15 BEST THINGS TO DO IN LOMBOK – The Ultimate Guide

Lombok is an Indonesian paradise, offering up a wealth of sights and experiences perfectly suited to adventure-seekers.
Pengantap Beach, Lombok / @InvestIslands

About Lombok

Lombok presents a distinct rendition of Indonesian culture and society, characterized by a more leisurely tempo compared to its well-visited neighbor, Bali. One prominent cultural contrast lies in the religious composition, with approximately 85-90% of Lombok's populace adhering to Islam, while the remaining identify as Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu. This prevalence of Islamic faith has led to Lombok being often referred to as the 'island of the thousand mosques,' evident by the frequent presence of mosques approximately every 500 meters. This prevalence also translates to the likelihood of hearing the early morning call to prayer around 4 AM, particularly if your lodging is in proximity to a mosque. Thus, it's advisable to consider this aspect while making your accommodation arrangements.

While Lombok shares certain resemblances with other Indonesian islands, such as its volcanoes, stunning beaches, inviting turquoise waters, verdant jungles, and clusters of authentic traditional villages, its tourism scene maintains a more understated demeanor. Consequently, travelers to Lombok should anticipate a more immersive experience, requiring a proactive effort to uncover the island's truly exceptional attractions.

Significant strides in development have been witnessed in Lombok, particularly during the years 2019, 2020, and 2021, largely attributed to the Mandalika project. This ambitious initiative, valued at $3 billion, entails the construction of a state-of-the-art MotoGP circuit, upscale residential complexes, and luxury resorts, coupled with the necessary supporting infrastructure. The inaugural MotoGP race on Lombok's shores successfully took place in 2022, marking a milestone in the project's progress. Anticipations are high as these novel developments are poised to attract a substantial influx of visitors to the island in the years ahead.

Read more: Developing Lombok’s Tourism Sector With The Gran Meliá Lombok 5-Star Resort

How to get to Lombok

Selecting the appropriate mode of transportation to reach Lombok depends on several factors that you can consider:

  • Location in Lombok: Your destination within Lombok plays a role. Different transportation options might be more convenient based on whether you'll be staying in the southern, northern, or central parts of the island.
  • Seasickness: If you are prone to seasickness, you might want to avoid sea travel, as some routes involve ferry rides or fast boats.
  • Gili Islands Visit: If you plan to visit the Gili Islands, your transportation choice can impact how you reach both Lombok and the Gili Islands.
  • Departure Point in Bali: Depending on where you are departing from in Bali, certain transportation options might be more accessible or efficient.

Once you have answers to these questions, you can make an informed decision about the best way to reach Lombok.

The Gili islands / @Hotel.com

Read more: Foreigners From 23 Countries Are Eligible For Visa On Arrival For Tourism

Fastest way to get to Lombok

Opting for air travel is a convenient choice when heading to Lombok. Thanks to its new international airport, Lombok is easily accessible via a short 30-minute flight from Denpasar, Bali's international airport. Notably, the cost of flight tickets is quite comparable to that of fast boat tickets, hovering around €30. This mode of transportation provides a swift and efficient means of reaching Lombok while also offering a competitive pricing advantage.

The cheapest way to get to Lombok

For budget-conscious travelers, the most economical route to reach Lombok from Bali is via the public ferry. Departing from Padang Bai harbor in East Bali and arriving at Lembar Port in South West Lombok, near Mataram, this option comes at a cost of around 50,000 IDR (approximately €3) per person. While this choice is budget-friendly, it's important to note that the journey duration is approximately 4 hours, making it a slower but more affordable way to access Lombok.

Fast Boat at The Sea in Bali, Indonesia / @Padangbaibooking.com

Going with the fast boat to Lombok

Lombok is well-connected through approximately 10 fast boat operators, offering swift sea transfers from various points in Bali. Often, these services come inclusive of a complimentary pick-up and drop-off arrangement, although confirming this with your chosen agency is advised. Departing from multiple ports across Bali, the fast boats require about an hour to reach Lombok. Depending on your location in Bali, you can strategically select the nearest harbor for departure. The departure points for these fast boats include Sanur, Serangan Island (proximate to Sanur), Benoa (between Nusa Dua and Sanur), as well as from the North-East of Bali, specifically Amed and Padangbai.

