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Lombok Travel Guide

Travel to Lombok, a wonderful neighbor of Bali, and be amazed by its pristine beaches, a volcanic caldera, and smoky peaks. See wild stretches of fine sand that surround the coastline. The impressive peak of Mount Rinjani explains the northern landscape. It offers excellent hikes in the villages of Senaru and Sembalun Lawang. But Lombok’s biggest attraction is undoubtedly the legendary Gili’s, three tropical islands surrounded by sparkling coral reefs.


Lombok Travel Guide


Located on Bali’s east side, Lombok in many ways exceeds the promotional term “unspoiled Bali.” Coupled with beautiful beaches, fascinating waterfalls, and relatively few tourists with the enormous volcano of Mount Rinjani, Lombok is actually a tropical island paradise where many still miss-imagine Bali today.

Views from Mount Rinjani
Spectacular view from Mount Rinjani in Lombok

Lombok has a rich and enduring indigenous culture that has withstood the pressures of modernity remarkably well. The strong ancient culture and history of the Sasak people make it one of the island’s many unique attractions.

Lombok’s dominant Sasak culture and its people’s quiet, unpretentious nature may explain why Lombok is less famous in shopping, dining, and nightlife than Bali.

However, Lombok is becoming increasingly popular with tourists and honeymooners who want to relax in a tropical, affordable, and uncrowded environment with many natural treasures and spectacular landscapes. Visitors who are stressed out from their everyday life find Lombok a pleasant place to relax.

Kuta Beach in Lombok

Best Time to Travel to Lombok

In Nusa Tenggara, Lombok shares an important tropical climate with two seasons: dry and wet in western Indonesia.

The dry season runs from May to October, and while it is also the peak season when most tourists flock to Lombok, it is also the best time to go here. The rainy season runs from October to March, and it rains less than an hour a day, making it an alternative to avoid the crowd.

Regarding the weather, July-August is better because the temperature is cooler and the rains are drier. But naturally, it’s peak season too, so check out the tourist crowds and book early.

However, you can travel even in the rainy season. It still rains during the dry season, and it may not rain for a week during the rainy season and is generally large, but falls quickly at night or late afternoon. So if you must do most of your sightseeing in the morning and early afternoon, and relax in the evening, you can travel to Lombok during the rainy season.

Sunbathing on a sunny day at Gili Trawangan

Where to stay when you travel to Lombok?

Most people stay in the Senggigi Beach area of ​​Lombok, which has various accommodations and restaurants. Another option is to stay in Mangsit Beach, where there are plenty of mid-range options for your budget. If you want more publicity, the next place is Kuta.

At one end of the Senggigi spectrum, budget hotels and homestays cater to young backpackers. At the same time, other smart resorts attract older people and families.

Rinjani, especially if you are climbing longer to extend the summit, the mountain camp’s stay is included in the trek’s price. If you plan to stay in the nearby towns of Batu Koq and Senaru, simple bungalows and guesthouses greet visitors overnight.

As Kuta (yes, there is Kuta in Lombok too!) emerges as a resort for busy surfers, hotels stretch along the road behind the beach or into the city itself. The options are expanding rapidly as many new locations are built.

Camping site on the rim of Rinjani

Travel to Lombok: Get In & Around

Airline

Daily flights are available between Denpasar in Bali and Mataram, the capital of Lombok. Lombok International Airport (LOP) is about 30 kilometers southeast of Mataram, or an hour’s drive.

By ferry

Public ferries operate between Padang Bai (Bali) and Lembar (Lombok) several times a day. Travel time is approximately 4 to 5 hours. Motorcycles and cars can be traveled by ferry. If you get seasick easily, be aware that traveling can be difficult. Ferries run several times a day between Labuhan Lombok and Poto Tano in Sumbawa. The ferry trip lasts about an hour and a half.

Fast boat ride

Speedboat companies operate from Bali to the mainland of Lombok. Convenient departure points from Bali are Serangan (near Benoa port) and Padang Bai port.

Around

Bemos (converted passenger transport minivan) is the primary vehicle for short and medium-distance transportation in Lombok. You can find them on all the larger streets, and they will gladly take you even a little hop down the road. The rate is cheap, around IDR 5,000 to 10,000 per person depending on the distance. Sometimes tourists are charged an additional fee.

Metered taxis are common in Mataram, Cakranegara, and Ampenan. They circulate easily throughout the Bangsal, Sira, and Medana regions and the western coast tourist districts, including Senggigi and Lembar.

Renting a car is also an option, and in Senggigi, Mangsit, and Mataram, there are several places to rent.

Driving in Lombok is not for inexperienced people. The probability of an accident is much higher than when driving in your home country. In the most remote areas of the island, street signs are rare and ambiguous. You may not be familiar with the road system, so you can spend more time searching for sights than you really enjoy.

