Located to the east of Bali, Lombok is like its more laid-back sister, accessible by boat or plane. Its just as beautiful too, with idyllic beaches and picturesque highlands, but much less crowded. Even though it has many attractions to explore, from beaches and temples to mountains, tourists can enjoy most of the island’s best in a day. Selong Belanak beach and Rinjani National Park are among the most popular destinations in Lombok.
Anyone who visits this dreamy small island near Bali would never guess at its dark history. It used to be a dungeon in the middle of the ocean, but Nusa Penida is now the exact opposite, a tropical paradise with zero traces of gloom. Nowadays the island is inhabited by various bird species; some endangered, all beautiful. The unique rocky structure blesses visitors with wonderful sights and its surrounding clear, sparkling water makes for dreamy beaches all around the island.
One day is enough to explore this tiny paradise from one end to the other. Nusa Lembongan has few motor vehicles and no hawkers to distract you from the stunning scenery. Even so, the small island is anything but dull. Tourists can find a wide selection of activities to do, from diving to cliff jumping, exploring pristine beaches to touring the mangrove rainforests in small boats.
Komodo National Park
If you cherish wildlife (or native, small-island scenery), this park on Komodo Island is a noteworthy place to visit. Although the scenery is a treat in itself, the main attraction is the Komodo dragon, the largest species of lizard on the planet. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is well-maintained and as protected as the lizards themselves. Tourists can reach the island via Labuan Bajo airport on Flores, which is only one-and-a-half hour’s flight away from Bali.
Divers and snorkelers, head northwest to find a whole new world of marine biodiversity, from coral reef gardens to various species of tropical fish. For tourists who would prefer to stay warm and dry, Menjangan Island also has many things to offer, including gorgeous beaches, a whole population of sea birds, turtles, even deer. Share the sight of virgin beaches with the muntjac (barking deer), which also happens to love bathing in the idyllic beach. Tourists can reach the island by motorboat, and it takes just about 30 minutes from the northeast end of Bali island.
Being known as “Bali’s Party Island”, many tourists ride the boat to the east from Bali to enjoy an all-night rave party. But the small island is actually as lively during the day as it is when the sun goes down. A day trip to Gili Trawangan will reward tourists with sightings of turtles, tropical birds, and wonderful beaches. Snorkeling is also a popular activity to indulge in. Even the trip from Bali itself, which takes about 90 minutes, is a treat, boasting wonderful views of the sea and Bali mainland from an otherwise-unexplored angle.