When I was scouting locations for a trip to South East Asia, my only criteria was picturesque waters and clean beaches. The allure of an idyllic beach with all those hues of turquoise, blue and green waters in the background felt like the perfect long getaway I had been yearning for. For some reason though, Thailand seemed like a place I would have gone to, in my early-mid 20s or probably in my late 50s. (Yes, I know it sounds stupid, but lets leave it at that.) Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Laos also fit the bill. But one day, while going through numerous blog reports of people who had been to these countries, I glanced upon an image of a beach overlooking a fiery red and golden sun, setting peacefully beside the silhouette of a mountain. That was it – a spark was lit ! And just like the crazy adventurers that I had read about in my childhood, my decision was influenced to a large extent because of a single image. This destination was in the land of a thousand volcanoes – Indonesia.
The image I had seen was actually from Senggigi beach situated on the relatively lesser known island of Lombok. The good news was that Lombok is only a 30 min flight from Bali. From whatever little I read about the place, I understood that Lombok must feel like what Bali used to be a good 20 to 30 years ago; a time before the tourists had discovered the heady concoction of idyllic beaches and the rich Balinese culture and before Eat, Pray, Love enticed them from across the globe.
The other islands overlooking volcanoes – Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Dua involved a ferry that took too much time. Then there was the paradise of Raja Ampat that almost me drool. All it took was a look at the prices of accommodation to shake me out of my reverie. So I settled on a mixture of the culturally upbeat Ubud and an equal amount of time in the slightly more off-beat, but picturesque Lombok.
So it came to be, that on the stroke of midnight on a cool night in October at Bangalore airport, we found ourselves seated in a Malaysian airlines flight waiting for takeoff.