When journeying from Bali to the Gili Islands and subsequently to Lombok, your arrival point in Lombok will be Bangsal harbor, situated in the northern region of Lombok. This harbor serves as the gateway for travelers arriving from the Gili Islands, providing access to North Lombok and its surrounding areas.

Read more: West Lombok Opens New Speedboat Route To Draw Tourists

The fast boat routes from Bali to Lombok are as following:

Amed (North Bali) – Bangsal (North Lombok)

Benoa Harbour (South Bali) – Bangsal (North Lombok)

Sanur (South Bali) – Senggigi (North West Lombok)

Padang Bai – Teluk Kode (North Lombok)

Padang Bai – Bangsal (North Lombok)

Serangan Island – Bangsal (North Lombok)

Serangan Island – Teluk Kode (North Lombok)

Best time to visit Lombok / Lombok weather

Lombok experiences two well-defined seasons: the rainy period extending from October to March and the dry stretch prevailing from May to September. Daytime temperatures generally settle around 30°C throughout the year, but the rainy season brings with it heightened humidity levels. If you can endure the heat and dampness, you'll relish a less crowded island, as this period corresponds to the off-peak season.

By April, temperatures gradually decline, and the landscape blossoms into a tapestry of verdant foliage. May and June stand out as prime months to explore Lombok, offering sunlit days without excessive heat and the enchantment of lush greenery.

Yet, as the dry season winds down and the rainy season approaches, Lombok's natural surroundings tend to desiccate. Consequently, September, October, and November may not be the optimal months for experiencing the island's lush landscapes

How to get around in Lombok

If you're comfortable maneuvering a scooter, it's highly recommended to consider renting one for their travels. However, caution should be exercised, as accounts exist of fellow travelers encountering scams involving rental scooters in Lombok. Instances have arisen where individuals were nearly swindled for damages they didn't cause or found themselves in situations where their motorbikes were falsely reported as "stolen," leading to hefty payments to the owner. To become acquainted with the common scams in Lombok and learn how to avoid them, it's advised to peruse the provided details towards the end of the blog post. This will offer a preemptive understanding to navigate such unfavorable situations.

Alternatively, another viable option is to consider booking a guided tour. Such tours allow you to explore the island's highlights comprehensively within a single day or over a few days, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

Where to stay in Lombok

The choice you make depends largely on the specific region of the island you intend to discover. However, the primary tourist hubs encompass Kuta Lombok and Senggigi. These locales boast breathtaking beaches, with Kuta Lombok particularly alluring to surf enthusiasts who flock to its magnificent waves along the southern coast. In contrast, Senggigi is a preferred destination for those seeking lavish beachfront resorts and family-oriented vacations.

In the northern expanse of Lombok, a distinct ambiance unfolds, set apart from the world of luxury resorts. Instead, an authentic backpacker atmosphere takes center stage, characterized by a variety of budget-friendly guesthouses that offer exceptional value. Notably, a standout option is an affordably priced yet well-equipped guesthouse situated in Senaru. Its allure is elevated by the panoramic views it provides of the imposing Mount Rinjani, adding a memorable backdrop to the experience.

Upcoming 5-star Hotel in Lombok: Gran Melia Lombok

How many days to spend in Lombok

Naturally, crafting your itinerary hinges on the time at your disposal and your intended activities on the island. For those eyeing a Mount Rinjani ascent, it's prudent to allocate approximately 3 to 4 days, which encompasses the adventure as well as the necessary recuperation. Similarly, if your aspirations encompass a few days of surfing, it's advisable to factor this in when shaping your Lombok travel plan.

The duration of stay encompassed a complete two weeks, allowing for ample time to engage in desired activities. For those with a tighter schedule but a desire to immerse in Lombok's beauty, allocating 5 to 8 days for a thorough island exploration is advisable.

