Just a short boat ride from Bali you can discover a quieter side of life in Lombok. Lombok has never attracted tourists in the same numbers as Bali, but that’s not a bad thing. Tourism in the south of Lombok revolves around the laid back town of Kuta, while the coastline of Senggigi to the northwest is packed with 5 star resorts.
Lombok Island is the highlight holiday destination of Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara Province. The island is basically Bali’s next-door neighbor, and serves as a popular island-hopping destination for visitors looking for an additional escape in between or after their Bali visits. Besides being the mainland home of the three popular Gili Islands located just off it’s northwest coast, Lombok is also known for its colorful Sasak culture, gorgeous diving and surfing spots, scenic and stunning secluded beaches, beautiful waterfalls and lush forests surrounding its active volcano, Mount Rinjani.
In short, a trip to Lombok promises an island paradise experience that combines overland adventures and rugged natural beauty, with a hint of exoticism through its well-preserved traditional arts and host of historical landmarks. These are complemented by modern accommodation and facilities to ensure you a pleasant stay. Honeymooners and backpackers love Lombok for its more passive island ambiance compared to Bali, and most who have visited admit Lombok is similar to how Bali must’ve been several decades earlier with a much more relaxed pace of life.
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Lombok makes an ideal destination for travelers who have seen Bali or are tired of Java’s congestion, but aren’t ready to explore the hinterlands of Sulawesi or Flores. If you want to visit Lombok, don’t wait too long; it is on the fast track to becoming one of Asia’s next great travel destinations.
Most of the people living on Lombok are either Sasak or Balinese. More specifically, about 90% are Sasak while most of the remaining 10% are Balinese. Basically, Lombok is a predominantly Sasak island with a smattering of Balinese people, culture and temples tossed in. Apparently the Sasaks are thought to have originated in India. They are Muslim, so you’ll find many beautiful mosques all over the island. Although Muslim, you will found the Sasaks to be very laid-back and moderate in terms of religious practices. The majority of women don’t cover their heads or wear long sleeves, except when dressing up to go to the mosque, business or major shopping. Most women wandering around their villages, shops and homes and go about their daily lives without covering up. Although Lombok’s mosques do broadcast pray five times per day, as usual for Islamic mosques, most people don’t pray 5 times per day, or even attend mosque on Friday afternoons. As for the Balinese in Lombok, most observe their Hindu customs much more vigorously than the Sasaks observe their Islamic traditions.
Most Lombok locals are quite friendly, down-to-earth and laid-back. They’re certainly not as entrepreneurial as the Balinese. Traveling around Lombok it is quite refreshing to not be hassled by touts or by locals inflating prices on tourists. On the other hand, there are a few places in Lombok which are noted for theft and trickery, particularly Kuta Beach in south Lombok and Batu Koq / Senaru, the starting point for treks up Mount Rinjani. Otherwise most areas are very safe and crime-free.