And just like that, the smell hits you.
Anyone who’s been to Indonesia knows what I’m talking about. As soon as you step foot off that cold and sterile plane you know that you’ve arrived somewhere completely new and altogether different to the place you left behind. It’s a smell that I can’t even describe, but is so wonderfully Indonesian that it works better than a “Welcome to (insert name here)” sign.
To experience that feeling, the idea of something being totally new and different, is a rarity these days. Sadly, almost every single international airport in the world looks the same; the expensive perfume, the duty free alcohol, the overpriced cafes (curse them and their $4.50 cups of tea, it’s blasphemous!). If you’ve seen one, then really you’ve seen ‘em all!
Somehow I knew this time would be different. Was it the smell? The sight of the colourful batik dresses and hijabs adorning the women? The persistent calls of every Wayan, Dick and Harry offering us transport to places we hadn’t even heard of yet? Whatever it was, it was with a sense of excitement that we arrived in Lombok; an explosion of culture and colour and sights and smells that promised to deliver from the moment we arrived.
After a 2 hour taxi ride from Lombok’s new international airport, we arrived at Sengiggi’s Holiday Resort, the place we would be lucky enough to call home for the next three weeks. A smile made its way onto my face as we sped down the motorway; I had loved Bali when we had visited, and so far, Lombok looked promising. Little old ladies carried huge baskets of local bananas and rambutan on their heads. The rice fields were lush and green from the recent rain. Elaborate mosques adorned the streets, tucked in between modest houses and overgrown gardens. And, to our delight, we even encountered the odd monkey playing by the roadside.
Surrounded on one side by lush jungle mountains, and on the other, by the warm Pacific Ocean, it was hard to feel anything but contentment in our new home. After checking in, we were welcomed with open arms and taken to our rooms where the beds were adorned with flower petals and the open air bathrooms caused more than a few squeals of delight. Let’s just say that much of our time at the resort was spent in the shower…
From the moment we arrived to the moment we choked out our very last goodbyes, we were treated like royalty. Or maybe family is a better word. Three weeks was more than enough time for the staff to learn our names off by heart, to remember our favourite meals and drinks, to joke around with us, to hug us, to bring us gifts and even to sit with us as we ate our fill from the elaborate breakfast buffet.
For most of the guests, the large pool was a welcome reprieve from the afternoon heat, complete with a swim up bar serving delicious tropical drinks and snacks. But if like me, you’re not a fan of chlorine, then the beach is mere metres away and is a hundred times more refreshing than any pool will ever be. The resort also boasts a few restaurants, a gym, a spa and wi-fi, so if your idea of a holiday means never actually stepping foot out of your resort, then you’ll be well accommodated for. If you are the type of traveller who likes to “get amongst it” (and let’s be honest, that’s the best kind of traveller there is!) then there are a hundred and one things to do that are unique to this beautiful country.