Skip to main content

Searching for a princess in a Lombok lagoon

Each year on the full moon in February, the Sasak people of Lombok in Indonesia gather to search for a beautiful lost princess who put love for her people above all other love.

Lombok's Bau Nyale Festival celebrates the legend of the Mandalika Princess around the appearance of fluorescent Nyale sea worms which arrive for only a day or two and then disappear for another 12 months.

The south coast beaches of Lombok, including the beach lagoon in front of Novotel Lombok, are where people gather to catch the thousands of worms that appear and spawn in the sea. The ugly sea worms are believed to be the manifestation of the Princess Mandalika, the “Putri Nyale” or “Princess of Light” who according to legend, sacrificed her happiness and her life so that the people of Lombok might live in peace.

Faced with a choice between one of three princely suitors and perhaps creating jealousy and hatred among the subjects of the three kingdoms of Lombok, the beautiful princess fled to Mandalika mountain where she leapt into the sea while proclaiming her love for her people.

The men of the island also leapt into the ocean to save their beloved princess, but they found only
thousands of unusual fluorescent worms.

Many believe Princess Mandalika dwells still in Lombok’s seas and once each year, she shows her love for the people of Lombok when she appears in the form of the aquatic glowworms. Local belief is that the Nyale are not just regular sea worms, but sacred creatures that can bring prosperity to those who honor them, or misfortune to those who ignore them.

Bau Nyale is a four day festival with stick fighting, cock fighting, and traditional rhyming poetry. There's also dancing and singing.

The local priest predicts the success of the rice harvest based on the number of sea worms. A good catch means a good harvest.

Then it's time to eat the worms! Raw, steamed or fried, the worms are rich in protein and believed to be aphrodisiacs.

Lombok is an island east of Bali and west of Sumbawa, known for beaches and surfing spots. The Gili Islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno, off the west coast,  have long stretches of  beach, reefs popular with divers and snorkelers, and a sea turtle hatchery.

Disclaimer: Eat, drink and be Kerry stayed as a guest of Novotel Lombok.


Popular posts from this blog

Brisbane's top 10 'chew with a view' restaurants and cafes

It's a beautiful day! Where can you go and dine in the warm sun with a view that you'll never want to leave?

Here are ten top places in and around Brisbane to while away a lunch hour or a whole afternoon when the weather is warm and the skies are blue .

River Quay, South Bank

South Bank’s River Quay precinct has plenty of opportunities to relax in the sunshine and just about any restaurant at River Quay will offer a great spot for a winter lunch with a large, grassed lawn rolling down to the river bank.  You can even lie in the sun if you so desire.

Stop for champagne, oysters and more at Cove Bar and Dining, enjoy French provincial food at Aquitaine Brasserie, take in the river view from a Balinese daybed while you tuck into the contemporary menu at The Jetty, feast on Italian cuisine at Popolo or sip a long drink on the riverside deck of Stokehouse Q where the menu draws on local produce combined with bold flavours from the Mediterranean.

River Quay is the spot for Sunday …

Thar she blows - how to hunt whales the friendly way

A grunt and a spurt of seawater rising into the air show the position of a mother humpback whale and her three-week-old calf.

I'm on purpose-designed whale watching boat and we have motored for an hour over the calm seas of the great sandy straits up the coastline of Fraser Island

Captain Phil tells the 50 or so people aboard that the tip of the island is where we will see the whales and he is right.

Our first mother and calf are a little shy at first, keeping the boat at a good distance but I can clearly see the much smaller calf swimming strongly beside its mother.

I'm fascinated by the large circles of calm water that float past us and Phil tells us these are whale footprints

"They break the water tension when they flick their tails to swim down resulting in the clear circles on the water,” Phil says.

Sailors used whale footprints to track whales back in the bad old days when whales were valued more for their blubber than their beauty.

Our next mother and calf are a l…

Lunch amongst the lavender in the Scenic Rim

It was time to brush the cobwebs off the motor bike over Easter and head out of Brisbane into the beautiful Scenic Rim.

We started down the highway towards Beenleigh in beautiful autumn sunshine and stopped for a coffee at The Outpost Cafe at Canungra.  This is a well known bikies hangout but don't expect too much in the way of chains and dreadlocks - it's more favoured by the middle aged bikie enjoying the freedom of the road second time round.

The road less travelled is always our favoured route for this type of outing and we back tracked through Rathdowney before reaching our destination for the day, Kooroomba Lavender Farm about 65 minutes from Brisbane in the Scenic Rim at Mt Alford near Boonah.

Autumn is not the premium time for viewing either the vineyard or the lavender but the view across the valley to the mountains was still outstanding.  The building has a New Zealand lodge feel to it with plenty of stone walls both inside and outside, complimented by timber and ex…

Ten top things to do in Noosa Heads

It doesn't matter how many times I head down the hill on Noosa Drive towards the ocean, I still get a little shiver of excitement every time. This very special part of the world has achieved international recognition for its unique environment and I am privileged to be able to dip my toes into it on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my favourite Noosa pastimes.

1. Although it’s always tempting to sleep in, I don't like to waste a moment of the day when I wake up in Noosa. The best way to start is in the coffee queue at Sails on Hastings Street and then a stroll along the winding boardwalk to the National Park, koala spotting along the way.

Depending on my mood and energy level, I continue the walk through the park to enjoy the beachside views. Some like to run it. You can pick up a coffee at the information hut in the national park as well.

2. After a bit of exercise there's nothing like a big breakie at Aromas and a spot of people watching. With t…

Lots to explore at Brisbane's South Bank

Four markets in one day - what a way to spend a Sunday!

We started at the organic markets at Downy Park, Windsor which was not such a good idea. Why? Well we took the dog and the place was full of puddles - he's a corgi with very low legs - it all ended up being very messy.

Also, these markets definitely finish up on their advertised closing time of 10.30am.  Call me slow or just plain lazy but I find it hard to get out and about early on a Sunday morning. We arrived primed for breakfast at 10am just as everyone was shutting up - they had even run out of bread for French toast!

However, this market was just the first on our list. Next, we drove to South Bank Parklands to explore the Young Designers Market and the Granite Belt Flavours Market - both on the same day.

Several designer/clothes/jewellery purchases later, K2 subdued his inner male and agreed to look for the Granite Belt Flavours market which was not in its usual spot.  On the way, we walked through the regular South Ba…