Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi takes you to the pinkest beach in Lombok to experience the local dining culture and learn all about pearls. Let’s get on board!
After a two-hour ride from Padang Bai and Gili Trawangan, the BlueWater Express boat that I took from Serangan harbor finally arrived at Teluk Kodeq, the nearest harbor to Senggigi. As soon as the boat came to a stop, I got off and followed the team from the Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi who arranged this trip into the car that would transfer us to the property.
On our way to the Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi, the view of the slow life in Lombok reminded me of the old days in Bali when lavish resorts were still far and few between. Boutique villas, bars and cafés, although not as plentiful as in Bali, are now filling up the island and definitely not taken for granted. And the Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi clearly sees this as an opportunity for a tourist attraction. It has been three years since this resort was first established, yet the team still strives to pamper their guests with adventures that are far from the tourist radar. They have explored the Senggigi area and its surroundings, all the way to its edges, and found the ‘treasures’. And the fact that not many upscale hotels in Lombok do this makes the Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi special. I was super thrilled when the team told me about the tours and local attractions they had in store for me, but first they took me to one of their Ocean View Rooms on the second floor where I spent my nights in Lombok.
The room was so comfortable with furniture made of wood and rattan, and very unique with its bamboo-structured ceiling and thatched roof that resembles a traditional Sasak house – Sasak is the name of the original Lombok tribe. A queen-size bed sits right next to the terrace’s door, which connects the room to the outside area that is filled with a blue mattress and cushions and boasts the view of the Senggigi Beach, while the bathroom has a glass door that gives access to the outdoor shower made of bamboo with the view of the greenery. Could it get more natural than this? Yes, of course. Join me on my scheduled adventure crafted by the Sudamala team...
Together with the other hotel guests, I hopped into a jukung (a traditional boat) to see the sunset from the tranquil turquoise ocean – this sunset session was made perfect with fresh young coconut drinks to accompany our journey. Not long after, the sun began to spill its most yellow color of the day and the sky started to change from orange and yellow to pink as it approached dusk. I could have just stayed there forever to capture this natural beauty if I had the choice, but the jukung slowly took us back to shore as the night started to fall.
When we got off the boat the Begibung dining by the beach was already set up, adorned with trees and leaves as well as lanterns to add warm lighting. Begibung is an authentic Lombok feast that is inspired by the Balinese feast culture, Megibung. This feast is usually served on traditional occasions like weddings where people gather to eat with their bare hands. It consists of rice – which is placed in the middle of the table – surrounded by Lombok’s authentic dishes such as ayam taliwang, sate lilit, kangkung plecing, sambal matah, prawn crackers, grilled calamari and Lombok’s beef curry. The meal comes with portions for two to three people and is served beautifully on banana leaves. It takes about two hours to prepare, and the taste is rich with coconut milk and Indonesian herbs.
The Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi’s version of begibung is quite spicy yet so delish that it made me scoop another round of rice. The night was even lovelier with an acoustic band playing Spanish songs that made me and other guests dance a little. After the dinner I went back to my room to find an Indonesian folktale written beautifully on paper as a bedtime story. Next to it, another paper reminded me about the next day’s schedule; a visit to the Pink Beach and a pearl workshop.
The next morning I excitedly put on my bikini for the adventure to Pink Beach. Located on the east side of Lombok, Pink Beach is famous because of the pink color of the sand that comes from the red particles produced by crushed coral. Mixed with seawater, these particles turn the sand a pinkish hue, which makes this beach look unique and stunning. In the afternoon however, when the sun is shining on the beach, the sand will become whiter. Yet the magic of this beach is not only the sand but also the turquoise water and extremely low tide that make people want to just bask in the ocean while gazing at the hills surrounding the beach. Truth be told, I could lie there all day but another interesting discovery was waiting for me at a pearl workshop.
Lombok is blessed with South Sea pearls beneath its ocean. There are numerous pearl farmers on the island, and so the Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi had arranged for me to go to Ragenda, one of the home industries owned by a local man. From the shells collected every single day, Ragenda can make hundreds of pearl jewelry items in a week like rings, necklaces and bracelets that he sells at his workshop in Senggigi. During my visit he explained how he works, from collecting and choosing the right shell as well as taking out the pearls from the shells. Then he showed his creations that are worth from Rp. 200,000 to Rp. 50 million a piece! He also took me to his workshop where I got to help his staff peeling, coating and cleaning the pearls. This was ultimately a pearl 101 experience for me, and I felt even more honored to be given this chance when I found out that Ragenda has not been exposed yet on the internet – I tried to search Ragenda on Google after the workshop but couldn’t find anything about him there.
If it wasn’t for the third glass of coffee that woke me up from Ragenda’s pearl tale, I could almost think of becoming one of those farmers who live by the Lombok Sea, surrounded by beautiful pearls. Besides, the sun was about to set, so it was time for me to go back to the Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi. After all, nothing could beat a cocktail at the resort’s beach deck while I enjoyed my last sunset in Lombok before heading back home the next morning.
Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi
Jalan Raya Mangsit, Senggigi, Lombok
Magazine issue > Beyond Bali