All that can be found in Bali can also be found on the island of Lombok Indonesia. But not vice versa. Situated immediately east of Bali, Lombok is island whose territory and culture are closely intertwined with those of its illustrious neighbor.
Lombok lies on the road to ancient trade routes between Europe, India and China. Since ancient times, people’s life in Lombok has been influenced by various cultures. But today, the island, heir to a rich cultural past, is a residue of the indigenous traditions of the Sasak people, seasoned with Hindu, Arab and European Balinese influences.
Lombok Vs. Bali
Lombok is quite different from Bali: the climate is drier and the land is rougher. Its 1.6 million inhabitants (only half of its more famous neighbor) are mostly Muslims.
Before the 17th century, not many people know Lombok. But today, the tropical paradise is known among tourists as the “unspoiled Bali”. Separated from Bali by a strait, Lombok attracts travelers with dense forests, white sand beaches, world-class surf, waterfalls, and hiking trails through the rice and tobacco fields.
Like Bali, Lombok is dominated by a high chain of volcanic mountains to the north. In the center is Mount Rinjani, 3,800 meters, the second highest peak in Indonesia. You can join the often-scheduled two-day trek guided by adventurous locals. Once you reach the top, you’ll be treated with views of the natural hot springs and crater lakes. There is another non-sterile volcanic chain through the south of the island corresponding to the Bukit Peninsula, south of Bali sector.
The western area of the plain is very similar to that of Bali, which faces through the narrow that is well fed by mountain streams and springs. Here the Balinese and “Sasaks” have carved beautiful rice paddies at the foot of Mount Punikan. Here are the two main towns of the island, Mataram and Ampenan, near the old center and port Cakranegara. The solitary mountain huts and the spectacular southern beaches are only an hour away.
Senggigi and the Gili islands
To practice the best diving in the world, surf and enjoy the beaches, visitors from across the continent are heading to the east coast of Lombok. The idyllic white beaches and colorful coral reefs of Senggigi and the Gili islands attract thousands of tourists every year.
The southern coast, bathed in secluded beaches and near the town of Kuta (not to be confused with the town of Kuta in Bali), is perfect for surfing, thanks to some of the best waves in the world.
On the southeast peninsula of Lombok Indonesia, the weather is splendid and the beaches are pristine. The land, crops of coffee, coconut and sugar plants offer interesting tours. At sea, divers can find rare species of giant clams, sharks, turtles, stingrays, and cow with blue spots stripes adorning the warm coast.
The Gili Islands are located off the east coast of Lombok, Indonesia. These small islands surrounded by beaches provide an excellent vacation destination for adventure hungry tourists. Young people spend their days on the beach and their nights in clubs. Due to the small number of hotels on the islands, many visitors simply sleep on beaches.
In tribal mountain villages (the Waktu-telu) such as Pujung and Sengkol in South Central Lombok, is another type of traditional village. There are tiled huts supported by wooden beams with wide stripes branches of bamboo trees and interwoven to form walls and partitions.
In Senggigi area, where you can find most hotels and villas, the beaches have black sand and are fairly calm. Most hotels and villas have waterfront area with sun loungers and parasols so you do not miss anything.
The capital and main city of Lombok Indonesia is quiet, green and very animated at night with many people enjoying seafood at fish stalls. The winding road from Mataram to Senaru through Sengigi is a pleasure with its salty marine environment and blinding light passing between palm trees on the beach with deep blue coasts. Sipping a coconut drink in a little bar settled on a cliff in a bend of the road while watching an idyllic sunset is one of the things that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Can you imagine being in a mountain village at the foot of a high volcano, and having views of stretching rice fields that go down to the sea? Well that’s the charm of Senaru. In addition to a most impressive site, Senaru has several huge waterfalls that can be visited on foot from the village. One of the waterfalls can be reached by crossing a river, and it is really worth the effort because it offers a breathtaking scene. The huge force of water washes into fine droplets to visitors who are torn between taking the pictures with the camera or keeping themselves safe from the drops.
Other than the natural charms of the island, travelers can also enjoy food and festivities in Lombok Indonesia. The word Lombok itself means chilli in English. So it is not surprising that the locals know a thing or two about the spicy food. Green and red chilis are often made into sambal – a fiery sauce – with locally grown dragon Jolokia peppers, garlic and shrimp paste. Always have sambal when savoring local dishes like Ayam Taliwang (wild grilled chicken) and sayur nangka (jackfruit curry).
Getting to Lombok
To get to Lombok Indonesia, flights from Europe often land at the airport in Jakarta, Java; Denpasar, Bali (especially if the source is London) and in Singapore. The flight from Bali takes about 25 minutes; from Jakarta, two hours; and from Singapore, two and a half hours. You can also reach Lombok from Bali by a ferry service.
With an amazing, simple and real beauty, Lombok Indonesia is a quieter, stylish and more affordable alternative to neighboring Bali. Pick one of the luxury villas with private pool, and reward yourself with a peaceful vacation retreat.
Lombok Indonesia Island Pictures