After our last Bali trip 3 years ago, we decided Lombok & the Gilis as our reunion destination. I was actually just in Lombok 7 months ago but I was curious on Gili Trawangan which despite it is very close to Bali, I haven’t actually had the time to go there. Hence I was really looking forward to this trip.

Our first stop was Bukit Merese and Kuta Mandalika. I was very surprised at the on going development. So much has happened in just seven months. The roads from the airport to Kuta were widened, a huge mosque is already standing tall and the Kuta Mandalika beach is being tidied up on a grand scale. It was overwhelming with all the mess and dirt around while at the same time excited to see how it will shape up in the next year. Kuta Mandalika and Tanjung Aan is such a beautiful white sand beach, and it will only get a lot more beautiful when all the infrastructure is in place. I can’t help to feel proud knowing that this dream of making Lombok a world class destination since so long ago is becoming a reality.

Bukit Merese, however, is better enjoyed during the rainy season instead of the dry season. When I came in late January, the hills were green and it really magnifies the beautiful view of Lombok from higher grounds. During the dry season while it still gave the same beautiful setting, the hills were dry and dusty, and unfortunately no grass. This time I enjoyed Bukit Merese during sunset, while in January I came to see the sunrise. Both sunrise and sunset is magnificent in their own way and I feel so grateful to be able to experince both from such a beautiful place.

The tourists in the Kuta area has grown significantly. There were numerous small hotels, cafe and resto and it is lively at night. We had dinner at Sonya, a simple traditional place selling freshly captured fish which were then grilled and served with vegetables and rice. It was really good, but don’t forget to bargain on a price after choosing the fish instead of after being cooked. Afterwards we went to Nugget Corner and fell in love with their Brownies with Coconut. It was soooo good that we ordered another one, and just like that we forget about our diets.

As we stayed overnight in Holiday Resort Senggigi, which is located on the other side of Lombok around 1.5 hour drive from Kuta, we decided to call it a night and head to our hotel.