Make a stop at Lombok on your way to Sumbawa. Emerging from Bali’s shadow, Lombok is now showcasing her allure as both a luxury destination and an adventure-seekers’ paradise.
Words by Matt George
Featuring a unique mixture of untamed natural beauty, culinary delights, cultural fascinations and a climbable volcano over 3,700m high, it seems Lombok’s time has arrived. With a new international airport, a new international yacht marina and greatly improved roads, Lombok’s treasure chest of discoveries are emerging from under Bali’s shadow as a new must-experience destination.
Starting with Senggigi, a short drive from the new Mataram International Airport, Lombok’s premiere beach-resort area features a vibrant nightlife and sweeping bays framed by spectacular sunsets: clearly the best jumping-oﬀ point for adventures further aﬁeld.
Try Lombok’s tiny Gili Islands, aﬂoat like three jewels upon a placid sea just oﬀshore to the west. This trio of tropical paradises is the home of superb scuba-diving, deserted white-sand beaches and chilled-out beach bars. At night, parties to suit any taste come alive in the small, local establishments for those keen for fun after dark. But regardless of their reputation as the ‘Party Isles’, the Gilis remain humble in their reality. No motorised vehicles of any kind are allowed on these small islands, making for a pleasant alternative to Bali’s congested byways.
To the south, Kuta Lombok is a world apart. For surfers, it recalls the beaches of Bali some 30 years ago, with the perfect, empty waves of Gerupuk and Mawi Bay, and the gateway to one of the greatest surﬁng spots in the world – the famed ‘Desert Point’ of Bangko Bangko. At stunning Seger Beach, you might be able to catch the Lombok Bau Nyale Festival, with displays of traditional ‘Presean’ ﬁghting techniques, spicy local dishes, poetry readings and the beachside ‘catching of the worms’ fertility ceremony. Here locals and visitors alike scoop up as many spawning edible sea worms as possible, which are later marinated, spiced and turned into a wild local delicacy.
Further southwest, head to the rugged and largely unexplored ‘Lost Islands’ oﬀ Sekotong Bay. With pristine diving conditions and deserted beaches, these dots on the map are a true castaway experience for any self-reliant visitor.
Lombok, a new adventure for Indonesia, but no surprise for those who have discovered the true meaning of the island’s official motto: Tatas, Tuhu, Trasna, which translates as ‘wise, tenacious and noble of soul’.
Find yours on Lombok.
Jakarta to Mataram
Flight Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Frequency 28 flights per week
From Colours April 2016
5 Senses – Sight
Forming the centerpiece of Lombok Island is the majestic Mount Rinjani volcano, a 3,762 m giant. Open from April to November, after a challenging four-day trek to the summit, climbers are
rewarded with a mind-blowing view of an active caldera that covers over 50 km2, and views as distant as Java, Bali and Sumbawa.