Lombok Itinerary – A 3-Day Motorcycle Road Trip
Part 1 of Jugo’s series The Ultimate Motorcycle Road Trip in Lombok Indonesia we learned all about the benefits of hitting the road by bike, how to prepare for the trip, rent a bike and an outline for a route around Lombok Indonesia. Now we’ll dive into the trip itself a three day complete Lombok itinerary and our surprise ending to this Indonesian adventure on Lombok!
Day 1 – Kuta to Senggigi
The first day was great. It ended up pouring rain in the early afternoon just as we were approaching Senggigi on the North-West side of Lombok Indonesia.
We pulled over for a nice lunch in the town before finding our hotel. We had the usual Nasi Goreng (tasty Indonesian noodle dish), and some delicious soup (particularly good when biking in the rain) which we discovered on our earlier travels in Bali.
Alam Mimpi Hotel
Since we were driving on the touristy area of Lombok Indonesia and figured we would be tired after a first long day on the road, we booked a nice hotel at Alam Mimpi Boutique Hotel which was probably one of the best places to stay in Senggigi Lombok.
We booked a deluxe balcony room which cost $50/night. When we arrived at our room, we were greeted with welcome drinks which were a nice touch!
We enjoyed the king sized bed and rainfall showerhead in the room. This was perfect after a long day of riding. They offered good service, and the location was in a quiet area with palm trees and cows all around. The room was nice and relaxing, and the courtyard was beautiful with a nice pool. There’s also a restaurant and pool bar for drinks and meals.
Day 2 – Senggigi to Sambelia
On our second day in Lombok Indonesia, we made our way up the island with the goal of stopping somewhere at the Northern tip. Hopefully we could get some nice views, pictures, and maybe find some of the best beaches in Lombok along the way.
On the road, the occasional views along the winding coast were beautiful…
As were the jungle roads…
And the amazing rice fields of Lombok Indonesia!
We decided not to drive up into the center of the island and see the volcano Mount Rinjani up close. We were getting pretty tired by the end of the day and a hike just wasn’t going to happen. But we could see the volcano along the Eastern side and got some nice pictures anyways.
Pondok Siola Bungalows
We ended our second day in a nice family run bungalow called Pondok Siola which we found on booking.com at the hotel the night before. The cost came to $50 for the night with breakfast included.
It was a bit difficult to find, but once we got there the hosts were welcoming and settled us in quickly.
We had a nice dinner at the family-run restaurant which was quite good and very cheap.
While our rooms were basic without a tv and internet cutting in and out, the place itself was absolutely beautiful. It was located on the outskirts of a small town, directly on a beach-front property. We were settled in one of the few bungalow rooms that surrounded the grassy yard, while on the other side of our thatched wall was the Labuan Pandan beach.
We fell asleep with the sounds of calming sea waves just outside our window.
Day 3 – Sambelia to Kuta
Our motorbike troubles actually began the day before, where we had our first flat tire. But it was a relatively quick affair. We knew what the problem was (inner tube needed changing). So we simply rolled along the road until we found a mini mechanic shop.
As we’ve learned over the years, a main form of transportation in much of South-East Asia is small motorbikes and scooters. Due to poor road conditions and heavy use, require frequent minor maintenance. Because of this, you can find basic mechanics every few kilometers that can service some basic needs. This was the case with us. If you don’t have spares or don’t know how to do maintenance yourself, this can come in handy.
On day 3, however, the real trouble began…
Bike breakdowns & Indonesian Hospitality
What was to be our last day, we had planned to spend more of it exploring the last bit of the island’s less visited South-Eastern beaches. This wasn’t to be, as our bike broke down four times in one day!
The second appeared to be a serious electrical problem, but we were only charged a mere $10 for the repair. This was a bit of a stressful situation since we had no idea what was wrong with the bike. Also, we were at the mercy of the mechanic and it looked like a shady part of town. Once again, though, Indonesian hospitality prevailed.
We flagged down a man passing by who, despite not being an English speaker, understood that we needed a mechanic. He walked us a block down the dusty road, to a nearby mechanic. He even waited with us for a time to ensure that we would be helped.
At the mercy of the locals
Here I’d like to elaborate a little on the uncomfortable circumstance many travelers find themselves in from time to time. The moment where you have to decide between your cynical side and the side that tells you to relax and trust in humanity.
