15 things you should see on Lombok
Lombok – an island east of Bali, but less famous than its neighbor. While every year millions of tourists are attracted to Bali, many places on Lombok are still untouched. Over here mass tourism is still unknown.
Lombok: 15 fascinating sights you shouldn’t miss
Lombok offers many empty and often isolated dream beaches, friendly and interesting people, tasty food and fantastic nature. This year, after a stay of more than two months, Lombok and the Gili islands became my personal favorites – at least so far.
In this article you will find a few must-sees on Lombok.
How to get to Lombok
To get to Lombok there are only two options, the airplane and the boat. Flights operate from many cities in Indonesia to Lombok. But the international airport already welcomes flights from abroad, e.g. from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.
To find the best and cheapest flights for your trip to Lombok, check out Skyscanner. There you can compare prices, departure times, flight duration and the different airlines.
You can take a boat to Lombok from e.g. Bali, the Gili Islands or Sumbawa. There is a difference between speed boats and local boats, because not only prices but the duration of travel can vary significantly. An overview of different boats can be found on 12go.asia.
Accommodation in Lombok – our hotel tips
Lombok is a relatively large island and offers almost endless possibilities to stay. Whether in southern Kuta, in the capital Mataram or in the tourist center of Senggigi on the west coast – on Lombok you will find many accommodations in all price ranges.
We personally recommend a stay in Senggigi and surroundings. A great hotel is the Qunci Villas, which is located on a secluded, quiet beach. The center of Senggigi is only a short taxi or scooter ride away. But also near the Qunci Villas you will find some restaurants and shops.
Of course, there are also a number of beautiful hotels and homestays in Kuta
Lombok: Tours and tickets
1. The Gili islands
3 paradise islands – which seem tiny compared to Lombok – are located only 20 minutes away by boat: Gili Trawangan, the main island, Gili Meno and Gili Air.
The Gilis are very popular for scuba diving and snorkeling but also for relaxing, swimming and partying. Backpackers and tourists visit especially Gili Trawangan often. Over here you can feel the lively reggae-ganja-magic-mushroom-vibe. The Gili islands are a must!
You can also discover the colorful underwater world of the Gilis by snorkeling on a day trip from Lombok. With a little bit of luck, you can even spot turtles.
2. Mount Rinjani
The second highest volcano of Indonesia is definitely one of the highlights of Lombok! You can book multi-day, guided tours to the Crater Lake and even to the top at all touristy spots. The pictures speak for themselves…
Most tourists arrive in Senggigi because many hotels are located over here. It’s also great for going out at night or eating. One of the most popular surf spots for locals and tourists alike is Senggigi Beach.
At this beach the vendors and locals aren’t pushy at all but you can have a nice small talk if you like (mainly about football since Indonesians love football).
4. From Senggigi to Pemenang
To explore this road next to the coast it is best to use a scooter, which you can rent for example in Senggigi. One of the highlights is the viewpoint at Malimbu Hill 1 and 2. It offers a marvelous view over Malimbu and Nipah Beach and the 3 Gili Islands. Check out the other view points and beaches that you can find on this way as well since they are worth seeing, too.
If you leave Lombok with the public boats to the Gili Islands and would take a taxi from the airport or from Lembar (where the public ferry from Bali arrives) you will probably use the very same road (or you tell the taxi driver your preferred route) since this road goes directly to Bangsal, where public boats are leaving.
5. Pusuk Monkey Forest
Taking a winding road through a breathtaking mountain landscape is the second option to get to Bangsal. It’s were you find the so-called monkey forest, named after the numerous wild monkeys in the jungle and near the street. Feed the hungry and annoying little bastards at the view points if you like.
But be careful and look for your bags, backpacks and such. You can go there by scooter as well, but always “Hati Hati”, like the Indonesian says.
If you don’t want to explore Lombok on your own with a scooter, you can also visit the Malimbu Hill viewpoints and the Monkey Forest on a guided day tour.
After Senggigi, Kuta is probably the second tourist hotspot on Lombok. It offers beautiful beaches as well and lots of accommodations and restaurants.
From here you can explore the dream beaches of Mawun, Tanjung Aan and Selong Belanak since they are very close by (see below). Even Kuta Beach itself is worth a look.
