Welcome to Lombok, a small Indonesian island that offers uncrowded white sand beaches with crystal clear water, waterfalls that will leave you breathless, world class surf breaks, unique cultural activities and more adventures than you’re trip could possibly contain! Lombok has often been likened to nearby neighbor Bali, but at least a decade of development behind, with less traffic, less tourists, but equally incredible natural attractions. As cliche as it sounds, Lombok really does have something for everyone. It’s also super easy to get to Lombok from anywhere in Indonesia.
If you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway, this region has some of the best beaches you’ll find in Indonesia, with affordable hotels that will sweep you off your feet. Surfers, both beginner, expert and everyone in between, will find the perfect wave down in the south. Culture nuts will love learning about the pottery, weaving and art of the Sasak people. Backpackers will love the laid back vibes of the Gili islands.
And if it’s adventure you’re after, you better buckle up because Lombok has some of the best volcano treks, waterfalls and jungle hikes you’ll find anywhere in the world. Enjoy our list of the best things to do in Lombok, no matter what you’re interested in.
Our trip to Lombok was also more than just an adventure, we had the goal of bringing more tourism back to Lombok. After the 2018 earthquakes, tourism slowed down significantly on the island and the local economy took a huge hit. But we’re happy to say that Lombok is back in business and we wholeheartedly recommend visiting! It was one of our favorite trips we’ve taken recently and we expect that this will be a destination we continue to return to!
Traveling to Lombok
With an international airport, as well as ferry ports, you can travel to Lombok by sea or air. Most people traveling by boat are going from Bali to Lombok, choosing either a slower ferry or quicker fast boat from eastern Bali. When flying there are number of countries that now fly directly into Lombok International Airport in Praya, with AirAsia and Garuda being the best choices. In fact, as we write this, Perth to Lombok direct flights have just started with AirAsia, so this only makes it easy for Australian’s to visit Lombok.
Whether you’re taking the ferry, fast boat or plane, each option offers a different ease of travel, as well as a different price range. Ultimately it’s not difficult or expensive when traveling to Lombok. We went by plane and would absolutely choose this mode of transportation every single time. From Denpasar (Bali) to Praya (Lombok), it’s only a half hour flight and it costs between $30-60 USD round trip. Flying out of Bali domestic airport is a breeze and landing in Lombok airport is fast and efficient.
If you want to go to the Gilis, or you just prefer to go by boat, you can take a fast boat from one of Bali’s harbors. Padangbai in eastern Bali to Bangsal Ferry Terminal in northern Lombok is the most common way to get to to Lombok from Bali. There are a number of companies that offer this trip. The boats also go past the Gilis if you want to stop off along the way, or on your way back.
Adventure Activities: What to Do in Lombok
If you’re an outdoor lover who has been searching for a destination that has world class hiking without the crowds, Lombok is your spot. Whether you’re looking for a chilled out walk through the jungle or you want to get your blood pumping on a multi-day trek, here’s what Lombok activities have to offer:
Hike Mount Rinjani
One of the island’s most famous sights, Mount Rinjani is an active volcano in Northern Lombok. This hike is not for the faint of heart; it’s super challenging. Rinjani rises to 3726 meters and is the second biggest volcano in Indonesia. This hike is bound to test your mental and physical strength, but if you can reach the top the views make it all worth it.
You can also take it at your own speed, with different Mount Rinjani tours taking two, three or four days depending on your skill level and how much time you can allot. Two days/ one night is only recommended for expert level hikers who really only have a short window of time. Three days/ two nights is a common choice and allows you more time to take in your surroundings and enjoy a peek at the Crater Lake. The four day/three night trip is for those that want to take it at a slower pace and enjoy the beauty of Mount Rinjani National Park.
When planning your Mount Rinjani hike one good thing to know is that the volcano is closed every year from January to the end of March due to the rainy season. So if you want to hike it, you”d better plan around that. Even within the hiking season it’s always good to reach out to some trekking companies to check the current status.
Mount Rinjani Crater Rim Hike
If you want a taste of Rinjani, without having to commit to the full experience, you can try the Crater Rim hike. This trek is fine for beginners and also great if you’re short on time because it’s only two days/ one night! With this hike you’ll be able to enjoy sunset and sunrise at the beautiful Crater Lake. Just like hiking Mount Rinjani tours, this will be closed during the rainy season, so you should check with your company before booking.
Senaru Walking Tour
If you’re tired after tackling the mammoth hike of Mount Rinjani, or are just looking for something a little slower paced, we recommend going on a walking tour. We did our Senaru tour with Rinjani Dawn Adventures. It was a half day walking tour with their awesome guide Lasa. We started in the town of Senaru, then walked up a trail through the beautiful green jungle to a coffee plantation.
At the plantation there is a beautiful viewing platform that looks out over the surrounding mountains. From this viewpoint you can catch a glimpse of the nearby Tiu Kelep waterfall. Our walking tour also included a stop at our guide’s house and garden, where he offered us a cup of Lombok coffee and avocados fresh from his tree. After, we visited a local rice field which was bright green as far as we could see.
