And then you go exploring... You will come across some places where it teems with tourists, local and foreign. Certain temples or the surfing beaches tend to lure a lot of people, but there are also places that are less well-known. If you, for example tour around on a scooter, like we do, you can stumble across some more unique places. Gunung Kawi and the UNESCO protected rice fields are less visited. When driving around you can also spot some random signposts, which make you end up in an organic farm with attached cafe. Still some places left to discover on Bali, that's for sure!
And then you arrive on Lombok... This is how Bali should have looked like 20 or 30 years ago. There is still so much more nature on this island. Most popular tourist places for the moment are the beaches of Senggigi and Kuta. Although the trek to the volcano Rinjani and the 3 Gili's (islands) in the northwest attract a lot of people too. The rest of Lombok is still rather authentic and not (yet) fully build with resorts. This means you can easily come across some more remote places where there is almost no accommodation and it is even hard to find some food. You'll pass many children, and even adults, who see you coming from miles away and enthusiastically yell "hello mister!" or wave as hard as they can. During our road trip on Lombok we also noticed the amount of mosques. That's the reason why they call it the island of the 10.000 mosques.
We also went on a little discovery of Gili Air, one of the 3 popular islands northwest of Lombok. It is beautiful but we didn't really get the bounty feeling, another preconception debunked. Already too many people and too many buildings. One good thing though is that there are no motorized vehicles on the island. This also means they just rip you off for a ride with horse and carriage. For just one kilometer they ask 100.000 rupiah (7,5 dollar). Knowing that the normal price for a taxi per kilometer is about 7000 rupiah (0,50 dollar) and most of the horses aren't taken care of that well. On foot we can handle as well! We prefer the Gili's in the southwest. Here the beach isn't littered with death coral so the underwater world is still astonishing. Furthermore, there is none or very less accommodation available so you will feel more like Robinson Crusoe.
Question is how long these relatively unexplored, natural and authentic places will stay this way. Once they realize the financial profit they can make from tourism, they will surely give in. We reckon Bali will lose terrain because Lombok definitely has the same and even more to offer. Beach hopping for a day in the south of Lombok says it all.