A good alternative to car rental is to rent with a local driver.

Motorcycle rental is also an option. There are many places to rent in Senggigi, Mangsit, Mataram, Cakranegara, and other areas. An ojek is a motorcycle taxi service.

Lombok‘s Best Tourist Attractions

The second highest volcano in Indonesia, Gunung Rinjani, dominates the terrain of Lombok and is popular with hikers. Winding down the jungle-covered slopes (which takes a few days), the ever-changing tropical landscape continues to change. Upon reaching the top, the luscious sunrise, the volcanic caldera’s view, and the feeling of conquering the entire island are gratifying for the weary. Ecological trekking initiatives such as roadside garbage collection allow the Sasak and Hindu people to give something back to this massive active volcano that is sacred. It is also possible to spend a few hours walking in the less-visited Kerandangan nature reserve.

Aside from Kuta and Senggigi’s backpacker-friendly hubs, Lombok’s party scene isn’t technically on island but on some small offshore satellites, the Gili’s. One of the Gili in particular, Gili Trawangan, is known internationally for its beach parties, lively hostel bars, and happy beach cocktail shops. There’s a lot more to this Gili than in the ’20s for laid-back drink and excitement, but it’s obvious a lot of people are looking for it here. Scantily clad young men roam the streets and hungover, but discussing what will happen that night is all the confirmation you need.

Another good attraction of Lombok is surfing. Western surfers first opened their eyes to the fantastic charm of Lombok and provided the seeds of today’s tourism industry. And it is the south coast of the island that attracted them. Several bays, reefs, and rocky inlets, from Desert Point in the west to Eka in the east, offer the most incredible number and quality of Lombok breaks. Unlike Bali, when surfing in the dry season (April-October), Lombok breaks are usually best during the wet periods (roughly November to March). Halfway along the coast, Kuta is a natural base for chasing waves.

A less thoughtful way to explore Lombok’s abundance of brine is to take a guided fishing trip. You can take a traditional fishing boat or go on a bigger boat. You can look forward to deep sea and spearfishing for tuna, tuna, mackerel, and much other fish. Due to the reefs, breakwaters, and deep waterways surrounding the island, there are many different places to sink the line depending on what you are chasing. Bangko Bangko (desert point), from the Lombok Strait to Bali and off the southern coast of Kuta, is a great place.

Check our Lombok travel itineraries here to see what the routes usually are.

Gili Islands
Aerial view over the shores of Gili Trawangan

Travel to Lombok: Money & Costs

Here are some of the costs to consider when planning your travel to Lombok.

The daily budget for food and beverages should be around $8 to $15, and a decent daily cost of $10 to $20. Average hotel prices start at $30 per person per night.

There is an inexpensive option to get around the island with local buses going by minibus and long-distance bus. A rough estimate of this budget (which varies greatly depending on your travel style) is $5-7 per day.

Most are free without a guide, and your budget can be as low as $1-$2 if you limit yourself to locally paid attractions. Let’s say you want to pamper yourself a little more and take part in tours and activities. In this case, depending on the number of days you spend in Indonesia, your daily budget can increase significantly. You can add the average price below to your total budget. Massages cost $5-$10, and other typical day trips and activities cost $20-$35.

Another cost to consider is buying a local SIM card and internet data plan, and laundry service. Also, keep in mind always having some money for something unexpected, so I would say at least 5 dollars a day for miscellaneous expenses.

Lombok’s Local Cuisine Highlights

Some Lombok specialties include Taliwang chicken served with spices, dried and seasoned red peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, fried prawns, fragrant ginger, Javanese sugar, salt, and the spinach dish with spicy water, Plecing Kangkung. You can try this at Senggigi’s Asmara Restaurant and Bar, which offers gluten-free and halal options with Indonesian and international dishes, including coconut chicken and Sasak Rijsttafel.

Perhaps the best-known regional dish is Ayam taliwang. However, it seems no one agrees on the exact recipe. Most interpretations include chicken topped with a creamy red sauce seasoned with the crotch, turmeric, and tomatoes, mild or very hot. Plecing is a spicy sauce used in many dishes made with chili, shrimp paste, and tomatoes. On the island of Lombok, a local shrimp paste called lengkare is used. Sares are made from chili, coconut juice, and banana palm, sometimes mixed with meat. Non-meat dishes include Kelor (hot soup with vegetables), Serebuk (vegetable mixed with coconut), and Timun urap (Cucumber with Coconut, Onion, and Garlic).

Satay Rembiga is another popular dish consisting of sweet and spicy grilled beef skewers served with mochi or mochi. If you’re feeling adventurous and visiting during the Bau Nyale Festival, try Pepes Nyale. A blend of coconut and spices, wrapped in banana leaves, roasted over a fire, Nyale’s famous regional and seasonal specialties.

