So, you’re trying to decide whether to visit Lombok or Bali on your next holiday? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Lombok and Bali are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia. They are both beautiful islands with a lot to offer visitors, but they also have their fair share of differences. Let’s start with a quick overview of each island before we get into the nitty-gritty details.
We live in Bali and have spent a good amount of time in Lombok. In this article, we will compare Lombok vs Bali and contrast these two Indonesian islands so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Lombok is an island in West Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. It is located just east of the larger island of Bali. Lombok is home to an estimated 3.8 million people, making it the second-most populous island in the province after Bali. The island is roughly rectangular in shape and covers an area of 5,435 square kilometers. Lombok is administratively divided into four regencies and one city. The capital city of Mataram is located in the western part of the island, while the other major towns include Senggigi, Kuta, and Labuan Bajo.
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country’s 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island. Bali has a population of 4.225 million as of January 2022. The island covers 5,780 square kilometers, making it slightly larger than Lombok. Bali is administratively divided into eight regencies and one city. The capital city of Denpasar is located in the southern part of the island, while the other major towns include Ubud, Kuta, and Sanur.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a more in-depth look and compare each of these islands.
Lombok vs Bali: Culture
Bali and Lombok are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia, but they are also very different from each other. Bali is known for its Hindu culture and beautiful beaches, while Lombok is home to the Muslim Sasak people and has a more traditional feel to it.
There are many cultural differences between the two islands, from the way people dress to their religious beliefs.
Here are some key differences between the two:
- The Balinese people are predominantly Hindu, while the Sasak people of Lombok are Muslim.
- Balinese women usually wear brightly-colored traditional clothing, while Sasak women tend to dress more conservatively in black or white.
- Balinese Hindu temples are often decorated with colorful offerings and ceremonies, while Sasak mosques are more subdued in color and usually don’t allow non-Muslims to enter.
- Balinese Hindus believe in reincarnation, while Muslims believe in heaven and hell.
- Balinese people tend to be more laid-back and relaxed, while Sasak people are generally more serious and reserved.
Of course, there are many other cultural differences between Bali and Lombok, but these are some of the most noticeable ones.
Winner – Bali
Bali or Lombok: Cost
Bali is more expensive than Lombok, with prices for basic necessities like food and transportation being almost 1.5 to 2x on Bali. Accommodation is also much more expensive on Bali, with beachfront villas often costing several thousand dollars per night. While you can find cheaper accommodation options on Lombok, most of them are not as nice as those on Bali. So if you’re looking for a luxurious vacation with all the bells and whistles and have the budget, Bali is the place to go, but if you’re on a budget, Lombok is the better option.
Interested in how much money you should bring to Bali for 10 days?
Winner – Lombok
Lombok vs Bali: Beaches
Bali has more than 9,000 kilometers of coastline, making it a prime destination for beach lovers. The most popular beaches on Bali are located in the south, where the sand is white and the water is crystal clear. Some of the best beaches on Bali include Kuta Beach, Jimbaran Beach, and Nusa Dua Beach.
Lombok has a much smaller coastline than Bali, but the beaches here are just as beautiful – if not more so. The sand on Lombok’s beaches is a dazzling white, and the water is crystal clear and calm. Some of the best beaches on Lombok include Senggigi Beach, Gili Trawangan Beach, and Pink beach.
Winner – Tie
Lombok or Bali: Scuba Diving
This is a close one. Many people say that Bali is the clear winner, while others might give Lombok the edge. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each destination to help you make your decision.
- More dive sites to choose from
- Easier to get to from most major airports
- Better infrastructure and tourist facilities
- Crowded dive sites
- Higher prices for accommodation, food, and transport
- Quieter, more relaxed atmosphere
- Beautiful beaches and scenery
- More authentic Indonesian experience
- Fewer dive sites
- Longer journey from most major airports
- Basic infrastructure and tourist facilities
Both Bali and Lombok offer scuba diving enthusiasts a great experience. If you are looking for more variety and easier access, then Bali is the better choice. However, if you want to enjoy a more authentic Indonesian experience with quieter beaches and scenery, then Lombok is the place for you.
Winner – Close one but Bali wins again.
Bali vs Lombok: Food
While Bali and Lombok share a lot of similarities, there are some key differences, especially when it comes to food. So which place has better food? Let’s take a closer look.
If you’re a fan of fresh seafood, then Lombok is the place for you. The island is known for its abundance of fresh fish, which can be found at markets and restaurants throughout the island. If you’re looking for something a little bit different, there are also plenty of unique seafood dishes to try, such as grilled octopus and squid.
Bali, on the other hand, is known for its wide range of traditional Indonesian dishes. While you can find seafood in Bali, it’s not as fresh as what you’ll find in Lombok. However, the Balinese cuisine is incredibly diverse and there are plenty of delicious dishes to try, such as nasi goreng (fried rice), gado-gado (vegetable salad), and satay (grilled meat skewers).
Bali also has a much more diverse selection of Western and international food dishes.
Winner – Bali
Lombok vs Bali: Tourism
Bali has long been a popular destination for tourists from all over the globe. It’s no secret that Bali has a lot to offer tourists. Stunning beaches, beautiful rice fields, lush jungles, and vibrant culture to name a few.
