The island of Lombok is situated in the vast Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Bali and Sumbawa. With quick air and sea connections from Bali, and a new international airport, Lombok is easy to get to.
Lombok has a population of just over three million, and blends the local Sasak culture with Hindu and Islamic traditions. Long overshadowed by it’s 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 islands 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 laid-back 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 local families at the beach below. At sunset, everything stops 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 teeming 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 lie just off Lombok’s North West 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, and 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 thirty minute boat ride from Lombok. This island offers the widest range of accommodation, 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 clock 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 best to be first, or to grow up too fast, too soon.