Hike Pergasingan Hill
Another alternative to Mount Rinjani (or an addition if you’re an avid hiker!), Pergasingan Hill is located in eastern Lombok. Pergasingan can be done in just a few hours, but it’s recommended to go up in the late afternoon and camp on the mountain overnight. You’ll wake up to the sun rising and a terrific view of Mount Rinjani.
Waterfalls in Lombok
If you’re planning an adventure in Lombok, you have to visit some of the island’s waterfalls. Not only are they stunning, but they’re often completely crowd-less. Can you imagine, having these beautiful Lombok waterfalls to yourself?
- Benang Stokel – One of the more popular waterfalls in Lombok, Benang Stokel is located in the center of the island, southwest of Mount Rinjani National Park. After a 15 minute hike from the gate entrance, you’ll find that Benang Stokel is actually two gentle waterfalls right next to each other. They’re not the most powerful falls, but the surrounding area is gorgeous.
- Benang Kelambu – From the gate entrance of Benang Stokel, you can take a 35-45 minute hike to Benang Kelambu waterfall. If you’re short on time, like we were, you can also have a local guide take you on the back of a motorbike. However you get there, Benang Kelambu is a must! This set of waterfalls are absolutely stunning and one of our all time favorite waterfalls!
- Tiu Pupus – We don’t hear many people talking about Tiu Pupus, which is strange because it’s a beautiful waterfall! It’s a 5 minute, flat hike along a trail from the carpark, past a small river/lake and on to Pupus, a beautiful single drop fall.
- Gangga Waterfall – This waterfall next to Gangga village is worth a look if it’s included in your tour and feel like a quick dip. Personally, we didn’t find it that impressive, but maybe we’re waterfall snobs are visiting the other stunning sites! There is a metal platform that takes you to an upper part of one of the falls where you can swim.
Want even more amazing waterfalls? Check out our detailed guide to the Best Waterfalls in Lombok! It includes how to get there, opening hours, costs and more!
Bukit Selong Rice Field Viewpoint
If you’re exploring the north of Lombok and heading south, the Bukit Selong Rice Field Viewpoint is a popular stop on your way down. This viewpoint overlooks a rice field that looks like a geometric pattern of shades of green from above. It’s worth coming early to avoid the heat. Come for sunrise if you don’t mind getting up early. Update: As of March 2019 this area has been closed due to the 2018 earthquakes. Check with local tour companies if this has been reopened and we will update our post as soon as we know.
Pusuk Pass Monkey Forest
This is more of a drive than a sight in itself. If you’re heading from Benang Kelambu to Kuta (or vice versa) you’ll most likely drive through the Pusuk Pass Monkey Forest. As you drive on the highway through this dense jungle you’ll start to notice monkeys hanging out on the sides of the road. They often make eye contact with you and turn their heads to continue making eye contact as you drive away.
The monkeys are wild, but they’re clearly accustomed to tourists. You can pull off into a car park where locals will sell you bananas to feed to the monkeys, which are better than normal human food, but we still don’t condone feeding wild animals. This wasn’t cruel, but we didn’t feel like this was a very sustainable activity.
Beaches: Where to Go in Lombok
After spending so much time on Bali island, where the beaches are lacking that white sand and turquoise water combination, we forgot just how gorgeous Indonesian beaches can be! Lombok is a dream destination for beach lovers, and here are a few of our favorites.
Kuta Lombok Beaches in the South
Kuta Lombok (not to be confused with the much more crowded Kuta Bali!) is a cute little surfer town gearing up to the be next Canggu, Bali. It’s a perfect spot to base yourself out of, with plenty of cheap guesthouses, hip cafes and restaurants playing live music in the evening. While the beach in town is so-so, the beaches surrounding Kuta are incredible. Our favorites in the area are Tangjung Aan, Selong Belanak, Mawi Beach, Semeti Beach and Lansing Beach. Rent a scooter for the day (or week) and explore the region to find plenty of uncrowded spots.
Senggigi Beaches in the West
Senggigi is as close to a resort town as Lombok has. Most of the hotels are located along Raya Senggigi which is a long street that hugs the coast. There’s not much to do in the town itself, but the beaches surrounding this area are gorgeous! We recommend renting a motorbike and driving north on Raya Senggigi to enjoy the views. Our favorites beaches in this area are Sentangi Beach, Ludmila Beach, Nipah Beach and Pandanan Beach. While exploring the beaches, stop by Nipah for a delicious fresh fish lunch from the many beachside vendors.
Looking for more fun in the sun? We’ve got an even bigger list of the 15 Best Beaches in Lombok! Come and check it out!
If you really want to find some of the best beaches in Lombok, the Gilis are where it’s at. While there are many gilis around Lombok (gili just means small island in Sasak), there are three Gilis that are the most famous. All three have gorgeous beaches, but very different vibes.
Gili Trawangan, also known as Gili T, is famous for its backpacker party vibes, clubs that pound music till the early morning and easy accessibility to mushroom shakes (yep, those mushrooms!). Gili Air is a chilled out version of Gili T, if you replace the clubs with simple beach bars and spend your evenings sipping cocktails on bean bags at the beach rather than dancing the night away. Gili Meno is the lovers island and the quietest of the three, perfect for honeymooners!
