One year later and I am back in Southeast Asia’s wonderfully diverse country, Indonesia, with even more travels, rich adventures, and memorable experiences. I got to spend this past Christmas weekend with beloved family on the island of Lombok, which is part of the West Nusa Tenggara province. Like other islands of the Indonesian archipelago, Lombok is home to many beaches and picturesque landscapes that will make you feel at peace and one with nature.
Here are some of the top attractions to check out during a getaway to this popular tourist island!
Our first stop in Lombok was Kuta Beach, which is one of the more well-known beaches in the southern part of Lombok. Many restaurants and hotels are conveniently located in the town of Kuta, allowing for easy access to the water and other attractions in south Lombok. There is a rocky overlook that you can cross the water to reach but brace yourself, for the path to get there is somewhat treacherous and slippery.
Tanjung A’an Beach
Unlike many of the beaches in and around Lombok, Tanjung A’an is one of the few that actually has soft sand without rocks or broken pieces of shells strewn on the shore. There is a hilly plateau at Tanjung A’an beach where you can see a view of Lombok and the vast Indian Ocean. Because of the rough waves, this beach is also great for surfing, and we were able to see many brave surfers test their skills in the water.
The local tribe in Lombok is called the Sasak and tourists can visit their village to learn more about their culture and lifestyle. This living community is characterized by homes made of cement and bamboo with layers of thatched roofs. They even have separate huts for the sole purpose of storing rice during the monsoon season. An interesting tidbit we learned was that if there is not enough rice to feed everyone, no weddings will happen in the village.
Weaving is one of the main activities for traditional Sasak women. In fact, since women are only eligible for marriage if they know how to weave, girls start learning and perfecting this skill as early as nine years of age. At the weaving village, I had the opportunity to try my hand at this task and manual weaving is not as easy as it seems! Take a look at one of the resident expert weavers showing us how it is done.
Off the coast of Lombok are several smaller islands, called gilis, which have become popular tourist destinations for anyone who visits Lombok. Gili Trawangan is the largest and most popular gili, located a 15 minute boat ride away from the Teluk Nara port in Lombok. On the gili, there is no motor transportation so the only ways to get around are by foot, bicycle, or horse-driven carts. There is quite a bit to do on Gili Trawangan, from water sports like snorkeling and diving to seeing the turtle conservatory. One thing that is not to be missed is the over-the-water swings at Ombok Sunset Hotel. For Bollywood aficionados like me who fantasize about swinging above water, this is the place to fulfill that dream! Gili Trawangan is also known for its night life, with several bars and lounges around the island. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay to see the sunset but that is also worth checking out if possible.
Malimbu Hills Sunset Point has one of the most breathtaking views of Bali Sea and the gilis off the coast of Lombok. Fortunately, the sun cooperated and we were able to see the glistening shades of blue and aqua on the water against the dark green mountains and coconut trees. Indulging in a quick bite with some corn on the cob garnished with salt and other spices as you enjoy a sunset at this picturesque point is the perfect end to a long day of sightseeing.
Since we only stayed for about 2-3 days in Lombok, there was not nearly enough time to cover everything and Mount Rinjani is one of those attractions I need to return to the island to visit. Rinjani is the second highest active volcano in Indonesia, and it is located in the northern part of Lombok within Gunung Rinjani National Park. Like Ngorongoro National Park in Tanzania, Rinjani is a caldera consisting of a crater lake and hot springs. Tourists can trek up to Mount Rinjani for a great view of what lies within.