I was recently lucky enough to spend a few nights on picturesque Lombok. It's a stunning part of the world and I came back feeling refreshed and revitalised by the beauty that greeted me at every turn. Here are just a few reasons why I can't wait to get back to Lombok, and why I think it should be on the hit list for everyone seeking a true island paradise.
Transfer/ Festival to Lombok
The trip from Bali (Padang Bai harbour) to Lombok on the transfer Sindex was a whole experience in itself. As soon as we took off from the harbour we went up onto the roof top level of the boat to purchase Bintangs and sit back and enjoy the live music. It's more of a transfer/festival!
The speedboat transport itself was comfortable and fairly smooth, and the scenery was picture perfect. Cruising past the mountainous region of East Bali and seeing Mount Agung (the sleeping volcano) was like gazing at a scene from a post card. This is what I'd always imagined Indonesia to truly look like; worlds away from the Kuta/ Legian/ Seminyak area of Bali. We had dolphins jumping alongside our boat just to complete the picture of tropical perfection.
Stepping into another world
When arriving at Lombok we pulled up to a harbour filled with traditional fishing boats, with the mountains setting the background and the sounds of religious chants echoing through the village. North Lombok is where we experienced true Sasak culture as I’d always imagined it. On the way to our villa we went past local schools and road side food stalls, a very different experience from the main tourist areas of Bali.
Villa Sepoi Sepoi
When arriving at Villa Sepoi Sepoi, we opened the door to the most amazing setting - an incredible pool in the middle of the property, surrounded by lush green lawns and coconut trees. Looking down through the trees we saw a swing hanging from a tree just before the white sandy beach stretched out to the crystal clear ocean. It felt like our own private resort.
The rooms in the villas at Sepoi Sepoi are enormous with luxurious bathrooms, and the open kitchen and lounge areas are so comfortable and welcoming. Needless to say, the pool was simply divine. It felt so homey yet at the same time a paradise away from home.
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The biggest tip I can give you is to chat to the villa staff for their recommendations. The staff might have tips about which day won't be good for snorkelling due to tides, or which area is best for people who aren’t strong swimmers. The staff recommended we hire a private boat to snorkel around the Gili islands and reefs, and this turned out to be my absolute favourite activity of the whole trip. I would compare it to the Great Barrier Reef. The water was such a nice temperature and the amount of colourful fish I saw was incredible - we even spotted some turtles!
During our time on Lombok we were also lucky enough to inspect Tugu Lombok, which is just the most incredible property I have ever seen. It is unique in the way that there is no two pieces of decor the same; it is an art gallery inside a resort. It has a very colonial yet traditional feel, and you can sense the culture and history that oozes out of each carefully collected piece.
The owner of the property strives to preserve the traditional Indonesian culture by having one-of-a-kind traditional antique pieces throughout the 35 rooms on 18 hectares of land and this is why it is recommended as a couples resort. There was a temple that was transferred piece by piece and reassembled on the resort to serve as a bar and restaurants. It’s just incredible to be able to sit in that beautiful temple and soak up the heritage in such an immersive manner.
I feel like couples and families would enjoy Lombok most, as it is a very relaxed island where you can enjoy snorkelling, swimming or diving, or just kick back by the pool at your resort.
Don't forget to pack your sunscreen (at least 50+). Sunscreen is so much cheaper in Australia than in Bali or Lombok, so be sure to bring it with you. Also it's a good idea to buy duty free spirits from Australia if you are going to a private villa, and that way you only have to get the villa staff to purchase your mixers.