The Indonesian archipelago has 18,307 islands (6,000 of them populated), so it is not hard to plan an island getaway. For Australians and Chinese, Bali and her immediate isle (Nusa Lembongan) are more popular than ever. Flores and Komodo Island are for the intrepid. So where to get away from overcrowded Java?
RainbowTourism.com editor Dee Farrell suggests Lombok and Gili Islands. They are great beach destinations in their own right and easily visited if your main holiday is planned for beautiful and blissful Bali.
Lovely Lombok is highly recommended for many things, not the least of which is tranquility, sublime vistas and simple living. Located to the east of Bali, this island has beautiful sandy beaches that remain underdeveloped compared with Bali. (But resorts are there and more on the way since being “discovered” and lauded by guidebooks and cruiselines.) While the scene in Lombok may not be as vibrant or stylish as the one in Kuta, Bali, when the sun does come down, the crowds at Kuta, Lombok are too busy having a good time to be making comparisons.
Outside of the tourist towns and beaches, is another big drawcard. The northcentral region of the island is dominated by Mount Rinjani, an active volcano that is a fabulous spot to photograph the sunrise or sunset. Or hike to waterfalls beneath it in the Rinjani National Park.
Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air
The islands are very relaxed and laid-back, with countless little beachside cafes, restaurants and bars serving a variety of tastes in local and international cuisine. Best of all, there are no cars or motorbikes to disturb the peace.
Three very small, beautiful tropical islands just off the west coast of Lombok and about 20 miles from the eastern tip of Bali across the Lombok Strait. The sea is teaming with marine life and makes Gili Islands a top destination for scuba divers and snorkelers and also known as “The turtle capital of the world.” There’s a hip scene at the Gili Islands, and many go to soak up the party scene.