Your Magazine Guide to Gili Islands

An abundance of natural beauty and traditional living destination…


With its largely unspoiled natural environment, vivid, diverse traditional culture and increasing infrastructure, Lombok island is an interesting compromise between touristic Bali and wild Sumbawa. Jagged coasts and sheltered bays, white-sanded empty beaches and lush green hills lined by rice paddies overlooked by majestic Mount Rinjani characterise Lombok’s natural landscape, while in traditional villages a diversity of practices coexist.

The island is dotted with mosques, symbols of Islam, the most practiced religion, but there are some important Hindu temples scattered in the West, heritage of the Hindu tradition.

Sasak people, Lombok’s indigenous people, practice a syncretic form of Islam (wetu telu), which blends Hindu-Buddhist influences, Sunni Islam, animism and ancestral worship. Authentic Sasak villages offer a valuable insight into the island’s traditional culture, famous for the turun temurun,

Capital city Mataram is a busy town with colourful markets and the gate to Senggigi’s  stunning bays in the North and Mt Rinjani’s green slopes to the East.

In the South, world-class surf breaks, a multitude of pristine beaches and gentle hills are an open invitation to explore the surroundings at one’s pace and enjoy the tropical vibe.

The East offers a complete different scenery; from waterfalls, rainforests and hills carpeted with rice paddies, the surroundings of Mount Rinjani provide a myriad of hike options, from easy walks to very challenging treks in a beautiful panoramic landscape.

In the South-West, facing Lembar harbour and Sekotong, are the less known Gilis (meaning “small island”), where snorkelling in the lively reef and chilling on the empty beaches are the few tourists’ main activity.

With its cultural and environmental diversity, Lombok is the ideal destination to discover something new everyday.