Puri Mas Beach Resort & Spa is an award winning boutique hotel located close to Senggigi beach in Lombok. 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 the 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, so you could literally shower or have a bath under the stars but in private. All the furniture in the room is traditional Indonesian wood furniture and everything in the room feels of really good quality and well made.
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 infinity pool is stunning and overlooks the beach and ocean. The gardens have carp ponds, spice gardens and yoga areas. The hotel offers its guests lots of inclusions such as welcome drinks, breakfast, internet, yoga classes, shuttles between the spa resort and there was also water sports 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?!
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. 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 spa resort is simply stunning and set with a backdrop of lush greenery, the grounds are full of flowers and plants with so much attention to detail.
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 the Javanese pavilions which we had to ourselves. The attention to detail by the staff was incredible the table was decorated beautifully with flowers and leaves. 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!
The hotel also offers a shuttle service into Sengiggi which is great to venture to in the evenings for some dinner and drinks. The hotel is also happy to organise tours or days out for you too.
If you’re looking for somewhere that is luxurious and full of authentic Indonesian charm with a beachfront location and with the option of a serene spa at affordable prices then look no further than Puri Mas Resort. !
Bintan is an Indonesian island located in the Riau Archipelago, and it is the largest island in the province. Bintan is only a short 1 hour ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah ferry terminal. It’s a great escape from the city and a lot more accessible than you might think.
The Island is diverse and is a great add on to any trip to Singapore, you can go to Bintan on a day trip, or spend a few nights there and unwind. Bintan has it all from luxury resorts, white sand beaches, water sports, golf clubs, mangroves and historical sites and villages.
I can’t recommend Bintan enough it’s so easy to get to from Singapore and while there you can enjoy paradise beaches, beautiful sunsets and meet some of the friendly locals at Lagoi Bay.
Sights & Activities
Lagoi Bay is a new purpose built complex and is in the heart of Bintan Resorts. The area is still quite new and very pristine with several restaurants serving up local cuisines and delicacies, and there are a few small souvenir shops too. Lagoi Bay is great for families as there are several small play areas, a children’s train and a petting zoo as well as the gorgeous beach which was full of locals and their families having a day out. There are a few other small attractions around Lagoi Bay such as a museum and a lantern park to name a few.
We were really glad we visited Lagoi Bay for a few hours as there’s lots to see and this is where many locals come and visit too. I don’t think many westerners come to Lagoi Bay as we got stopped frequently by locals wanting to talk to us and practise their English and wanting photos with us, all the locals we met were so sweet and friendly and we loved chatting with them.
All the resorts and the ferry terminal run free and regular shuttle buses to Lagoi Bay, so if you can try and peel yourself away from the sun lounger and go down and see everything that Lagoi Bay has to offer you won’t regret it! When we visited it still seemed fairly new so there were still quite a lot of empty shop fronts, but I reckon in a few more years Lagoi Bay will have lots more small businesses and visitors.
Nirwana Gardens is a gorgeous resort located on its very own private beach called Mayang Sari and situated a short 10-15 minute drive from the Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal. The resort is huge it has just short of 250 guest rooms, with swimming pools, shops, bars and restaurants all available for guests and day visitors to use.
Both times I have visited Bintan I have come to Nirwana Gardens as the beach there is stunning, and they have a small stand at the ferry terminal where you can organise going to the resort for the day. They have a day pass which works out at approximately £12.50 per person, and that includes your pick up and drop off at the ferry terminal, full use of their private beach, swimming pools, restaurants, bars and changing facilities as well as WiFi access and they provide you with a beach towel, and your met with a welcome drink. It’s such great value for money and a great place to base yourself for a day of relaxing.
If lounging around on the beach isn’t your thing then there is a range of water sports available at an extra cost on their private beach. I took my snorkelling mask with me for the day and went in the sea for some swimming and snorkelling which was a great way to cool down from the sun.
