BALI might be the most famous of the Indonesian islands, but if you want a more chilled-out break, head to nearby Lombok.
Just a 40-minute flight from Bali, it’s the perfect, peaceful alternative to its more touristy cousin. Lombok is famed for its tropical beaches and hippy vibe, making it the ideal destination for a restorative wellness break.
Good vibes only
Surrounded by palm trees, tucked away in the town of Kuta, you’ll find Mana Retreat, a beaut of a yoga and meditation hotel that’s so laid-back your shoulders will drop as soon as you step inside. You’ll be blown away by the peace and quiet, with the luxe bedrooms set around a swimming pool oasis. If you can, book a cabana room, which has its own private garden.
The bathrooms even have an outdoor shower for your own I’m A Celebrity! moment. Breakfasts are healthy yet hearty – we loved the nutty banana smoothie bowl, £3.20. A double cabana room at Mana Retreat costs from £68 per night (Manalombok.com).
Life at Mana revolves around yoga and meditation sessions, which run several times a day in the retreat’s barn. There’s a range of stretchy classes, whatever your ability, from vinyasa to hatha, as well as meditation that will leave you feeling seriously chilled.
Classes cost around £6, and are half price if you are staying at the hotel. In the evenings, Mana runs a cinema club, free for guests, with screenings of classic movies to watch under the stars.
Life’s a beach
Tear yourself away from Mana to visit the beautiful beaches. Our fave was Tanjung Aan, a blissful cove with white sand. Just make sure to slather yourself in factor 50 and seek shade, as it gets hot.
There are loads of beach shacks, serving beers and local fresh fish – we loved Warung Turtle, where we ate nasi goreng (stir-fried rice and veg with a fried egg), £3.30, washed down with a local Bintang beer, £2.
Food for thought
Scooters are how everyone gets around. Book one of Mana’s for free, or hire one for the day for £4.20 from Lombok Motorbike (Lombok-motorbike.com).
Feel the wind in your hair as you zip around the streets of Kuta, a town that’s a serious foodie haven, with delish street food and many traditional Indonesian restaurants.
There are also great takes on other cuisines, such as Krnk, which does pizza and burgers to a hip-hop soundtrack (Krnk-lombok.com). Try the Potato Party white pizza with leeks and confit garlic, £5. We also loved El Bazar, a Mediterranean that does a huge mezze sharing platter with houmous and tabbouleh, £4.50, or a falafel salad with avocado and pitta, £3.40 (Elbazarlombok.com).
Flights to Lombok cost from £459 return, and take around 30 hours, including a stopover.