Located in Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara Province, Lombok is east of Bali and is often touted as an unspoiled alternative to its more popular neighbor. Lombok offers the best of Indonesia, from premium surf spots and scenic bays to forested trekking tracts in the interior.

The most sought-after resort community on Lombok is Senggigi, a luxurious community that enjoys great value for money options. An eagerness to invest outweighed actual tourist turnout, leaving excellent hotels with no option other than to cut their rates. To escape the scant crowds, head north to find an array of secluded coves.

Kuta Beach is the finest stretch of white sand on Lombok. Backed by hills and fronted by idyllic turquoise waters, this is the sort of beach world-travelers dream about. Surfers trickle in for the excellent breakers, but major development has yet to take hold.

Volcanic Mt Rinjani looms at the center of the island and is the premier trekking destination. Hikers can climb to the rim of the lower crater (8,500 feet), a seven-hour feat best tackled over two days. The summit (more than 12,000 feet) can be climbed in three days with two overnight stops. Trekking operators offer a variety of packages.

Finally, the Gili Islands are accessible via Lombok. These three islands are off Lombok’s north shore and are ringed by colorful coral reefs that host a dazzling collection of tropical fish. Motorized vehicles are prohibited so visitors get around on bicycles or by horse cart. Accommodation ranges from grass-thatch huts to luxury hotels and exclusive villas.

The best dining and drinking scenes are in Senggigi and the Gili Islands. In the latter trio of islands, Trawangan Island has an especially strong party atmosphere. In both cases, tourists will find laid-back beach bars or high-energy dance clubs.

Near Senggigi is the capital of West Nusa Tenggara Province, Mataram, a collection of communities that share shopping facilities. The fact that Lombok’s retail scene isn’t as developed as Bali’s is a relief to most visitors.

Getting There & Away

The airport in Mataram offers regular daily flights to Denpasar on Bali (1 hour). The airport in Denpasar has more to offer in the way of regional connections and serves as a connecting point for travel to and from the international airport in Jakarta.

Shuttle boats ferry passengers between major tourist spots on Lombok, with regular routes connecting the Gili Islands, Kuta and Senggigi. It is also possible to book passage on boats connecting to Bali and Sumbawa.

On the island itself, there is a bus station in Mataram. Travelers can book tickets to Bali, Sumbawa and Java, and connections are made via land and ferry. Popular routes include bus service to Denpasar (7 hours), Surabaya (20 hours) and Jakarta (38 hours).

Onward Travel