Indonesia - Heaven on earth is called Coco Beach
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Travelling in Indonesia now since 3 weeks, we only had 8 days left with our free visa on arrival. Having seen and experienced so many incredible things in the last weeks, basically only 1 thing was missing: a super relaxed beach time in a tropical paradies where we could simply enjoy the hours watching the ocean, doing some meditation and just be. There are many options for this in Indonesia, but we decided to go to Lombok as this was the cheapest and easiest option for the remaining time and for both of us, Lombok was a new destination. Well, I (Nina) have been to Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno 9 years ago, but I never explored Lombok island itself.
So early morning, we took a propellers flight from Labuanbajo to Lombok Praya. The sky was deep blue and there were nearly no clouds. So the views again were amazing. It was really special to land in Lombok with cristal clear sights of Mount Rinjani. We got our luggage, turned on the phones and were surprised that it was quick and easy to get a grab car. Like this we arrived in the morning already at our accomodation, the Ibludan Hotel. It was a nice guesthouse run by an english expat with lovely clean and spacious rooms and wonderful open air bathrooms.
We had long discussions before coming here if we should go to Senggigi or Kuta. As we are more into snorkelling and definitely no surfers, we opted for Senggigi. Looking back, we would chose differently next time. But still, it was good like it was. Coming from Mataram, the guesthouse was just of a superbusy road in an industrial zone. We were a bit shocked first. But as soon as we entered the grounds, we could not hear the road any more and were in a small botanical paradies. Nice, clean and comfy guesthouse - we were happy. We settled down and could easily take over a scooter from some guests who were about to leave. Perfect timing. And it was the best scooter we had in our trip: good breaks, comfy seat, ok helmets (I had a stylish South African helmet :-) ) and no problems with needing to much "bensin". So we took the scooter and went in search for a nice lunch. We often use the Happy Cow App to find vegan options. And like this we found the Coco Beach Warung. It sounded nice and had vegan options and it was not too far away a bit outside of Senggigi. So we followed google maps and finally the handmade signs (google maps left us somewhere underneath palm trees in the middle of nowhere. Coco Beach Warung is right on the beach. With your scooter you drive over sand
in a zigzag course around many, many coconut trees (be careful of falling coconuts!). And at the very end of Pantai Kerandangan in a remote corner you find this heaven on earth. On the beach itself there are some bamboo huts, but the beach itself was empty and rough. It was a sunny and windy day with waves rolling in. The warung has open little huts where you can sit, chill, relax and just be. We ordered a kelapa (coconut) which they freshly took from the tree just in front of our eyes. We sipped on our coconut, went to the beach for a while (the current was too strong for swimming that day), went back into our little hut, ordered some vegan food (it was delicious - they grow all ingredients in their own organic garden!), had Lombok Kopi Jahe (local coffee with ginger), more coconut, we slept, we laughed, we talked. Wow, the world would be a better place with more Coco Beach Warungs. People were so relaxed and friendly - they just give you the space you need and you can have a fantastic time with them. Much too fast, sunset was coming closer. To view the sunset, we went to Senggigi Beach. From here we had
a superbe view of Mount Agung on Bali as the sun was setting. It was magic. We ended the day with a decent and supercheap massage in Senggigi. Well, we did not really like Senggigi - it is too touristy. But it is bearable being low season and not many people around. So we enjoyed the pleasure of the cheap massage and a nice supermarket to stock up on fruits, snacks, Aloe Vera lotion and mossy spray. We had fruits for dinner on our balcony enjoying a quiet night.
Next day, we started slowly with a vegan breakfast at the pool. Was very nice. Later on we took the scooter and started a trip along the Monkey Forest Road. Still, when you drive away from the main roads you see a lot of broken down houses and rubbish due to the severe earthquake a couple of years ago in Lombok. A lot of new houses have been built already but one can see that still many people are suffering and trying to come back to normal. The roads in contrast are in perfect condition and driving with a scooter here is a breeze: only few cars, wide roads, no potholes. So we enjoyed a fantastic drive through the most stunning tropical landscape up to the Monkey Forest. And yes, we saw the monkeys, but the views down the valley were much more amazing. So we went down to Bangsal and drove to Pantai Sira where we made a quick snack stop and admired the view over Bangsar Harbour, the
mountains on the left and Gili T, Gili Air and Gili Meno on the right side. Later on we drove along the coast to enjoy splendid views of the many beaches here. I remember this drive 9 years ago. The beaches were deserted, nearly no houses there - it was tropical paradies. Especially Pantai Pandanan is still very nice, but Pantai Nipah is not longer the undiscovered beach. You have accomodation everyhwere, the beaches are not empty, but still, it is a very picturesque landscape and we enjoyed the drive and several spots on the way. Needless to say that we ended the day in Coco Beach with another wonderful meal.This warung is a must wherever you stay in Lombok! We loved it.
The next day we decided to take the scooter and drive down to the Kuta area. We wanted to get an idea of how it looks likein the south of Lombok. The drive itself is easy, but it is a long drive. In the morning we could pass Mataram without traffic jam as it was a sunday. But still it took us nearly 2 hours to reach Selong Belanak, the closest of the beautiful beaches. On the way we caught a rainshower, but once we arrived the sun was out. And the beach was really stunning, but not really empty. Many surfers and tourists were enjoying this fantastic beach. So we went a bit out of the busy part, hired sunbeds and firstly had a dip in the water to wash of the dust from riding the scooter. Again, it was really stormy, but somehow wonderful. We enjoyed a fresh coconut and simply did not do much till suddenly a huge thunderstorm was rolling in. So we tried to hide in one of the beach warungs and could stay try more or less. After 1 hour, the sky was blue again and we went for a walk to the remote part of the beach where we could watch water buffalos having a bath. As it was already getting late, we decided against visiting another beach. We enjoyed some more time here and instead took some back roads on our way back to Senggigi. The area in the south of Lombok is indeed really beautiful and if we come back to Lombok one day we would prefer
to stay in this area. Nature is wilder here, beaches are more unspoilt. The drive back on back roads was very eventful. It was marriage season in Indonesia. So in each village we passed by processions. Locals told us that the groom goes to the house/village of the pride in a procession and then they go together with all villagers to the new house. All the people were dressed in traditionals clothes and there was music in each village. It was really nice to observe. But the drive back took 3 hours and we were really tired. We went for a quick meal to Senggigi (Coco Beach was already closed) and had a final massage.
Senggigi is not a bad place and there are plenty of wonderful and affordable guesthouse options where you can escape the "tourist feeling". But next time we will probably base ourselves around Kuta in the south and Senaru in the north (we skipped the north this time as the weather was really unstable and the north is not a good place to go with a scooter in rainy season).
But Senggigi was not the only place for us on Lombok. More about our last stop in Indonesia in the next blog.