Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Lombok Indonesia Trip with AirAsia (Day 1)
Johor Kaki was invited to join the media familiarisation trip to Lombok Indonesia jointly hosted by AirAsia and Lombok Tourism.
This was AirAsia's inaugural flight AK 486 from Johor Bahru to Lombok on 12 July 2014.
Lombok is an island in Indonesia's west, and is just beside and about the same size as it's more famous cousin, Bali island. As Lombok's tourism infrastructure is only just beginning to be put in place, it's natural attractions are still pristine and unspoilt by commercialisation. Lombok is thus a haven for nature lovers and adventure travellers.
For the convenience of Singapore passengers, AirAsia offers the free Sky Shuttle service which can be boarded at three convenient pick up points, namely Queen's Street Terminal, Newton MRT and Kranji MRT station. I found that riding the Sky Shuttle was a breeze though we had to be at the pickup points early in the morning as pickup time was 4:00am.
Our inaugural flight took off from Senai on schedule at 6:50am.
The flight to Lombok took 2 hours 50 minutes arriving in Lombok at 9:40am.
I was looking forward to local Lombok food, and meanwhile, while on board the AirAsia plane, I had this simple nasi lemak. All meals on AirAsia are certified Halal. Best to pre-book online to enjoy a 20% saving :D
Once we landed in Lombak, we were greeted by Pak Uji, Lombok Tourism's Public Relations Director who led the Fam trip throughout our 4 days in Lombok.
As the day was very young with a full day ahead, we wasted no time at all and proceeded on our tour of Lombok island straight out of the airport :D
Travelling in Lombok island involves lots of winding roads and scenic views of valleys, lakes, mountains, sand and sea.
It was hard to resist pulling over frequently to marvel at the beautiful lush green hills and the blue sea and sky beyond.
I am not sure what is the name of this beach but the entire island is ringed by such beautiful sandy beaches. I couldn't stop listening to the therapeutic gush of lapping waves and throwing my socks off to dip my bare feet into the warm foaming waters, to get closer to the incredible turquoise sea.
A herd of water buffalo ambled across the road in front of our van. Not too long ago, a man's social status was determined by the number of buffaloes he owns. Today, the buffalo is still an important beast of burden in Lombok's padi fields and also as a source of protein.
Our lunch was at Ashtari restaurant at the top of a ridge.
Ashtari's owner, Priss who hails from Paris, is an architect, designer, musician, chef and successful entrepreneur.
Priss's multifaceted talents and his perfectionist nature is reflected in the attractive decor of his restaurant, in the food and also in the excellent level of guest service provided by his staff.
Ashtari boasts a stunning view of the valley and bay below.
Fried prawns served in a painted coconut husk. The food at Ashtari were well prepared and nicely presented.
Nice combination of crispy, tender, juicy and sweet in the corn fritter dish. Dipping in the sambal chili added a hot spicy sting to the corn fritters.
The kampung fried rice with squid and egg.
Mildly spicy fried noodles. Al dente noodles infused with flavourful sauces.
Ashtari has a good selection of cakes and desserts. I opted for this moist and dense banana cake served with ice cream.
After our sumptuous and scrumptious lunch at the scenic Ashtari, we proceed to Sade village, a traditional Sasak settlement.
Along the way, we indulged in another beach, this time a rocky one.
We checked in at Sade village for a glimpse into the life of Sasak villagers in central Lombok.
The homes in Sade village were built in their traditional way. The roof was covered with dried grass, and the walls and floor made with a mixture of clay and buffalo dung. The surfaces with buffalo dung did not stink at all, but were firm and were non slippery even when wet. The village representative also told us that the dung in the walls and floor repels mosquitoes.
Sade village representative showing us a raised rice storage barn. No nails were used in building Sasak homes and buildings.
The friendly Sasak villagers of Sade village are used to visitors to their homes. They make handicrafts like weaved cloth, wooden carvings and small ornaments to sell to visitors to supplement their income which is primarily from farming.
Dinner was at Menega Lombok restaurant by the beach.
I wandered to the beach while dinner was being prepared :P Spotted these small fishing boats on the beach at Menega Lombok restaurant.
The speciality here at Menega Lombok restaurant is fresh seafood grilled over charcoal and coconut husks.
The seafood were held in wire mesh, painted with a spicy marinade and grilled over charcoal embers and flaming coconut husks.
Each of us had this set of freshly grilled fish, prawns, squid and clams.
I liked this grilled fish with mildly spicy sambal. The fish's white meat was tender and naturally sweet.
Grilled squid was chewy and still juicy.
Kila Senggigi Beach Hotel by day
We had been travelling since before sunrise by air and by road, but we were hardly tired as we were thrilled by the beautiful nature that we saw in Lombok.
After our delicious dinner, we retired to the seaside Kila Senggigi Beach Hotel for a very comfortable night rest.
Today's sights, flavours and sounds just whetted our appetites for more colours, tastes and action the next day.
Click on photo to view my Day 2 in Lombok
Acknowledgements: My wonderful trip to Lombok was sponsored by AirAsia and Lombok Tourism.
Thumbs up for Pak Uji, Public Relations Director of Lombok Tourism, the perfect host and representative of his beautiful home island.
Throughout our trip across Lombok island, we were in the safe hands of Zaki. I found Zaki responsible, reliable and most importantly, safety conscious. Zaki speaks Bahasa Indonesia and limited English. He is contactable on mobile +62-0-878-6356-4900
AirAsia flight AK 486 departs at 6:50am from Johor Bahru to Lombok three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Follow AirAsia Singapore for great deals and travel tips:
Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/AirAsiaSingapore
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