Food & Drink
Spice Restaurant is part of Nirwana Gardens Resort just set back from the beach. The first time I visited Nirwana Gardens we didn’t leave the resort as we accidentally missed the first ferry so didn’t have very long on Bintan. We had a gorgeous lunch at Spice Restaurant and a beautiful view over looking the beach even though it was raining it was lovely to be under cover watching the weather, and by the time we finished lunch the sun came out so it was perfect timing. Spice Restaurant serves up Indian and Indonesian dishes and a good selection of cocktails. It would also be a romantic place to come for dinner and to watch the sunset.
Waroeng Cek Bakar’s Masakan Khas Melayu
Waroeng Cek Bakar’s Masakan Khas Melayu is located in Lagoi Bay tucked between the plaza and the beach, it has both indoor and outdoor seating and serves up local Indonesian flavours, as well as several Singapore and Malaysian dishes. There was plenty of choice and being vegetarian I found plenty of dishes to choose from too.
As well as having a large menu serving up delicious Asian cuisine this cafe is also great to stop by for a cold drink or ice cream. The staff here were also super friendly and we chatted to them after our meal, they couldn’t do enough for us. We really enjoyed our lunch there and may have over ordered on the food as we were all starving by the time we got there. The food there was really delicious but also so cheap. If you visit Lagoi Bay make sure you pay this place a visit.
Transport & Getting Around
The easiest way to get to Bintan from Singapore is by taking one of the regular ferries which is run by Bintan Resort Ferries and leaves from Tanah Merah ferry terminal in Singapore and goes direct to Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal in Bintan. There are several ferries that go back and forth daily. I would advise however if you are going for the day to get up early and get the first ferry out and then return either by the last or second to last ferry back, to make sure you get the most of a full day there.
If you can try and prebook your tickets to get your more desired ferry times, however we turned up on the day and managed to get the last few seats heading out, and we booked the last ferry coming back as the second to last was full, but in the late afternoon we asked Nirwana Gardens to call to see if they had any cancellations for the slightly earlier one, which luckily they did and it was only £2.50 to amend the booking.
Make sure you allow plenty of time both ways at the ferry terminal as you have to go through immigration and customs at both ends, so allow for at least 30 minutes before your ferry departure. Something else to note is that Bintan is 1 hour behind Singapore so it’s great arriving to Bintan as you haven’t lost any time, however going back to Singapore you loose an hour.
Getting the ferry over to Bintan is really easy and not as complicated or as expensive as you might think. Tickets are normally around $70 SGD return which is about £40 per person. All you need to do is take is your passport and day bag, and for any cabin crew wanting to visit on a layover take your crew ID and the crew gendec paperwork, so that immigration can see your on a layover in Singapore, and won’t cause you any issues getting back in or leaving Singapore when your due to fly home.
Bintan Resorts and Lagoi Bay run regular complimentary shuttle bus services from the ferry terminal to the hotels and Lagoi Bay as well as putting on shuttles between the hotels and Lagoi Bay. They also have shuttle buses running in Singapore from Singapore Changi Airport to Tanah Merah ferry terminal.
My best bit of advice is if you have time maybe stay over night in Bintan, and try and get out and see more of the island as there are several island tours available which I’m hoping to do on a future trip. If your on a budget and visiting for the day you can skip the resort and head straight to Lagoi Bay on the free shuttle bus from the ferry terminal and spend the day at the Lagoi Bay beach.
While visiting Bintan don’t just stick to staying in a resort head out to Lagoi Bay even if it’s just for lunch and to mix with the locals, they are honestly some of the most friendly and sweet people I have come across on my travels, and they genuinely showed an interest in where we were from and wanting to practise their English.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx
Bali is a paradise island situated in Indonesia, Bali is known all around the world as a tourist hotspot, and there are so many reasons why people are drawn to this beautiful tropical island. Bali is known as the island of the gods, as its a really holy place full of temples and shrines. Many locals put out daily offerings to the gods with beautiful flower petals arrangements and burn candles and incense.
The island has a rich and diverse culture and most days of the week you will witness a procession of locals heading towards one of the many temple ceremonies. Bali is covered in forested volcanic mountains, green rice paddies, beaches and has coral reefs surrounding the island. The island itself is very spiritual and draws visitors from all around the world who are seeking peace, yoga and meditation practises.
