Located to the east of Bali, this island has beautiful sandy beaches that remain underdeveloped compared with Bali. There is a good choice of boutique hotels on the west coast with a cluster around Senggigi, the most tourist-orientated town on Lombok. The center of the island is dominated by Mount Rinjani, an active volcano that is a fabulous spot to photograph the sunrise or sunset.
Life on Lombok is more restrained and modest compared with the generally more open and vibrant Bali. However, gay travellers can expect to be welcomed in just the same way as straight tourists.
Three very small, beautiful tropical islands just off the west coast of Lombok and about 20 miles from the eastern tip of Bali. The islands have beautiful white sandy beaches and surrounded by crystal clear water. The sea is teaming with marine life and makes Gili Islands a top destination for scuba divers and snorkelers.
Gili Islands remain largely undiscovered by mass tourism. Walk, ride a horse, pedal a bike or swim everywhere as there are no buses, cars or motorbikes.
Lombok and the Gili Islands enjoy a tropical monsoon climate with two seasons, dry (May to September) and wet (October to March). The wet season is characterized by brief afternoon rain showers. Daytime temperatures average 27˚C to 32˚C along the west coast.
A number of international airlines operate direct flights to Lombok. In addition, there are daily flights from Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Indonesia operates a ‘visa on arrival ‘scheme for nationals of most non-Asian countries (cost $25US as at March 2012). Nationals of Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam do not require a visa.
Public Ferry – Operates every two hours, 24 hours a day from Padang Bai (East Bali) to Lembar (West Lombok). Although cheap, the crossing time can be between 4-5 hours. The port is about 1 hour by car from the main tourist area of Senggigi.
Fast Boat – A number of fast boat services operate from Bali to the east coast of Lombok and Gili islands, including the Blue Water Express and Gili Cat and Gili Getaway. Crossing times are between 1½-2 hours depending on destination. Advance booking essential during peak periods.
Air – A number of airlines offer daily flights between Bali and Lombok.
Jalan Raya Klui Beach 1, Senggigi | map
9.1 Fantastic based on 476 Agoda reviews
Why this hotel: Beautiful setting. Spacious suites. Superb service.
The very gay-friendly Jeeva Klui is the only resort on beautiful sandy Klui Beach. The resort’s architecture reflects a unique Sasak style that has set a new standard for Lombok resorts. The lush garden of local flora and native shoreline plants fully integrate the buildings and infinity-edge pool into the coastal landscape.
Jeeva Klui has 35 suites and villas, all featuring a large terrace with an oversized daybed and equipped with LCD T’V, DVD player, bathrobe, in-room safe and free WiFi. The onsite Warung restaurant serves Asian and Western dishes. The service is exceptional.
Jalan Raya Mangsit, Senggigi | map
9 Very Good based on 517 Agoda reviews
Why this hotel: Fabulous views. Luxurious spa. Excellent value.
The gay-popular Qunci Villas is a boutique beachfront resort located on Mangsit Beach on the east coast of Lombok, just 5 minutes’ drive north of the main tourist area of Senggigi. The resort offers a choice of modern rooms and villas, some with wonderful sea views and other with private pools set in beautifully landscaped gardens.
Qunci Villas’ two infinity-edge pools are set right on the beachfront overlooking the sea, and you have the choice of two restaurants, bar and fabulous spa that offers a range of treatments in luxurious private rooms.
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Jalan Raya Senggigi km 14, Mangsit Beach, Senggigi | map
8.7 Very Good based on 371 Agoda reviews
Why this hotel: Stunning pool. Beautiful views. Quiet location.
Looking to escape away for a romantic break? Puri Mas Boutique Resort could be just for you. Set on the west coast of Lombok, the Puri Mas has a very distinctive Indonesian feel. Each of the individually designed rooms are set in lush tropical gardens. Some have wonderful sea views.
The resort’s infinity-edge pool and sun terrace offer a space to chill out and forget about the rest of the world. The Ballroom Restaurant is one of Lombok’s top beachfront dining locations offering uninterrupted views across the sea to Bali. Free WiFi.
Medana Beach, Tanjung | map
8.8 Very Good based on 59 Agoda reviews
Why this hotel: Gorgeous villas. Excellent pool & gym. Luxury choice.
One of the best luxury hotels in Indonesia. This tropical hideaway is set on the beautiful Medana Beach, on the north west coast of Lombok. The Oberoi’s huge villas and pavilions have fabulous terraces with views of the ocean or rainforest gardens.
The stunning setting is matched by the warmest of welcomes for gay guests, exceptional service and some of the finest international cuisines on the island. The Oberoi Spa offers a wide range of massage and other treatments, whilst the gym is available to keep you trim.
The resort has a beach club that offers a range of water sports including snorkeling, sea kayaking, PADI scuba diving, windsurfing or private boat rides to the beautiful Gili Islands.
Jalan Pantai Sire, Sire Beach, Tanjung | map
9 Very Good based on 50 Agoda reviews
Why this hotel: Unique villas. Beachside location. Great facilities.
A ‘getaway from it all’ beach paradise for those who want space to relax and recharge. The Tugu Lombok Hotel is located on the beautiful, sandy Sire Beach along the northwest coast of Lombok with equally stunning views of Mount Rinjabi.
Each of the 19 uniquely styled luxury villas are decorated with woods and bamboos, and have a private balcony with either an ocean or garden view. Room features include LCD satellite TV, free movies, iPod docking statios and free WiFi. Some guest rooms have private plunge pools.
The resort has a full=service spa, outdoor pool, excellent restaurant and offers a fabulous choice of activities and excursions.
Gili Trawangan | map
8 Good based on 868 Agoda reviews
Why this hotel: Beachside cottages. Ideal location. Excellent value.
Vila Ombak was the first international hotel to open on Gili Trawangan and remains one of the best on the island. The resort offers a range of traditional Sasak-styled rooms, from the more affordable ‘Lumbung Terrace’ to private beachside cottages that have private balconies with stunning sea views.
WiFi is free in public area. The hotel features a large outdoor pool and a beachfront restaurant. Airport shuttle and boat charter services are offered.
Gili Trawangan | map
Why this hotel: Fully-equipped villas. Private pool. Excellent value.
New hotel offering 3 spacious villas with private pool, kitchen and free WiFi throughout. Each contemporary-styled villa features flat screen cable TV, DVD player, dining & living area and en suite bathroom.
Massage service is available, and the friendly staff are happy to help you with trekking & tour arrangements and bicycle rentals. A choice of restaurants are nearby (about a 5-minute walk away).
Location-wise, Lakshmi Villas is a 10-minute drive from Jetty Harbour and a 15-minute speedboat ride from Senggigi Beach, Gili Meno and Gili Air islands