I wanted to share my lovely memories of Lombok particularly in the beach about 30minutes away from Kuta, South Lombok- Selong Belanak. The tourist map along with where to eat, sleep, rent motorbike and surf can be seen at the end of the post for those who want to visit this little paradise I found in Indonesia.
Driving from Kuta Lombok I thought about checking out the longboard surf spot they are raving about the other night called Serangan beach. They said it is just near Selong Belanak as it can be seen from the beach. After about an hour of getting lost amidst hills and tobacco fields I gave up the search and just went back home. Minutes later I found a hill where this showed up. I love getting lost. When I went back to the Selong Belanak, I miss the turn and get lost for another 30 minutes. I love getting lost?
Slow mornings in the beach. This is just a few minutes after sunrise. They are already fixing the beach chairs and umbrellas at this time. No tourists yet just some fisherman coming home from the night’s catch.
Indonesians love their roko (cigarette). I don’t know his name because he doesn’t spoke at all the whole time I was there. But he was the one fixing the beach umbrellas in the morning and washing the dishes in the kitchen. He would also fetch water for the day’s use. Yes, he loves his roko. Ohhh… he would always motion, “drink coffee” whenever he sees me.
I love beach walks and counting different hues on the shore. I love seeing small shells and colorful stones.
Slow mornings, wait. Look for somethin’ to do. Maybe drink one more cup of coffee or read book. I have finished 2 books while I was there- a surf road trip from California to Central America in search for his friend “In Search of Captain Zero” and reread Coelho’s Number 1: The Alchemist.
Ibu Mariam. She was crying when I left. Every morning around 6:30am she makes sure I have my kopi Lombok on the table as I peek outside my hammock. She them would prepare me breakfast. “Ibu” means mother in Indonesian and she was really like that not only to me but to everyone who visited her small “warring” (store). She taught me to cook some Indonesian dishes like “sambal.” Doesn’t speak English but I understand the language of the heart. On my last day in Lombok, she asked her husband to bring me to the bus station, woke up early to prepare me nasi teller and sayer bungkus (rice wrapped in banana with veggies and egg). She knows how I love kopi Lombok, so she filled my travel mug with kopi panas (hot coffee Lonmbok). She was sad on me leaving after “enam hari” (6 days) of staying with her, she blessed and kissed me twice before leaving.
I think I found myself a small paraiso. The locals kept on asking me how many days I will spend here. And to that I answered, “I don’t know.” They would scratch their heads and ask why? Then I would say, “maybe duha minggu? duha bulan? duha tawun?” Maybe 2 weeks? 2 months? 2 years? And to that I got “ya” “ya.” The reality is I really don’t know. The surf here is fun- beginner-type beach break 1-2 feet as oppose to yesterday’s point break at Mawi beach that costed me blood donation and weird skin tattoo by the live reefs. All good though! I was the only one with a 9’0 longboard in a line-up of 5 locals and 9 foreigners. I love it here, they always give me Kopi Lombok for free and teach me Indonesian language. If you go to a beach in Lombok, there is an entrance fee of 10,000IDR (<$1), I was exempted of that because of this friendship or maybe they think I’m local.
This is Roby and Paal. Roby has became like a side-kick while I was there making sure I was okay and I had my kopi, food and I took a bath. He taught me a lot of Indonesian words and I taught him English. He is eighteen and a very good young guy. He loves his rook so much. Paal on the left would just visit me early morning before work and in the evening before sleeping. I really thought he was brute, he was so friendly and don’t speak English. He wanted to learn English words in exchange he would remind me of the Indonesian vocabulary I already know. Repetition is key.
I started helping them in their warung (store) by opening coconuts and serving drinks to tourists. Coke is 10,000Rupiahs and Fresh Coconut 10,000. I love playing local and learning new languages from our guests.
Not all kids surf, most play football after school.
Ibu Mariam, my mother in Lombok island. She would prepared me nasi goring sayur (fried rice with vegetables) or nasi putih with tempeh, telur and sayur goreng (steamed white rice with tempeh, fried egg and veggies). At first, she would ask me my order from her menu list for tourists, but on the 2nd day, she would just prepare me what’s in her kitchen and we would eat together as a family. Amazing how when we leave “home” and “family” that we find new “homes” and “families” in places we go. And we begin to value the interconnectedness of human spirit, love and concern. The plan of staying 3 nights in Lombok was extended.
I drink this 3x a day. Of course in the morning, in the middle of the day around 2-3pm and my favorite around 5:30pm when the sun starts to paint the sky with magic. Selong Belanak beach is almost deserted by 5:00pm since the tourists are coming back to Kuta. Perfect time for reflection or just thanking God for what has transpired for the day.
Selong Belanak is a surf beach, beginners. Waves when I was there (October) was 1-3 feet, really perfect for those who want to learn surfing. Surfboard rentals 100,000Rupiahs/day. 2-hour surf lesson with board and instructor costs 250,000Rupiahs. They have old rashguards that you can borrow but I suggest you bring your own as you don’t want flashing your boobies after a nice wipe out.
There is an awesome left-hander spot on the leftmost rock where locals surf. It was my spot for 3 days and I always came back to the beach stoked ready for some hammock time. It is a good 15-20 minutes paddle out but worth it. Now paddling back is another story. Surf when it is high-tide. I had 6-15 seconds long rides. Locals share the wave which is amazing.
There will always be beauty outside when there is inside.
If you are driving from Kuta, to your left is Gerepuk where big waves are- for intermediate surfers. Then to your right after about 15 minutes is Mawun Beach, a swim beach great for kids. Then Mawi beach, a left-hander that can go crazy as hell on big swells. I tried it on my first afternoon and I never came back. It is not for longboard surfing but you can try. I caught 3 short waves. Then there is Selong Balanak: SIMPLICITY IS BEAUTY.
How to get there. Selong Belanak Beach is on the south west of Kuta Lombok. Motorbike is the best way to go there, drive about 30-40 minutes along scenic hilly countryside. There are also tour agencies in Kuta that can organize a trip via a shuttle to Selong Belanak and other beaches. Expect to pay 200,000Rupiahs or more per person.
Motorbike rental is as cheap as 40,000Rupiahs/day while surfboards are 50,000Rupiahs/day.
Surf. I recommend Reni Surfboards at Kuta, look for Tokyo the owner, really nice guy. I was able to score a 9’0 longboard with single fin (most available in Kuta has tri-fin). You can also rent a board in Selong Belanak at 100,000Rupiahs whole day use. Most longboards there are soft-top with small fins.
Eat. There are at east 10 warungs (food stores) in Selong Belanak beach. They usually offer Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng. One has Nasi Campur. Coconuts, coffee, smothies, fresh fruit juices, softdrinks and Beer Bintang also available.
Sleep. There are villas you can rent in Selong Belanak that starts at 300,000Rupiahs/night.
I stayed at the locals with my hammock and got it for free.
Entrance fee. There is an entrance fee of 10,000Rupiahs/person on every major beach in South Lombok. Unless you look like local, expect to pay everytime you enter a beach. There are locals manning the road entrance at the beach. But there are times when they leave their post around 5:45pm which is perfect time to see sunset.