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Bali welcomes millions of international tourists yearly. And while that positively contributes to the ever-growing tourism sphere —there are always new resorts, new restaurants, new adventures to experience —it has also cost the island its purity and pristine state. Lombok, on the other hand, still has its virgin spots, idyllic coastline, and authentic traditional communities.
Due to the abundance of tourists in Bali, a lot of traditional villages now have a very touristy feel and most of the mainstream destinations are beyond crowded. This may not bother everyone, but tourists who crave tranquil, intimate moments, may want to consider Lombok over Bali.
As a less touristy destination, products and services in Lombok generally come with lower price tags than the ones in Bali. Many tourists have expressed their joyous surprise at the affordable prices for private villas or fine dining in Bali, imagine an even lower price in the equally beautiful island of Lombok.
Crowded streets and traffic jams have been a huge turn-off for locals and tourists visiting Bali. Lombok, on the other hand, has more space than it needs for tourists to roam around with their bikes conveniently, one virgin beach to another.
Lombok is particularly favored by honeymooners and those who would like an intimate, laidback holiday. Less crowded, fewer parties, and fewer mass events, enable tourists to enjoy their own company. Lombok also has a much smaller amount of hawkers who often distract tourists from the calm natural beauty in Bali.
Lombok is strategically located in a much-coveted island constellation that includes the three Gili Islands. It takes just a few hours to hop to nearby islands, and it costs significantly less to reach those islands from Lombok rather than from Bali.
To be fair, Bali has its share of majestic waterfalls worth discovering. However, Lombok’s waterfalls are like no other, such as the twin rainbow waterfall Tiu Teja, Tiu Kelep, the impossibly soft waterfall Benang Kelambu and more, each with their own unique characteristics.
Bali and Lombok both have their own set of idyllic beaches with clear blue water and smooth white sand, but only one of those islands houses a coastline with pretty pink sands. Pink Beach, or as the locals named it, Tangsi Beach, is located away from other touristy areas, and still retains its natural state, with clean translucent water and pristine sand.
Matching Mount Rinjani’s impressive height is its various natural charms, featuring the majestic Segara Anak Lake at the summit. Bali also has many amazing hiking tracks and mountains, but Indonesia only has one second-highest volcano with all its beauty, and it’s perched in Lombok.
Even though Lombok and Bali are located relatively close to each other (considering Indonesia’s massive area), the cultures are very different. Lombok’s indigenous people are the Sasak ethnic tribe, who speak their own language and hold Islam as their dominant religion, while most Balinese are Hindus. Visiting Lombok offers tourists a glimpse of the distinctive culture that can’t be found elsewhere.
Once a year, Sasak people hold a lively festival to remember an ancient princess who drowned herself in the sea to get out of a political marriage and keep peace in the island. Locals believe that the peculiar colorful sea worms appearing only once a year represent the princess. When it happens, thousands of people will swarm at the beach to catch one of those worms for good luck, before cook and eat them. Tourists are, of course, welcome to join.