The island of Lombok is placed between the popular tourist island of Bali and the remote Sumbawa Island of West Nusa Tenggara. The residents of Lombok are predominantly Muslim, which makes it very different to Bali which is mostly Hindu, so the culture and landmarks of Lombok are very different. Before the independence of Indonesia, Lombok was mainly ruled by the chiefs of the indigenous Sasak tribe, which still dominates most of the population today.
Lombok has something for everyone from stunning sandy beaches, jungles and waterfalls, with plenty of surfing and trekking on offer for adventurers. Lombok itself doesn’t have a very big nightlife scene, however if your looking for something a little more lively then head to the island of Gili Trawangan for a few nights. The island is also home to Indonesia’s second largest active volcano – Mount Rinjani which is popular with hikers. Lombok is definitely more suited to travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle and looking for a quieter destination with plenty of off the beaten track natural wonders.
My husband and I visited Lombok years ago when we decided to backpack around South East Asia for almost a month. We flew into Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia first for a few nights before heading over to Malaysian Borneo, then Bali and Lombok and finished our backpacking trip in Singapore. I hadn’t heard much about Lombok before or knew of anyone that had been before, but when I used to work in a travel agents I remember seeing it in a brochure and always said that I’d add it onto any Bali itinerary that I planned on doing, so that’s we did, and I’m so glad we went to Lombok to experience it.
We only had 3 nights in Lombok and had a day trip out to the Gili Islands. I really would love to go back to Lombok and spend some more time there in the future. I really recommend that if your travelling to Bali and the Gili Islands then make some extra time and visit Lombok for a few nights at least, as it’s a complete contrast to Bali and the Gilis.
Sights & Activities
Malimbu Hill is a gorgeous coastal viewpoint and is located 10 minutes drive from Senggigi. There are two viewpoint options one which is Malimbu Hill which is a grassy hilltop covered in palm trees, which is a perfect spot for watching the sunset, or there is Malimbu Cliff which is a higher viewpoint. We didn’t really get chance to stop here as we were on a Lombok day tour, but did get a quick glance over the view, and could even see the Gili Islands in the far distance. I would recommend visiting for sunset to take full advantage of the ocean views.
Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest
Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest is a stunning jungle viewpoint set along a winding mountain road about a 35 minute drive from Senggigi. There’s a small lay-by to pull over in, which has lots of wild macaque monkeys roaming around because many tourists feed them. This is a great place to stop off and admire the forest views and of course see the monkeys climbing the trees and waiting to be fed.
Senaru Village is a traditional Sasak village which is located next to the Mount Rinjani Trek Centre where the Rinjani trail begins, it’s approximately about a 2.5 hour drive from Senggigi. The Sasak inhabitants are the cultural guardians of Mount Rinjani and its surrounding forest. Visiting the village is a great insight into local life and getting to see the authentic thatched houses. It’s a great place to stop off at before visiting Sendang Gile Waterfall.
Sendang Gile Waterfall
Sendang Gile Waterfall is located close to Senaru Village and close to the base of Mount Rinjani. Lombok has many waterfalls to go and visit, but this one is a popular one due to its location and ease, as its an easy 15 minute walk from the entrance to view the waterfall. It’s a gorgeous waterfall surrounded by greenery and nature, on a hot day it’s really refreshing to take a dip in the pool or to fully submerge yourself underneath the falls.
There is a small entrance fee to visit the waterfall which is IDR 10,000 which is about 60 pence per person so not very much at all! We however booked a day tour so all prices were included in the tour price. I would really recommend visiting Sendang Gile waterfall or atleast one of Lomboks many waterfalls such as Benang Stokel, Benang Kelambu, Tiu Tedja and various other waterfalls dotted around the island.
The Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands clustered close to one another. The islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air they are situated near the coast of northwest Lombok. The islands are a popular spot for tourists for their white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and coral reefs just offshore.
Each island although similar in appearance all have quite a different vibe from one another. All of the Gilis do not have roads and do not permit any motorised vehicles on them so the main way to get around each island is by foot, bicycle or by cidomo (horse drawn carts). Just be careful with hiring a horse and cart as I have heard many stories of the horses not being cared for properly.
We visited the Gilis on a day trip from Lombok and booked a boat trip through Perama Tours which picked us up from the hotel in the morning, and took us to the harbour where we then had a private boat that took us snorkelling around all three of the islands, and then we stopped at Gili T where we had a wander around and had lunch and got to spend some time on the beach.
