1-bedroom Villas in Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok, Bali’s beautiful next-door neighbour, rarely receives the attention she deserves. Although there are only 35km of sea between these two islands, the physical and cultural distinctions are considerable. Towering mountains, mighty waterfalls, pristine white-sand beaches, magnificent coral reefs, pearl encrusted shores, a unique Sasak culture and tranquillity are among Lombok’s many charms.

In general, Lombok entices the more adventurous travellers who have, perhaps, already explored Bali and are hungry to journey further afield. The island is also a haven for those in search of peace and quiet. A visit to Lombok is an opportunity to explore a natural paradise, trek the Rinjani National Park, enjoy some fantastic diving and snorkelling, surf some of the best waves in Indonesia, and encounter a traditional, rural way of life exposing a fascinating integration of Muslim and Hindu cultures. Visitors are welcomed at the splendid Sasak festivals and Hindu ceremonies, and the island produces some remarkable handicrafts. In the tiny villages artisans can be seen at work creating textiles, baskets and pots.

Predictions in the early ‘90s that Lombok was following fast on the heels of Bali in terms of tourism were never actually realised. Likewise it is a misconception to view Lombok as the Bali of 20 years ago, comparisons are inevitable but contrasts are marked and the two islands differ in almost every respect.

The beaches in Lombok are beautiful. The roller-coaster road hugs the dramatic coastline around cool coconut groves, sweeping bays and towering headlands. Although there are a few luxury hotels and villas in the area north of Senggigi, huge expanses of Lombok’s shores are totally undeveloped with just a few small villages dotted inland. Many of the beaches are festooned with candy-coloured jukung. These traditional canoe-shaped fishing vessels are crafted from a single hollowed out tree trunk, with bamboo outriggers and a distinctive prow decorated and shaped like a marlin’s head. Some of the island’s most spectacular coastal scenery can be found on the southern shores. Windswept sandy beaches and picturesque bays are separated by headlands and awesome rocky outcrops. The glorious crescent-shaped beaches of Lombok’s Kuta (often confused with Bali’s Kuta) and Tanjung Aan are famous for their surf breaks, and when the tide is out, the bays turn into shallow pools of turquoise water.

In October 2011, Lombok's long awaited Bandara International Airport opened near the township of Praya, about 40km south of Lombok's capital, Mataram, and approximately a two-hour drive from the north-west of the island, which is home to most of Lombok's luxury private villas. Although this new airport currently (Jan 2013) only offers international flights from Singapore (Silkair) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Air Asia), regular connecting flights from Bali's Denpasar Airport take only 25 minutes.

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Selong Selo - 9B-2 Villa Manju (1BR)

Selong Selo - 9B-2 Villa Manju (1BR)

Indonesia » Lombok » South Lombok » Selong Belanak

Who would have thought that nestled into an untouched corner of Lombok, would lie such absolute luxury? Selong Selo is a little oasis in an already stunning island. Surrounded by green hills and with sea views that hold your gaze for hours, we couldn’t find a more beautiful spot, even if we tried.

The one-bedroom villa we stayed at was just perfect for me and my partner. A large king-size bed, plush with crisp white sheets looked out through the glass walls, giving a feeling of living in the outdoors.

The villa was luxurious and dreamy, with stylish furnishings and traditional artefacts lending it a certain charm. We woke up to gorgeous views, itching to slide back the glass doors and let the outdoors in. Hands wrapped around a hot cup of tea, brewed in our kitchenette, we could sit for hours on the patio, just staring at the scene unfurling in front of us.

The private pool was a much-loved luxury, inviting us in for a dip morning and night. And yes, also the perfect spot for a photograph to make friends jealous back home.

Though we have never surfed before, we were told a trip to Lombok is incomplete without trying out the waves and one day we did just that. We took the shuttle down to Selong Belanak Beach and enrolled into a beginners’ surfing lesson. What absolute fun, it was. To be honest, we did fall into the water more than once, but to our credit, we were riding the waves upright by the end of the day. So we treated ourselves to cocktails at the beach, watching the sun go down, lighting up the sky on its way.
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Selong Selo - 5B-2 Villa Walet (Studio)

Selong Selo - 5B-2 Villa Walet (Studio)

Indonesia » Lombok » South Lombok » Selong Belanak

Me and my best friend wanted to head out for a weekend trip, and Lombok looked tempting with its pristine beaches. We booked a studio villa, as it was perfect for the both of us, spacious and self-contained. 

The bed was large and plush, facing the glass doors which looked out towards the ocean beyond the plunge pool. Which brings me to my favourite part of the villa - our private pool. Many afternoons were spent just chatting around the pool, cocktail in hand, nature’s beauty laid out in front of us.

We woke up to gorgeous views, and a pleasant breeze that flowed in when we pulled open the glass doors. What to do for the rest of the day was a favourite topic, with so many options to choose from - surfing on the beach below, picnicking under a waterfall and cycling to villages nearby being a few of them.

This was a vacation we both will always remember. A large part of that goes to the stunning villa that we stayed in.

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