THE WEEKLY #69: LOMBOK THE MAGIC ISLAND
Tropical islands are everywhere. They often have an amazing atmosphere combining island vibes with tranquility. However, it’s not often you end up on an island that seems more like a fantasy, a natural theme park, and a land of pure magic.
Lombok is a tropical island just off of Bali, accessible by plane or ferry. It’s far less touristic than Bali but has just as much to offer in terms of natural wonder. The island is most famous for its active volcano, Mt Rinjani. An abundance of waterfalls, epic coastline, and renowned surf make Lombok one of my favorite islands in Indonesia.
I arrived with my sister, Jorden and also two new mates Jonny and Warren. Our plan was to explore Lombok’s waterfalls and attempt to summit Mt Rinjani. We only had 9 days on the island so we didn’t waste any time.
On our first day, we woke up for sunrise and watched as the local rice fields were slowly illuminated by the morning light. As we watched the sunrise the local monkey population watched over us.
After sunrise, we headed down to one of the most epic waterfalls I’ve ever seen. Tiu Kelep has a huge powerful flow of water but also a series of other falls that seem to shoot out of the wall below. It’s one of the most popular falls on the island but interestingly enough right next to it is another awesome waterfall called Sendang Gile. If it weren’t for the epic Tiu Kelep around the corner Sendang Gile would blow your mind by itself.
More waterfalls would have to wait, we had decided to do a three day Mt Rinjani trekking and camping mission. With barely enough warm clothes and gear we set off on one of the most memorable adventures of my year.
The first day we trekked for 7 hours in a relatively uneventful journey arriving at our epic ridge campsite just before sunset.
At 2 am the next morning we woke and began the steep pilgrimage to the summit of Mt Rinjani. With incredibly steep incline on soft sand, it was two steps forward one step back kind of effort. Our group of five split and I helped my sister battle the harsh cold, wind and unstable trail to push through to the summit for sunrise. It was tough for me as well but was an awesome moment to share the achievement with my sister at the top after the challenging ascent.
At the summit, we found a couple of epic ledges to shoot down into the volcano.
We trekked back down, falling often, but happy to have had a successful morning. A quick breakfast back at camp then straight back on the trail down into the volcano to visit the lake and hot springs before climbing back up the opposite ridge. We would walk from 2 am that morning and arrive at camp at 6 pm. Let’s just say our legs were a little heavy.
Inside the volcano, we often had to remind ourselves we were inside a volcano. It’s easy to forget as there is, in fact, another volcano inside the volcano in the middle of a lake. From the forest, we had some spectacular views of both the lake and the active volcano at the center. It was a scene usually only witnessed on the big screen, usually accompanied by dinosaurs.
After returning from our epic Rinjani adventure we made a game plan for our last 4 days on Lombok. We decided to have one more day of waterfall exploration before heading down south to the beach. We began with a sunrise in Bukit Selong overlooking the rice and vegetable fields before hitting the waterfalls.
Benang Stokel was the choice and it turned out to actually by five incredible falls all within walking distance of each other. This was when I began to understand that Lombok was unlike any other place. It was humble about its beauty but boasted more than most places in the world.
We explored most of the waterfalls despite some heavy rain and had one of the days of the trip scrambling around like big kids under giant showers.
Next week I’m back to Bali for a day before heading off to the Philippines to work with the tourism board!
Hope you all had a good week!