An active volcano, dense forests and seemingly endless stretches of undeveloped coastline make this island a less crowded and more natural alternative to neighbouring Bali.
The volcanic island ofLombok lies in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago, just to the east ofBali. Though the islands are only 22 miles (35 kilometers) apart, there arestark differences between them. While tourism and development in Bali havecontinued unabated for decades, Lombok has been slower to develop. EnjoyLombok’s untouched lengths of coastline, quiet surf breaks, and rural towns andvillages that have changed little for generations.
Though often bypassed byvisitors keen to hit the beaches, the island’s capital, Mataram, hasrewarding attractions. Spend some time in the Mayura Water Palace, where18th- and 19th-century Balinese royals used to unwind, and Pura Meru, thelargest temple on Lombok.
Lombok offers some of thebest beaches and islands in Indonesia. Head north from Mataram to SenggigiBeach and enjoy laid-back resorts, the rich marine life of Senggigi Reefand the heavenly views from Pura Batu Bolong temple. Follow the scenicroad a little farther north to Bangsal, one of the access points to theincredible Gili Islands. Lying just a few miles off Lombok’s northwestcoast, these three tiny islands epitomise tropical perfection.
When you are looking foran alternative to sand and surf, trek to the highest point on the island, theactive volcano, Gunung Rinjani. If you’re not up for the climb, explorethe beauty of the surrounding natural park with an expedition through itsforests and villages.
Lombok is just a 25-minuteflight from Bali. The island’s international airport is a 40-minute drive fromMataram. There are also numerous fast boat connections between Bali and Lombok,some going directly to Senggigi Beach and the Gili Islands. Passenger ferriesconnect Lombok to the rest of the archipelago. Getting around the island iseasy and relatively inexpensive via tourist shuttle buses, private vans,motorcycles and even horse-drawn carts.
Being so close to theequator means Lombok is hot year-round. The best time to visit is during thedry season between May and September.