Wednesday, December 2, 2009


1. Nov 30 (Day 47), we left Dompu early to catch the ferry back to Lombok. We had early lunch at Besar and managed to get to Pato Tano at 1.30 pm and catch the 2 pm ferry. This ferry was an old ferry and I had to reverse some 200 m from the shore into the ferry as it had only one ramp door. The strain contributed to my need for regular massages. At about 3 pm, Mt Rinjani was in sight and we were promptly back in Lombok at 3.30 pm.

2. After landing, we headed north along the coast towards Bayan, in the north Lombok. Soon, we were passing paddy fields which were cultivated around the many stones. It was quite a sight. The area could have been part of the sea before. It was a scenic drive passing one village after another, and their paddy fields.

3. At Bayan, we decided to depart from the main road and head south towards Senaru. Located on the north slope of Mt Rinjani, it is one of the launch points for trekking up Mt Rinjani. From there, we would have a wonderful view of Mt Rinjani. We got there at about 5 pm, and we were not disappointed. We stayed at Pondok Senaru for 200 000 Rp a night (about US$22). From the hotel, we had a great view of Rinjani. I love this sunset view of Rinjani with the rays emanating from its peak.

4. We only intended to do a overnight stop at Rinjani. We were told that trekking up to the peak of Rinjani would take at least 3 days and 2 nights out in the field. The hotel staff tempted us by telling us there is lake up there which one can fish, a hot spring and a baby volcano. It was not possible for us to do this this time, as we had promised our daughter to be back in Bali on 2 Dec. We promised ourselves that we shall return.

5. The morning view of Rinjani was just as spectacular. I did qigong at 6 am facing the mountain. The rice terraces illuminated by the morning sun looked beautiful.

6. At 9.30 am, we were ready to continue our journey along the coast, round Lombok. Before we did, Li Hoon had a picture with the friendly staff from the hotel. Unfortunately, it was low season and they had little to do.

7. Along the shady drive were many paddy fields. Some were ready for harvesting.

8. At Sira, we started to check out hotels to stay for the night, before we head for Bali the next day. We wanted a less crowded place to stay and avoided Sengigi. We checked out The Oberoi and Hotel Tugu Lombok but at more than US$200 a night, they were above our budget. Nonetheless, Sebastian Liehold, the Director of F&B of Tugu was very kind to show us around the very interesting hotel and showed us the whole range of rooms they had. We were told that the owner of the company is a keen collector of Indonesian arts and antiques and he used them to design and decorate his hotels, including moving a wooden temple from somewhere to his Sira property. It is a strongly thematic hotel which some would appreciate.

9. After some negotiation, we were delighted to check into Qunci Villas at Mangsit for US$80 a night. A chic hotel, we had a beautiful room on the first floor (I particularly like the colourful painting on the wall), with a spacious balcony and a comfortable day bed. The pool area, in my view, is the hotel's main attraction. Well designed deck chairs line one side of the pool; and facing west they were popular spots to sit and enjoy the great views afforded by the setting sun. I particularly like this sunset shot, with the stone fountain pot in the foreground, as if the light was emitting from the pot. I spent quite a bit of time in the pool.

10. In the evening, we had Indonesian dinner at Yessy Cafe at Sengigi. Mardi is the owner of the restaurant and Yessy is the name of his daughter. Mardi is 2nd from the right. He took a long time to look at my car and took picture of it with this handphone camera. He then came talking to me, telling me that he had not seen a car like mine in Indonesia, liked the look of the car and whether I was prepared to sell my car. He looked serious but was probably joking. Told him I can't as Indonesia Customs requires that I reexport my car out of Indonesia when I finish my holidays. He gave us a complimentary dessert and wanted to give us 2 coconuts to put in the car. A very nice fellow.

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