Aussies and sun-seekers from all over the world has long since discovered the Indonesian beach paradise of Bali. However, Lombok should not to be overlooked when planning your trip.
Situated just 35km from Bali, or reachable by flying directly to the Lombok International Airport, this is a more rustic paradise than Bali. People keep saying over and over it is what Bali used to be like 20 years ago. Things are changing fast and I don’t’ think this is accurate anymore. Lombok has seen many recent developments, resorts and holiday homes pop up everywhere.
Qunci Villas Hotel
We stayed at a beautiful resort called Qunci Villas Hotel in the Sengiggi area, directly on Mangsit beach. About 90 minutes drive from the airport. Qunci means key in Indonesian and their slogan is: “The key to an idyllic Lombok”. They have a lovely spa, the Qambodja Spa as well as the Qul-Qul art gallery. Dining options include Asian and seafood specialities at Quali restaurant. For a Mediterranean menu with a Lombok twist, try Quah restaurant and Nooq Tapas Bar. Meals can also be served on the beach, with romantic dinner set-ups available. We watched the sunset from the pool deck over dinner every night, with Mount Batur in the distance.
Near the hotel there is a little village market to buy souvenirs and crafts. A little further is also an official tourist stop called Bayan Lombok Handicraft & Tropical Gifts.
The famous trio of Gili Islands, is also just a short boat ride away. For island-hopping and snorkelling, you can rent a boat just in front of the hotel. This used to be purely a backpacker’s party mecca, but recent focus is shifting towards more resorts and glamour options. There are no cars on the islands and they have a lovely relaxed, beach café environment, with restaurants and bars everywhere.
We took a private day trip to go snorkelling around the Gili islands and had a great time with our guide. A few days before we arrived they had rain in Lombok. Unfortunately, this resulted in rubbish washing down the river into the ocean from villages higher up. I wish there was some to help them with recycling, but I know it is easier said than done, especially in rural communities. Nevertheless, we saw some fantastic fish, coral and had a great day out, with a visit to the islands and lunch. For more things to do in Gili Islands, Tripadvisor has some great recommendations.
The next day, we got a taxi and drove to Autore South Sea Pearls, where they cultivate their own pearls, for worldwide export. We found them on Tripadvisor too. We got to see how a pearl is extracted from an oyster as well as how they “seed” oysters to form new pearls. It was a first-time experience for me and a fascinating tour.
They are open 7 days a week, and it is free for children. To book directly please contact them at: P : +6281339920015 / +6281339920020
I love Indonesia and cannot stop recommending people to go and visit! Locals are always friendly and helpful.
There is so much more to experience than Bali – go explore!
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