Hop onto a plane from Singapore and in less than 3 hours you can land on the beautiful island of Lombok in Indonesia. At first glimpse, it seems almost like you have landed in Bali, but once you drive through the towns you will realise that much of it has been untouched and still preserves the beauty of many beaches, waterfalls, and of course the second highest active volcano in Indonesia – Mount Rinjani.
The roads are surprisingly smooth, indicative of the government’s positive contributions and attitude towards tourism. The best accommodation to find are villas or luxury hotels in the main areas of Senggigi, Kuta and Mataram. Lombok has many mountains and hills, which villas are built upon to provide spectacular views. In the villa I stayed in amongst the hills in Tanjung Aan, Kuta, the view was mesmerising, especially with an 18m infinity pool and the living area being almost completely open to the nature. The weather is quite pleasant, sunny during the mornings, and breezy in the evenings.
Kuta is peaceful town that, whilst relatively unestablished, has been growing immensely over the past few years. The area is surrounded by hills, providing mesmerising views of the sea. As for accommodation, there are mainly hilltop villas, but hotels have also started to pop-up around the area. Kuta is located in the Southern part of the island, and hence is quite far away from the main attractions of Lombok which are located in the North.
During my stay in the summer, the standout places I visited were two freshwater waterfalls (Benang Stokal and Benang Kelambu), and Selong Belanak beach. You can take a brief hike to both of the waterfalls, and enjoy the refreshing spray of freshwater during a hot day. At Selong Belanak beach, you can enjoy the incredible view of the untouched beach, and eat lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants (I recommend Laut Biru). Other restaurant recommendations include El Bazar Cafe & Restaurant (a small cafe in Kuta with great brunch and mediterranean food), Spice Market (the continental and asian a la carte restaurant in Novotel Lombok), and Ashtari Ocean View Restaurant & Lounge (restaurant on top of a hill with an amazing view of Kuta beach, has great Indonesian food).
Having visited Lombok, I would definitely recommend it as a destination for anyone who is looking for a holiday by the beach, but wants to escape from noisy city life that one might experience in Bali. Lombok is one place to keep on the bucket lists!