I've been to Indonesia several times. Great country, I even like Jakarta. Next year we're planning to go to Lombok, but must admit I hardly know anything about the place. Can somebody place advise me on places to stay, places to eat and places to see.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
I was just going to suggest you contact Lombok Lovers, but noticed you have already posted there.
The English woman Gemma who started Lombok Lovers has her own homestay at Desa Mong a small village about 1 km from the famous Kuta Lombok.
I recently spent 5 days at Mimpimanis Homestay and had the most fantastic time- it is like a home away from home.
The area is amazing, has the most beautiful beaches- scenery is spectacular. This area is definitely worth a visit as well as the northern part of Sengiggi and a trip to Gilis- the islands that lie just off Lombok.
Good Luck in your search.
Suggest you post your request on Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum and also SNIP
Pamela- just back from 5.5 months travelling around Indonesia by myself- had the most fantastic time.
[ Edit: Sorry no promotional details in the open forums ]
Here is some info.
I have been to Bali 5 times, Lombok 3 times and the Gilis twice (always on Gili Meno, the quietest and laid-backest).
I've generally used Perama for travel to and from Bali and Lombok. They have, and I'm sure still have, an office in Jalan Legian about 200 metres north of Bemo Corner heading towards Legian.
Pretty reasonable prices for bussing/boating from Kuta to Sengiggi or Bangsal (place to catch boats to Gili islands). The last Perama trip from Kuta to Sengiggi in 2000 took us to the outskirts of Ubud to drop passengers off and pickup more backpackers before heading for Padangbai where the local ferry leaves for Lembar on Lombok. It was a slow trip over the strait, with the locals sleeping inside in the shade and the Tommy tourists (us included) up on the roof soaking up melanomas.
You could get a fast ferry from Benoa to Lembar but it costs about 5-10 times the local boat fare, and slowly cruising the Lombok Strait is a relaxing way to go.
Most of this info would be in the LP.
Have always stayed at Kontiki on Meno. Nice place, pretty quiet, reasonably priced and the raised dining platform on the edge of the beach is great for viewing Gili Air, Lombok and Mt. Rinjani over breakfast.
Slip on the snorkel and fins and you are a 30 second walk from the deep drop of the channel between Meno and Air. I remember having a snorkel before breakfast outside Kontiki and there was a bleeding turtle having a rest on the sand in about 8 feet of water. That was a real morning buzz!!!
Trawangan is the youth, dive and party island, and probably a bit more expensive than Meno which could be classified as the hippy island to some. Air is more European families if I remember correctly. We caught a local boat to Trawangan for lunch one day and another for lunch on Air the next day. The islands are very close together but the currents between the islands are reputedly very strong.
Some of the my best snorkelling has been on Meno. We organised a boat trip with guide and another couple at Kontiki to go out on the reefs for a few hours. The boatman actually dove down onto the reef to wake up turtles for us so we could see them swim. Not exactly eco-friendly.
Lombok is a lovely island. We stayed at Sengiggi for a few days (very touristy with lots of hawkers on the beach) which was OK, but hired a small motorbike from a guy on the street and took off around the island for 3 days/2 nights. We stayed one night at Tetebatu which was great. Hired another local dude who took us for a hike through the rice-paddies up to the waterfall (the water was very cold coming off Rinjani). I did here a few years back that some tourists had been mugged while trekking around Tetebatu so caution should be taken I suppose.
The next day we took the rough road over the eastern saddle of Rinjani from Sepit to Sejang and on to Senaru, a small village on the north side of Rinjani. That was a lovely place with nice little restaurants mixed among the basic accomodation. Senaru is the place you start the climb of Rinjani from, but there were reports a few years back of armed robberies of trekking groups when on the 3-5 day hikes.
You have to check out the stick-fighting when on Lombok. Tournaments of locals, all dressed up, beating the crap out of each other with thick cane staves while defending themselves with shields.
Kuta on the south coast of Lombok was very sleepy when we were there, and I would be surprised if it has changed much, especially after 9/11 and the Bali bombings. There is a very expensive Novotel resort about 2 miles walk from Kuta beach.
Our Kuta beachfront accomodation was very basic (concrete building, bed with mosquito net, outside toilet and shower) but cost about $10 AUD for 2 people with breakfast.
After Meno we went to Lembar and got the boat to Gili Nanggu where we stayed for 2 nights. A very small island with one place to stay which was cheap and very basic. Hardly anyone there, with two types of accomodation - concrete building or a few 2 storey Sasak-style huts. Nice beach and decent snorkelling, and very very quiet and relaxing.
Perama has an office in Sengiggi and can organise minibus travel to most places on Lombok along with trips to the stick-fighting.
Have you thought of spending a few days on Nusa Lembongan? Lots of good surf breaks, some cheap but decent accomodation along the main beach, and you can hire a boat to take you snorkelling along the reef at the base of Nusa Penida's cliffs.
The guy drops you off at one spot and current slowly takes you down the reef to where he is waiting. Saw a large manta-ray cruise past last time we snorkelled there.
If you will only be away for 3-4 weeks, do what I sometimes do.
If I don't have a decent up-to-date LP book for my destination, I take it out of the library and take it with me.
Think of all those poor books who have never been to where they describe!!!