Lombok is currently being much touted as the ‘New Bali’ and it does have a lot in common with its next door neighbour. Holidaymakers are attracted by the sweeping tropical jungles, the idyllic climate and the expansive sandy beaches. Lombok is also very much its own island, a destination that tends to be a lot quieter than boisterous Bali. Lombok’s resorts are increasingly sophisticated with plenty to see and do for everyone from young travellers through to families and empty nesters.
Lombok boasts a string of beaches dotted around the island. The resorts of Senggigi and Kuta both have good stretches of sand with all of the usual facilities. The best beaches are in the northwest in the Gili Islands. The Gilis are very unspoilt with few facilities bar white sand and swaying palms.
Beyond the beach:
Head away from the beaches and the timeless world of much of Lombok awaits. Far less developed than Bali, the island offers a real insight into this fascinating country, a destination alive with local colours and flavours. The Rinjani National Park is very popular with walkers and climbers, with the stunning ascent of the eponymous volcano the highlight. A number of companies offer guided trips to the park, which is the safest way to explore the wild terrain.
All of the resorts have plenty of facilities for families and their beaches are also justifiably popular. The white sand beaches of the Gili Islands are also perfect for children with some rudimentary watersports on offer. For young feet unable to climb to the summit of Rinjani themselves, the Taman Narmada park offers the chance to see a replica of the mighty 3,726m (12,224ft) volcano and has a spring that promises eternal youth, handy for tired parents.
With fast boats speeding over in less than two hours Bali is a tempting day trip or a night away option. Bali is one of Indonesia’s tourist stars, with bustling resorts, hulking volcanoes, Hindu temples and sandy beaches. Bali also has some unusual black sand beaches in the north and is a great surfing, swimming and snorkelling destination.
The Oberoi Hotel (Medana Beach, Tanjung) (www.oberoilombok.com) offers the chance to really splash out. They have a spa on site for holidaymakers who can hang loose for a morning or afternoon with a soothing massage or a relaxing soak, before indulging in one of their fine restaurants. Diners can choose to enjoy their meal overlooking the swimming pool with swaying palms for company.