Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 11 May 2016 • Destination
Sorting through and picking accommodations prior a trip is one of the joy I find in traveling. I don’t know why, but to me a great place to stay – and great can mean comfortable, uniquely designed, homey, or all of the above while also affordable – can really affect my mood in the trip. Maybe I’m a homey person at heart that way? Whatever that means or caused it, I am happy with the accommodation in North Lombok that Diyan and I finally agreed on for our two nights stay. We found it through Airbnb and it’s a homestay called Pondok Air Emas, which translates to Golden Water Villa.
I felt home. I may have never lived in a house by the beach for more than a week, but I felt I could live there for a lot longer. It’s not just the comfy beach house, but also the kind host, Bu Veronica (or Vera for short), the delicious home cooking and the indistinct wave sound.
Our excursions in northern Lombok were made easier by the fact that Bu Vera is a private tour guide and tour organizer as well. She recommended us the interesting places and the way to get there, as well as a hiking guide for Diyan. Having lived about 30 years in Switzerland before she decided to retire early, she often receives German-speaking guests. English conversation is not a problem either.
I thought beach houses only exist in Hollywood movies or series like Revenge. Surprisingly the room that we booked was also a beach house. It’s a mini 2-storey house, built separately from the main house. Downstairs is the living room, a kitchenette, a refrigerator, and a bathroom, with a dining table at the terrace facing the ocean. Upstairs is the bedroom, with a queen-sized bed, a round coffee table set and glass sliding doors that open to ocean view. Whether permitting, sunsets can be jaw-dropping here, and there’s not much you could ask for when you could view it from the comfort of your bed.
The only drawback of this arrangement, to me, is how in the middle of my sleep I had to go up and down the stairs, with my already aching feet, for whatever business I needed to do in the bathroom.
A hairdryer! I felt so understood when I saw a hairdryer, with enough power (more than 600 watt), provided in the bathroom. Also towels, toiletries, and hot shower. A TV was also plugged in the living room but we never turned it on, so you’d need to check with Bu Vera about what kind of channels it carried.
– Beach access and gazebo
In the corner of the vast backyard – or maybe I should say front yard because the house actually faces the ocean, not the road – there is a gazebo with foldable mattress. So comfy, Diyan almost fell asleep there one afternoon before it rained and we rushed back to the beach house. The yard is bordered with a fence to avoid trespassers, human or stray dogs, but a small gate is easily unlatched in daylight, so there’s your beach direct access.
Bu Vera lives in the main house, which also consists of two rented bedrooms. Breakfast is served in her terrace, cooked by her or the housekeeper. She made the best fried egg I have ever tasted! She not only added salt and black pepper, but also shallot, diced tomatoes and thinly sliced chili. So good! (And from then on it became our default recipe for fried eggs at home.) Since there isn’t any diner nearby, we sometimes requested for dinner too. She charged about IDR60,000/meal/person, which was a good deal since we didn’t have to travel far for a meal and everything was delicious, from stir-fried squid to chili eggplant, and in a good deal of portion too. Oh, and she changed the way we eat our papaya. Instead of eating it in cubes, we now like to make papaya smoothie with lemon squirts like she made us for breakfast. Tropical goodness!
Other than Mataram, public transportation system in Lombok needs an upgrade really badly. Actually, it needs to exist. So we rented a motorbike (some of you might call it scooter) to Bu Vera for IDR60,000/day excluding gas, to ride around the northern part of Lombok and do these activities.
For our transfer from Villa Yukie Sekotong, we took a deal with a taxi driver for IDR400,000, which is the lowest price we could get. Others offered IDR500,000-700,000. Frickin’ expensive! And our transfer from Pondok Air Emas to Lombok International Airport, we made a deal with the same driver for IDR300,000.
All in all, I really recommend Pondok Air Emas. The rate on Airbnb it is $47/night (ssh, you could sign up from this link to get some travel credit), or you could call/text Bu Vera for another arrangement at +6287886546640 or email her to firstname.lastname@example.org. I do not get commission whatsoever, I’m just a happy customer and wish you could get a great experience in North Lombok, too.
Address: Jalan Raya Bayan, Kecamatan Gangga, Lombok Utara.