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Kuta, Lombok: An Undiscovered Paradise

How not to travel #2: Decide it’s a good idea to move to a paradise island with only £500 in the bank.

There’s a chicken on the beach and I have piss on my flip flops. If there’s anything that you should do before going away, it’s probably save some money. I instead decided to buy into a wish and a dream, believing the fantasy world of a 3 week friend, and just like that gave up my whole life in England. In any case I had arrived in the lazy ‘paradise’ they call Lombok, living with an alcoholic. Despite this, going home was the last thing I want to do.

 

Kuta Lombok is often described as the undiscovered paradise. I found it had actually been discovered by a string of Australian surfers, diving enthusiasts, ex pats, wistful drifters, writers, and your general escapist. Despite this the island still remained mainly untouched; crescent bays holding turquoise water in the shallows, deep blue further out, coastal hills spotted with banana trees, tobacco fields, rumours of illegal gold mines, and a general, gentle pace of life untouched by the centuries. It is also home to the mighty Rinjani, 2nd highest volcano in Indonesia where you can find hot springs and a crater lake at the top. I wouldn’t be able to afford this of course, and so had to focus on how I was going to survive for the next four months.

A few hundred houses dot around the main town of Kuta, which was a scruffy old place with a ramshackle market area. I found myself renting out a house with a few other travellers who had settled here to explore for a few months. As untouched as Lombok is you can see the encroaching developments bought up by western investors, places such as the new Lobster Bay project East of the Island getting ready for large scale luxury holidaying. Apparently big changes are expected in the next 5-10 years and already the improvement and infrastructure of the roads had been put into progress. But still it seemed I had caught it at the right time and was able to roam off the beaten track to immerse myself in the riches of traditional Indonesian life for the time being, even if I was penniless.



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