With divine beaches and spectacular marine life, the island of Lombok in Indonesia’s West Nusa Tenggara has loads to offer as a long weekend or holiday destination from Singapore. There are fantastic walking treks and hikes (great workouts!), along with cycle routes, surfing and snorkelling. Or, just enjoy eating and shopping before you sip a cocktail while watching the sun setting over one of the Gilis’ beautiful beaches.
* It’s separated from Bali by the Lombok Strait to the west and from Sumbawa by the Alas Strait to the east.
* The Sasak people are the dominant ethnic group on the island.
* There are five regions: North Lombok, Central Lombok, East Lombok, West Lombok and Mataram city, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara.
* There are more than 20 offshore “gilis” – a local word that means ”small island” in the Sasak language. Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are the most popular.
Gili Trawangan: Commonly referred to as Gili T, this is a place where travellers flock to enjoy a laid-back atmosphere during the day and moonlit parties on the beach by night. There are great diving locations, and you can circle the island on bicycle to catch incredible sunsets from different vantage points.
Gili Meno: Defined by its long stretch of quiet pearly-white beaches, Gili Meno is famous as a honeymoon destination. The island has accommodation options ranging from unique bungalows to luxurious resorts overlooking amazing panoramas.
Gili Air: Gili Air is a cheerful mix of the two other islands, where you can still enjoy parties in hip hangouts or retreat to a peaceful nook and just enjoy the ocean breeze. Families love to explore the island by horse-drawn cart (cidomo) and swim in the low tides before sundown.
Along the south coast lies a long and wide stretch of beautiful white sand beach facing the Indian Ocean, with lush green hills in the background. Once a surfers’ best kept secret, Mandalika has become the island’s capital of leisure.
This special tourism economic zone of 1,250 hectares features bars and nightclubs, thrilling racing circuits, exciting water parks, luxurious hotels and resorts, golf courses, spas, and plenty more. The tourism industry in Mandalika mirrors that of Bali, and you’ll find a melting pot of tourists from all parts of the globe, while local culture and nature are well preserved.
Mandalika is also the perfect jumping-off spot for visiting Central Lombok’s great beaches.
Sharing the name of one of Bali’s popular spots, Kuta Beach is one of just a few of the fantastic beaches in this area. You can also brush up your wave-riding skills at splendid Selong Belanak Beach, or make your way to Merese Hill. From the top of Merese and Batu Payung Beach, there’s an amazing panoramic view of Lombok.
Kuta has all kinds of water-sports activities on offer, while those who enjoy swimming, surfing and fishing can try Gerupuk. For peace and serenity, there’s Serenting Beach, while Seger Beach offers a one-of-a-kind cultural experience with its annual Bau Nyale Ritual, where you can join in local festivities that you won’t find anywhere else.
You can also visit traditional villages such as Sade and Rambitan, and join the locals of the Sasak tribe to experience their daily life. You’ll definitely learn a thing or two from the wonderful women who produce gorgeous woven textiles.
East & West Lombok
East Lombok features captivating sights such as the black sand beach of Obel-Obel. There is also boat access from the harbours on this side of Lombok to Sumbawa Island across the strait.
In West Lombok, you can linger on Senggigi Beach, and discover the wildlife at Monkey Forest in Pusuk Village – just be careful with your belongings and keep them out of reach of the monkeys!
Mataram is the island’s centre for government and industry. It consists of the old town of Ampenan, the commercial district of Cakranegara, and Mataram city itself. The West Nusa Tenggara Museum, Mayura Garden and Narmada Park are all worth a visit to discover more stories about the island.
Keen for a day-trip? Visit famous Tangsi Beach with its pink sands, or popular waterfalls such as Senaru and Benang Kelambu.
On the Lombok mainland, you can rent motorcycle and cars from trusted providers, or take public transport including the naturally air-conditioned minibuses known as bemos. They’ll take you to most tourist attractions, but only operate during the day. At night, practice your bargaining skills and hop on an ojek (motorcycle transport with no meter). The most unique ride is the cidomo (horse-drawn cart) found at Senggigi and the Gilis.
In many places, including Mandalika, most of the facilities are within walking distance; so, just go for a stroll and enjoy the vibe.
From Singapore, take a direct flight to Lombok International Airport, not far from Mandalika. From Bali, there’s a ferry from Padang Bai Harbor to Lembar Harbour in Lombok; a bus or a taxi to Mandalika from there will take two to three hours.
Read more about this fabulous holiday destination here.