If you’re looking for peace, serenity and the chance to unwind amid beautiful scenery, the tropical island of Lombok will soothe your soul. Full of beautiful deserted beaches, coral-rich seas, tumbling waterfalls, lush rainforest, jungle-clad hillsides and dominated by Indonesia’s second largest volcano, Mount Rinjani, on Lombok the pace is slow, the vibe calm and the living is easy.
Just a 20-minute flight east of Bali, Lombok is much quieter, less developed and with fewer tourists than its busy neighbour. Although lacking the rich culture and organised activities of its sister isle, Lombok is steeped in natural beauty, with smouldering volcanoes, stunning beaches, sleepy villages and a traditional way of life that has endured through the generations.
Lombok has two distinct landscapes. While the south is characterised by picture perfect white sand beaches, the north is more lush, full of glistening green jungle, waterfalls and rivers. But wherever you are on the island, you are never far from a view of the magnificent Mount Rinjani. The volcano, which is the second highest in Indonesia and protected within the Gunung Rinjani National Park, is still active and attracts both foreign and domestic trekkers. If you do decide to attempt the three-day trek from Senaru to the crater rim down to the stunning crater lake, Segara Anak, do be warned that this is one of the most challenging treks in Indonesia.
While the highlands here are forested and undeveloped, the fertile soil of the lowlands is used to cultivate rice, tobacco, cotton and soya-beans. On the southern slopes of Rinjani, the rice field village of Tetebatu makes a good place to explore the island’s interior and from here you can take a gentle two-hour trek through rice terraces and plantations to the Jerek Manis Waterfall, with an impressive 30-metre drop. We also think the twin waterfalls Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep, at the foot of Mount Rinjani, are worth a visit.
Located a short distance off Lombok’s Northwest coast are the Gili islands, easily reached by boat and a haven for divers and snorkelers, both beginners to advanced.