What is Lombok famous for? We know it because of the amazing waterfalls, temples, and beaches, of course. Wait, Mount Rinjani is also an incredibly popular tourist magnet. In the previous century, this island wasn’t really big on entertaining the visitors and the locals preferred to keep all of its wonders to themselves.
However, in the 21st century, the government decided to invest impressive amounts of time, energy, and resources to turn it into a resort island. Today, in 2018, it’s almost as popular as Bali. In this particular article, I want to tell you about something different, something unique: the Aik Kalak hot springs on the north-eastern side of the mountain.
I’m not saying that there aren’t any other springs out there, but for Lombok, it’s a “hidden” landmark, only known to the regular and the more experienced tourists. It took Mother Nature centuries to create Rinjani, the waterfalls, caves, the Segara Anak Lake, and these springs. And now it’s up to us to enjoy them.
You’ll find similar spots in the caves right underneath the gigantic mount as well as in other corners of the island. But, in all fairness, the ones right next to the lake are simply the best. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Aik Kalak and see what it’s all about. How do we get there? What does it have to offer? And are there any other interesting spots in the area?
What Is Aik Kalak All About?
So, as you can see on the map, the lake and the springs are minutes away from each other. You won’t have to travel for miles to get from point A to point B. According to the locals, Aik Kalak is home to the island’s spirits and one day, ancient prophecies will come to life.
The entire area looks incredible: the rocks at the bottom, the water flowing from the tiny waterfalls, the trees, the plants, the clear sky above your head – it all adds up to a fantastic scenery worth the highest praise. Plus, there’s a certain kind of atmosphere in the air. I can’t really describe it and you’ll have to visit it for yourself to know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now, even though Mount Rinjani is the biggest tourist magnet in the East Lombok Regency, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have more fun there. Say, Sendang Gile is a mesmerizing waterfall; Segara Anak is where you can forget about everything that’s bothering you and become one with the campers.
As for Aik Kalak, its healing waters will make sure you have a proper rest and gather some strength to use in your daily routine back home. Naturally, the locals claim that all the Rinjani springs have healing powers and can cure even the worst diseases. It is scientifically proven that the composition of the water is great for our skin and some organs; yet, don’t expect any miracles!
Learning More About The Aik Kalak Hot Springs
As I just said, for the people of Lombok, this isn’t just another spot: it carries a strong spiritual value. They say that if you step into the spring water, it will bring most of the senses back to life, help the body stay young, and also put a new meaning into the soul. These folks combine the water from Aik Kalak with some coconut cream to create a special kind of oil.
What does it do, exactly? Heal most diseases, of course! The legends tell stories about the Sasak warriors using the powers of the hot springs to heal their wounds and gain strength for their muscles. Without Mount Rinjani’s protection, they would’ve never been able to protect this island from the invaders.
Back in the day, this landmark wasn’t open to the foreigners. However, these days, every single tourist is free to visit. Fact: you don’t really need to dive head-first for the springs to grant you all those nice treats. According to my friends that live on the island, it’s your heart that counts.
We all need to free our hearts from anger, hate, and any other sinful feelings – only then will we be able to connect with these magical waters. The Sasaks are known for their deep spiritual roots. Along with the traditions and customs, they are their driving force. For us, the western people, their ways might seem a bit “outdated”, but once you step into the Aik Kalak springs, everything will change.
What Is There To Do At This Spot?
Well, not everything, obviously, but I can say from personal experience that it changed me a bit, even though I was highly skeptical. The literal translation is “hot water” or “boiling water” and that means you’ll be totally comfortable while bathing there. Many tourists prefer to bring champagne with them to foreign islands and drink up while gathered together in one “tub.”
I wouldn’t recommend doing that here, because first of all, it’s a place of spiritual guidance, and alcohol is not the best companion in a trip like that. Second, the locals won’t appreciate your actions and might even ask you to leave Aik Kalak – for good.
Early in the morning and late in the evening, the people of the village perform all kinds of amazing rituals. If you want to learn more about their culture and the story behind these springs, make sure to wake up while the sun is still sleeping. The air is super fresh at 5-6AM; plus, there won’t be any tourists to prevent you from breathing everything in.
On the other hand, for having fun and doing some sightseeing, even the busiest hours will do. I recommend visiting the lake first, then checking out the camping site, and only then moving to these springs. That way, you’ll be a bit tired and the warm water will be just the right remedy.
Some General Tips For The Foreigners
Aik Kalak is located on a highland. So, late at night, it might become a bit cold for the tropical people. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on sticking around for that long. There are a lot of stones in the area and they make the springs look more authentic. The water is almost always warm, and it’s absolutely safe to spend hours there.
Folks with high blood pressure and headaches claim that after a couple of visits, the symptoms faded a bit. Jayanegara, a local legend, used to really love these springs and spent almost every day there. Was it the biggest source of his power? We’ll never know, but the guides and the regular citizens sure do think so.
In fact, they are always happy to tell stories about Aik Kalak and every other landmark in the vicinity. Fact: many tourists visit this spot to wash their religious/holy items, including swords and other weapons. Oh, and I’m happy to say that cameras are allowed, which means you simply have to take at least a couple of pictures with Mount Rinjani serving as background.
Accommodation-wise, this place is ok. The closest hotels and cafes/warungs are approximately 30 minutes away, give or take. Everything is cheap in Lombok and you’ll get yourself stuffed for just 5-10 dollars. I told you this place deserves a visit!
How To Find The Aik Kalak Hot Springs
This landmark is +/- 200 meters away from Segara Anak. Go through the north-eastern path and you’ll get there. You’ll find two springs at the destination, separated by some big rocks. The mineral waters are actually mixed with volcanic substances, which is why it’s always nice and warm in Aik Kalak (up to 45 degrees Celsius).
From the Lombok International Airport, the drive will take approximately 3 long hours. At the same time, you’ll be riding through the better half of the island and will get to see a lot of temples, waterfalls, and forests along the way. The shortest route is through Jl. Raya Mataram. The longest one is through Jl. Raya Labuhan.
The longest route takes the tourists along the eastern coast of Lombok, and for that, I would always recommend picking this path over the faster one. The same goes for Mataram. The short route is through the center of the city, and, again, through the East Lombok Regency.
The fans of shores should choose the longer route that’s approximately 110 kilometers long. The western part is just as beautiful, and Senggigi is there to welcome you. But it doesn’t really matter which route you end up taking. Make sure to get enough rest and don’t rent a bike unless you’ve got energy both for the driving and the walking.