Lombok’s famed beaches certainly do not disappoint. It boasts some of the most enticing stretches of pure white sand in Southeast Asia and best of all, outside the very busiest months of the year, you will often have some of them all to yourself.
Lombok’s more popular beach resorts include Senggigi on the west coast, the up and coming surfer’s paradise of Kuta in the south and the fabled Gili Islands. Lombok receives more than its fair share of adventurous travellers not content with simply lying on picture perfect beaches. There are abundant spots to enjoy world-class scuba diving and snorkelling and in South Lombok, legendary waves attract pro surfers from around the world.
Undoubtedly, Lombok’s most notable feature is the dramatic Rinjani volcano, a challenging three-day trek, rising skywards to almost 4,000m, completely dominating the northern portion of the island. Elsewhere less arduous pastimes include jungle walks, visits to hot springs and waterfalls or a round of championship golf.
In Lombok art comes naturally, providing the perfect excuse to venture into the interior to the island’s renowned handicraft villages noted for intricate pearl jewellery, ceramics and textiles. Outside of these artisan cottage industries, village life revolves around age-old agricultural practices with rolling fields of coffee, rice, copra, tobacco and chilli. Dotted around the coastline, you are as likely to encounter seaweed and pearl farms, lobster fishing and small-scale boat building as you are five-star hotels and beach cafes.
Despite the close proximity, the culture of Lombok is far removed from that of Hindu Bali but is every bit as rich and diverse. The indigenous Sasak population is predominantly Muslim with a vibrant mix of Hindu, Arabic and Chinese influences in the west of the island. This adds up to a colourful calendar of vibrant festivities where food, fun, religion, performance art and nature all come together.
The island capital of Mataram, a laid back conurbation of four small cities, offers a delightful modern buzz of shopping, sightseeing and a peek at contemporary Lombok life. It is the perfect place for people with an adventurous palate to sample spicy local delicacies such as Ayam Taliwang or explore the city’s vibrant traditional markets. There is also a wide range of comfortable hotel accommodation for every budget.
Whatever your interest, be it lazy days by the beach, thrilling eco adventures or an enriching journey through the island’s rural heartland, Lombok fits the bill on every level!