Looking for things to do in Lombok? Look no further! While Bali has long been a popular tourist destination, many are now turning to the nearby island of Lombok for a more authentic and laid-back experience. With its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Lombok offers a range of activities and experiences to suit every traveler’s tastes. From surfing the world-class breaks of Desert Point and Gerupuk to trekking the rugged Rinjani volcano, exploring traditional villages like Sade and experiencing the vibrant local food scene, Lombok has something for everyone. So why not escape the crowds and discover the hidden gems of Lombok for yourself?
Lombok is a true tropical paradise, boasting pristine white-sand beaches, majestic volcanic hills, and idyllic palm-fringed bays. And with a growing number of luxury resorts and world-class facilities, it’s no wonder that more and more travelers are flocking to this hidden gem for a taste of indulgence and relaxation.
Lombok is a treasure trove of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and exciting developments. From the breathtaking Gili islands in the north to the sprawling Mandalika project in the south, this island paradise is bursting with amazing experiences. To help you make the most of your trip, we’ve compiled a guide to 20 hidden gems of exceptional beauty and interest. But don’t wait too long to visit – Lombok is quickly becoming a hot destination, so it’s best to discover these secret spots before the crowds do!
How to get to Lombok
When it comes to traveling to Lombok, the most popular option is taking a fast boat from Padang Bai in Bali to Lembar Port in south Lombok. While the trip usually takes an hour and a half, travel time can be affected by sea conditions, which are known to be rough from August to October. For those prone to seasickness, a 30-minute flight from Bali’s new international airport may be a better option. Budget-conscious travelers, on the other hand, may opt for the slower boat, which takes four to five hours and is less affected by rough waters.
The new Lombok International Airport offers direct flights from several international destinations such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, South Korea and Guangzhou. In 2019, a new route from Perth to Lombok will open, and more routes are expected from Hong Kong, Beijing, Australia and the Middle East in the next few months.
The best time to visit
The wet season on Lombok lasts from October to April, transforming the island into a lush, verdant paradise, but making transportation more challenging. The dry season runs from May to early October, offering a different but equally stunning island experience. The best time to visit is during the middle of the dry season when the humidity is low, and the island is still green and vibrant. Keep in mind that this time is more crowded, so it’s up to you to decide whether you prefer fewer people or more lush scenery.
20 secret Lombok gems not to miss
1. The Gili Islands – Air, Meno & Trawangan
The beautiful Gili islands have always been a major draw for visitors, and have served as a gateway for exploring the rest of Lombok. Each of the Gilis has its own distinct character. For example, Gili Meno is a popular spot for honeymooners seeking a romantic escape, while Gili Air is a haven for yogis and families looking for tranquillity and relaxation. Meanwhile, Gili Trawangan attracts a younger crowd with its lively party scene. There’s an abundance of activities to enjoy, including snorkelling, diving, paddle-boarding, and surfing. We recommend spending at least three days to fully explore the islands, but you could easily spend a couple of weeks to fully immerse yourself in their charm.
2. Visit a pearl farm
The process of culturing a South Sea pearl is a fascinating one, and visitors to the north coast of Lombok can experience it firsthand. At a pearl farm, a friendly team will guide you through the entire process, from nurturing the oysters to the surgical precision of removing the pearl. Contrary to popular belief, harvesting the pearl does not harm the oyster, as long as it is done carefully. In fact, as more pearls are grown and harvested, the oysters produce better and better pearls. It’s a unique and educational experience that is not to be missed.
3. Explore Suranadi and trek to Benang Kelambu Waterfall
Visit the sacred Suranadi Temple, also known as ‘The River of the Gods’, located in the Suranadi Natural Park. Immerse yourself in the lush forests surrounding the temple and explore the park’s natural springs and cascading Benang Kelambu Waterfall, a true sight to behold.
4. Cultural immersion at Banyumulek Village
Explore the fascinating culture of Lombok by visiting a traditional pottery village. The Sasak people of Lombok have been creating pottery for generations, and here you can witness the process and see the finished products. The village is renowned for producing high-quality pottery that has become popular worldwide. You can purchase souvenirs to take home with you, with prices ranging from IDR 15,000 to IDR 500,000 per piece depending on the size, motif, and complexity. It’s a great opportunity to gain an insight into the island’s artistic heritage and support the local community.
