Long overshadowed by its superstar neighbour across the Lombok Strait there's a steady hum about Lombok that catches the ear of travellers looking for something different from Bali. Blessed with exquisite white-sand beaches, epic surf, a lush forested interior, and hiking trails through tobacco and rice fields, Lombok is fully loaded with equitorial allure. Oh, and you'll probably notice mighty Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano, its summit complete with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake.
And there's much more. Lombok's southern coastline is nature on a very grand scale: breathtaking turquoise bays, world-class surf breaks and massive headlands. They keep saying development on these splendid beaches is just around the corner, but until that moment comes, they are easy to explore over much-improved roads.
If you're going to the Gilis, a Lombok stopover is a must. Transport options are good and the mood could not be more laid back.