After six weeks in Indonesia, I finished it all off by returning to Lombok for a few days. Something about the place just drew me back! Lombok is Bali’s neighbour, just a twenty-minute flight away, yet it still receives far fewer tourists than the over-crowded resorts of Indonesia’s most famous island. And while Bali is absolutely gorgeous, it can feel just a little bit “overdone”.
Lombok, on the other hand, still feels like a bit of an adventure. Its coastlines are rugged, the waters wild, the towns less polished… While the tourists are prolific, it doesn’t feel like they’ve taken over, yet. Lombok is fast becoming the new backpacker favourite, but for now, it feels like a scruffier and more exciting version of Bali. So, I’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in Lombok, to help you explore…
Read more: Explore Lombok and more in this fab two week (or longer) Indonesia Itinerary.
7 Fun Things to do in Lombok…
1. Discover Lombok’s Beaches
Lombok’s rugged coasts are lined with beach after incredible beach. The waters are warm and clear, the sands pristine and white, and even the best known, like Kuta Beach, were fairly empty in my experience. You’re more likely to share Seger Beach with a herd of water buffalo than with any other tourists (true story).
Closest to Kuta, Seger Beach was one of my personal favourites. Mawun is also highly recommended, and it’s just a twenty-minute drive. You also get to enjoy some fab views as you cross the hills. So ask around for some recommendations, get on your bike, and go explore.
2. Explore Lombok by Moped!
Hire a moped to explore some of the best spots in the south of Lombok (or further afield). These are generally around 50,000 IDR (£3.05) for a day and can be rented all over the place in Kuta.
The main roads in Lombok are in pretty good condition, many of them newly tarmacked when I visited in 2016. So exploring the island by bike is easy.
Plus the traffic isn’t too bad, and there are few cars or large vehicles. Some of the more out of the way beaches are found down bumpy tracks and more precarious roads, but they’re worth the effort to reach. And chances are you’ll be rewarded by a swathe of white sand, all to yourself!
3. Lombok Surf School
If you’re a seasoned surfer, the secluded beaches and choice waves of Lombok’s south coast will be right up your street. You can rent boards all over the island, especially in Kuta, and you can even rent a moped with a board rack attached – so get out there, explore, and enjoy the surf.
Bangko Bangko (aka Desert Point) on the south-west coast is generally considered the best spot for pros. By all accounts, a Desert Point wave is one of the best to surf on the planet.
If you’re a newbie, Lombok is also one of the best places to learn to surf. We headed to Selong Belanak for lessons (IDR 350000 / pax): the bay is wide, the waves are big but not monstrous, and conditions were ideal for beginners. Well worth it if you’re up for a new challenge.
*Image Credit: Wanderlust Chloe
4. Climb Mount Rinjani
If you fancy a serious challenge, Lombok’s Mount Rinjani is Indonesia’s second-highest volcano. Three- and four-day hikes leave every day to tackle this bad boy, which looms impressively over the north of the island. At 3726m, the hike to the top of this active volcano is a serious slog. But, it’s worth it for the bragging rights alone. And then, of course, there are the views from the top, which look truly incredible.
A friend I met in Flores, Marina, completed the Rinjani trek. She told me it was the hardest and most challenging thing she’d ever done. This is not a trip for the fainthearted. Marina had very little sleep during her three nights, waking up at 1:30 am on the last day to climb for 3.5 hours in the dark and cold to reach the summit for sunrise. It was, however, completely worth it!
5. Explore the Gili Islands
Once you’ve had your fill of surfing and monster hikes, head to the Gili Islands for some R&R or to blow off steam. These are three tiny islands clustered off Lombok’s north-west coast. The Gilis are famous for their beautiful beaches and excellent snorkelling, as well as their parties. There are no motorised vehicles on any of the islands, so the only way to get around is on foot. You can also ride in a horse and carriage, or rent a bicycle.
On Gili Trawangan (aka Gili T), you’ll find a hedonistic backpacker haven – perfect for a night (or six) of partying. If you want to go all out, consider a party cruise. We took one with Samba Cruise to celebrate the end of the Trip of Wonders and it was pretty darn awesome. Also on Gili T, you’ll also find a string of beautiful white-sand beaches, as well as that famous swing, which is perfect Instagram fodder if you’re willing to queue for it.
The smaller islands are both much more chilled out. I loved my night on Gili Meno, glamping in serious style in a fabulous Karma Reef sea tent. Both Gili Meno and Gili Air are known for being far quieter than Gili T, without the crazy party scene. So these are the ideal choice for some super chilled bliss-out time.
6. Stay at a Local Homestay
One of the things I wish I’d had time to try was a homestay in Lombok, especially because it fits in perfectly with my deep travel style!. A girl I met in Kuta had just spent a week living with a local family in the centre of the island, which sounded like a great way to learn more about island life. You’ll earn to cook local food and make traditional crafts, as well as spend time with a local family and see how they live.
A homestay in Lombok could be a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture – as well as see the area from a new perspective. There are loads to choose from, but head to a smaller village in the island’s interior for a more authentic experience.
7. Tour Lombok’s Waterfalls
One of the best things to do in Lombok is to explore the island’s many waterfalls. These can be found all across Lombok, so choosing which ones to visit depends on where you’re staying.
One of the most popular waterfalls in Lombok is Tiu Kelep in Gunung Rinjani National Park in the north of Lombok. This is one of the most spectacular falls on the island, and nearby Sendang Gile is also pretty impressive! But there are loads more to explore. Check out this list of the best waterfalls in Lombok for more, or ask at your hostel/hotel for recommendations.
I’d love to hear your suggestions or ideas for the best things to do in Lombok. So scroll down to leave a comment!
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My visit to Indonesia was part of a press trip organised by Indonesia Travel as part of their #TripOfWonders. As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.