Kuta’s El Bazar Cafe Restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine at reasonable prices. They offer an eclectic menu of shakshuka, fish tacos, egg Benedict, and beef kebabs.

You can find Indonesian staples in Kuta at Bau Nyale Restaurant. They serve Asian, Indonesian, vegetarian, and European food, including Gado Gado, Oxtail Soup, and Soto Chicken.

Visit Warung Paradiso, a hidden gem in Senggigi, known for its fresh seafood and affordable Indonesian cuisine, not to mention great cocktails and beautiful sunset views.

kuta lombok come2indonesia beach indonesia

👨‍🍳 Are you interested in Indonesian cusinse?

Take a look to our selection of recipes, and learn how to cook the best beverages, dishes and desserts from Indonesia. 🍽️

Travel to Lombok: What’s for kids?

There are not many professional things to do with children in Lombok, but it is no problem taking children almost everywhere. Activities like snorkeling, surfing, and learning about the local town will keep the whole family entertained.

You start by choosing where to base yourself. The two main places the family decides to travel in Lombok are Senggigi (west) and Kuta (south). Each of these towns offers a selection of hotels, restaurants, and activities to keep your kids entertained.

Lombok’s colorful fish and coral reefs are the perfect places to jump and snorkel. Many shops around the beach rent snorkeling gear. Otherwise, contact the hotel. Some tours take you to the best diving spots on Gili Island. Gili Island has a bird park and a turtle greenhouse, which is very well suited to children.

Souvenirs from Lombok to bring home

There are many souvenirs to choose from when you travel to Lombok. Besides being a memento of your Lombok travel experience, souvenirs can also be a gift for those in your home. For something durable, you can choose one of the crafts suggested in this post. Almost all Lombok crafts are made by hand, so the results are excellent and can last a long time.

volcano rinjani lombok hike come2indonesia
Camping site of Rinjani

Ikat and Songket

In this group, there are unique fabrics called Ikat and Songket. Both materials are traditionally made by expert women in Lombok, and sometimes you can even see the process. Because the manufacturing process is very complicated and time-consuming, Ikat and Songket are often more expensive than factory-made ones.

The pattern used in this fabric is unique to Lombok, with a traditional dye for coloring. One of Lombok’s Ikat and Songket textile production centers is located in Sukarara, about 20 kilometers from Mataram. You can also find Ikat and Songket fabrics in the famous town of Sasak Sade in southern Lombok.

Ketak Crafts

As the name suggests, this unique Lombok handicraft is made from a wild grass called Ketak in the local language. The plants are sun-dried before weaving them into various types of crafts. You can buy women’s bags, jewelry, placemats, home decor, and many other crafts.

The Ketak woven craft center is located in the village of Beleka. In this town, you can see wild pastures that are processed into a variety of beautiful crafts.

Pearl and Mother of Pearls

One of Lombok’s natural products is pearls. The pearl cultivation and sale centers are located in the western part of the island, especially in the Sekarbela region, which is still part of the city of Mataram. You can find many pearl sellers in special stalls.

They sell ‘live pearls’ and beautiful pearl crafts in the form of necklaces, earrings, or bracelets. In addition to pearls, you can buy mother-of-pearl as a home decoration or other craft material.

Pottery

The Lombok earthenware craft center is located in the village of Banyumelek. One of the local specialties is Kendi Maling, a Kendi (bucket) filled from the bottom up. You’re not actually filling this Kendi from below. It is just a proverb because it is difficult to fill the water from above.

Besides Kendi Maling, you can also find various other products like ashtrays, flower pots, and candle holders. Kendi’s price is around IDR 100,000, which is quite affordable.

Cukli

Cukli is unique craftwork made of wood and shells. Basically, wood is made from various crafts like sculptures, masks, and many other shapes. Clamshells are planted on a tree and then painted in a pre-painted pattern to function as decoration. The results are striking enough to compare with classical sculptures from other parts of Indonesia.

Cukli is relatively expensive because the manufacturing process is time-consuming and requires highly skilled workers. Today this craft is known throughout the world. Cukli’s production center is located in Sayang-Sayang village in West Lombok Regency.

Things to pay attention to when travel to Lombok

Money

There are many ATMs in the streets and shopping centers of the main tourist center of Lombok and the three Gili Islands.

Do not show large amounts of cash or important items such as expensive cameras, cell phones, and other things. Thieves, including children, can be temporarily expelled and, in some circumstances, can encourage applications for financial assistance.

Health

The best hospital in Lombok is a private Risa Sentra Medika Hospital near the Mataram Mall. A public hospital, Rumah Sakit Umum, has a daily tourism clinic. These are the closest hospitals to the Gili Islands. Still, health clinics are available in all three Gilis for minor illnesses.