We only spent 5 nights in Bali which definitely wasn’t enough! We stayed in Ubud and did a day trip around some major sites around the island, but would definitely love to go back and spend longer exploring some different regions of Bali. Many people that visit Bali split their stay between different areas and divide their time between the beaches and the green forested areas in the centre of the island.￼ Bali has so much to see and do, you could spend weeks exploring its sites. In this quick guide are some of the main cultural sites and attractions to see if you’re limited on time.
Sights & Activities
Entrance Fee:100,000 IDR
There are many places all around Bali that host ancient Balinese traditional dances and theatre shows. Many of these shows are artistic and express stories through the art form of dance and specific body movements with gestures being demonstrated using fingers, hands and eye expressions. These dances are truly unique to Balinese culture and are widely connected to the Hindu religion and Bali folklore. The dances all have different meanings and Balinese names such as Barong, Legong and Baris to name a few.
There are shows held all around the island but Ubud is a very popular place to view one of these performances due to it being the cultural and historical hub of Bali. There are shows every night in Ubud at several locations. I would suggest when travelling around Bali that you aim to see one of the shows in Ubud as they are frequent.
We went to one of the shows held every night at 19:30 at Ubud Palace, there is a different show every night which all perform various Balinese dance styles. The shows at Ubud Palace are only about £6 per person so really affordable. I really recommend spending one evening going to watch one of these shows as it’s great that these traditions are being kept going, they are truly unique and like nothing you have will have ever seen before.
Entrance Fee:50,000 IDR
Goa Gajah is a Hindu temple and archaeological site located just outside of Ubud and is also known as the Elephant Cave due to its close proximity to the Elephant River. The site is said to date back to the 11th century, but with some fragment, relics found close by dating back even earlier! Entering through the face in the rock you step into a small cave which has some small statues and offerings, once you pass through the small narrow cave you come out to two bathing pools with statues. You only need approximately one hour or so to explore this historical site, it’s gardens and surrounding area. Go with knees covered or you can hire sarongs at the entrance. I really enjoyed visiting this site and if you can try and get there early to beat the crowds. We hired a scooter and drove to the temple as it isn’t too far from Ubud centre, however a lot of set day tours stop here too if you prefer booking onto tours.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are located in the centre of Bali and span over 600 hectares of rice fields following the hillside of the Batukaru Mountain Range, they are part of UNESCO world heritage sites. You could easily spend a few days exploring this area of Bali as there are beautiful mountains, small villages and lots of great local restaurants.
We stopped here on a day tour we booked and stopped to admire the views and for some lunch. It started to rain heavily while we were there, so took the views in undercover. The terraces are stunning, and I honestly have never seen a more vivid shade of green in my life! This area is the very definition of rural Bali if you’re looking to escape the crowds then look into staying in the area at one of the many mountain retreats on offer.
If your staying in Ubud and don’t fancy venturing very far for rice fields, then not to worry as all around Ubud there are plenty of rice terraces with the most famous ones being Tegalalang Terraces. Many tourists don’t leave the resorts or beaches which makes the rice fields a great place to escape and explore in peace and quiet.
Entrance Fee:80,000 IDR
The famous Monkey Forest is located in Ubud and is seen as an important spiritual and economic centre for the village of Padangtegal which also own the forest. Hidden in the forest are several ancient temples to visit as well. The forest is stunning and like many areas in Bali provides the most beautiful shades of green. The forest has a mysterious feel to it when wandering around and it’s great to watch the monkeys play. There is a large variety of species of trees as well as hundreds of monkeys that call this forest home. You can also feed the monkeys with fruits that you can purchase at the entrance too, do not take any food or drink from outside into the forest to ensure the monkeys don’t become aggressive to steal the food and also to ensure they are getting the correct diet of food. This was one of my favourite areas in Bali it had a really magical feel to the area and I loved watching all the monkeys and being amongst nature. If you’re in Ubud I personally think the Monkey Forest is a must!