5. Kerandangan National Park
Kerandangan National Park is a great place to explore Lombok’s natural beauty. The park features unique plant life and beautiful beaches that make it a popular spot for hiking and nature walks. It also has an abundance of wildlife, including wild partridges, giant lizards, the long-tailed ape, the ebony leaf monkey, and the rare Kupu-Kupu Raja Helena butterfly, which is protected by conservation law. The park stretches inland from the western coast of Lombok, starting at the well-known Senggigi Beach and becoming more secluded as you go further south. It’s a great destination for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path adventures.
6. Meru Hindu temple
The Meru Hindu temple is a significant religious site on Lombok Island, dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu. It is the largest temple of its kind on the island and features a unique multi-storied roof that symbolizes the sacred Mount Meru in Hindu mythology. The temple was built in the 18th century and is a collaborative effort of 33 Lombok villages. Visitors can explore the intricately decorated shrines and pavilions, and observe the daily offerings and prayers performed by local worshippers. The temple is located in the city of Mataram and can be easily reached by private car, motorcycle, public car or taxi.
7. Brave a trek up Mount Rinjani
A visit to Lombok is not complete without exploring the majestic Mount Rinjani, the active volcano that dominates the northern landscape. Mount Rinjani is renowned for its natural beauty, and many consider it to be one of the most awe-inspiring volcanoes in the world. The summit is home to a massive crater lake, which boasts a depth of 200 meters and crystal-clear blue water. After trekking up the mountain, relax your tired muscles at Aik Kalak’s nearby hot springs. Please note that trekking is only allowed between April and January, and this is not for the faint of heart. Camping in tents on an active volcano that erupted as recently as 2010 and carrying your own gear while walking for up to 15 hours per day make this an adventure only for the most daring souls.
8. Camping on Pergasingan Hill
If you’re not quite up for the strenuous hike up Mount Rinjani, don’t worry. You can still experience breathtaking views on a more manageable trek at Bukit Pergasingan. While it’s still an uphill climb, it only takes around an hour and rewards you with a stunning vista of Mount Rinjani and the picturesque rice paddies that envelop it. For an even more unforgettable experience, consider spending the night at the campsite atop the hill. You’ll be treated to a stunning sunrise over the rolling hills and vast ocean below. Just be mindful of the playful monkeys along the way who may snatch loose items.
9. Camp at Lake Segara Anak
Lake Segara Anak is indeed a breathtaking natural wonder that fills the caldera at the summit of Mount Rinjani. The turquoise blue water of the lake is surrounded by lush vegetation, and the stunning views make it a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers alike. Camping at the crater lake is an unforgettable experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the natural surroundings. As the day fades into night, you’ll be treated to a stunning display of stars above the dark silhouette of Mount Rinjani, making it a perfect spot for stargazing enthusiasts.
10. Rinjani-Lombok UNESCO Global Geopark
The Rinjani-Lombok UNESCO Global Geopark is a vast area that covers the northern part of Lombok and includes five districts (Lombok Utara, Lombok Timur, Lombok Barat, Lombok Tengah, and Mataram City). This geopark is a natural wonder that boasts a rich and diverse flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers. The landscape is a mix of savannah, semi-deciduous forests, lower montane, and tropical evergreen forests, creating a beautiful and unique environment to explore on foot.
11. Tanjung Ringgit Eco Region
The Tanjung Ringgit Eco Region in Southeast Lombok is a must-visit for nature lovers. The region boasts a variety of stunning natural wonders, including white-sand beaches, dramatic limestone cliffs, and pristine dive sites. One of the most unique features of the area is one of the world’s only pink-sand beaches, which owes its striking color to the delicate and rare red coral in the nearby ocean. As a carefully preserved and protected area, a hike through the region promises a breathtaking experience that showcases the best of Lombok’s natural beauty.
12. Visit Beleq Village
The village of Beleq in the northeast of Lombok offers a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural heritage. Here you can find the oldest mosque on the island, which was built in the 16th century using woven bamboo and features a traditional Meru roof. The mosque is a fascinating example of the local building style combined with Islamic influence. As you explore the village, you’ll have the opportunity to meet friendly locals who are happy to share more about the traditional Sasak way of life. From traditional handicrafts to delicious local cuisine, Beleq Village is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in experiencing the authentic culture of Lombok.
13. Mawi Beach
Mawi Beach is a surfer’s paradise, catering to both beginners and pros, and it also offers breathtaking sunset views from Lombok’s southwest corner. The long stretch of white sandy beach and crystal-clear, warm waters make it an idyllic spot to relax and take in the timeless beauty of Lombok.