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Best things to do in Lombok

Tanjung Aan beach / @TravelIndonesia

Relax at Tanjung Aan beach

Tanjung Aan stretches across approximately 1 km, presenting a stunning expanse of pristine beach. Renowned as one of Lombok's finest coastal gems, this assertion resonates with our sentiments as well. While it might experience a surge in visitors during the midday hours, the beach's expansiveness offers respite. Venturing a bit farther from the parking area can lead you to quieter, more secluded areas where you can relish a peaceful ambiance.

Several beach shacks dot the area, offering provisions ranging from food and beverages to the option to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. As a customary practice, these beachside warungs often provide complimentary use of beach chairs upon making a purchase. The locals engage in the sale of bracelets and sarongs directly on the beach. Additionally, an ice cream vendor frequents the beach, serenading visitors with the jingle of "ice cream, ice cream" emanating from his speakers. While this melody can occasionally interrupt the tranquility of the beach, it's a convenient delight if you're in the mood to savor some ice cream and beat the heat.

Read more: What Makes Mandalika An Incredible Destination? These 7 Things Will Give You The Answer!

Hike to Tiu Kelep waterfall & Sendang Gile waterfall

Tiu Kelep Waterfall, Lombok / @Tiket.com

Tucked away in the small mountain village of Senaru in North Lombok, the Tiu Kelep Waterfall and Sendang Gile Waterfall stand as two of the most magnificent cascades on this Indonesian island. Situated against the backdrop of Mount Rinjani and nestled amidst the lush jungle, a visit to these waterfalls is a must for any Lombok itinerary. Among the two, Tiu Kelep Waterfall emerges as the most awe-inspiring. It commands attention as it covers the entire back wall of the forest, with an even mightier stream cascading diagonally across the falls. Vines have claimed the walls where water flows into a shallow pool below, immersing visitors in a genuine jungle ambiance.

Catch sunrise at Bukit Selong rice fields viewpoint

Selong Hill, East Lombok / @InvestIslands

The Bukit Selong Rice Fields viewpoint showcases a picturesque mosaic of vibrant agricultural plots, observable from different mountaintops within Sembalun village, located in North Lombok. It's possible to traverse to several vantage points on the mountains to gain a comprehensive perspective of the terrain. On the flip side of Bukit Selong, the imposing Mount Rinjani comes into view. This grand spectacle encompasses a small village nestled within the valley, harmoniously situated between the two towering mountain ranges.

Arriving at sunrise offers the optimal lighting for this experience. While the actual sunrise might not be visible, the enchantment lies in witnessing the local village stirring to life against the backdrop of the majestic mountains. Although it might not be as widely known, this activity stands as one of Lombok's hidden gems, thereby securing its position among the finest things to do. A distinct advantage is the possibility of having the entire viewpoint to oneself, adding a touch of exclusivity to the encounter.

We paid a 10,000 IDR entrance fee per person.

Surf at Selong Belanak beach

Surfing Man on Lombok Beach / @SurfIndonesia

Lombok boasts an array of captivating beaches across its landscape. Among these coastal treasures, Selong Belanak beach stands out as a haven for novice surfers. Characterized by its sheltered bay and gentle, rolling straight-hander waves, this beach offers an ideal learning environment for beginners. The shoreline is adorned with warungs, creating a vibrant ambiance, and you might even catch glimpses of buffalos leisurely traversing the sands. With its soft white sands, crystalline turquoise waters, and vistas of the encompassing hills, Selong Belanak is an idyllic spot for a day's retreat. Adding to its charm, there's an expansive floating raft that you can stroll upon. The beach's allure is further enriched by the sight of locals engaging in activities alongside tourists, making it a remarkable blend of native life and visitor experiences.

Read more: For Surfers, Indonesia Has Never Been Better

Do the Mount Rinjani trekking

Mount Rinjani Trekking / @InvestIslands

For those seeking an authentic adventure in Lombok, the Mount Rinjani trekking experience should undoubtedly find a place in your itinerary. This thrilling expedition is accessible from April to January, with trekking becoming perilous after January due to the onset of the rainy season. April and May stand out as the most serene months, offering captivating vistas as the landscape radiates with lush greenery. Consequently, the prime window to embark on the Mount Rinjani trek is during May, ensuring both breathtaking views and a more tranquil trekking environment.