After lunch we got back on the boat for some more snorkelling around the islands. The Gili islands also have lots of scuba diving trips and courses available too, and the scuba diving is meant to be amazing! Snorkelling is really great around all of the islands and we were lucky enough to swim a long side a beautiful turtle.
The Gili Islands are an absolute must especially when in visiting Lombok as they are so easy to reach from there. ￼
Food & Drink
Puri Mas Beach Resort & Spa
We stayed at Puri Mas Beach Resort and Spa and ate around the pool a few times, and had breakfast every morning in the hotel. The food was always fresh and delicious and the service was great. The hotel offered both traditional Indonesian dishes but also western food too. We also visited the spa resort one night for a beautiful dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. If your staying at Puri Mas I really would recommend booking a dinner at the spa to eat in one of the Javanese pavilions.
The beach resort drove us 10 minutes down the road to the spa resort which is absolutely stunning! We booked the set Indonesian menu, and ate outside in one of Javanese pavilions whichto ourselves. The attention to detail by the staff was incredible the table was decorated beautifully with flowers and leafs. The food was all really fresh and tasted amazing, and the staff were attentive and looked after us so well. After our meal they drove us back to the beach resort. The whole meal was just flawless and so inexpensive, this was a real highlight of our trip!
Senggigi is a popular tourist area in Lombok with a beautiful beach and many hotels located in and around the area, and it has a small strip of restaurants and bars. It’s a good place to come in the evening if you want to get out of your hotel or resort for a cheap dinner and drink. We visited Senggigi one night as the hotel run a shuttle service, many of the hotels and resorts offer shuttles for their guests. There are some great places to eat and it’s also good as it supports the small local restaurants which depend on tourists. go down to the beach to watch the sunset before or after dinner.
Puri Mas Beach Resort & Spa
Puri Mas Beach Resort & Spa is an award winning boutique hotel located close to Senggigi beach. The resort is split in two with a beach resort that has 45 rooms and villas with a beachfront location, and then there is the spa resort which has only 2 villas and is located 10 minutes away inland. Both resorts are adults only and no children under 12 are permitted, so it makes for a romantic and peaceful getaway. This hotel is honestly the best place we have ever stayed!
It’s such great value for money, we paid just over £50 per night bed and breakfast, obviously this can vary depending on season and which room type you opt for etc. There are various options of room types at the beach resort, we chose the cheaper option which is the quirky garden room, it was huge and so well decorated. We had a beautiful bedroom with four poster bed, a small open air lounge and the best bathroom ever – which was also open air.
The room and all the grounds of the hotel were just so well thought out and well kept. The gardens were beautiful and the whole place was extremely tranquil! The hotel offer their guests lots of inclusions such as welcome drinks, breakfast, internet, yoga classes, shuttles between the spa resort and there was also water sport equipment available on the beach.
We only stayed in Lombok for 3 nights but had the best stay at Puri Mas, we loved it so much we have recommended it to several friends who have also stayed there, and all came back raving about how great the hotel is. You cannot fault the place, the staff provide excellent service, tasty food, beautiful traditional Indonesian styled accommodation and well kept gardens and grounds all at pretty affordable prices – what more could you ask for?!
Transport & Getting Around
Getting to Lombok is pretty easy to reach from Bali, there are plenty of flights to Lombok airport which is what we opted for. We booked a flight with Lion Air which is a 20 minute flight and cost us about £30 per person return, however this can vary depending on when you travel. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Kuta from the airport and it’s an hour drive to Senggigi.
You can also head to Lombok by public ferry from Padang Bai Port in Bali which is really cheap and easy to do, however the ferry does take between 4 – 5 hours to reach Lembar Port in Lombok, and is approximately an hour away from both Kuta and Senggigi.
Lombok isn’t the easiest island to get around with public transport as mostly it only operates in bigger towns on the island. Renting a car, motorbike or scooter is the best option or booking onto day tours if you want to explore more of the island if your short on time.
As we were limited on time we just booked all our tours through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value and are an Indonesian based tour operator. We booked Perama for a Gili Islands day tour on our second day in Lombok, and on our last day we booked a full day tour of Lombok where they took us to Malimbu Hill, Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest, Senaru Village and Sendang Gile Waterfall.
Lombok although set up for tourists, it is a little more behind with facilities to that of its popular island neighbour Bali. Make sure to carry cash as well as cards, as ATMs are only in the major towns and cards are accepted only in modern establishments.
As Lombok is mostly Muslim – make sure to cover up and dress modestly in the towns. Beachwear is fine when on the beaches and in the resorts, but covering shoulders is advised when in the towns and villages.