I used the term “short trip” rather loosely, as will become evident.
Last Thursday we headed off to Maluk Beach on Sumbawa – we explored options of getting there and even considered driving to the ferry (Kayangan harbour) on our scooters (it is 80kms from where we are staying) and taking the bike over on the ferry and then driving the 60km from Pontotano Harbour to our guesthouse (thank heavens we vetoed that one) , another option was to catch a bus from Mataram (20m from here) – this bus actually goes on the ferry to Pontotano and then continues all the way to Maluk – this seemed like a feasible option so we took a drive into Mataram to the bus terminus to enquire about this – this left us a little less enthusiastic about this option as the chap at the terminus quoted almost double what we had read (we had seen a price of IDR 100k and he quoted us IDR 175k) and also pointed out a very dodgy looking bus whereas we had read that it is the DAMRI (motor transport of Indonesia) bus – so once again this received a veto. We consulted with our guesthouse owner and he recommended the “fast” ferry which went from Kayangan harbour to Benete – which is 6 km from Maluk – we opted for this option and he also arranged for his housekeeper to meet us at the harbour with a motor bike as well. We hired a local driver to take us to Kayangan and this “short 80km trip” was the most harrowing 2 and a half hour drive I have ever had – bearing in mind that we drive in Hanoi traffic daily and have dealt with South African Minibus taxis for years! It seems that the lanes are purely there as and indication of where to sit whist contemplating your next extreme overtaking manoeuvre! We were immensely happy to arrive in one piece but dreaded that thought that it all had to be repeated in reverse on the way back. The fast ferry was introduced thanks to the Newmont copper and gold mine on the island and runs twice a day in each direction – at 10 and 4 from Lombok and at 8 and 2 from Benete – at a cost of IDR 135k per person each way. It was a very comfortable trip (a little bumpy towards the end – but no one can control the ocean).
When we arrived off the ferry, Ozzy (the housekeeper) and his friends met us with the bike (surfboard rack included) – I think they were a little bemused by our ages – they expected young surfers.
We headed off to our Surf Cottage – through Maluk and up the hill – what a hill it was – we did anticipate the bike flipping backwards at one point. We worked out that the incline in gradient was 50m in a distance of 50m – I walked it once but decided to rather take my chances on the back of the bike after that). Bearing in mind that the lack of traction on this kind of surface in the wet is still very fresh in our minds after our littte tumble.
This picture does not do justice to the extent of the incline.
The house was amazing with balconies on either side of the top floor gave stunning views of he mountains as well as the ocean and we definitely enjoyed relaxing on bean bags reading our books (and a beer or 2).
The views in front and looking right from the balcony
The main attraction at Maluk is definitely the surfing and the Supersuck left break is amongst the top in the world. We were there in the off season and all the hotels were closed – and looked a tad derelict. Maluk is very definitely a mining town that supports the Newmont mine and its employees.
I made some quite interesting observations:
- There are an awful lot of people walking around with 1 shoe on – the beach was littered with single flip flops – it was astounding the number of them – amusingly there is a beach bar in Senggigi with a flip flop tree – and I understand why;
- There is obviously a wet market that we could not find as there was no fresh meat or veggies in any of the shops – we were able to buy tinned tuna and pasta and a packet ready-made bolognaise sauce (which was surprisingly good) so at least I could “sort of” prepare some cooked food;
- I could not find salt nor pepper but could have bought 250g packet of MSG – I kid you not;
- There is an abundance of stray dogs – not only in Maluk but we noticed it more here than in Senggigi
- The beaches are free of the ubiquitous traders hassling you every 5 minutes to buy sarongs bracelets etc and there are the standard cabanas that are there for anyone to use at no cost – I am not sure if this would remain the case when it is busier but while we were there families were coming down to the beach with picnics and utilising these without a problem;
- There are no pharmacies in Maluk – basics like paracetamol is sold at the mini market but anything more is not available – so be prepared.
The flip flop tree in Senggigi (Jo Je Bar)
We were able to get a fair amount of walking done by exploring the area and wandering along the beach watching the few surfers that were about.
We generally went off to the beach had a swim, relaxed for a while – had a second swim them back to the house for a relaxed afternoon on the bean bags. The tranquillity of the setting was amazing with the only sounds being the cow bells and the farmers calling to the colleagues and animals.
Amazing sunset from the back door
The ocean on the ferry trip back was much calmer but the dreaded road trip was even worse due to a broken down vehicle (on a single land road this did add about an hour to the journey).
2 days at the house in Senggigi to see the kids and have an early birthday celebration dinner for Ivan and we are then off to Kuta, Lombok for a few days.
I cannot yet load videos here so I have created a Youtube channel – The View From Our Seat – and have uploaded a couple of videos there and will continue to do so.