Trekking Mount Rinjani is a pursuit tailored to the adventurous and physically fit. The trek offers various options to choose from. The two days, one-night trek involves hiking to the Senaru crater rim, a journey spanning 6-8 hours. At the rim, you'll establish your camp, witness the sunrise the following morning, and then return to Senaru village. On the other hand, the comprehensive experience extends over 3 days and 2 nights, leading to the remarkable summit of Mount Rinjani at an elevation of 3,726 meters. The feasibility of summit trekking depends on prevailing weather conditions. However, the hike to the crater rim is often accessible, leading you through a jungle path predominantly shaded. The ascent is notably steep, presenting a formidable challenge for your leg muscles, hence it's essential to be physically prepared for this exhilarating adventure.

Go to the Gili Islands

Gili Islands, Lombok / @Invest Islands

In the northwestern part of Lombok, a trio of enchanting paradise islands awaits: Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan. These tiny havens boast a distinct charm as cars and motorbikes are prohibited, leaving horse carriages and bicycles as the main modes of transportation. Despite their similar size, each island offers a unique array of activities. Gili Trawangan, the largest among them, is renowned for its lively atmosphere and vibrant nightlife. Yet, pockets of serene tranquility and new luxury accommodations continue to emerge. In contrast, Gili Meno embodies a more relaxed ambiance, catering to honeymooners, divers, couples, and those seeking tranquility. Gili Air, akin to Gili Meno, lures visitors with its captivating underwater world and a laid-back atmosphere, making it an ideal sanctuary for peace-seekers and vacationers alike. 

Read more: Vacationing At Gili Trawangan "Party Island" Of Lombok

Admire the light rays in the bat cave near Kuta Lombok

Bangkang Cave, Lombok / @MandalikaPikiranRakyat

While not the most widely pursued activity by tourists in Lombok, exploring a bat cave can offer a unique and fascinating experience. The bat caves near Kuta Lombok hold a certain charm that's certainly worth discovering. Among them, the Kuta Lombok Bat Cave, also referred to as Bangkang Cave, stands out. Nestled on the hillside behind Kuta Lombok, this cave system comprises three distinct caves: Goa Bangkang Prabu, Goa Puwun (or Mystical Neverland), and Goa Sumur. All three are situated in the same vicinity, and regardless of the choice, visitors are treated to the sight and scent of thousands of bats. During our visit, we explored two of these caves with the specific goal of capturing the magical light rays. These rays appear at a particular time when sunlight streams through gaps in the roof, creating an enchanting scene that's both captivating and a treat to capture with a camera.

Watch the sunset at Bukit Merese

Merese Hill, Central Lombok / @jonnyMelon

Bukit Merese, or sunset point Kuta Lombok, emerges as one of the prime locations to catch the mesmerizing sunset on the island. The journey involves a brief yet remarkable hike up a hill that offers an expansive vista overlooking Tanjung Aan bay as well as the neighboring bay to the west. Easily accessible via a 15-minute moped ride from Kuta Lombok, the parking area awaits. A nominal parking fee of 10,000 IDR is charged. Additionally, a small warung offers refreshments, including coconuts or beer, before embarking on the ascent. It's a practice to ensure that any waste is carried back, maintaining the pristine environment.

Numerous vantage points are scattered across Merese Hill, providing ample seating for witnessing the sunset. Given the considerable size of the hill, those seeking a more private setting should endeavor to journey all the way to its conclusion. This leisurely walk to the hill's end consumes approximately 15 minutes and ensures a tranquil spot for enjoying the sunset in solitude.

Live the beach resort life in Senggigi

Senggigi Beach, West Lombok / @Bali.com

Senggigi holds a prominent position among the island's tourist centers, although its amenities may not be overly extensive. The enclave exudes a serene ambiance, offering a space for unwinding and relishing the beach that curves along the coastline. Within this sector, the most appealing selection of beach hotels and resorts awaits. Senggigi is home to a variety of restaurants and cafes, catering to your dining and refreshment needs. Nevertheless, a laid-back atmosphere prevails, allowing you to savor the island's beauty at your own pace. This locale is ideally suited for families and couples seeking a tranquil base to both enjoy and explore this segment of the island.

