The so called "authorised" money changer on Jl Raya Sengiggi (the Main Street on the same side as the"Happy Cafe") ripped us off almost 60AUD when getting money exchanged. Partly our fault for not questioning money changer at the time. It wasn't until we walked out of the store I realised we were down nearly 60AUD .. I counted my money on the sidewalk and went back in and he owned up and I was given the correct money. Beware when changing money make sure you have a calculator on hand to add up the exchange rate and how much you want changed because here they don't use a calculator in order to trick you!
They told us that we could not import wood products into Australia. Since we were going to Australia before we were going home, we decided not to buy any of the wood products that were being made at the craft village.
This place left a VERY FOUL taste in my mouth. Please avoid it if you can.
CHEATED ON THE RECEIPT
I've attached a picture of our receipt - they cheated on their receipt and we ended up paying double what we should have paid. Let me explain.
There were 2 of us and we ordered Nasi Putih - white rice - which was Rp, 5,000 per portion. We ordered 2 so it should be Rp. 10,000 for white rice. In their receipt, they craftily added an extra "0", making it Rp. 100,000. I was in a hurry so didn't check the receipt and simply looked at the total. The total bill was Rp. 196,000 when it should have been half of that, just Rp. 96,000.
It's not so much the amount of money - they got an additional $10 USD out of me, which is the equivalent of 2 Starbucks. Not a big amount of money. However, it's the principal that I am not happy with.
So - with their horrible business practice of cheating on their paying customers, was the food worth it? I ordered the specialty of Lombok - ayam taliwang - small country chicken cooked in their special sauce. It was all sauce and no chicken. I knew the chicken would be small considering it's a kampung chicken (i.e. chicken grown in the countryside, not mass-produced in a farm). Still, it was all sauce. The portions are tiny. It was nothing to write home about. We got pisang goreng for dessert and its presentation was hideous and tasted dry and unpleasant. It was hastily put together. I could get better pisang goreng from a warung down the street than at this "sit-down" place they call a "restaurant".
Other than the fact that they cheated on their bill, the wait staff were friendly enough. Please beware, though. They acted friendly to distract you so you wouldn't look at the bill closely.
Lots of foreign tourists. Comfortable seats and tables. Good music. Overall, good ambiance.
The food was very mediocre. The service was friendly. The biggest issue, of course, is the fact that they tried to make a few bucks by cheating on their bills. Shame on me for being stupid and not double checking the receipt. Shame on them for poor business practices of cheating and lying to their guests. The wait staff are completely two-faced - smiling and acting friendly to us while cheating on the bills behind our backs. This is no way to run a long-lasting business. Please please be aware of this. AVOID THIS PLACE!!!
Beware of the alcohol in indonesia! Several people have died the last years in methanol- poisoning! DO NOT buy ANY COCKTAILS! And DO NOT buy ANY alcohol in store. They mix or make the alcohol be diluted with methanol. It is extremely DANGEROUS! BEWARE!
Most deaths have been in Bali, Lombok and gili Island, especially gili trawangan!
Be aware of the porters that will flood your boat when arriving from f.ex. the Gilis.
We were "attacked" by 5 really scruffy men fighting over our suitcases. We tried to get them away as we could handle our luggage ourselves. They wouldn't listen. When we got to our taxi they demanded 100000 IDR (US$12) for carrying 2 suitcases 10 meters. I told them to bugger off and they got really aggressive. One tried to rip off my T-shirt. We managed to get away without paying anything as I did not want to risk taking out my money as it would most definitely been stolen.
This is somenthing the tourist autorities should get rid off. Really scary first 'welcome' to Lombok.
When in Gili Trawangan , people seem to be offering all sorts of drugs in public. We even got asked by a waiter who took our order at a restaurant if we wanted some magic mushrooms. I think this is mainly due to no police on the island.
Please remember this is still Indonesia and there is very strict laws against drugs.
There is lots of small and annoying Jellyfish around the Gili Islands. We were told they only come out certain moon cycles. They not harmful but the stings is painful and the bumps normally go away after and hour or so but my wife had it quiet badly as the bumps lasted a week. So best to wear a full length wetsuit to avoid being stung by these Jellyfish incase they around in the waters when you snorkeling.
