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Luscious Lombok

By Lee Hannon | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-07 09:21

Luscious Lombok

The pristine sands of the beach beckon at Secret Retreats Tugu Lombok on the northwest coast of Sire. Photos by Todd Balazovic / China Daily

Luscious Lombok

Ancient goddesses and Indonesian architecture blend with the flora and fauna.


Paradise lost and secrets found in Indonesia's island hideaways, as Lee Hannon reports.

The small muster of gray clouds offer little relief from the intense Equatorial sun as I leap from the boat's splintered gangplank to the warm waters lapping against the shore. A glistening hue casts patterns along the golden sands in part shaded by tropical greenery and tiny mountains that shroud the small cluster of boats in Teluk Kodek harbor. The dark clouds advancing from the east look menacing, the road ahead troublesome as it is littered with fallen rocks from the previous night's heavy rainfall. Despite this grim veneer, Lombok - part of Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands - has a wonderful ambience that embraces you from the moment you arrive.

Like an instant antidote to the over-developed sister island of Bali, a faux paradise cluttered with the vile underbelly of tourism, Lombok remains not hidden, but certainly not razed by the uncouth cattle drive of mass tourism.

"This is how Bali used to be 20 years ago," is a phrase often repeated by locals with a certain rightful pride of preservation. And it doesn't take long to realize why.

Just a short drive down the small coastal road that circumvents this 70-kilometer-wide island, the scenery is breathtaking, and you spontaneously feel you are on a true journey of discovery rather than on a tour bus, where you are told when to look left or right.

In every direction there is a bucolic scene of normal life going about its daily business. Rice farmers in conical hats lazily go about their work in their paddy fields next to cascading waterfalls. Cows wander into the road as horses pulling carriages overloaded with passengers trot on by.

Luscious Lombok

Luscious Lombok

Luscious Lombok

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