Where stunning beaches lay among majestic views of Mt Rinjani. Exceptional marine life, fascinating culture and a dynamic landscape home to indigenous tribes and fertile environment for land animals and sea creatures. The island of Lombok in West Tenggara is located east of its popular touristic neighbour Bali. Fast becoming a popular destination for those looking for something a little more unique, away from the tourists in Bali or hustle and bustle of Jakarta. Access to the island is easy by sea from Bali or arriving at Lombok International Airport with flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and many city ports of Indonesia.
Located in the Lombok Strait and the gateway to the smaller but just as special Gili Islands. Lombok offers a multitude of activities to suit all ages, adventure seekers and activity levels. Depending on what experiences you are looking for. Relax and recharge in one of the many luxury villas or trek across the world recognised mountain regions. Surfing, diving and fishing keep the underwater enthusiasts busy and is one of the great appeals of the islands. With a vast succession of bays, reefs and rocky inlets which offer some of the best, quality breaks in Indonesia. A short trip from the main island on the north-west coast of Lombok lies three picturesque white sand islands known as the Gili Islands. Each of the three islands boasts their own personality and activities.
Unspoiled reefs for snorkelling, surfing, relaxing on the beach or bar hopping are all ways to enjoy the unique environment of each town. Horses pulling carriages and bicycles are the islands main form of transport letting visitors experience a touch of more simple living, surrounded by natural beauty. Senggigi region draws the most tourists to the mainland of Lombok and can be used as a base for quick day trips across to the three Gili Islands, South Gilis and Belongas Bay.
The experiences of Lombok are densely varied to suit all who make the trip. Originally known as an island for surfing enthusiasts it is now a popular destination for its many cultural, spiritual and environmental offerings. Still drawing surfers from all over the world to its waters the variety of bays, reefs and rocky inlets provide quality breaks and are best enjoyed during the wet season roughly November to March. For outdoor enthusiasts and avid mountain climbers trekking Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia’s second highest volcano. The mountain dominates the Lombok topography and is a magnet for trekkers across the world where sunrises and views across volcanic calderas from the summit are jaw-dropping.
On the southeastern tip of the island and accessed either by yacht or private car is Tanjung Ringgit. Its remote access is barely visited by tourists but its white sand beaches, karst cliffs and caves which were once used by Japanese soldiers in World War II hold some of the islands most interesting pieces of history. The area is surrounded by conserved forest owned by the Ministry of Forestry to protect the natural habitat and wildlife.
The Sasak are the indigenous people of this island which make up about 85% of the total population of Lombok. There is a strong history still upheld with these people through handicrafts, music, local dance and ceremonies and as a visitor lucky enough to encounter their customs a way to fully understand the back story of Lombok and its inhabitants. The cuisine is known for its spiciness and the availability of fruit, vegetables, spices and fish which makes provisioning for fresh produce from the local markets an adventure and experience in itself.
High energy, adrenaline pumping dive sites are available all over the island as well as more relaxed scuba dives with a variety of environments including gentle slopes, walls and caves. Many of the more recently discovered dive sites are found on the southwest of Lombok and a quiet paradise for critter hunting. The south of Lombok and southern Gilis offers exciting viewing of schooling eagle rays and hammerhead sharks whereas north Lombok and Gili Air are where an enjoyable mix of crystal clear warm waters and stunning underwater marine life can be found.
On the bucket list of many and only a short hop from Bali and even closer to Lombok are the Gili Islands. Attracting those looking for serene landscapes, romantic sunsets and breathtaking snorkelling and diving. Each island prides itself on a different vibe but all three will satisfy those looking for a slice of paradise amongst turquoise oceans and brilliant marine life. Gili Meno is the smallest and most underdeveloped of the three islands which boast the infamous Gili Meno Wall; during the day turtles swim freely and giant gorgonian fans hang amongst the colourful corals and the nearby artistic feature of sculptures and sunken gardens will offer a unique experience and great photo memories.
By night the underwater world becomes something else where divers can witness huge moray eels, baby cuttlefish, crustaceans and the entertaining Spanish dancers. The largest of the three islands is Gili Trawangan and where the environmental initiative of Bio Rock is set up. The artificial metal cages are fed a constant voltage of electricity to encourage the regeneration of coral and naturally attract swarms of marine life. Exploring the island by horseback or kayaking is the best way to appreciate the surroundings and the magical sunrise over Lombok’s Mt Rinjani and sunsets over Bali’s Mt Agung are unforgettable. The shallow waters of Gili air along the east coast with the sand running into the coral reef table and perfect for snorkelling and diving adventures. The island is most known for its surf breaks where the waters are safe provided you don’t venture beyond the channel. The three islands while very different are all a step back in time with no cars or dogs allowed and the only means of transport by horse and cart or bicycle.