While most of the sea life in the waters around the island is of the friendly variety, you should be aware that there are sizeable populations of venomous sea snakes in the water. At certain times of the year stinging jelly fish can also make their presence felt in the water although stings from these jellyfish are not fatal but can be painful. The local clinic can help with stings and snake bites but these clinics are not well equipped and often under-stocked. Just keep your distance if you spot these snakes in the water. Also be careful on boats, as sea snakes often find their way onto boats and love to coil up in rope giving you a nasty surprise when you go to drop or lift anchor as we found when out on a dive trip one day ;)
Again because of the lack of police on the island, you should take care with your belongings. The islands are very safe but there are incidents of petty crime on all islands but especially Gili Trawangan. It has to be said that most of the petty crimes committed on the island are carried out by people from the mainland and indeed other travellers rather than the islanders themselves. Make sure that all your valuables are locked safely away at your accommodation. Ask at your lodgings for a safety deposit box but don’t be surprised if they don’t have any, especially at the cheaper accommodation. When you are out ensure your bags are locked and chained if possible and that the doors and windows are secure. Most theft is opportunistic and taking sensible precautions will eliminate the risk of petty crime. Also avoid walking alone at night around isolated parts of the islands including the western coasts and interior.
With no permanent police force on the islands, the Gilis have developed a bit of a reputation as an island where you can get away with more than normal in conservative and strict Indonesia. Drugs are readily available on the island and you will more than likely be approached to buy some of the local ‘produce’ especially the magic mushrooms which are blatantly advertised in many of the bars and restaurants on Gili Trawangan. This may be something to consider if you plan to bring young children to the island...there is a high risk that they may be exposed to drug culture through advertising signs or people under the ‘infuence’.
Be warned that there have recently been several high profile drug stings by the mainland police and getting caught with any type of drug can carry heavy fines, imprisonment and even the death penalty.
While the blissfully clear, turquoise water may seem as safe as a bathtub, be warned that there are very strong currents flowing between the islands and underestimating their power can be and have been fatal. The relatively short distance between the islands can make it tempting to try to swim across the channels but this disillusioning swim has led to several drowning over the years and locals will warn you of the inherent dangers of any attempt to swim between the islands. The currents are especially strong around the north-eastern corners of each island. Also worth bearing in mind is that many of the dive sites have strong currents which results in a drift style dive at many of the sites...a strange and sometimes alarming experience if you are not used to drift dives although the Gilis are a good place to try your first drift due to calm, shallow and clear waters.
We found little scam and cheating in Lombok and enjoyed our stay (3 weeks) very much. However at the Water Palace and the Pura Meru temple in Mataram there are people who are trying to extract 'donations' from you at the entrances demanding its a Hindu custom and its compulsory for entry. According to their 'guest book' (only containing names of foreigners) they must have some success... DON'T PAY, JUST ENTER THE PLACE!
There are snakes in them there seas!
I also posted this pic in another section but I thought it deserved a mention in the warnings area. we spotted this snake on Tanjung Ann beach - it's some kind of krait (sea snake) and they're more venomous than cobras apparently.
A guy we got to know who was doing a diving course said that they saw one while diving and the instructor gave it a very wide berth, so not something to be trifled with.
But don't worry, I looked on the internet and it said that they're mainly nocturnal and bites on humans are rare - perhaps the one they saw while diving had been disturbed by something. This one seemed quite dozy but I certainly didn't want to get any closer - I took this photo and moved swiftly on!
This won't affect everyone, but when we were snorkelling off the Gilis we all got stung by tiny jellyfish. It wasn't too bad for most of us - just like nettle stings really which went away about 30 mintues after getting out of the sea, but our daughter reacted quite badly and spent the rest of the holiday looking like she had measles all over her legs and stomach. I'm not sure what can be done about this kind of thing - she even got stings under her swimming costume, so I don't know if a wetsuit would help.
I guess that if you've got sensitive skin and you are up that way, get someone else to swim first and see if they can feel the stings - if they can, then don't go in (because everyone gets stung, they just don't all react so badly).
The guys on the snorkelling boat said that it's all to do with the wind and time of year, so maybe the locals would be able to tell you what the jelly situation is.
I went to Sengigi Beach for a good sunset but too bad when i have been surrounded by peddlers selling their wares all the time there... sometime it is so irritating to say a NO to them for upteenth times. Even after the polite NO, they will keep following you and bugging you to buy their product.
I always say NO and be firm about it. Their antics made me rather buy the souveniers at the shop. Once to ask about price, they will go all out (sometime quiet aggrasive) to make you buy their wares..becareful
It also the same thing happend at Kuta and Tanjung Aan in Lombok and also to other Indonesian tourist spot. To cut short, they will be there where the tourist are. Very annoying!