Guest Post Updated with my Own Inputs on 18th April 2018
With its undeveloped, turquoise beaches, fringed with coconut palms, lush tropical mountains and some of the clearest water you have ever seen, Lombok is stunning!
Around every corner there are millions of palm trees cascading down the tropical mountains to meet the turquoise ocean. Many of the beaches are completely undeveloped without a soul on them.
This is a quick guide to everything you need to know about visiting Lombok, including things to do, how to get from Bali to Lombok and where to stay in Lombok Indonesia.
Table of Content
- 1 Where to Stay in Lombok
- 2 Senggigi or Kuta Lombok?
- 3 Things to do in Lombok
- 4 Lombok Nightlife
- 5 Getting to Lombok
Where to Stay in Lombok
Whilst pretty much geographically the same size as Bali, Lombok only has a few main tourist hubs. On the mainland tourists generally stay in either Kuta or Senggigi. The most popular tourist spot is not on the mainland but the Gili Islands. There is no sure shot answer to best place to stay in Lombok as it would vary based on your location and budget preferences.
Senggigi or Kuta Lombok?
Honestly, it can be a hard choice to pick from Kuta or Senggigi, I mean Lombok on the whole is simply beautiful.
Senggigi is where most of the islands accommodation is found, and you can find accommodation for all budgets, from backpacker to good value mid-range to luxurious resorts. This is also where some great beachside restaurants and bars can be found as well as a few tourist souvenir shops. Click here for Recommended Hotels in Senggigi Beach
Kuta Lombok is a very cool beach town, with a very hippy laid-back surfer vibe. There is not much development in Kuta which is what makes it so charming.
The accommodation in Kuta is mainly in small homestays and basic little hotels – although some are still quite luxurious resorts with private villas and private pools. There are rustic little warongs dotted all around the place where you will regularly hear reggae tunes.
Where to stay in Kuta Lombok on a budget is relatively easier than other parts of Lombok or Bali. Homestays start from 100,000 IDR a night and if you are willing to shell out 350,000 IDR++, you can get a decent villa stay with pool (not private). For a private 3 BHK villa on Airbnb, rates start from 1.2 mill IDR.
I have tried all 3 kinds of accommodations and finally zeroed in for Lamancha homestay, which is close to all amenities for 150,000 IDR a night with air con and twin beds (Hint: Share with a friend and pay half). Unfortunately, there is no way to book LaMancha online so you simply have to go and try our luck else walk around for several other options nearby in same price range.
Kuta is also close to some great beaches. The beaches in the area are stunning and some of the best on the entire island. Spectacular scenery, pristine white sand beaches with clear blue-green waters, ideal for both surfing and swimming. Click for my pick of Recommended Hotels in Kuta Beach.
The Gili Islands
When people say “Gili Islands” is made up of the 3 islands, it entails these 3 – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. This is even though there are many gilis (small islands) around the main island of Lombok.
The Gili islands are located about a 90 minutes fast boat ride away from Bali or a 10-minute fast boat ride from Lombok. The islands are very tiny and there is no transport on any of them except for foot, bicycle or cidomo (donkey and cart).
Most of the activities on the Gili Islands revolve around the water. You can go for a swim, kayak, dive or snorkel. Other activities include cooking school, yoga classes, day spas and lots of boat trips.
The islands are very close together and you can easily island hop between the three – however each island very much has its own personality. Pick from one of these Top Hotels in Gili Islands to enjoy comfort in the laps of luxury.
- Gili Trawangan – The most popular and most developed island is jammed packed full of international tourists and is well known for being a party island, but is home to stunning beaches and diving options.
- Gili Meno – Quiet, isolated and the least developed of the three islands. The atmosphere on the islands is peaceful and serene. The place is a perfect fit for anyone wanting to be away from it all in a stunning paradise setting
- Gili Air –. Whilst it certainly is not a party island there are still plenty of restaurants and people, but without the craziness of the much busier Trawangan or as isolated as Meno. Many say a perfect balance between Trawangan and Meno
Things to do in Lombok
Most of the activities in Lombok are about exploring the island’s natural beauty – here are my top picks on places to explore:
1. Visit Tanjung Aan Beach
Located 7 kms east of Kuta Beach, Tanjung Aan Beach is heaven on earth! One of the best beaches in Lombok. The beach is pure white soft sand and the water is a stunning turquoise green. The waves are gentle and beautiful for swimming.
In the centre of the bay is a large rock which you can easily climb for some fantastic photo opportunities of the stunning landscape.
Be sure to stop by Warung Turtle for some lunch or drinks and some reggae tunes.
2. Visit Mawun Beach
Mawun beach is located 8kms west of Kuta Beach and is a secluded half moon bay with crystal clear water and pristine sand. The beach is ideal for relaxing, swimming and surfing. There is no development here except for a few drink stalls.