Taman Ayun Temple
Entrance Fee:10,000 IDR
Pura Taman Ayun is in the heartlands of Bali and situated approximately 30 minutes drive from Ubud. It is a huge royal water temple surrounded by a moat, it was the main temple of the Mengwi Kingdom which survived until 1891. The temple was built in 1634 and was renovated back in 1937. The temple is full of traditional Balinese architectural features which spread throughout the many shrines, buildings, courtyards and gardens. The name of the temple translates into a beautiful garden. The temple forms part of Bali’s UNESCO world heritage site. It’s well worth a visit, especially as it’s not too far away from Ubud if that’s where you are basing yourself for your trip.
Tanah Lot & Batu Bolong Temple
Entrance Fee:60,000 IDR
Tanah Lot is a rock formation with a Hindu shrine dedicated to the Balinese sea gods, the temple forms an important aspect of Balinese mythology and spirituality. Tanah Lot is situated just offshore on the south east coast of Bali. It was created back in the 16th century by a Hindu priest. Some of the temple and rock has been restored, as they suffered badly from erosion from the large waves and high tides over the years. When it is high tide the shrine cannot be reached when it is low tide people can walk across to the rock formation and the low sea level exposes small caves and crevices.
The complex also has nearby shrines such as Batu Bolong Temple which is on the beach of Canggu, the name translates into perforated rock, as the name suggests it sits out into the ocean and the rock has a hole in the middle. This temple is popular with many Hindus who go there to pray daily.
These shrines are a must visit on any trip to Bali, I would suggest going early to avoid the crowds or try to be there for sunset, however it is much busier around that time. Unfortunately when we visited the heavens opened up and we got soaked, I would love to go back and revisit.
Ubud is the cultural hub of the island, full with beautiful Balinese buildings, temples and green spaces. The area surrounding Ubud is full of jungles and rice terraces. Ubud is a very on trend place with plenty of spas, yoga retreats, fashion and homeware boutiques not to mention there are lots of traditional arts and crafts available all around Ubud from local workshops and markets.
The village of Ubud is also a foodies dream with so many cute hipster cafes and restaurants to pick from. Ubud really has it all apart from the ocean, but it is the greenest place I have ever been to and has so much nature surrounding it. I would suggest staying in Ubud for a couple of nights on your trip to Bali at least, and if your not a beach lover you could easily spend your whole trip in Ubud and get out exploring all the temples and historic sites. You can base yourself in Ubud and do plenty of day tours around the rest of the island too.
Most days we would take our scooter out and go driving around the area stopping at temples and then in the afternoon grab some lunch and hit the local markets such as the Art Market (Pasar Seni), Street Market and the Traditional Market which are a few we visited! There are so many markets and also night markets to explore if your a shopaholic then leave plenty of room in your suitcase.
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Entrance Fee:50,000 IDR
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is one of Bali’s most famous temples and is placed on Lake Beratan which is Bali’s second largest lake. It is in the highlands of the mountainous region of Bedugul, and the temple is dedicated to several Hindu gods. There are signs that the temple dates back as early as 1556, but was rebuilt in 1633. The gardens of the temple are stunning with gorgeous views over the lake, temples and mountains in the distance. It’s a really calm place to visit and much cooler with its mountain air. This was our first stop on our day tour around the island if your planning on visiting Ulun Danu Beratan Temple I would suggest booking a private driver or book onto a tour that stops there, as it’s high in the mountains it might not be the easiest drive for someone not familiar with the roads.
Transport & Getting Around
Getting around Bali is pretty easy and most locals and tourists tend to opt for scooters, as they’re quick and easy to get from a to b and cheap to run and hiring them doesn’t cost much at all. When hiring a scooter make sure to wear a helmet as there have been so many horrendous stories of tourists having accidents not just in Bali but all around South East Asia.
You can also hire bicycles around the villages but Bali roads aren’t for the faint hearted especially on a bike! Some are in quite a poor condition too, so speak to you accommodation provider who will be able to recommend good places to hire bicycles and some hotels even have them to hire out as well as scooters. There is public transport in the form of a van crammed with seats like a bus called bemos, these aren’t a popular choice with either locals or tourists as they run on a set route, and are few and far between as most people tend to opt for scooters or private drivers.
