Proximity to Bali is Lombok’s blessing and its curse. While only 25 miles separate the two islands, they are, in fact, worlds apart. The buzz is that Lombok will yet overshadow its superstar neighbor.
Overzealous tourism officials notwithstanding, Lombok is not “an unspoiled Bali,” or “Bali’s sister island.” Lombok is not Bali at all, and that is precisely its charm. And West Lombok is nothing like southern Lombok – by a long shot.
For several years now, northwest Lombok tourism has perpetuated “tropical chic.” Senggigi is an established tourist destination reached by ferry boats via the Gilli Isles – about two hours from the Bali port. It has plenty of places for pampering and spending money on uberluxury hotels and hip restaurants and clubs.
Only recently, southern Lombok became accessible by air, forever changing the face of tourism. A newly-opened international airport means Bali tourists can be on Lombok in 25 minutes, with 30 minute taxi ride to private, pristine beaches like Kutaand Mawun.
Mawun beach, with two headlands, is sheltered from the raw ocean, making swimming superb in clear, turquoise water. Kuta is renoun for its oceanic waves that make it a surfer’s mecca…and the arresting, crescent bay, white-sand beach and azure waters reward the intrepid.
After a day at the beach, visitors can set out in search of shopping and eating – what else? We’ve been told the local handicrafts are amazing, and there are several warungs for enjoying the catch of the day and traditional village meals.
Dispatches from Dee
Is Lombok Indonesia’s next hot destination? It’s loaded with tropical allure – and diverse experiences for every type of traveler. Stay tuned to Rainbow Tourism Bali for news if a gay and lesbian playground evolves on this idyllic isle’s southern coastline. While sleek hotels, hip restaurants and clubs are probably not far behind what’s proliferated in the established tourism precinct of West Lombok, now is the time to visit the other Kuta beach and be charmed and rewarded for getting well off the beaten track.