14. Learn to surf at Selong Belanak Beach or for the advanced surfer catch waves at Desert Point
Selong Belanak beach, which was recently named the best beach in Asia by the South China Morning Post, offers gentle waves perfect for beginners learning to surf. Meanwhile, advanced surfers can venture out to Desert Point on Lombok’s southwest tip to catch the powerful waves from the north and south. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a newbie, Lombok’s beaches offer a variety of surf spots for everyone to enjoy.
15. Paragliding from Prabu Hill
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Lombok from a bird’s eye view with a paragliding adventure. Take off from the top of Prabu Hill and enjoy panoramic views of the stunning south coast. Don’t worry if you’re new to paragliding – you’ll be securely harnessed to an experienced instructor, allowing you to fully appreciate the awe-inspiring scenery.
16. ‘The Magnet’ dive spot
Located on the southern coast of Lombok, Belongas Bay is a world-renowned diving spot that offers breathtaking underwater scenery. At “The Magnet” dive site, experienced divers can descend to a depth of 66 meters to discover an underwater wonderland filled with vibrant soft corals, schools of barracuda, giant eagle rays, white-tip reef sharks, and the majestic scalloped hammerhead sharks. It’s a secluded spot that provides a thrilling and unforgettable diving experience for adventurous divers.
17. Tour the secret Gili Islands in the East
Off the east coast of Lombok lie the hidden gems of the Gili Islands, offering an unparalleled paradise island experience. Each island has its own unique charm and character. Gili Lampu is a beautiful mangrove island, perfect for snorkeling in its coral-filled waters, although it has no beaches. Gili Kapal is a tiny sandbar island that is almost inaccessible at high tide, providing a secluded and isolated experience with crystal clear waters. Gili Badara is larger and more accessible, making it a great place to stay while exploring the other islands. Finally, Gili Kondo is a must-visit, offering stunning sunset views, vibrant coral snorkeling, and a popular beach shack selling drinks and snacks. For a more intimate experience, it’s recommended to visit during the week when there are fewer people. Bring a tent and camp under the stars on this picturesque island.
18. Explore Kuta Lombok and the Mandalika Project, The Moto GP track and Tanjung Aan
If you’re looking for a luxurious and sustainable travel experience, look no further than the Mandalika Project in Lombok. With over 10,000 rooms available at world-class hotels such as the Pullman, Paramount Resort, Club Med, Royal Tulip, and Grand Mercure Hotel, you’ll be pampered in five-star comfort. The resort boasts a range of exciting activities, including the Moto GP 2021 street circuit, a yacht marina, several golf courses, and access to the stunning Tanjung Aan beach. What sets the Mandalika Project apart is its commitment to sustainable development, known as “The Green Future,” which ensures that the natural beauty of Lombok is preserved for future generations to enjoy.
19. Bumbang Beach Sunset Reflection Pools
Bumbang Beach in the south of Lombok is a must-visit destination for those seeking a tranquil getaway. With its crystal-clear waters and white sandy beach, Bumbang offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Be sure to visit during high tide to witness the stunning sunset views and the pink and purple hues reflected in the shallow pools. This hidden gem is located just a bay over from the popular Awang Bay and is perfect for relaxation, with the added bonus of often having the beach to yourself.
20. Cultural immersion at Sasak Sade Village
Tucked away in the beautiful undulating hills of south Lombok, Sade Village offers a peaceful and authentic experience of traditional Sasak culture. Visitors can explore the village’s large Sasak houses, known for their unique architecture, and witness the craft of weaving, for which Sade is renowned. Local women create vibrant Ikat and Songket items of clothing and rugs, which make for a beautiful and meaningful souvenir or gift. Sade Village is a must-visit destination for those seeking a deeper understanding of Lombok’s cultural heritage.
Find adventure, beauty and unique culture on Lombok
Discovering Lombok and its neighboring islands is a feast for the senses. From exploring the charming traditional villages to soaking up the sun on breathtaking beaches and hiking through lush forests, you will gain a deep understanding and appreciation of Indonesian culture. It’s not surprising that tourism and investment are booming on Lombok and Indonesia’s other 17,000 islands. Here, you’ll encounter ancient customs that will fill you with awe, thrilling extreme sports that will satisfy your thirst for adventure, and serene locations to unwind and connect with nature, all in one magical paradise.