This Unsung Island Is Like Bali's Uncrowded Sister With The Same Tropical Beauty

The Indonesian islands are like something out of a fantasy story. They have massive waterfalls, the clearest aquamarine water, lush rainforests, and many mysterious animals that call the water and land home. When choosing to embark on a vacation to Indonesia, most tend to shy away from the less popular destinations in favor of Bali. Sadly, Bali has become a super crowded tourist trap filled with influencers trying to get the perfect shot for Instagram. It's certainly enough to dampen anyone's vacation spirits. 


Luckily, Indonesia has over 17,500 islands. Of course, most of these islands are not much more than small spots with a group of trees and not really open to exploration. However, plenty of absolutely amazing islands are open for tourism and worth the trouble of getting there. One such island is Lombok, located just east of Bali in West Nusa Tenggara. This fantastic area of Indonesia's archipelago has plenty that Bali cannot offer, like Mount Rinjani, the active volcano with its own personal lake in the middle of its caldera. The quality of scuba diving is also one for the books, with Lombok's stunning coral reefs and marine life. This destination is worthy of a place on your bucket list.

Explore the dry land magic of Lombok

The colossal Mount Rinjani, located in Rinjani National Park, is a staggering 12,224 feet high. It is not a fast hike and legally must be done with a guide. To reach the summit, three or four days of strenuous climbing with two nights camping is necessary. If you time the trip accordingly, it's possible to witness Mulang Pakelem, a Hindu ceremony held at the crater every five years in which inhabitants, dressed in all white, gather to pray to the sacred mountain. It takes a bit less time to climb to the caldera where the lovely lake Segara Anak or "Child of the Sea" resides.


Some of the other land activities include visiting the immense 98-foot-tall Sendang Gile Waterfall at the base of Mount Rinjani, just outside of the Senaru village. The most well-known waterfall in Lombok, the Tiu Kelep Waterfall, is only 15 minutes away from the Sendang Gile Waterfall. The Tiu Kelep Waterfall is absolutely mesmerizing as it forcefully cascades down while smaller waterfalls descend from the stone on either side. The waterfalls are hidden deep within the protected rainforest of the national park, which makes your journey there just as beautiful as the destination. 

Another experience waiting for you is the black sand beach near Senaru and the breathtaking sunsets at Bukit Merese Hill in Kuta, at the south end of the island. Lombok has so many amazing experiences that it's impossible to list them all here.


Dive into pure marine perfection in the Coral Triangle

One thing is certain: Lombok is a paradise for snorkelers and divers. The Gili Islands to the northwest are a particularly idyllic destination for underwater adventures. The coral reef lies just offshore in an array of rainbow colors, drawing in amazing marine life. As you explore it's possible to find parrotfish, batfish, eagle rays, boxfish, black frogfish, and blue-ringed octopuses. It's also a breathtaking destination to swim with turtles, including Hawksbill and green sea turtles.


As a shark sanctuary, the water a bit further out is no stranger to manta rays, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, white and black-tipped reef sharks, and thresher sharks! Don't worry; there are plenty of tours that will guide you through the best parts of Lombok to get a chance to see these unique and often rare sea creatures. Check online and with your tour guides regarding the best ways to stay safe while snorkeling or diving in the reefs.

It's safe to say that Lombok is a better, richer, and more authentic way to enjoy Indonesia than the neighboring island of Bali. There are so many serene, adventurous, or just plain captivating activities on Lombok and far fewer people. Be sure to do plenty of research on the best times of year to visit along with various adventures and activities to engage in while enjoying the lovely island in the aquamarine sea.