Lombok – The Unspoiled Bali
Have you ever been to Lombok? For those who have been to Lombok, they would definitely agree that Lombok is a paradise. It offers the beauty of Bali without the crowd. That’s why many tourists call Lombok as “The unspoiled Bali”. Located just east of Bali, Lombok is the most popular tourist destination in West Nusa Tenggara.
When you have a chance to visit Lombok, there are several places that you must see: Lombok’s own Kuta beach, the Gili Islands and the Senggigi beach. Lombok’s Kuta beach has magnificent white sand and bears similarity to the landscape from the movie “The Beach”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.
The island also has world-class waves, which attract many surfers to come here. From Kuta beach, you can walk to Tanjung Aan, which has round pepper-like sand. Be careful though if you visit this area after 4 PM because there is no lifeguard on duty. Hawkers, mostly children, will ask tourists for some money.
Gili Islands, located just off the northwestern coast of Lombok, are a trio of tiny coral-fringed islands: Gili Air, Gili Mano and Gili Trawangan. Each island offers white sandy beaches and pellucid water teeming with a kaleidoscopic array of reef fish. The best thing about these islands is that they are free of cars and motorcycles. The Gilis are home to the tinkling cidomos (small horse-drawn carriage) and odd-shaped bicycles.
With a beautiful ocean nearby, the Gilis are famous for scuba diving and snorkeling adventure where each island has professional scuba-diving and snorkeling centers. Each Gili has its own character and charm – Trawangan has the big party scene, Meno is the mellow one and Air’s atmosphere falls somewhere in between.
Senggigi beach is one of the most developed areas for tourists in Lombok. Senggigi offers luxury accommodations with economical rates. You can choose from 5-star hotels, beach resorts or private houses. There are also many restaurants, bars & discos around this area where most of the international tourists hang out. Senggigi has fine sandy beaches, and as the sun sinks, all eyes turn to the west to take in the blood-red sunsets over Bali. It is really amazing how beautiful the sunset is in Lombok.
You can either take the bus and boat to Lombok or fly there on plane. A bus & ferry ride from Denpasar, Bali to Mataram, Lombok takes about 7 hours & costs Rp.110,000 one way (approx. USD 11). In addition, there are regular ferries from Padangbai, Bali to Lembar, Lombok, which departs every 90 minutes. Fares are Rp. 21,000 / person for passengers, Rp. 65,000 for motorcycles and Rp. 450,000 for cars. The trip will take about four to five hours. If you are going there by air, Merpati Airlines offers daily flights from Denpasar. Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia operate daily flight from Surabaya with connections to Jakarta. You can also fly directly from Singapore and Malaysia with Silk Air.
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