Bali is easily accessible by many flights that land into Ngurah Rai International Airport with flights from all over the world and Asia. You can also get boats to Bali from both Lombok and the Gili Islands with plenty of different options available.
As we were limited on time we booked a full day island tour through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value and are an Indonesian based tour operator. The tour we booked took us to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Munduk Waterfall Valley, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Taman Ayun Temple, Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple. They have a variety of tours available if you’re tight on time then booking day tours are a great way to get out and see everything you want to see and with the knowledge of a local.
Bali is an incredible place to visit and it is an extremely popular tourist destination so do go with an open mind and expect crowds. Don’t always go expecting you’re going to be the only one at a popular tourist spot, don’t let Instagram fool you! Many of these travel influencers that get these amazing photos will get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds and a do a lot of photoshopping, so don’t be shocked if you go somewhere and it is heaving with people.
Bali is full of many religious sites and temples so dress modestly with shoulders and knees covered. A lot of the religious sites will allow you to hire sarongs to cover yourself too. Also note that many high end bars and restaurants have a dress code too, and beachwear in some places may not be allowed, check prior to going to certain places to avoid any disappointment.
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 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 (horsedrawn carts). Just be careful with hiring a horse and cart as I have heard many stories of the horses not being cared for properly.
Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok and regular daily fast boats depart Bali directly to Gili T. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. Gili T was once known as a hippie party island, but today is popular with both backpackers and families.
Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller. The island is ringed by pristine beaches and coral reefs. Most accommodation is on the east side of the island with the most beautiful beach on offer, although there is some development going on in the west of the island. Inland on Gili Meno are homesteads, coconut plantations and there is a salty lake.
Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing. The snorkelling is really good right off from the main beach too. The beaches on Gili Air are said to be the best out of the three islands.
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 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 alongside a beautiful turtle.
The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, and you could easily spend your whole holiday there or add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary.￼￼ Personally, I would love to go back and revisit the Gilis and next time I would like to spend a few nights there. I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.
Transport & Getting Around
The quickest and easiest way to get to the Gili Islands is from Lombok, as they are much closer in proximity than Bali. From Lombok, there are several transfers that can be booked as well as cheap public boats. Each of the Gilis has public boats in their harbour areas that leave when at full capacity.
Depending on which Gili Island you are visiting there are several departures from Lombok to the Gilis throughout the day, there is Teluk Nare Harbour which is where the ferries and speedboats come in, and Bangsal Harbour which offers public boats across to the Gilis. From both these ports, Gili Air is only a 10 minute boat ride, to Gili Meno it is 15 minutes and to Gili Trawangan its around 20 – 30 minutes.
Once on the Gilis you can easily get between each island by hopping on one of the boats which runs between them all regularly, and they are all between 5 – 10 minute boat ride apart from one another.
There are also plenty of options to reach the Gilis from Bali, which are longer boat journeys but easily doable and can take anything between 1 to 5 hours depending on which option you choose and where you depart from. There are fast boats and also ferries which run between Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok. The ferry option is a cheap option, but I would only recommend to people on a tight budget and travelling for an extended amount of time. I would suggest anyone who is on holiday for a few weeks to go with the quicker options. You can also charter private boats to take you across from both Bali and Lombok.
We booked through Perama Tours to go from Lombok to the Gili Islands as they have daily tours but you can also book boat transfers through them as well.
The Gili Islands although set up for tourists, they are 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 a few hotels in Gili T, and cards are accepted but monly in modern establishments.
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 from Bali which is mostly Hindu. 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 you’re 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.
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 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 or if your heading to Mount Rinjani.
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. We booked a day tour so all prices were included in the tour price. I would really recommend visiting Sendang Gile waterfall or at least one of of the many waterfalls Lombok has to offer 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 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.
Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.
Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller.
Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing.
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.
The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary.￼￼ I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.
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, which is approximately an hour away from both Kuta and Senggigi.
Lombok isn’t the easiest island to get around with regards to 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.