Go paragliding

Paragliding in Lombok / @InvestIslands

For those seeking elevated vistas, embarking on a paragliding adventure in Lombok is a must-try! Numerous sites offer the opportunity for tandem flights, allowing you to soar to new heights. One such location is Prabu Hill, situated near Kuta. From here, you'll ascend to marvel at the breathtaking panoramas as you gently glide along the coast. Alternatively, you can opt for takeoff from Pergasingan Hill in Sembalun village. This option treats you to awe-inspiring views of the encompassing mountains, lush rice fields, and the majestic Mount Rinjani, making your paragliding experience truly unforgettable.

Explore Pink beach

Pink Beach / @Holidify

Nestled in a secluded enclave along Lombok's eastern coast, Pink Beach is not a readily accessible destination. Its off-the-beaten-path nature poses some challenges in terms of reaching it. However, such remote locations often come with the advantage of offering solitude to visitors. The scarcity of other activities or sights in the vicinity, apart from the striking cliffs and uninterrupted ocean vistas, is compensated by the allure of the journey itself. Riding through the local villages and taking in the scenic landscapes along the route adds to the adventure of reaching this distinctive and unique beach.

Visit a traditional Sasak village

Sade Village, Central Lombok / @IndonesiaTravel

For those interested in delving into the traditional Sasak culture, a visit to Beleq or Sade Village is highly recommended. These indigenous local villages are emblematic of Lombok's cultural heritage. Characterized by their distinctive elevated woven huts, textile vendors, and street performances, these authentic villages offer insight into a way of life that spans generations. Beleq Village, tracing its origins back to the 14th century, boasts a rich and captivating history. What makes these villages intriguing is their remarkable preservation over time. Despite catering to tourists as educational hubs for the traditional Sasak way of life, the essence of these villages remains largely unaltered, providing a unique glimpse into Lombok's cultural heritage.

Explore Benang Kelambu waterfall & Benang Stokel waterfall

Benang Kelambu Waterfall, Lombok / @Traveloka

Nestled within Geopark Rinjani lie the enchanting Benang Stokel Waterfall and the distinctive Benang Kelambu Waterfall. Benang Kelambu, in particular, stands out for its uniqueness. Water gently trickles from the lush foliage and the impressive curtain of vines, concealing multiple waterfalls that gracefully cascade along the wall. This waterfall's beauty is truly captivating, but there's yet another gem to explore in this vicinity. The Benang Stokel Waterfall consists of two, and sometimes even three, waterfalls nestled in a small valley. While not as massive or forceful as some other Lombok waterfalls, the Benang Stokel waterfalls possess their own allure, making a visit well worthwhile.

Go island hopping and snorkeling at the secret Gili’s

Gili Nanggu, Lombok / @DolanYok

When "The Gili Islands" come to mind, your thoughts might naturally gravitate towards the well-known Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. Yet, the realm of Gili Islands is more expansive than you might imagine. In reality, there are 26 distinct Gili's scattered around Lombok. During our time in Lombok, we were compelled to explore what's known as the "Secret Gili's," referencing the Gili's located along Lombok's southwestern coastline. This group includes Gili Asahan, Gili Layer, Gili Gili Gede, Gili Nanggu, Gili Sudak, and Gili Kedis. Although these islands are anything but a secret and share similar appearances, they offer captivating exploration opportunities. Teeming marine life, serene sandbars, turquoise waters, and remote ambiance collectively create an enthralling day trip from Lombok. Most tours provide amenities such as a stop for lunch on a secluded shore, snorkeling gear, and water.