7. Mawun Beach
Now I will introduce you some of my favorite beaches of Lombok. One if them is Mawun.
Depending on the weekday and the time of the day, this beach with its soft white sand and turquoise water is still mostly deserted. Sometimes the waves are heavier over here. The beach is secluded and located west of Kuta in an almost enclosed bay, which you can easily reach with your scooter as well.
8. Selong Belanak and viewpoint
I believe I rarely saw such a wide and shallow beach like Selong Belanak somewhere else. You can perfectly surf or swim at this long beach.
I strongly recommend taking a look at the near viewpoint overlooking the beach and the bay. It’s located a bit north of Selong Belanak Beach. It’s still an insiders’ tip and you shouldn’t miss it when you do a scooter tour.
9. Tanjung Aan
Turquoise sea and white sand, the way I love it! Even here you can climb a rock to enjoy a breathtaking view over the two bays and beaches of Aan. A must-see!
10. Pink Beach
It’s not really an insiders’ tip anymore, but still worth a visit! The drive is quite difficult since in my opinion the streets on the Ekas Peninsula (where the Pink Beach is located) cannot be called streets anymore. At least they are being improved bit by bit every year. If you actually make it there, you will be rewarded with a desolate quiet beach. It is called after its pink sand that consists out of coral.
The view from the near viewpoint is marvelous as well and the also worth seeing cliffs of Tanjung Ringgit are situated close by.
11. Mosques and Hindu temples
In contrast to Bali, Lombok and the rest of Indonesia are mainly Muslim. That is why you can see and especially hear mosques everywhere. If you book your accommodation in advance, you should inform yourself if it’s closely located to a mosque. Especially around Ramadan it could become very noisy.
The Balinese minority on Lombok got its temples like Pura Meru, Pura Lingsar, Pura Narmada or Pura Batu Bolong as well. 2 true insiders’ tips are Pura Gunung Sari north of Mataram and Pura Suranadi.
Most of them are located at the western part of the island in and around Mataram/Cakranegara or Senggigi.
Lombok got numerous waterfalls, mostly in the northern part of the island. Among others, there would be Tiu Teja, Tiu Kelep or Sendang Gile. In the center of Lombok you will find a few decent ones as well, for example the Benang Kelambu, Benang Stokel or Jeruk Manis near Tetebatu.
There is no fresher water than this! Drink it, swim or just let the ice cold water hail down your back – superb!
The visit of the Tiu Kelep and Sendang Gile waterfalls are great to combine, even with an organized tour.
13. Sasak culture
The Sasak are the indigenous people of this island, which today make about 85% of the total population of Lombok. Their culture is fascinating and as a visitor you definitely need to experience it.
Their food known for its spiciness, their handicraft, their music and dances, the typical Sasak houses or a Sasak wedding with (extreme loud) street parade with “Gendang Beleq” musicians you need to experience. There are plenty wedding parades on Lombok, especially on the weekends. Must-see!
By the way, many of the Lombok natives still speak the Sasak language, especially the older. But everyone speaks and understands the official language Bahasa Indonesia. English only helps in tourist spots, which makes a guided tour a great option to get to know the Sasak culture.
14. Traditional markets
The markets are typical Asian with fresh veggies, spices, fish and so much more.
I recommend the traditional market in Ampenan. Every now and then locals look in astonishment at a “Bule” (westerner) since they don’t come often over here. There is no cheaper or fresher place to do food shopping even though as a “Bule” you should consider paying more than a local. It is of advantage to speak a little Indonesian.
For stuff like clothes, jewelry or other souvenirs you should visit the Cakranegara Market (Pasar Cakranegara) in Mataram.
15. Mataram, Ampenan and Cakranegara
Counting around 420.000 inhabitants, Mataram is the capital of Lombok and the province Nusa Tenggara Barat.
Close by you find places like Ampenan where you can still find some old Dutch colonial style buildings. In the district Cakranegara (short: “Cakra”) are a few lovely Balinese temples and the Mataram Mall with its numerous shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants as well as fast food chains on different levels.
Even bigger and more modern is the recently built Lombok Epicentrum mall at the main street Sriwijaya.