Lombok (source taken from Expedia)
The island of Lombok is situated in the vast Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Bali and Sumbawa. With quick air and sea connection from Bali, and a new international airport, Lombok is easy to get to.
Lombok has a population of just over 3 million, and blends the local Sasak culture with Hindu and Islamic traditions. Long overshadowed by its brasher big sister Bali, Lombok offers a quieter, less-developed vacation alternative. The pace is slower here, and the island is much less-developed. In fact, many visitors say, Lombok is like stepping back in time.
The island’s capital is Mataram, home to Lombok’s largest Hindu temple, Pura Meru. Nearby, spend a quiet hour amid the rows of mangosteen trees, and bathe in the scent of jasmine at the Mayura Water Palace. This royal court and floating pavilion was built in the mid-1700s, by Lombok’s former rulers, the Balinese.
Head north from Mataram, along the scenic west coast road, to Senggigi Beach. This laidback resort town makes an ideal base to explore the rest of Lombok.
Pay your respects at the Hindu pagodas of Batu Bolong Temple. Then enjoy a dip with the local families at the beach below.
At sunset, everything stops here at Senggigi, as the sun drops into the sea.
When it’s time to move on, follow the inland road north to Pusuk Park Pass, a mountainous reserve teaming with monkeys.
A few miles on is the town of Tanjung. Wander the local market, a real window into the lives of Lombok’s mostly rural people.
The Tanjung area is the gateway to one of Lombok’s biggest attractions: the Gili Islands.
These three tiny islands lay just off Lombok’s northwest coast, and are also accessible by fast boat from Bali. Once you jump ashore, prepare to step back even further in time. Life here is refreshingly simple. The only way to get around is on foot, bicycle, or pony cart.
For the most back-to-basics experience, head to Gili Air and Gili Meno. These are the smallest of the islands, and offer miles of sand, simplicity, and seclusion.
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three, and is just a 30-minute boat ride from Lombok. This island offers a wide range of accomodation, restaurants and activities. Pull on a dive mask, do some shopping, or just get to know the locals.
Whichever Gili island you choose, a few days here is guaranteed to reboot your body cloth to island time, and put you back in touch with the rhythms of nature.
Welcome to Lombok, Bali’s little sister. A place to remind us that sometimes, it’s not always the best to be first, or to grow up too fast, too soon.