When I moved to Asia I remember I had a “top ten” list of places I told myself I needed to get to. Of course since moving to Hong Kong I have found so many more places that I must see, however, I have also found that some of my original top ten would no longer be in that list if you asked me today. Lombok was not on the top ten, in fact I had little to no knowledge of the place. It is now one of the places I simply must get back to again – the two days I spent there were not nearly enough!
All I knew about Lombok before actually going there was that Lonely Planet put it in the same book as Bali – The Bali and Lombok Book to be exact. I had no idea how big, diverse and amazing Lombok was! It seemed to be more of an “add-on” to the hugely popular Bali trip. Little did I know Lombok would replace Bali in my evolved top ten list. It has all the magic of Bali without all of the crowds and traffic.
Getting There and Away
Lombok is a bit harder to get to than say, Bali. There is no direct flight from Hong Kong. However, I strongly suggest that you do not let that deter you! While the journey may not be half the enjoyment in this case, the payoff is well worth the extra travel time. A fantastic laid back and peaceful environment with pristine beaches, fresh clean air, and welcoming locals await!
The two best ways to get there are either flying direct to Bali and taking a ferry over. Or, you can fly via Jakarta. Garuda Indonesia offers flights that connect to Lombok daily.
With a new airport on Lombok now open and fully functional to replace the old outdated one, the island is trying to attract more airlines and more business. Now is the time to go, before the rest of the crowds! Look at the extra time it takes to get there as an advantage, as many people seek the quick, easy direct flight destinations, overlooking this beautiful gem.
Where to Stay
Lombok has several great resorts, many set on beautiful stretches of beach. The new villas at the Santosa Resort are outstanding, and you can find many top chain hotel and resorts as well as charming boutique properties to fit your tastes.
The liveliest area, Sengigi, has most of the resorts nearby. This area is close to the old airport and of course the hotels and resorts sprung up around here. You can find nightlife, restaurants and lots of activities in Sengigi.
The new airport, set on a different part of the island is now supporting both Sengigi and some up-and-coming areas. The Kuta Beach area has nothing in common with Kuta beach on Bali. The beautiful beach here has only one resort (the Novotel) and a very small, very quaint village.
Get out of the resorts to do some exploring and you will find the true allure of this island paradise.
Virtually untouched beaches are easy to find on Lombok.
What to See
If you are after some unique culture, sightseeing and the opportunity to interact with the locals, Lombok is a great choice. Many of the people living on Lombok still live in traditional housing and villages. Take the time to visit them! Warm and welcoming people will show you around and teach you about their traditions and lives here on Lombok.
Rich in history and offering a unique mix of cultures, religions and beliefs, you’ll want to explore this island in its entirety. Take your time and take in the views while enjoying the diverse mix of influences that make Lombok so unique.
Have you ever wondered what Bali was back in the day before everyone else in the world found out about it? You don’t have to wonder anymore, just head to Lombok and you can see for yourself. Besides, one of the most beautiful sites that Bali is famous for is the sunset behind its amazing mountains… which of course is best enjoyed from your view on Lombok.
By Jonathan Csanyi-Fritz