Indonesia has long been known as a favourite destination for Aussie travellers.
But really – how could you not want to visit somewhere that looks like this?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
But if you’re about to book flights to Bali – don’t. Because Indonesia is made up of many different islands, regions and cultures; a few of which you may not have heard of before.
That’s not to say that Bali isn’t worth a visit: it’s pristine beaches and epic nightlife are something every traveller should experience. But check these two places off your list too – before they inevitably become tourist hotspots.
This little beauty is close to Bali, without the crowds.
With divine beaches, the majestic Mt Rinjani and spectacular marine life to discover, the island of Lombok has no shortage of attractions for every type of traveller. You can trek up volcanic peaks, cycle through lush evergreen rice paddies or go island hopping for the day – and much, much more.
The Gili islands are perfect for the latter, and are popular with visitors to Bali, too. There are over 20 islands to choose from, but the three standouts are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.
Head to Gili Meno for long stretches of pearly white beaches, Gili Trawangan for moonlit beach parties and scuba diving, and Gili Air for a mix of relaxation and nightlife.
Back on the mainland, find impossible stunning beaches and local villages in Central Lombok and in West Lombok, discover the wildlife at the Monkey Forest in Pusuk Village. For something a little different, check out the black sand beach of Obel-Obel, the Tangsi ‘Pink’ Beach or the stunning Senaru and Benang Kelambu waterfalls. We told you there was something for everyone.
Getting there: There are daily flights between Denpasar, Bali and the capital of Lombok, Mataram. For a more scenic route, the public ferry travels between Padangbai (Bali) and Lembar (Lombok) multiple times a day and takes around five hours. You can even take cars on board! Be warned though: it gets rocky.
Never heard of it? We aren’t surprised. But one trip here and you’ll be raving about Mandalika for the rest of your days.
It’s a long stretch of white sand located on Lombok, backing out onto lush green hills. Mandalika was once a surfers’ best-kept secret, but has now emerged as the island’s capital of leisure. This place boasts vibrant bars and nightclubs, thrilling racing circuits, exciting water parks, luxurious hotels and resorts, fascinating golf courses, rejuvenating spas, and plenty more; there’s everything for everyone at this 1,250-hectare paradise.
And did we mention that many of Lombok’s stunning beaches are only a stone’s throw away? Think swimming, fishing and surfing on Gerupuk Beach or getting some peace and quiet at the secluded Serenting Beach. Prefer to step back and look at the views? From the top of the Merese Hill and Batu Payung Beach, you’ll get a postcard-worthy panoramic view of Lombok.
Getting there: From Singapore and Malaysia, you can take a direct flight to Lombok International Airport, which is close to Mandalika. Flights are also available from various major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali.
For more info, visit www.indonesia.travel. We’re booking flights right now!