In our travels, we’ve experienced these moments over and over again. From simple negotiating situations where you wonder if you’re being overcharged for being the foreigner (not at all uncommon almost everywhere in the world) to worrying about something more sinister (likely to come from an irrational fear that accumulates from watching too many movies or your brain recalling a singular, yet chilling article you read in the news years ago).
There often isn’t a clear answer in such situations, and you simply have to go with your best judgment. However, I do believe there is a good way to approach the situation. In my experience that means:
Keep a smile as best and as long as you can.
Difficult to do when it appears the person you are dealing with is trying to rip you off but can be crucial.
If you accuse someone or are otherwise rude, you end up looking like an ass. Also, you’re probably offending the individual which looks bad on you and others from your country. On the other hand, even if you are right, you are more likely to exacerbate the situation by irritating an already less morally inclined and unfriendly individual. This can be particularly dangerous in countries where ‘losing face’ is an important cultural factor. This is particularly prevalent in Asian countries such as China, but in truth is underestimated around the world.
Accusing such an individual in a rude manner with aggression is highly unlikely to end in the way you might hope. Again, best case scenario, they think of you as an ass, but likely deny whatever you are accusing them. Since you are the foreigner and at their mercy, they are highly unlikely to admit, or relent to whatever you are demanding (unless you somehow have significant leverage in the situation). In a worst-case scenario, however, you might really piss them off in which case they will further rip you off or confront you about it.
Just keep smiling
In addition to smiling, be light-hearted, make a joke and show them that you know what is happening without necessarily calling them out directly and being rude. It might help things as it helps them save face and hopefully shows them they aren’t dealing with a newbie traveler who they can swindle.
Take lots of time before you make any decisions to act. Ask lots of questions of the person and, indirectly, their intentions. Protesting or saying no is ok and often necessary, but keeping emotions as calm as possible is best.
We had this sort of experience a number of times during our motorcycle road trip. Each time the bike broke down I would wonder if the person offering help had ulterior motives. Or think maybe the mechanic was planning some sneaky way of overcharging us. My worries were unwarranted, with the man who helped us the second time our bike broke down. He didn’t wait around for any money or even a big thanks, but simply smiled and left once he saw we were in good hands. We have been conned a few times on our travels, out of money, and have been in some shady and threatening situations, so for better or worse it’s made us into what I’d call “politely cynical” travelers when dealing with people.
Third time’s not the charm
The third breakdown of the day was once again a flat tire. We were on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. This time, we were overcharged (having had a flat twice already we had the advantage of knowing the going price). We decided to let it go since it was just $5 more. This way we could avoid an awkward argument over a few dollars and we got to hang out with some locals.
A very long motorcycle trip
Our last bike breakdown happened a mere 30 minutes after the previous one! This time we were stuck in the middle of nowhere and this trip was starting to feel long the longest motorcycle trip in history! We were at least a couple hours walk from the closest village and had no road-side mechanics around to help. We knew our hopes of getting to that beach were gone but could do nothing but laugh at the situation and hope a car would drive by and help.
After about 20 minutes a pickup truck carrying some furniture pulled over. Three guys came out smiling. One spoke English and immediately offered to help take us, and our bike in their truck to the nearest village. Ignoring that cynical brain again, as we had no choice, we chatted the guys up, realized they seemed pretty cool, and with their help were off to the village.
Incredibly, they not only drove half an hour in the wrong direction from where they were going to get us to the closest mechanic, they stopped in the village with us to translate as it was really small and clearly didn’t get too many outside visitors.
We were invited by a family to sit in their yard while the bike was getting fixed. A large crowd gathered with some kids staring intently at the foreigners. While a bit awkward, with the translating help of our new friend, we had a nice conversation. We also shared a cup of coffee with some very friendly people, who I’m almost certain would have offered us food had they had some to offer.
Our bike was fixed soon after we had finished the coffee. We thanked the hosts, paid the young mechanic, and waved our drivers goodbye. We left them some money for petrol and for taking so much time to help us. While they didn’t ask for it, and we certainly didn’t have to, it seemed appropriate.
A Happy Ending
In the end, we were able to make it back to Kuta Lombok. What was quite a stressful day, turned out to be an amazing adventure! It was probably the most memorable and interesting experience of our time on Lombok Indonesia. Even with diving, surfing, and relaxing on some beautiful beaches, we enjoyed this part the best! We wished we had more time to spend on the island and would recommend to anyone heading to Bali, to hop over to Lombok and explore their equally friendly, but less visited neighbors. Just watch out for all the monkeys, chickens, cats, and dogs constantly crossing the road if you’re driving.
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