We pinch ourselves. Can this be for real?
We’re sipping fresh mint-and-ginger mojitos by a stunning seaside infinity pool in Lombok, waiters flitting between deck chairs – and our chic Qunci Villas resort is very reasonably priced.
To top it off, the beaches in Lombok are drop-dead gorgeous!
Is tropical Lombok a new Indonesian island paradise, where luxury is affordable?
Lombok is often described as “like Bali 30 years ago.”
Certainly Lombok is quieter and more subdued than tourist-thronged Bali with its colorful Hindu-based celebrations.
(This isn’t meant to take anything away from Bali, by the way, which we love for its culture.)
There are few hotels lining Lombok’s white-fringed bays – some of the prettiest beaches in the world) – and even fewer people shaking out their towels on the sand.
And the handful of boutique hotels that have sprung up, like chic Qunci Villas, offer terrific value for a beach vacation.
Let’s talk some more about those Lombok beaches.
Best beaches in Lombok
One of the best beaches in Lombok is Senggigi Beach on the western side of the island.
In the tourist area of Senggigi, it’s lined by several upscale hotels, including Qunci Villas and Puri Mas (reviewed below).
You can catch boats from this Lombok beach to the Gili Islands.
Selong Belanak Beach:
On the south coast, this popular beach in Lombok boasts powdery white sand.
With lots of little cafés and lounge chairs, Selong Belanak Beach is ideal for sunbathing and swimming.
But the real attraction?
With gentle rolling waves, Selong Belanak Beach is a great place to learn to surf.
You’ll find plenty of surf shacks offering beginner surf lessons.
On the north coast, Sire Beach is quiet and doesn’t see many day-trippers.
Its calm waters make it a great beach for swimming. (The fabulous Tugu Lombok hotel – see below – is located on Sire Beach.)
Tanjung Aan Beach:
If you’re looking for crystal clear aqua waters and an almost endless stretch of oh-so-soft white sand, Tanjung Aan Beach is for you.
Many visitors think this is the best beach in Lombok.
The water is typically lovely and calm – perfect for swimming! And when hunger strikes, you’ll find little warungs (cafés) selling fresh grilled fish and coconuts.
Tanjung Aan Beach is on the south coast, about a 15-minute drive from the main tourist area of Kuta.
Things to do in Lombok beyond the beach
As tempting as it is, however, we don’t spend all our time poolside and by the beach.
Hiking through jungle to two spectacular waterfalls calls out to us too.
We also take a short outrigger boat ride to the tiny nearby Gili Islands to go snorkeling and scuba diving.
Great massages are also cheap on Lombok.
Maybe combine a week in Lombok with a week in Bali next time you’re looking at a vacay in Asia? (From Bali, it’s a 2½-hour passenger ferry ride.)
That would make a great vacation combo.
Where to stay in Lombok
We stayed at the following top three hotels in Lombok and can highly recommend them all!
1) Qunci Villas:
The 4-star Qunci Villas has stylish garden- and ocean-view rooms with outdoor showers, pool rooms (with their own private pools) and 1- to 3-bedroom luxury villas.
You’ll find three infinity pools and reasonably-priced restaurants serving excellent food.
Qunci Villas: Check rates and availability
2) Puri Mas:
This beautiful resort (near Qunci Villas) has a very tropical feel.
Its 40 rooms range from character-loaded bungalows in the lush gardens to villas with private pools.
You’ll love lounging around by the infinity pool and watching young students of the Puri Mas-sponsored Lombok International Dance School put on a weekly ballroom dancing show.
See our review of Puri Mas.
Puri Mas: Check rates and availability
3) Tugu Lombok:
The delightful 5-star Tugu Lombok offers Indonesian antiques, artworks and a great setting on Sire Beach, one of the best Lombok beaches.
See our review of Tugu Lombok.
Tugu Lombok: Check rates and availability
Photo credits: 2, 3, 6, 10 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Hotel photos courtesy the respective Lombok hotels