like many other conference participants my colleague Nantyo and I jumped in a taxi and headed north, past the town of Senggigi about 8 km north of our hotel, and along the Coast towards Bangsal to take a ferry across to the Gili Islands. Luckily, we had a very cooperative driver who was happy to go along with regular photo stops.

Looking back towards Senggigi

Our destination shimmering on the horizon - the Gili islands

I'll share my impressions of the Gilis in my next post. I spent a great two days there before Nantyo, one of the other conference members, and I headed back to Lombok and the airport at Mataram. They had a flight mid-afternoon on Sunday, while mine was mid-evening, so after dropping them off I decided to make the most of my time and continued on to have a look at Kuta in the south of Lombok, as opposed to Kuta in Bali.

To those who know the latter, the two Kutas are a world apart. One brash, commercial, chaotic and tourist-infested to within an inch of its life, whereas I think the images of Lombok's Kuta speak for themselves.

Seger Beach

I just loved the sarongs on these ladies at nearby Seger Beach and bought a beautiful pink, mustard, and turquoise one from them.

Detail of the artwork on a lovely wooden bowl I bought at an artists' market called Sayang Sayang in Mataram on the way to the airport. The diamonds and triangles are inlaid pearl shell.  I gave this one to my friend Adri but have two more that I think will be coming to live at Casa Bella.

In case you doubted the work connection and thought I was one of the idle rich!

I have become quite nostalgic looking back over these photos, although they are only a couple of weeks' old. The beauty of Lombok is that it is so peaceful and undeveloped, but it is tipped as the next big thing due to its proximity to Bali. There are now regular fast boats between the islands. I am so glad that I got to see a little of Lombok as it is now, and I hope that whatever development plans lie ahead, they are sympathetic to the island's natural beauty.


  1. Beautiful photos - so glad you went and got another camera! thanks for the orchid in a coconut reminder - it is still on my to do list! gosh I love that pandanus lined pathway. Just looking at it is so peaceful - I can just imagine what it would have been like to wander down there.

    1. I suspect I will be collecting coconut shells too next time I get a little further north in Queensland. The pandanus were gorgeous, almost sculptural forms.

  2. Again such a beautiful place. I know you are there with work but if you ever need an assistant or someone to carry your luggage I could be convinced to volunteer. That scenery is spectacular.

    1. I will bear your kind offer in mind. After all, we Brisbane girls need to stick together.

  3. Argh, all that beauty and a camera crisis! I'm glad you managed to overcome it.

    1. It's not the first time, so from now on I'm taking my new little spare camera wherever I go.



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