From Jakarta a 2-hour flight takes you to Lombok, a beautiful island with white sandy beaches and idyllic bleu sea’s. On Lombok, Muslim religion is very important, this means you will see and hear many different mosques in every town you visit. I visited Lombok in November and saw a relatively dry Island. I changed my plans and decided to go to the island and beaches around Lombok instead of going inland. Because someone told me Bali was still a green oasis and Bali was going to be my next destination. I decided not to take my malaria pills since I was going to stay along the beaches, however when you go inland, it is advised.
Gili in Indonesia means small island, and the Gili’s are a new found touristic attraction. The Gili’s are not jet as high-end as Kuta in Bali, but it is getting there. The Gili’s include Gili Trawagan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. I stayed at Gili Meno and Gili T. (as Gili Trawagan is also called). Gili Air is rather popular for families. All three of the Gili’s only have transportation by bike or horse.
Gili Meno is the smallest of the Islands and only recently gained popularity. In the early 90’s the Lonley Planet said that the salty lake on the island caused a ‘mosquito plague’ and tourism stayed out. It was not until the late 90’s, when people discovered there where no more mosquitos on Meno then on any other Gili and tourism started. It takes you an 1,5 walk to get around the Island. The main touristic ‘sights’ are the salt lake, the bird park and the turtle sanctuary. All the ‘sights’ are no reason to visit the island since the turtle sanctuary only has two small basins with no turtles when I was there, the bird park is neglectable and the salty lake is just a muddy water pool. The island has great places to stay though, especially for midrange backpackers. It also has many cozy restaurants and it’s a great place to stay with your lover.
Gili Trawagan is a new party hotspot in the making. With only an hour fast boat away from Bali, many backpackers come here to find affordable drinks and restaurants. You will find many diving courses here and yoga is very popular on the island too. It’s a great island for snorkeling, many people take a boat around all three of the Gili’s from here.
Unlike the Gili’s, Gili Asahan is a very quiet Island. It’s situated in the south-west of Lombok. This island will provide you with pure serenty and relaxation. With only one resort, Pearl Beach, reservation is advised. Pearl Beach features 5 baboo huts facing the beach, and 4 small but more luxurious cabins. Let the photo’s speak for me…
The original tourist destination on Lombok with stunning hotels, beautiful beaches and great views of Bali. Besides hotels and tourist nightlife you will find nothing here though. It’s a relatively good place to travel to Gunung Rinjani, the 3726m high volcano of Lombok. You can do a four-day trekking to the volcano from Sangigi, but you will always need a Guide.
Due to limited time I was not able to visit Kuta, Lombok (Yes, like Bali Lombok also has a Kuta but it is exactly the opposite with regard to tourism) and Praya. These places are said to be very beautiful off-track destinations where you can experience the authentic Lombok. If you’ve been here leave a reply to let me know how you felt about it!!