But the downside to tourism in Bali is that it is almost too popular. Beaches are often crowded and it’s not uncommon to need to cue up for a photo at some of the attractions. Before the pandemic, Bali was attracting about 8 million tourists per year. Now, post-pandemic tourist numbers are climbing once again.
Lombok has a lot to offer tourists too, from its stunning beaches and amazing scenery to its friendly locals and rich culture. But, Lombok receives 3.7 million tourists per year which are less than half of what Bali gets.
So, Bali does have a lot more variety of food, things to do, and accommodations for tourists than Lombok. But, it comes with a price, more people.
Winner – Bali
Bali vs Lombok: Nightlife
Bali is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants to keep visitors entertained into the early hours of the morning. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back bar to enjoy a few drinks or a lively club to dance the night away, you’ll find it all in Bali.
Lombok, on the other hand, has a more relaxed atmosphere when it comes to nightlife. There are still plenty of places to enjoy a drink or two, but the focus is more on quality than quantity. If you’re looking for an intimate setting to enjoy good conversation and live music, then Lombok is the place for you.
So, if you’re looking for a wild night out filled with dancing and drinking, then Bali is the destination for you. But if you prefer a more low-key evening enjoying good food and company, then Lombok should be your choice.
Winner – Bali
Lombok vs Bali: Traffic
Bali, you probably already know that the traffic there is pretty bad. The roads are narrow, and there are a lot of motorcycles and scooters on them. Add in the fact that most people don’t obey traffic laws, which can be a recipe for disaster.
Lombok is a different story. The roads are wider, and there are far fewer motorcycles and scooters. This means that the traffic moves a lot more smoothly than it does in Bali. Of course, there are still some things that could be improved – but overall, Lombok is definitely better when it comes to traffic.
Winner – Lombok
Bali vs Lombok: Activities
When it comes to activities, Bali and Lombok could not be more different. While Bali is well-known for its world-famous nightlife and endless array of restaurants, Lombok is a much more relaxed and low-key destination. If you’re looking for an action-packed vacation, Bali is the place for you, but if you’re after a more laid-back getaway, head to Lombok.
Winner – Bali
Bali vs Lombok: Accessibility
When it comes to accessibility, Bali and Lombok could not be more different. While Bali is known for its luxurious resorts and pristine beaches, Lombok is still relatively untouched by tourism. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two Indonesian islands.
If you’re looking for an island getaway that’s easy to reach, Bali is the obvious choice. Located just a short flight from major Southeast Asian cities like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok, Bali is a popular destination for weekend warriors and sun-seekers alike.
Lombok, on the other hand, is a bit more off the beaten path. Although it’s only a two-hour ferry ride from Bali, Lombok feels like a world away. If you’re looking for an authentic Indonesian experience, Lombok is the place to go.
Winner – Bali
Lombok vs Bali: FAQ
Lombok is about 50 miles from Bali. To get there, you can take a boat or a plane. The trip by boat takes about 2 hours, while the flight is only about 1 hour.
Yes, there is a ferry from Bali to Lombok. The trip takes about two hours and there are several departures per day. Tickets can be purchased online or at the port.
Yes, you can fly from Bali to Lombok. There are several airlines that offer flights between the two islands, including Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Batik Air. The flight time is about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and the price varies depending on the airline and the time of year.
Is Lombok the new Bali? That’s the question on everyone’s lips lately, as this stunning Indonesian island has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. With its pristine beaches, lush jungles, and towering volcanoes, Lombok is undeniably beautiful – and it seems that more and more people are catching on to that fact. But, is it the new Bali? I don’t think anything will ever be Bali.
Is Lombok worth visiting? Yes! If you’re looking for a laid-back tropical island rich in culture to relax on then Lombok is for sure worth a visit. However, the nightlife, sightseeing, and getting around the island is a bit more challenging than its neighbor Bali.
Yes, by far. But that is a pro for many Lombok visitors. Some people may prefer the action-packed tropical paradise of Bali, while others may prefer the more rugged and rural atmosphere of Lombok. Both islands have their own unique attractions that draw visitors from all over the world.
No, Lombok is slightly smaller than Bali. See our post for more details about the size of Bali.
There are pros and cons to living in both Bali and Lombok, but overall, I would say that Bali is the better place to live.
Bali is a popular tourist destination for a reason – it has everything from beautiful beaches to lush, green jungles. The people are friendly and welcoming, and there is always something to do or see. Lombok is also lovely, but it’s not as developed as Bali, so you may find yourself wanting more things to do than there are available. In the end, it comes down to what you’re looking for in a home country – if you want easy access to all the amenities of modern life, go with Bali; if you’re happy with a slower pace and enjoying nature at its fullest, choose Lombok instead.
In a Nutshell: Lombok vs Bali
So, which is the better island? In our opinion, Bali takes the cake. It has more activities to keep you busy, a wider range of restaurants and bars, and easier accessibility. That said, if you’re looking for a more authentic Indonesian experience, Lombok is definitely worth considering.
Have you been to both Lombok and Bali? What did you think of each island? Let us know in the comments below!