3. Visit Sasak Village
Visit the traditional Sasak Village and see how the indigenous Sasak people of Lombok live. It is a little bit touristy but it is also informative if you are wanting to learn about the Lombok culture.
4. Visit a Lombok Waterfall
As well as gorgeous beaches, Lombok has some wonderful waterfalls to explore in the north of the island. The most popular waterfalls to visit are Tiu Kelep Waterfall and Sendang Gile Waterfall.
5. Trek Mount Rinjani
Many people come to Lombok to hike up to Mount Rinjani. Mount Rinjani is an active volcano and once you reach the top you are rewarded with a view of a gorgeous crater lake. You will need to join a tour for this trip – there are 2 and 3 night tours to trek to Mount Rinjani.
6. Go Snorkelling at Gili Nanggu
Take a day trip to visit Gili Nanggu. The water surrounding Gili Nanggu is so clear you can see your feet even when the water is up to your shoulders. The sand is so soft, the water so warm and the fish are colourful and friendly!!
You can organise a day trip through your accommodation or one of the many tour operators around Kuta and Senggigi. You do it yourself as well by getting yourself to the Tawun Harbour and hiring a local and their fishing boat for a few hours.
Most tours also take you to neighbouring islands Gili Sudak and Gili Kedis.
If you want more than just a few hours at these gorgeous islands you can stay at Gili Nanggu at the Gili Nanggu Cottages or on Gili Sudak at the Nirvana Gili Sudak Guesthouse.
7. Visit the Gili Islands
If you aren’t spending any of your trip over at the Gili Islands, you should do a Gili Islands day trip from Lombok.
It is super easy to get to Lombok to Gili Islands via a fast boat from Bangsal Harbour. Just turn up and find yourself a fast boat which leave regularly throughout the day. Or alternatively you can do an organised day trip.
8. Visit Selong Belanak Beach
Located only a few kilometres west of Kuta, Selong Belanak beach has gorgeous white sand and is free of rubbish thanks to the locals who do a great job of keeping it clean. The water is bright blue and calm – perfect for little ones and the beach is surrounded by a hilly vista.
9. Visit Kuta Beach Lombok
If you are not staying in Kuta, then you should visit for a few hours.
Whilst Kuta is famous for being a surf beach – the surf is quite a long way out and the water close to the shore makes for a perfect swimming beach. The waves along the shore are gentle and the water is a gorgeous blueish green colour. So if you are wondering where to stay in Lombok for surf, this is exactly where you should head.
Nightlife on the scenic Lombok island is a whole lot of fun. Far from the madness at Gili Trawangan, Lombok offers a variety of nightlife for all sorts of travelers. From cozy live music joints to sit-down pubs, Dj nights and private parties to themed bars – Lombok has it all!
Since my first visit to Lombok, I was smitten by the friendly, smiling people and their culture of surf and play. Basically, all they do is surf every morning and party every night. The parties usually shut down post 1 AM but you can often find a house party or an after party if you are really keen. The party in Lombok only stops, when you want it to stop.
The Bus Bar tops my list of bars in Lombok , hands down. Not only does it have excellent decor (Helloooo theres a bus in the middle of a bar and tyres you can sit on) but happy hours on cocktails everyday with excellent DJ’s pumping awesome beats post 2100 hrs. They also have BBQ nights and party nights so make sure to check their schedule to find the best days to visit.
In Kuta Lombok, there is only one big party happening every night so make sure you find it and stick to it. Surfers bar is another good option and you can grab a pre-party drink almost anywhere. Be it a lovely restaurant (my favorite) Tasty hasty or check out Milk Espresso on a live music night. With so many options, Kuta Lombok just doesn’t disappoint. I am yet to check out the nightlife scene of Senggigi but was surely impressed by bars in Kuta.
Getting to Lombok
Gili Islands to Lombok
It is only a 10 – 15-minute boat ride from the Gili Islands to Lombok and you can do this via one of the many fast boat operators or the cheaper public boat.
Bali to Lombok
Getting to Lombok from Bali you have 2 options – a fast boat or fly. Surprisingly flying is the cheaper option and obviously quicker too. The other option is to get the fast boat from Padangbai Harbor. Most operators will pick you up from your accommodation in Bali and drive you to the harbor and then you ride the fast boat over to Lombok stopping at the various Gili Islands first.
This is a guest post by Melissa Delaware with my own inputs and edits from my trip to Lombok. Melissa is the creator and writer for the Thrifty Family Travels website; which details her family’s travels both locally and across the globe. Together they travel the world, experience new cultures, indulge in local delicacies, and explore every corner of our beautiful earth, navigating their way around the world. Thrifty Family Travels hope to inspire other families to travel (whether it be for the day or for a month) and to show them all the fantastic places the world has to explore.