If You’ve Never Tried Surfing, Here’s the Perfect Place to Start
Imagine a vacation free from the stresses of daily life. Sip a tropical smoothie on the beach, play with wild monkeys in a rainforest, hike to the top of a volcano, or enjoy the cooling mist from a waterfall. Where in the world could you experience an adventure like this? We’ll give you a hint. It’s an island off the coast of Indonesia. (And no, we aren’t talking about Bali.)
In 2016, a whopping 4.6 million people took a vacation to tropical Bali, Indonesia. While it’s a popular travel destination for good reason, trying to find a spot in between throngs of people on a crowded beach doesn’t sound very appealing. This year, while all the tourists flock to Bali, opt to relax on the Lesser Sunda island, Bali’s neighbor, Lombok. While it may not be as widely known, Lombok, Indonesia is nothing to balk at. With pleasant temperatures throughout the year, gorgeous beaches, and 12 hours of sunlight per day, you’ll return from your vacation feeling inspired and rejuvenated. As a bonus, Dr. Pasha and his team rated Lombok, Indonesia a 4 out of 10 on the Pasha Allergy Scale, so you’re in for a delightful trip. Allergens to watch out for include:
Smog, Pollen, and Mold – Lombok’s Allergens and What to Do About Them
In the city of Lombok, the biggest allergen to look out for is air pollution and smog from vehicles and fires. Smog can affect even those who don’t typically suffer from allergies, so tourists might find themselves dealing with sinusitis, a dry throat, or irritated eyes while traveling in Lombok.
If sinusitis is bothering you during your trip, there are several remedies you can try to help combat your symptoms. Over-the-counter painkillers, decongestants, or allergy medication work well to ease your discomfort. If pressure in the nasal passage is bothering you, try a warm compress over the nose for some much-needed relief. And finally, you might want to ditch the margarita or piña colada at dinner, as alcohol can make allergy symptoms worse.
To get rid of a dry throat, gargle warm salt water (We know, it’s gross. But trust us—it works!) or drink tea with honey. It’s also a good idea to keep some lozenges handy to soothe your throat throughout the day. Something important to note is that the tap water in Indonesia is not safe to drink, so if you plan to drink tea or gargle salt water, only do so with boiled or bottled water.
If irritated eyes are getting in the way of vacation fun, grab a pair of sunglasses to prevent irritation. Avoid rubbing your eyes because it can further irritate them, and the germs from your hands can make them prone to infection. At the end of the day, try a cold compress to soothe the eyes, and use lubricating eye drops as needed.
Of course, you can always take measures to prevent symptoms from air pollution as well. When in Lombok, do as the Sasak people do. Try wearing a face mask while sightseeing—many of the natives wear face masks, so you’ll fit right in. Always keep the windows closed in your hotel room to minimize exposure. On a day where the smog seems especially bad, opt for indoor activities to avoid breathing in polluted air for too long or avoid the city areas.
Those who suffer from pollen or mold allergies may experience an itchy throat, irritated eyes, a runny nose, or may even deal with coughing or wheezing. The treatments listed above can help combat the itchy throat and irritated eyes, while a warm compress or a saline nasal spray can help stop the constant sniffles. As for the cough, an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine may help alleviate your symptoms.
Many people find that traveling to a drastically different climate from their hometown can set off their allergies. Lombok is hot, humid, and tropical, so you may experience an increase in allergy symptoms if you’re coming from, say, the desert or the frozen tundra. Seasons in Lombok are flip-flopped from what we’re used to in the United States, with the lower temperatures in July and the higher temperatures in December; although, Lombok’s temperatures range from 70s to 90s year round, so you’ll experience pleasant, stable temperatures no matter when you visit.
If you struggle with allergies, note that during the rainy season (from November to March), pollen allergy sufferers may find that their symptoms are not as intense as in dry weather. However, the rainy season is also more humid than the dry season (April to October), which allows allergens like mold to thrive, leading to an increase in allergy symptoms in those who are allergic to mold. Another important note for those who are greatly affected by allergies is that you may experience hay fever when traveling during a season transition period (such as at the very end of winter or the beginning of spring—which would fall in March or April), so plan your trip accordingly.
Now That Your Allergies Are Under Control, Let’s Have Some Fun
By taking the proper precautions and finding ways to deal with allergy symptoms, you can focus on enjoying your vacation. Lombok is a hidden gem with plenty of unique experiences!
Lombok is home to Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Set up a trekking tour and enjoy the spectacular views. While trekking, you may see a large variety of lush vegetation and unique animals, like the long tailed grey macaque or the barking deer. There are several waterfalls to visit as well, although it is recommended to travel with a certified guide.
Grab a towel and some sunscreen and hit the beach! Go surfing at the best secret surf point – Desert Point, also known as Bangko-Bangko beach. If surfing really isn’t your thing, head over to Lombok’s Tangsi beach. Here, you’ll find gorgeous turquoise waters and soft, pink sand. Yes, you read that correctly—pink sand! The sand takes on a pinkish hue due to the dead red coral fragments that are washed up on the shore. It’s one sight in Lombok you won’t want to miss.
On a day where your allergies are acting up or the smog seems especially bad, consider heading indoors to the State Museum of West Nusa Tenggara. It’s home to artwork, geographical exhibits, and historical artifacts, and is a great way to learn about the rich culture and history of Lombok. No face mask required!
What to Know Before You Go – A Guide to Medications in Lombok
Before traveling internationally, it’s important to take note of any medication restrictions your destination country may have. When traveling to Indonesia, be aware of the following restrictions:
- Chinese medications are prohibited.
- Medications for personal use are allowed into the country, with certain regulations.
- Medications must be packed in the original container and must be clearly labeled.
- Prescription medicine must be labeled with the name of the patient and the name of the medicine clearly marked on the bottle.
- Prescription drugs must be declared on the customs form as “prescribed medication for personal use whilst traveling.”
- A doctor’s letter from your physician, signed and dated, stating the medications, their generic names and brand names, and your medical conditions is required.
- Syringes or needles for medical use (like for immunotherapy shots) must be accompanied by a doctor’s letter stating their medical necessity.
Many medications are available in Indonesia, but may be difficult to find the more remote you travel, so plan ahead and bring any medication you may need. If you’re in a pinch, you may be able to find the needed medicine at a pharmacy, but wary and practice good judgment because some medications at small pharmacies may be fake, expired, or poorly stored. Remember that you may won’t be able to find the brand names you’re used to, so look up the active ingredient of your go-to allergy medications before arriving in Lombok.
Lombok, Indonesia is an incredible travel destination, and because it’s often overlooked, you can enjoy a fairly secluded getaway. With 12 hours of sunlight and these allergy tips at your disposal, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a wonderful vacation in the sun! Selamat jalan!
Be sure to check out the Pasha Travel Guide to see this year’s top 12 travel destinations, and learn tips for traveling allergy-free. Next week, we’re featuring Patagonia, Chile, and covering allergens to watch out for, fun activities to do while you’re there, and important medicine restrictions for travelers. Stay tuned later this week to learn what foods to avoid on your trip that can make your snoring worse. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!