Neighbouring the ubiquitous island of Bali, Lombok is actually the preferred alternative if the scene next door gets too overwhelming. Beautiful turquoise waters, coral reefs and warm sandy beaches everywhere you turn, and the lack of tourists means the island is your own private little paradise. When it’s time to call it a day, you’ll be glad that you will always have that soothing view of coconut trees lined up along the shore, looking out to the Indian Ocean. The culture of Lombok is dominated by the native Sasaks, closely related to the Balinese but these adhering to Islam instead of Hinduism. Fascinating culture interweaved with a gorgeous backdrop, it’s hard not to fall in love with the island.
Best of Lombok
1. Tanjung Aan
Cowabunga! It is surf’s up with rocking waves, or simply take a break as you bask in the sunshine on the powdery beach. Tanjung Aan is an incredibly beautiful isolated bay best explored on bare feet. Enjoy clear waters of blue and green hues with moderately-sized waves hitting the reef. Go up the hill and enjoy the view of the nearby Kuta Beach.
2. Mount Rinjani National Park
Standing 3,736 metres tall, Mount Rinjani is the highest volcano in Indonesia. It’s a challenging trek to the top, but the majestic view is well worth the effort. On your way up, take a break at picturesque Lake Segara Anak and find the hidden hot spring before you continue your hike to the vantage point where you can see Bali’s Mount Agung across the sea.
3. Pura Lingsar
A unique temple complex with both Balinese-Hinduism and Wektu Telu (local indigenous religion) influences combined, with mind-blowing architecture to boot! There’s a pond within the Waktu Telu section where ‘holy eels’ call home and you can feed them with boiled eggs. It is also the site for the annual “Perang Topat” ritual, a ‘rice cake war’ that symbolizes brotherhood and tolerance between Muslims and Hindus.
4. Gili Islands
Island-hop your way to Gili Trawangan for awesome beach parties, Gili Air for amazing diving sites and Gili Meno for some relaxation under the tropical sun – three islands for three times the fun! The Gili Islands are perfect for your holiday getaway as they are naturally beautiful with clear turquoise waters and extremely peaceful as no motorised vehicles are allowed on the islands!
5. Gili Meno Bird Park
Fly away with the many rare and exotic habitants of this colourful bird park, with over 300 species of birds including parakeets, eagles, pheasants and many more!
6. Senggigi Beach
Lots to do at Senggigi Beach, as you head for tantalizing local cuisines, amazing spots on the boulevard and even enjoy the gorgeous sunset! Honeymooners can enjoy a romantic stroll while walking hand-in-hand on the sandy beach, best friends will delight in trying out various water sports and families can spend quality time over freshly-cooked seafood dinner.
7. Pura Batu Bolong
The magnificent temple clings to a rocky promontory forming a hole under the temple, set against a panoramic backdrop of the Lombok Straits. “Batu Bolong” means a rock with a hole, referring to the fact that this temple stands on a volcanic rock outcrop on the beach facing Bali’s Mount Agung. People come here to enjoy picnic by the sea and you will have the chance to see people flood the area at the time of Eid al-Fitr.
8. West Nusa Tenggara State Museum (Museum Negeri Nusa Tenggara Barat)
Unleash your inner ‘Indiana Jones’ as you explore displays on geology, history and culture of Lombok and its neighbouring islands. A great educational respite from the holiday sun and sea!
9. Kuta Beach
Similar with its Bali namesake when it comes to surfing swells, this beach has pristine sands, crystal clear waters and much lesser crowds. Seen as the next hot spot for Lombok, it still retains it rustic charm with sleepy fishing villagers where the friendly residents maintain their old ways of life. Come here for the idyllic beach holiday you’ve always dreamt of.
10. Pura Meru Cakranegara
The largest temple in Lombok has three merus (multi-storeyed temples) for Lord Brahma the Creator, Lord Vishnu the Preserver and Lord Shiva the Destroyer – the Hindu trinity. Colourful festivals are held every full and new moon, heralded by beatings of the big drum on the outer courtyard.
11. Mayura Water Palace
Fall into sombre reverence as you step onto the seemingly floating structure perched upon a beautiful artificial lake. Long before Indonesia’s independence, this was the site of bloody battles against the colonial Dutch. Today, it is a peaceful royal court complex with a wonderful garden and a serene lake that is connected to the shoreline.
12. Sukarara Weaving Village
Beautiful ikat cloth is meticulously weaved right before your eyes as the Sasak women work their craft with the looms. Sasak girls learn the art of ikat (an ancient technique to create design by resist-dying the threads before the fabric is woven) from a very young age and by the time they reach womanhood, they have perfected their skills. See them at work and be amazed with their skills, especially when making the chiefly prized double ikat.
14. Sendang Gila, Tiu Kelep and Betara Lenjang Waterfalls
They say three is a magical number, and it is true for Lombok’s case. Aside from the three Gilis, the island also offers three gorgeous waterfalls within lush rainforests. Sendang Gila is the most famous of the three, whilst the more adventurous can continue to Tiu Kelep and the experienced trekker should visit Betara Lenjang.
15. Ayam Taliwang
Also known as “Manuk Pelalah” in Sasak language, the free-range chicken is grilled halfway and then fried with fragrant spices before it’s grilled for the second time. It’s served with chilli topping along with a plate of hot rice. Heavenly and spicy (you’ve been warned)!
The world’s surfing epicentre lies in beautiful Bali, where crystal waters and pristine beaches welcome all to surf, dive, snorkel, swim and build sandcastles. Discover life beyond the beach amidst Bali’s rich Hindu heritage and culture in iconic religious sites such as Tanah Lot and Uluwatu, shop till you drop in popular tourist haunts like Ubud, Kuta and Seminyak, or if you’re looking for a gastronomical adventure, delicious cuisines such as Babi Guling and Bebek Betutu will satisfy your hunger pangs. Need an outdoor adventure? Then scale the mighty Mount Batur or take a long drive towards Lovina Bay to see if you can spot the friendly dolphins!
Resting to the east of Wallace line, the island shows the unique gradual flora and fauna change from Asia to Australia which will thrill any nature lover. So much to do around Sumbawa, including surfing at Sekongkang, Benete and Maluk, hiking up Mount Tambora, and diving in the deep blue at Moyo National Marine Park.
The legendary dragons are alive and well on the island! Given the status of both a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Komodo and its surrounding islands are the home to the one-of-a-kind Komodo dragons. The island is also rich in both Asian and Australian flora and fauna. Off the shore, the islands have one of the world’s richest marine environments.