Lombok and the Gili Islands Get Back to Business
Over the New Year holidays Khiri Travel Indonesia’s GM Herman Hoven traveled to the Gili Islands and northern Lombok. These places were the regions most affected by the devastating earthquakes in July and August last year.
Herman visited all three Gili islands: Trawangan, Meno and Air, and circumnavigated each of them by foot and bicycle to visit the various hotels we work with. While there is no denying that some of the hotels still need time to rebuild, it was encouraging to see that the vast majority – about 90 percent – have completed their renovations and are open for business.
In Gili Trawangan – and to a lesser extent Gili Meno and Gili Air – tourists have returned and the locals are looking forward to welcoming more new clients this year. Although some of the coral reefs nearby have been damaged, most sites around the islands are intact. The beaches have been cleared of rubble and debris, and streets have been repaved and repaired.
On the island of Lombok we traveled in a loop from Senggigi up to Senaru in the north, and back down via the east coast. Along the way people have – or are in the process of – rebuilding their lives. Government assistance has not reached all people yet, but with the help of numerous private initiatives, villagers are picking up the pieces and getting their lives back on track.
Most bamboo and wood buildings have withstood the force of the earthquakes, a reason why many locals have opted to rebuild their homes with these materials rather than with concrete. We stopped along the way for breakfast at Hotel Tugu Lombok on the Sire Peninsula, where Lombok Lodge, Oberoi – and soon The Legian Lombok – are situated.
Further north we met with several of our guides who belong to the female guide association of Senaru. Although hotels here suffered the most damage, with only Pondok Senaru now open, we were much encouraged by the areas potential with some beautiful walks on the slopes of Mt Rinjani.
Since the closure of Mt Rinjani’s rim affecting climbs to the summit, many guides and porters are out of work. We’d like to see as many of them as possible back at work, which would kick-start the local economy and speed up the region’s recovery. The traditional villages around Senaru make for beautiful hiking, no matter what your level of fitness is!
Returning via the east coast, it was great to learn that we are again able to operate upcoming itineraries on the uninhabited islands in this eastern region. And further inland in Tetebatu, the situation is back to normal with cycling, hiking, and visiting traditional weaving and craft villages, all possible. Here, the locals welcomed us back to their homes with open arms and were all ready and eager to continue sharing their activities and way of life with us and our clients!
To know more about Lombok where seeks to put itself back on the international tourism map in 2019, read here.
For more information or booking for authentic experience in Lombok, please email [email protected].