Everyone needs a break sometimes, even if you live in Bali! We’re off to the neighbouring island of Lombok with a toddler, travelling by bike, and you can follow our adventures here.
How our Lombok road trip came about
You know how airlines start charging children for their own seats once they turn two? Well, the whole idea of having a holiday now was it would be our last chance to fly as a family and only buy two tickets. After this, trips get more expensive.
So, I threw out some ideas like Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand… all got rejected (and would have cost a lot more than what we’ve now settled on).
With Indonesia being such a vast country, there are actually tons of places we can travel to on a holiday without crossing an international border.
How about Sulawesi? Maluku? Flores? Papua? (All my suggestions.) Nope. Then Chandra sent me a message:
So I did, and I found this:
And I thought, yep, ok, I can live with that! It’s somewhere that’s not Bali, it’s big enough for us to travel around a bit, and the fact that it was his suggestion means he can’t later complain about the choice of destination.
So, an evening of frantic Googling later, I had drawn together a rough plan of some places in Lombok that were worth visiting.
When I say it’s not Bali, it’s not exactly far either, when you consider how big Indonesia is.
Anyway, using an awesome Google Maps feature which I just discovered – My Maps – I plotted my own map of the island with all the beaches, waterfalls, markets and other places we could visit. All colour-coordinated too, of course.
You can view my map in full detail here, but to give you an idea, this is what it currently looks like, 3 days before we leave:
Getting to Lombok from Bali
Now, you see that blue pin labelled ‘Lembar’? That’s the port we arrive at. Yes, the port. Not the airport. You see what I’m getting at here?
Original purpose of trip: Get one last holiday in before we have to start paying for a child’s seat on flights.
Current plan: Get there by ferry.
We could fly to Lombok. Flights are cheap and convenient. However, once there we’d have no way of getting around and would have to rely on taxis or organised transport. This would severely limit what we could do, not to mention the extra cost.
So, we’re going to take the ferry over, along with a bike or two (haven’t decided yet – it’ll depend on whether we can physically fit all of us and our stuff onto one), and we’ll drive around from place to place, completely in our own time. Take that, airlines!
What is there to do in Lombok?
Broadly speaking, there are lots of beaches in the south, along with the town of Koeta (or ‘Kuta’, not to be mistaken for its rowdy big brother in Bali). In the north there’s a big volcano – Rinjani – the one that was responsible for ruining people’s holidays on multiple occasions last year as its clouds of ash grounded flights for days in a row.
We could go trekking up there, but we aren’t that crazy. Nothing to do with the possiblity of another eruption; more to do with the little person accompanying us. Although to be honest, it’s not the kind of thing I’d have done even without a two-year-old in tow.
The mountainous area is home to plenty of waterfalls though, and I’m hoping we can get to at least a couple of those.
Off the northwest coast are the famous Gili islands which many people visit from Bali. They are lovely, but we could easily go there for a few days another time. There are actually some lesser-known Gili islands in the southwest, so if we were to do an island-off-an-island visit, it would probably be to those. Perhaps a day trip rather than an overnight stay, because we have the bike(s) to think about.
The largest city, Mataram, is also on the west coast. While it probably wouldn’t be a must-see for most tourists, we’re used to city life here and it will be interesting to get a feel for the place. Plus, it’s right on the beach anyway.
I’m hoping we can spend around two weeks on Lombok, but we’ll take it a day at a time and see how we get on. The other great thing about going by boat is that we don’t have to book our return tickets in advance – we can just turn up any day and head home.
So, that’s an overview of our plan for travelling Lombok with a toddler and you can follow our progress as we pack to travel with a toddler, explore Lombok by bike, and find accommodation along the way.