Monday, 12 September 2016

Lombok Part 12: The Land Cruise Tour

A good way to see the general landscape of Lombok and to visit some of its mountainous area is to do the Land Cruise Tour. This tour takes about 10 hours and covers the upper half of Lombok. For this we got a driver from Senggigi to drive us around and paid him a total of IDR850,000 (about RM265) which include car and fuel but exclude whatever entrance fees incurred and meals.
We started from Senggigi, the beachfront town we stayed in after returning from Gili Trawangan. The first leg of the journey was mostly along the coastal road heading towards Bangsal, stopping at viewpoints along the way to see the coastline, beaches, bay and the three small islands off Lombok namely Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.
The coastal road in north west Lombok
View of  Senggigi Beach
Senggigi Beach
View from Malimbu Cliff
Malimbu Beach

View of the three small Gilis off Lombok.
We made a pit stop at Villa Hantu, supposedly a haunted villa which was abandoned before completion.
On the roof of Villa Hantu
Villa Hantu has now become a popular viewpoint.
Our car cruised past the gateway to Bangsal Harbour and we made a turn into Bayan District where farming is the main lifestyle.
Our driver stopped to show us peanut plants in a peanut farm
Panorama of a typical village in North Lombok
We stopped by Bayan Beleq Mosque, a 16th century mosque which is also the oldest in Lombok.

Our next destination was Senaru which is bestowed with beautiful waterfalls. It is also the gateway to the Rinjani Mountains and a place mountaineers flock to in preparation of their climb up Mount Rinjani. Because of its location on a hilly terrain, terrace farming is commonly seen.
A terraced farm in Senaru
Thick rainforest in Senaru
We skipped the hike into the jungle to see Sendang Gile Waterfall and observed it from afar. You can see bigger waterfalls if you hike deeper into the forest.
Our driver took a break at Pondok Senaru Cottages, a beautiful resort that commands a spectacular view of the mountains and forest.

Our next venue was a traditional Sasak village in Senaru.
The residents in the village live a very modest lifestyle and young ladies can be seen bathing naked outside their homes.
From Senaru we headed for Sembalun. 
Sembalun Village seen from a viewpoint.
Strawberry thrives in Sembalun as the weather is cool. We visited a strawberry farm to sample free strawberries.

The misty mountain slopes of Sembalun
The quiet mountain road at Sembalun.
Lombok is dubbed as  'land with a thousand mosques'. You literally see a mosque every few minutes cruising along the road.
This is the most colorful mosque I have ever seen. It is located along the main road at Desa Bebente in Sembalun.

We drove through Baun Pusuk (Monkey Forest) on our way to the last hill station, Sapit.
Sapit is a small village on a hill popular as a viewpoint and for its beautiful terraced farms. After Sapit, we left the hills and made our way back to Senggigi, passing through many small towns in East Lombok and Lombok's capital city, Matarram. As long as time permits the driver can be requested to stop at any desired destination along the way.
A busy marketplace in East Lombok

A mosque in Matarram which is also the biggest in Lombok.
We made a quick stop to take a sunset photo in Senggigi before returning to our hotel.

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