After staying in the very touristy Gili T we chose to hit the pristine island of Lombok. Only a short, bumpy ferry ride from Bali and Gili T, Lombok is still quite undeveloped in terms of tourists. We planned to stay one night at Tete Batu Homestay, ended up staying three. Tete Batu is a smaller rural community right smack in the middle of Lombok, close to Mt. Ranjani, a popular destination for hikers and backpackers. During our time here we saw some pretty amazing scenery, met some fantastic people, and relaxed in peace.
Tete Batu Homestay:
Getting here is a challenge as no shuttles are available from the ferry terminal, therefore, you have to haggle with the local taxi company (local mafia) for a ride. They will try and convince you to go somewhere else because no one goes to Tete Batu (partially true) but just keep haggling and walking away when they don’t agree with your price. We negotiated 375,000 ($37 CAD) for the both of us, a very fair price that we found out late, considering the distance.
Tete Batu Homestay is run by a man named Bram, although quiet, he is extremely friendly and will arrange anything you need. The location is situated right in the middle of the jungle and a short 5-minute walk from the monkey forest. He runs a number of different tours from his place including one through the monkey forest, the local village, to Mt. Ranjani, and a few overnight hikes. Their homemade food is incredible, breakfasts are free and the meals afterwards are only 25,000 ($2.50 CAD) each, you can’t go wrong.
Yusuf is one of Bram’s guides from the local area and has lived there most of his life. He is very knowledgeable and patient where he takes the time to show every little detail in order to make it the best overall experience. We chose to take a day tour with him for a price of 450,000 ($45 CAD) for both of us, it is quite a bit considering the price of everything else in Indonesia, but we know that this will be his rent, food, and gas for his whole family over the next few months.
Our tour started by walking through the rice fields on our way to the monkey forest. In the forest we saw wild monkeys of all types and the rare black monkeys. It was fun to just stand there and watch them, far different than the ones who attack you for food that it in your hands. Next, we went to the fields where local farmers were growing chili peppers, fruits, vegetables, rice, etc. The views were great as you walk through the fields and jungle directly below Mt. Ranjani. Yusuf also took the time to explain everything, the processes, local history and culture. The morning ended with a visit to the waterfalls, where dove in for a nice, cold, refreshing dip.
After going back for lunch we left on scooters for a visit to the nearby village. We stopped at local handicraft stores where we saw the process for making shawls, scarves, dresses, and pottery. We also managed to see a local plantation for coffee, chocolate, and spices, it was a fun-filled and fully-packed day but it was worth every penny.
The next day we borrowed a scooter to see Sembalun Bumbung, a view through a nice mountain pass. The road went through tiny villages before snaking up a steep mountain road. The road was paved the whole way and had views of fields and the valley down below. At the very crest of the mountain there is a pullout to park your scooter with a view of the lush green valley and a town at the bottom. The journey took about 45 minutes to the top, but one hill was steep enough that one of us had to get off the scooter and walk 50 meters to the next pullout. Overall, it was a beautiful drive through the countryside.