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Delightfully unspoilt, Lombok has been largely ignored by mainstream tourism. The landscape is of seemingly endless paddy fields, most dotted by palm trees, and backed by the dominant volcanic range of Mount Rinjani, which rises to over 12,000 feet. The volcano and its crater lake are protected within the national park which was established in 1997.
Life on Lombok is simple for both locals and travellers alike. Horse and cart dominate the roads and the pace of life is refreshingly slow. Farmers work the fields with woven coolie hats atop their heads and make their way to markets where all of Lombok seems to come together to trade. For many, one of the attractions of Lombok is being able to snorkel off deserted coral islands – the Gili Islands on the west coast are famed for vast gardens of blue coral and are one of the best dive spots on the island.
Lombok is separated from its neighbour, Bali, by the Lombok Strait, although it’s a world away. Tourism is still relatively low key here, which, for many, is its main attraction. Whether as a single centre holiday, or as a extension from Bali, Lombok is a must for those who want to “switch off”, read a book and discover a totally unique lifestyle that is untouched by modern influences.