If you want unspoiled nature, a destination yet to be overrun by tourists, and are seeking somewhere mostly undiscovered, you want Lombok. Little island sister to Bali, Lombok is just a two-hour boat ride away, but worlds apart in vibe. Lombok is the reincarnation of the pre-tourist Bali of 30 years ago, and it shines.
Undeveloped powdery white coastline gives way to the horizon with picture-perfect beaches like Mawun and Selong Belanak Bay. As a couple, you can navigate the dramatic surf breaks without another soul – except perhaps a lone fisherman – for miles.
The jewel at the island’s centre is a glorious national park crowned by Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano. Tailor-made for explorers, a hike to the summit rewards the valiant effort with hot springs and an impressive crater lake. Flowing rivers and waterfalls and green landscapes teem with wildlife.
With far fewer tourists, Lombok has been able to retain its chilled atmosphere. In the main towns – Senggigi and Kuta – friendly locals and travellers rub shoulders at the local Warungs (small local cafes) and bars. Aromatic food stalls abound in Mataram, where you can browse for traditional handicrafts at a steal. And with very little traffic, getting around is a breeze in a taxi or even driving a motorbike yourself.
Lombok: Need to Know
DO check out the international fusion restaurants, five-star villas and specialty spas offering Ayurvedic treatments, scrubs and wraps. On Lombok, they all come at a fraction of the price when compared with Bali.
DON’T miss Benang Kelambu waterfall if you are adventurous. Around 32 km from Mataram or about 1 hour by car, you are best to seek out a guide to take you. But the reward is worth it with 6 ‘falls,' much like water curtain. Not for the elderly or fainthearted with a 500m steep walk to the waterfall.
COUPLES WILL LOVE Being surrounded by the lapping waves, peaceful rice fields and friendly locals of Lombok.