Written by Mark Daffey
The Indonesian island of Lombok is often overshadowed by its neighbour, Bali. But for a low-key version, this is the place to go.
Lombok has three main attributes that help define it. The first is the quality of its beaches, which attract divers, snorkellers, and surfers. The second is Gunung Rinjani, the volcano dominating the island’s interior. And the third is its proximity to Bali.
Senggigiwas the first to lure sun lovers. Watch the sunset from the beach while you gaze across Lombok Strait towards the perfectly symmetrical Gunung Agung on Bali. Rent a motorcycle here, then ride along the 21km coastal stretch north to Pemenang, where you’ll find Lombok’s best golfing at the 18-hole Kosaido Golf Course.
Pemenang is also the departure point for ferries to the Gili Islands. Over the past 30 years, Gili Trawangan has morphed from a laid-back island paradise to a hedonistic getaway teeming with lounge bars, hip guesthouses, and a mixed clientele. Less is more at Gili Meno, the smallest – and quietest – of the three islands, while Gili Air is a convenient compromise between the two.
On the south coast, Kuta – not to be confused with its Balinese counterpart – is considered the hub of Lombok’s surf scene; November is the time for divers to see schooling hammerhead sharks and mobula rays in Belongas Bay.
Away from the coast, numerous waterfalls attract the weekend crowds. Try Benang Kelambu or Benang Stokel, both near the village of Aik Berak, or the 50m-high Sendang Gile Falls at Senaru – the usual starting point for treks up Gunung Rinjani.
At 3,726m above sea level, Gunung Rinjani ranks as Indonesia’s second highest volcano. It’s possible to stare into the emerald-green waters of the Segara Anak crater lake on a two-day hike, camp beside the crater rim, then get up before dawn to watch the sunrise from the top. After a quick soak in the hot springs, descend all the way to the road head in Senaru.
Distance: 6,930 km
Flight Time: 12 hours , 10 minutes
Frequency: Daily via Singapore