Read more: The Secret Gili Islands - Gili Kedis, Gili Nanggu, and Gili Sudak Lombok

Admire the lush green rice fields

Rice Field View in Lombok / @InvestIslands

North Lombok unveils captivating vistas of lush rice fields, with Tetebatu Village standing out as a picturesque rural haven situated at an elevation of 700 meters above sea level. This idyllic village is often referred to as Lombok's rice fields paradise. Here, visitors are invited to immerse themselves in authentic, traditional village life while being enveloped by the beauty of rice terraces. In certain aspects, Tetebatu bears resemblance to Ubud in Bali, its neighboring island. For those seeking a departure from the coastal scene, Tetebatu Village offers a refreshing change of surroundings. It serves as an excellent platform to gain insights into the culture of Lombok's indigenous Sasak people. Moreover, the village provides opportunities to discover traditional handicraft techniques and procure souvenirs, all while being encompassed by the charming essence of the village.

Coming Soon: Mandala Eco-Village in Lombok

Be aware of typical scams in Lombok

Throughout our stay in Lombok, we had a few run-ins with potential scammers. I want to emphasize that my intention is not to dissuade you from visiting Lombok, as the island boasts incredible beauty and a plethora of attractions. However, I believe it's essential to offer a heads-up regarding some potential scams to ensure that your journey to Lombok remains a remarkable and positive experience.

Motorbike rental

It's essential to exercise caution when renting a motorbike, especially in areas like Kuta, where various potential scams may surface. One prevalent scheme involves unjustly charging you for damages you didn't cause. To safeguard yourself:

  1. Before finalizing the rental, meticulously examine the motorbike for any pre-existing scratches or damage. Photograph these imperfections in the presence of rental staff. This visual record will serve as evidence that the specific scratches were present before your rental, offering protection against unjust damage charges.
  3. In case your motorbike is stolen and later discovered by locals who demand payment, consider these steps:
  4. Always lock your motorbike securely using a robust lock.    
  5. Choose well-lit and busy parking spots to minimize the risk of theft.
  7. Refrain from leaving valuable items on the motorbike.
  9. Report the incident to local authorities if your motorbike goes missing.
  11. If confronted by locals claiming to have found your motorbike, assess the situation calmly and involve the authorities if necessary.
  13. To ensure a safer rental experience, research the company you intend to rent from or consider renting through your accommodation. Often, these scams involve a network of individuals working together. Reviews can offer insights into the reliability of the rental service. Additional information about this matter is available in a Lonely Planet article detailing someone's encounter with a stolen motorbike scam in Lombok.

By following these guidelines, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to scams and enjoy a more secure motorbike rental experience during your time in Lombok.

Surfboard Rentals and Damage Concerns

Similar to the experiences encountered with motorbike rentals, a comparable situation can arise when returning a surfboard to the surf school. You may find yourself being informed of a scratch or damage that you allegedly caused, followed by a request for compensation. How can you prevent this scenario? Employ the same approach as you would with motorbike rentals. Prior to finalizing the return, take the initiative to thoroughly inspect the surfboard. Better yet, conduct this inspection alongside the rental staff. Additionally, capture clear photographic evidence of any scratches or damages. This documentation becomes your safeguard against unfounded claims, ensuring a fair and transparent rental process. Just as with motorbike rentals, these precautionary measures will help you navigate potential issues and enjoy a more secure and hassle-free experience when renting surfboards in Lombok.

The "You Need a Guide" Waterfalls Scam

In certain instances, local individuals may attempt to earn additional income by offering to accompany you as a guide to the waterfalls. Their persistence might lead them to assert that a guide is necessary for your visit, a claim that holds no truth. The reality is, the paths leading to the waterfalls are uncomplicated and straightforward. There's no risk of getting lost, and the hike isn't intricate. How can you circumvent this situation? Opt for one of these strategies: Arrive at the site exceptionally early, before the ticket office opens, or maintain unwavering resolve during negotiations with these locals. By adopting these approaches, you can avoid falling prey to the "You Need a Guide" scam and ensure a more independent and enjoyable experience exploring the waterfalls in Lombok.

Mount Rinjani trekking scam

To steer clear of potential Mount Rinjani trekking scams, it's advisable to directly engage with trekking companies in Senaru or Sembalun. Prioritize reading reviews to make informed decisions when booking a tour. Given the seriousness of the trek, opt for experienced and reputable guides. Additionally, exercise caution when considering bookings in Kuta, as they often come with added costs. By following these steps, you can ensure a secure and authentic Mount Rinjani trekking experience in Lombok.

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