At the witching hour between midnight and sunrise, the view from the lonely lighthouse at Tanjung Ringgit, on Lombok’s southeastern tip, is like that over an enormous city, as the lights of the fishing boats crowd into the blackness. Above, the stars seem not only more plentiful than anywhere else but fatter too, great splotches in the sky as though here you are just that bit closer to heaven.
When the stars fade, the fishermen return home with their haul. The sky breaks open in pink and orange over the mistdraped island of Sumbawa, next in the diverse Lesser Sunda Islands chain. It is not the kilometers that make this place remote. Reaching it is a rough drive along a rough road, through seemingly uninhabited scrub and cotton trees, the arid hills falling away to unkempt beaches. There is plenty of proof this desolate, windswept point is not at the end of the world, but it almost feels it could be.