Lombok, the rising star of Indonesian tourism has so much to offer, one could stay a month and see and experience something new every day. Our stay was quite short, but therefore intense and we can’t wait to be back. Here are some suggestions, what you can see and do on this beautiful island.
Surfing is a thing on Lombok. If you want to ride the best waves, head to Kuta in the south, rent a motorbike and explore the nearby beaches. As we are not super advanced yet, a great beach for beginners is Selong Belanak. But also the pros are here in good hands – you just need a boat lift outside the lagoon to the big boys waves. If you need more information on surf spots in Lombok, head over to Surf Indonesia.
Ooooh, the beaches of Lombok are a dream. They are not crowded at all (except on the Gilis), wide, with turquoise water and usually local restaurants serving snacks, cold drinks and yummy curries. We liked the beaches around Kuta the most; from Patai Tanjung Aan to Mawun and Mawi all the way to Selong Belanak.
We also went to Senggigi beach, which didn’t impress us that much, because it was a bit crowded, the sea wasn’t that nice and half of it was property of a posh hotel. But further north we found Nipah beach – a narrow beach with lots of shade, restaurants and local families. FYI from Senggigi all the way to the north are beautiful empty beaches, just go for one you fancy.
Up north just before turning inland from the coastal road you can find black sand beaches. There were almost no people and the dark colour looked really cool.
2.Sunset at Merese Hills (Bukit Merese)
Reserve one day (or at least the afternoon) for Pantai Tanjung Aan. Next to this horse-shoe shaped beach is a hill called Mesere from where you’ll have an unforgettable sunset. But don’t expect to be alone – a lot of people flock here with plastic bags full of drinks and snack for the evening show and it’s also a popular spot for wedding and elopement photography. Nevertheless, we were able to find a quiet spot and I’m sure you will to.
3.Visit some waterfalls
There are many waterfalls to visit on Lombok, but we managed to get to only 2. The first is Sedang Gile waterfall, which is a double waterfall only 10 minutes down walk from the village. There are some food and coffee stalls around it, which were all closed at 7am (also the ticket booth). We headed for the second waterfall Tui Kelep with a guide (100k) mainly because we are quite scared of monkeys (we got attacked in Indonesia before) and we needed someone to take pictures of us under the waterfall. The walk to Tui Kelep waterfalls is longer, about 25-30 min and the hike is a mix of a maintained path through the forest, an old concrete bridge, balancing on rocks to cross a river, but nothing dangerous. We walked in flop flops without a problem.
4. Mount Rinjani
It was a big wish of ours to hike to the summit of mount Rinjani. Unfortunately at the time of our visit (August 2019) the summit was still closed due to last year’s earthquake. We postponed our hike to the next visit.
Although we can share some information about it: There are 4 official gates: Senaru (north), Sembalun (north), Aik Berik (central) and Timbanuh (north). We went to Senaru, where you can hire a guide and porter. The tour to the rim takes 2 days, with 1 night camping on the mountain. You start hiking at around 8AM. They also restricted the number of people on the mountain to 500 (including guides and porters).
We got some DMs from followers on Instagram saying the summit is open again, but we couldn’t find this info online. Please inform yourself before to avoid disappointment. You can check the not-so-up-to-date Mount Rinjani National Park website, but I saw they are more active on their Facebook page.
5. Rice fields
We are in love with rice fields. We admit it. And the good thing about Lombok is that the rice fields are still authentic and absolutely no people around (ok, except local farmers). We drove around Senaru and were amazed by the views. Lovely locals were constantly greeting us and asking if we are searching for something, but not quite believing we were there just for a boring thing as the rice fields.
6. Enjoy a parade
If you happen to be in Indonesia on their Independence Day (17. August), you can witness a big parade in probably every village and town in the country. We had the honor to see it in a village in north of Lombok (unfortunately it is so small, we can’t find the name on google maps). Anyway, the people are going to dress up in traditional clothes, they are going to play traditional instruments and a few theatre acts will be included as well. It’s a once in a lifetime experience you will surely enjoy. You can see and hear the parade in our vlog below 😉
7. Island hopping
Small island in Indonesian means Gili. And Lombok had because of its volcanic past many small islands aka gilis around. Unfortunately, we had only time to explore the most famous and touristic ones in the west Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air. They all are quite different, especially in terms of tourists, but all have beautiful sand beaches, turquoise ocean and plenty of accommodation. I wrote a whole blog post about them: Which Gili island is right for me? Or if don’t want to read and would rather enjoy a vlog, head over to Island hopping on the Gilis.
8. Indulge in good food
We had really good food on Lombok. Although we have to admit we like Indonesian food and you should know we are vegetarians. We found plenty food options from tasty traditional warungs to beautiful western owned restaurants. The biggest concentration of restaurants is in Kuta and Senggigi. Along the road next to Nipah beach are dozens of local fish restaurants where our friends enjoyed fresh fish with rice. We found a good vegetarian/vegan restaurant called Yogi Bar in Kuta. A little bit more expensive was Bamba in Kuta but also very good (the vegan passion fruit cake was a dream). In Senggigi we enjoyed great pizza at Warung Buana. On Gili T a very good vegan restaurant was Pituq cafe. On Gili Air you can have gorgeous smoothie bowls at Aura bowls.
9. Local villages
The native people of Lombok are the Sasak. And they still live in traditional villages which you can visit and they will greet you with open arms. The most visited is Sade village near Kuta (it is right next to the main road and local women on the beaches sell local crafts on a daily basis), the more “hidden and authentic” is Ende in the center of the island. We visited the old traditional part of Senaru. In all villages you’ll find traditional bamboo and wooden houses, animals freely roaming around and friendly smiling people.
10. Road tripping
Lombok has very good roads (ok, now and then some are rubbish as well, especially the ones leading to nice but remote beaches) but this results in higher speed, but there is less traffic than on Bali. Still, please be careful while driving. We had some great hog days while on the island. We drove from Kuta to Mataram, we explored many beaches around Kuta and we even drove all the way up to Senaru, taking the breathtaking coastal road from Mataram. Even on one of the busiest days – the independence day – driving wasn’t a problem, we just got stuck in a parade, so we had a good time watching it and then proceeded.
Meet the local fisherman
Late afetrnoon local fisherman will gather their catch of the day on the beach of Tanjung Aan. Be there and you watch how they repair the nets, feed the lovely beach dogs and share the fish.
Sunset over the rice fields
When in Senaru wait for the sunset as the reflections in the rice paddies are beautiful ❤
Our time on Lombok flew by so quickly, we didn’t even have time to breathe in and out. We can’t wait to be back and explore more of the island as there are many things, we had to skip due to lack of time. We also wrote a beginner’s guide to Lombok if you need information on how to get there, where to stay and eat and we tell you about a scam at arriving from the Gilis.
Here you can easily save this to Pinterest and read it next time 😉
I hope I could give you some ideas. Now our boat to Flores is waiting for us. Stay tuned and if you’re a fan of moving pictures aka videos, welcome to watch our vlog from Lombok 😉