Bali vs Lombok! Which Island to Choose for Your Next Trip
So, you’ve decided on your next big trip to Indonesia? Excellent decision! You’ve practically assured a once-in-a-lifetime excursion between the sinewy volcanoes of Java and the orangutan-infested woods of Sulawesi. But what if one of the islands tempts you? There are over 17,000 of them in total, but everyone knows that most travellers only consider two of them: Bali and Lombok. The truth is that they’re very similar to each other. They’re almost next to each other in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with the Bali Sea as their backdrop.
Climates, seasonal weather patterns, marine life, and terrain are all comparable. So, how do you choose by choosing between the two?
Follow the steps in this guide. We’ve put together a handy comparison for you taking into account essential criteria like traveller accessibility, beach quality, and available activities, to mention a few. We’ll point out some of the most noticeable distinctions between Bali and Lombok to help you determine which island to visit on your next Indonesia trip.
The archipelago of Indonesia has a well-connected ferry and aircraft network, so getting to Bali or Lombok should be reasonably simple. Travellers flying to Bali should fly through Denpasar International Airport, located on the island’s south side. It is also recognized as Ngurah Rai International Airport and is one of Indonesia’s most prominent airports. It has direct flights from major carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Cathay Pacific, as well as a slew of low-cost, short-haul connections from all around Southeast Asia.
While Lombok has an airport, Bandar Udara International Lombok, it is more difficult to fly straight to the island. Travellers frequently have to change planes in Bali before continuing on to their next destination on a propeller plane (lasting 15-20 minutes, no more). Furthermore, Bali has more frequent flights and lower airline ticket prices. To look at it another way, the lack of significant airlines serving Lombok raises the cost of direct flights.
Both Bali and Lombok may be reached by boat. Ferries run from the massive island of Java, which is also home to the capital city of Jakarta, to the Isle of the Gods (Bali). They depart from the sandy port of Dermaga Ketapang every 15 minutes all through the day, and the journey to Gilimanuk takes roughly 30 minutes. Ferries to Lombok leave from the more rural island of Sumbawa; thus, they’re not extremely popular with tourists.
Indonesian food is a unique culinary pleasure in and of itself. Whether you try a street-side stall’s nasi goreng fried rice or a restaurant’s luscious beef rendang, your taste buds are in for a beautiful treat!
Restaurants, cafes, and street-food kitchens abound in Bali and Lombok, providing guests with abundant opportunities to explore the local cuisine. Ayam railway, a grilled chicken dish with tomato, turmeric, and galangal sauce, is a speciality of Lombok. In Bali, look for Sate Lilit, a beef dish flavoured with coconut and lemon juice and served on skewers.
Overall, we think Bali has a better cuisine scene than the rest of the world. It has everything from primitive warung kitchens to ultra-sleek hipster eateries (go to Canggu to see what we mean). You’re just as likely to have avocado on bread for breakfast on the Isle of the Gods as you are to eat tempeh in peanut sauce on the beach. What we enjoy about Lombok’s cuisine is that it maintains strong ties to its traditional roots, with much of it prepared at home and little international influence.
Bali obviously attracts a large number of visitors each year. The island’s economy is mainly based on international visitors, and the island makes every attempt to accommodate them. Although the substantial infrastructure has its advantages, it also means that some parts of Bali can appear to be overcrowded and congested. Kuta is an excellent example. It’s always buzzing with activity, with pubs spilling out onto the streets and clubs blaring till late. There’s no longer any of that laid-back Indo vibe.
Lombok, on the other hand, has a more calm vibe generally. While there are still tourist places, particularly around the Senggigi resort strip, it is usually compared to what Bali was 20 years ago. Compared to Bali, visitors should expect fewer partygoers and less rowdy nightlife. Lombok’s less-developed character makes it an excellent alternative for anyone seeking a tranquil, relaxing island experience.
Touristy locations can be exciting and pleasant for some people; therefore, Bali is an excellent choice for your vacation. Lombok, on the other hand, provides a calm alternative to its neighbouring island for visitors seeking to escape the crowds and commotion.
Lombok is the quieter of the two islands. In the major resorts, such as Senggigi and Kuta Lombok, visitors will find a variety of nightlife establishments, as well as a few distinctive pubs. However, compared to Bali, everything seems a little more subdued here.
Areas like Kuta and Seminyak in Bali are known for their vibrant, crazy nightlife. The variety of settings is astounding. LXXY Bali, a well-known club in Kuta, has a rooftop pool and renowned DJs. La Favela, a hip-hop-style music venue in Seminyak, is a must-see. Then there are the beach clubs like Old Man’s and Potato Head Beach Club, which throw sunset parties on the dunes of Canggu.
There’s no doubt about it: if you’re travelling to Indonesia solely to party until the sun comes up, Bali is the place to go!
The beaches of Bali have recently garnered attention for all the wrong reasons. The island is plagued by significant plastic pollution, the results of which may be seen washed up all along the beach, at least during the monsoon season. Thirty tonnes of plastic trash were hauled from Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak on New Year’s Day. With frequent beach clean-ups and a ban on single-use plastics, tenacious people are fighting pollution. It is, however, quite awful.
Then there’s Lombok. Because there are fewer tourists here, there is less contact with plastic waste, resulting in cleaner beaches. Locals continue to spearhead beach clean-ups, particularly during the monsoon season, but they are far less common than in Bali. Lombok’s beaches are also peaceful. Oh, and did we mention they’re very stunning? On the south coast, see the shimmering, sugar-soft lengths of Senggigi, isolated Mangsit, and exquisite Tanjung Aan Beach. They’re all fantastic.
Bali is a veritable playground of activities. It has evolved into a true all-seasons destination. There’s something for everyone: families, couples, adventurers, nature enthusiasts, etc. It would be best if you tried to plan your stay around what you want to get out of your trip. R&R, beach hopping, and dining is all the better on the south coast resorts. The Bukit Peninsula is a surfers‘ paradise. Ubud is where you’ll find temples, shrines, and art galleries. Here are a few of the top Bali activities to look forward to:
● Temple Visits
● Monkey Forest
● See the rice paddies.
Lombok, on the other hand, is definitely a little more adventure-oriented. It’s for people who want to get away from the masses and do things a little differently. Hiking and boat journeys to long-forgotten surf breaks take centre stage as a result. Here are some of our favourite things to do:
● Mount Rinjani
● Pink Beach
In general, Lombok is ideal for those seeking a more tranquil, beach-oriented vacation. The natural beauty of the island also makes it a terrific destination for individuals who enjoy staying active. Hiking and beach walks have never been more appealing, with multi-day spectacular climbs to Mount Rinjani’s Senaru Crater.
Bali provides a tumultuous introduction to Indonesian tourism. With pockets of nightlife, rice paddies, beaches, and volcanoes to explore, Bali is ideal for first-time tourists to Indonesia. The island has a diverse range of activities and nightlife, making it suitable for people looking for a fast-paced vacation.
In brief, Lombok is best for a quiet vacation surrounded by a beautiful environment, whereas Bali is best for top-notch hotels, convenient transportation, and busy bars and clubs.