Keep in mind that fresh water on the island of Gili is scarce. Showers are salty, except for the luxury resorts that carry water by boat from the mainland.

lombok nature jungle tour by come2indonesia

Crime and safety

Lombok is not crowded with tourists, so it is always advisable to travel in more than one group. This is especially true for visitors who cannot speak Bahasa Indonesia. Even trivial cases can be difficult to solve if there is a language barrier. In rural Lombok, many people are not fluent in Bahasa Indonesian and only speak the local language Sasak.

Most tourist areas and many cities are full of nighttime activities. Street vendors often sell food until 9 pm or later in some areas. Tourists and locals often walk the streets when bars and restaurants are open. However, few people are on the road after dark, especially in rural towns or non-tourist regions. In such situations, it is generally wiser to stay indoors after dark. People in the Lombok countryside and the quieter Kampung region often go to bed until 8 pm and wake up again at 5 am.

Women have suffered sexual harassment and assault incidents, so care must be taken during and after the Gili Trawangan party. Don’t leave these parties alone.

You will sometimes be offered drugs on the island, but Indonesia has stringent anti-drug laws. There are no police. It is the mayor’s job to take care of and treat problems. So be sure to report all incidents first. If you need to inform the police, go to the mainland police (Tanjung or Ampenan).

Always put a lock on the zipper of your bag. Not only does it prevent someone from stealing anything inside, but it also prevents them from putting prohibited items inside. Get ready to quickly lock and unlock as you go through customs.

Suitable dress

Dress modestly in rural villages, religious sites, and government buildings. Long men’s pants and shirts, modest skirts, long or long pants, dresses, or sarongs are recommended. Conservative blouses are recommended for women. This can prevent you or viewers from feeling embarrassed. If you wear more revealing clothes, it’s a good idea to prepare a sarong so that you can quickly and easily adjust to the usual situation. Naked or semi-nude bathing and very slim bathing suits on the beach are likely to cause a lot of controversy among locals, even in the busy tourist area in front of the hotel, and perhaps trigger some caveats. Visitors may not be able to see it immediately at that time. Take your sarong with you, as long as you only have a very exposed swimsuit, and wear it especially when you are around or talking to local people. It will make everyone feel more comfortable and a lot less controversial. When you travel, sarongs are a great and versatile item that can be useful to protect you from the sun or the wind, so take them with you. You can also request service to avoid awkward moments.

When entering a private home, you have to remove your shoes and, sometimes, enter some shops. This is also true for the most primitive and basic life structures.

kuta lombok come2indonesia beach indonesia

Curiosities about Lombok

The name of the island Lombok is also used to refer to chili by Indonesians.

In the Indigenous language of the Sasak people of Lombok, the word “Lombok” luum-book literally translates into Bahasa Indonesian as lurus (straight ahead).

Not only in Bali, Lombok has its own Kuta area and similarly known for its nice beach.

If you have a particular interest in the taste of unusual food, the Bau Nyale or Sea Worm Festival in Kuta Beach is the place for you. This festival coincides with the spawning season of marine worms. These worms are captured, baked with banana leaves, and then eaten. Also, some locals eat them raw as they scoop them out of the sand.

Gili islands Indonesia come2indoensia tours Bali

Travel to Lombok safely

Ambulance ☎ +62 370 623489

In emergency ☎ 118

Lombok Regional Police (National) (Polda), Jl Gajah Mada No7, Ampenan (Mataram), ☎ +62 370 693110. 24 hr emergency number 110 

Tourism Police Senggigi (Pos Polsek Senggigi), Jl. Raya Senggigi km 1 Senggigi (near the Art Market), ☎ +62 370 632733.

Department of Immigration (Direktorat Jenderal Imigrasi), Jl Udayana No2, Mataram, ☎ +62 370 635331. 

The reality is that ambulances are too far away to provide immediate transportation in real emergencies unless you are within Mataram/Ampenan/Cakranegara. Taxis, police vehicles, or private vehicles are often used to take people in urgent need of care to a hospital. Lombok ambulances are used more frequently for patient support transportation than emergency assistance and first aid/emergency personnel-assisted transportation.

Embassies and consulates

There is no consular service in Lombok. The nearest consular service is in Bali, and Jakarta has embassies representing various nationalities.

Remember that you can also write to info@come2indonesia.com if you need help planning your trip to Indonesia.

Enjoy your travel to Lombok!

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NEWSLETTER

Article author

Born and raised in Ambon – Maluku, also known as one of the Spice Islands, Rendy became part of our team in May, 2015. He came to Bali in 2010 for his study which was tourism management and once here he never left. He is in charge of reservations by our partner agencies as well as answering guest enquiries from independent travelers.

When he is done working, it’s gaming time. He can play games all weekend until dawn! But as fanatic he is with his games, he also is with his work of course. 

His trip interests involving city tours and adrenaline activities. Although he’s a picky eater at home, he turns to a foodie when traveling to try new things. 

Rendy
Travel Designer

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