Surfing in Lombok
If you’re looking for surf spots and you’re sick of the crowded waves in Bali, then Lombok has plenty of options. Whether you’re just starting out and need a lesson or you’ve been surfing for years, you’ll find a wave you like on Lombok. Desert Point is one of the most well known around the surfing community. This left hander only works a few times a year, and is definitely an experts only spot, but it’s known as one of the best surfing waves in the world.
If you’re looking for somewhere more beginner speed, Selong Belanak has some great small waves and tons of surf instructors on the beach. There are also some good beginner waves near Gerupuk.
Culture: What to See in Lombok
Even though Lombok is best known for its adventure activities and stunning beaches, the region’s unique local Sasak culture will be fascinating to learn about for any traveler. In between lazy beach days and hiking volcanoes, plan a few local tours to learn more about the history and traditions of Lombok.
Lombok Pottery Center
Lombok is famous for its pottery and if you’re interested in the production, Lombok Pottery Centre is the place to visit. The LPC is a cooperative of over 200 female potters who share the profits of their work, so everyone prospers. They have several tour options available, including a visit to Banyumulek Village, a local village where they create the pottery.
Visitors get to watch the process, from the creation of the clay to the molding of the products, to the outdoor kiln they’ve created. Even if you’re not super into pottery, this is a great opportunity to be invited into a local village and meet with a community. All of the potters we met were so welcoming. Plus you get to visit the LPC office and choose a piece of pottery to get engraved and take home.
Learn about Islam in Mataram
Indonesia is a country of many different religions, but the majority of the islands are muslim. Bali is predominantly Hindu, Lombok is Muslim and the nearby island of Flores is Catholic. If you’re interested in learning more about Islam in Lombok a visit to the Islamic Center Mosque in Mataram is a perfect opportunity. The colors and architecture of the mosque are quite stunning.
After paying an entrance fee, a guide will take you up to the 9th floor and 13th floor where you will get beautiful views overlooking the city below. Remember to dress appropriately. If for some reason you’re turned away (it sounds like this happens on occasion), you can still enjoy the beauty of the mosque from the outside, especially at night when the building is lit up with colorful lights.
Local Village Tour
One of the things that makes Lombok unique is the indigenous Sasak culture. There are several villages that have opened their doors to tourists, where you can see the traditional houses made of bamboo and thatched roofs. Sade Village is a traditional Sasak village that is probably the most touristy of those available to visit. We’ve heard reports of tourists being pushed to purchase souvenirs, but others have enjoyed the ease of being able to visit.
We visited a small Sasak village during our walking tour in Senaru. It was the village of our guide’s famil,y so we felt more comfortable seeing inside the house of his parents rather than a random stranger. Other small villages that have been recommended to us are Desa Beleq and Segentar. We really recommend only visiting these villages with a Sasak guide who can communicate with you. As always when visiting a local village, it’s so important to be respectful, ask before taking any photos and avoid any tours that feel exploitative.
Visit a Weaving Village
Weaving is another craft that Lombok is well known for. Sasak women learn to weave at a young age and the art has been passed down through many generations. According to Sasak tradition, all women must be able to weave or they will not be allowed to get married. There are several villages where you can watch weaving demonstrations, or you may just come across local women weaving while traveling around Lombok.
If you’re looking to visit a weaving village you can head to Sukarara Village, where they run weaving tours. You’ll definitely be guided into a gift shop and sold textiles at a mark up, but visiting a village likes this means getting a close up look at the production process and the opportunity to ask questions about the tradition. In Sukarara they also dress you up in traditional costume and let you take photos in front of a traditional Sasak house if that’s your jam. Although it’s a little touristy, your money goes directly back into the community, rather than through a third party tour company.
Narmada Water Park
You won’t find any water slides or log rides here, the Narmada Water Park is actually more of a water temple. Historically, Narmada was used in religious ceremonies at the park’s Hindu temple. Now, it’s a nice place to spend the afternoon, enjoy the gardens and have a sip of the holy water which is said to make you look ten years younger.
Lombok Packing List
LifeStraw water bottle – You should definitely not drink the tap water in Lombok, even in the taps at a luxury hotel (unless they’ve confirmed it’s filtered). After visiting some of the beaches and seeing plastic bottles and cups wash ashore, you’ll feel much better about your choice to bring a reusable bottle. Plus you can fill up at all the waterfalls!
Sarong – Lombok is a Muslim region so you’ll want to keep a sarong on hand in case you need to cover yourself up. You’ll most likely only need to do this while visiting a mosque, a school or a government building. You can also buy one of these from a local weaver.
Hat – Just like Bali, Lombok is hot and sunny! We definitely got a little burnt in the sun here, so we highly recommend a good hat especially for hikes.
SunGod sunnies – You’ll be grateful you have a pair of these indestructible, polarized sunnies when you’re hiking Rinjani!
A one piece swimsuit – Bikinis aren’t banned here, but I felt more comfortable wearing my one piece in front of the locals. Plus, this one is super cute!