Hi all, I'm planning a trip to Indonesia for july 09. I'm thinking of booking a orangutan/komodo dragon tour with wallace eco tours and than spending a few weeks travelling across lombok and gili islands. Has anyone used this tour outfit? Is lombok and the Gilli islands a good worthwhile spot? I am considering other areas.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
spending a few weeks travelling across lombok and gili islands..
These islands are really small to spend a few weeks. If you head to Lombok do not forget to climb the Rinjani, a splendid volcano.
And you are right to choose the Gili's, these are really a couple a cool islands!!
I definitely recommend spending some time on Lombok, especially the Gilis. They are gorgeous little island and are perfect for a few days' relaxation. I'm not sure you could fill that much time with them, but again, great for a short rest. In my opinion the beaches were superior to anything on Bali. Another good beach can be found a few minutes' drive from Kuta (it's a small town, not to be confused with the mini-Las Vegas on Bali). Tetebatu is a lovely little mountain town that I would also recommend. In general it's a great island that can feel a lot more authentic than Bali with great weather and delicious Sasak food. Have a great time-I wish I were going back to Indo sometime soon!
the gilis were amazing, spent 3 days on trawangan and 7 on air. if your into snorkelling and diving this is the place for you. the snorkelling off gili air is quality, in terms of marine life it was better than any dive i did in thailand. i only managed one dive off trawangan because of money but it was excellent.
also i didnt get to do it but i saw some pics of rinjani on lombok, looked amazing and something il definately do next time.
Here is some info I posted in September 2007, although I was on Lombok and Gili Meno about 6 weeks ago.
I've generally used Perama for travel to and from Bali and Lombok. They have an office in Jalan Legian about 200 metres north of Bemo Corner heading towards Legian.
Pretty reasonable prices for bussing/boating from Kuta to Sengiggi or Bangsal (place to catch boats to Gili islands). The last Perama trip from Kuta to Sengiggi in 2000 took us to the outskirts of Ubud to drop passengers off and pickup more backpackers before heading for Padangbai where the local ferry leaves for Lembar on Lombok. It was a slow trip over the strait, with the locals sleeping inside in the shade and the Tommy tourists (us included) up on the roof sokaing up melanomas.
You could get a fast ferry from Benoa to Lembar but it costs about 5-10 times the local boat fare, and slowly cruising the Lombok Strait is a relaxing way to go.
Most of this info would be in the LP.
Have always stayed at Kontiki on Meno. Nice place, pretty quiet, reasonably priced and the raised dining platform on the edge of the beach is great for viewing Gili Air, Lombok and Mt. Rinjani over breakfast.
Slip on the snorkel and fins and you are a 30 second walk from the deep drop of the channel between Meno and Air. I remember having a snorkel before breakfast outside Kontiki and there was a bleeding turtle having a rest on the sand in about 8 feet of water. That was a real morning buzz!!!
Trawangan is the youth, dive and party island, and probably a bit more expensive than Meno which could be classified as the hippy island to some. Air is more European families if I remember correctly. We caught a local boat to Trawangan for lunch one day and another for lunch on Air the next day. The islands are very close together but the currents between the islands are reputedly very strong.
Some of the my best snorkelling has been on Meno. We organised a boat trip with guide and another couple at Kontiki to go out on the reefs for a few hours. The boatman actually dove down onto the reef to wake up turtles for us so we could see them swim. Not exactly eco-friendly.
Lombok is a lovely island. We stayed at Sengiggi for a few days (very touristy with lots of hawkers on the beach) which was OK, but hired a small motorbike from a guy on the street and took off around the island for 3 days/2 nights. We stayed one night at Tetebatu which was great. Hired another local dude who took us for a hike through the rice-paddies up to the waterfall (the water was very cold coming off Rinjani). I did hear a few years back that some tourists had been mugged while trekking around Tetebatu so caution should be taken I suppose.
The next day we took the rough road over the eastern saddle of Rinjani from Sapit to Sejang and on to Senaru, a small village on the north side of Rinjani. That was a lovely place with nice little restaurants mixed among the basic accomodation. Senaru is the place you start the climb of Rinjani from, but there were reports a few years back of armed robberies of trekking groups when on the 3-5 day hikes.
You have to check out the stick-fighting when on Lombok. Tournaments of locals, all dressed up, beating the crap out of each other with thick cane staves while defending themselves with shields.
Kuta on the south coast of Lombok was very sleepy when we were there, and I would be surprised if it has changed much, especially after 9/11 and the Bali bombings. There is a very expensive Novotel resort about 2 miles walk from Kuta beach.
Our Kuta beachfront accomodation was very basic (concrete building, bed with mosquito net, outside toilet and shower) but cost about $10 AUD for 2 people with breakfast.
After Meno we went to Lembar and got the boat to Gili Nanggu where we stayed for 2 nights. A very small island with one place to stay which was cheap and very basic. Hardly anyone there, with two types of accomodation - concrete building or a few 2 storey Sasak-style huts. Nice beach and decent snorkelling, and very very quiet and relaxing.
Perama has an office in Sengiggi and can organise minibus travel to most places on Lombok along with trips to the stick-fighting.