Lombok attractions: adventure and authenticity
Since we planned to be in Bali for almost 3 months, we had enough time to explore islands that are around Bali. For those of you who visit Bali for more than a week Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan or Lombok with Gili islands should be added to your travel Bucket list. All of the above-mentioned islands are more remote and less touristic than Bali, so if you want to have more adventurous and authentic holidays I strongly recommend to spend few days on any of those islands. Even though Lombok is less touristic than Bali, it still offers many touristic attractions, that shouldn’t be missed.
Lombok or Bali?
Many people that are coming to Bali are dealing with the same question. Lombok or Bali? Which one is better? To be able to answer this question you need to be true to yourself and you have to know what kind of holidays you prefer. Bali has developed tourist infrastructure with beautiful hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars to visit. Beaches in Bali are beautiful but if you are not visiting the hidden ones, you will end up on a beach with hundreds of other tourists and with persistent vendors trying to sell you sarongs, bracelets, and massage. Nature in Bali is beautiful but at the most famous places such as rice terraces, waterfalls or monkey forest, you will become one of the thousands of tourists visiting that place every year.
Lombok is still complete opposite. Even though the touristic infrastructure is growing every year, the island is still more isolated and more authentic than Bali. I would say that Bali is great for longer term living and working, while Lombok is better for learning about Indonesian culture and island life.
How to get to Lombok?
If you are traveling on a budget and wanna take your motorbike with you from Bali than the best option is to go by ferry from Padang Bai. The ferry leaves every hour or so and costs 120k IDR. However, it takes 5 hours to get to Lombok so the best option is to head to Padang Bai after midnight and take the ferry overnight to save your pressures holiday time. If you are going with your rent motorbike, be sure to have original papers as they gonna check at the entrance to the port as well as when you gonna come back. They also check our international driving license, so make sure to have that one as well.
Where to stay in Lombok?
Lombok has pretty much 2 touristic strategic areas that offer plenty of accommodation opportunities. On the north of the island, there is Sangiggi that is a great place to stay if you are planning to go to Gili islands. On the south, there is Kuta that is good if you are planning to stay on Lombok the whole time and make trips from one place. We stay in both places, in Sangiggi we choose Indah homestay and in Kuta we stayed in Defa homestay. Happy traveler tip: If you are staying in Sangiggi, the best place for a dinner is Nuf’ Said warung, located right on the beach.
Lombok top attractions
1. Tiu Kelep waterfall
After 5 minutes walking down the stairs from the parking lot, you are going to reach first, a smaller waterfall that is also very beautiful. If you decide for a bit more adventure, you can walk another 15-20 minutes and reach Tiu Kelep waterfall that is just breathtaking.On the way from the first waterfall, you are going to take first and I think also only turn to the left. The turn is located right above the explanatory table. There are no navigation signs to Tiu Kelep, as locals try to convince you that to have a local guide is necessary, but actually, it is not. You can make it easily by your own. So save your money for more Bintangs:)
2. Gili islands
Famous islands Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno that are located north from Lombok. They are accessible by fast boat from Padang Bai in Bali, but if you are already in Lombok, it is cheaper to take a public boat from Bangsal. The majority of boats to Gili Trawangan leaves in the morning, so try to get to harbor till 11 am, boats are leaving when capacity is full and the ticket costs 22,5 k IDR.
All of the islands are famous for snorkeling spots, crystal clean water, and no motorized transport.
All the islands are really small, that you could even walk around them, but in Gili T. I recommend to rent a bike or use horse-drawn carts as it will save your time a lot. We paid for renting a bike for a day 90k IDR. Gili T. is a party island while Gili Air and Meno are much quieter and remote. In the evening you will feel like the only person on the island.
Gili Trawangan + Gili Air
There are plenty of activities you can choose from during a day. Snorkeling trips, diving schools, and trips, kayaking around the island, Bintang drinking in some of the beach bars at the south of the island or watching a sunset in beach restaurants on the north of the island. We rented a snorkeling masks and snorkel at Turtle point on the east side of the island. We were able to swim with a turtle just a few meters from the shore. So you don’t have to go on a tour to see turtles.
A must thing to do is a visiting Night Food Market located close to the harbor. The food is delicious, you can choose what you want and in case you get meat or fish, they will grill it in front of you. For us, it was one of the best food we ate in Indonesia.
From Gili T. we took a fast boat to get to Gili Air. The boat was leaving at 9:30 in the morning and costs again around 20k IDR. Gili Air is the smallest of the islands and the closest to the Lombok. At Gili Air, there is again plenty of snorkeling spots, beautiful beaches, and nice beach restaurants that offer delicious food and drinks.
3. Pantai Mawun
Long white sanded beach without people, only a few locals who are trying to sell you everything they can. We have been there on Sunday and got approached by a local group of elementary students, whether we would practice English with them. We agreed. So in 30 minutes we were answering basic questions about ourselves: Where are we from, What are our names, What are our hobbies, What is our favorite color or animal. And we also get interviewed by older students for their school project. This experience captures that tourists in Lombok are for local people still attraction itself.
4. Pantai Tanjung Ann
These are actually 2 beaches divided by little hill, that offers a nice view of both bays. Nature around is so different from the rest of the island, that resembles more like a beach in Scotland than Lombok. Each beach has completely different sand but both are quite abandoned without tourists. Great spot to watch the sunset and take some beautiful pictures.
5. Hiking Mt. Rinjani
Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia with 3726 meters. It is probably one of the most actives as the last eruption happened in September 2016. Hiking usually starts from the village of Senaru, where you can find a guide and accommodation. You can choose to go 2 days – one-night hike or 3 days – two -night hike. The first one usually ends in 2700m at the rim of the crater from where the views of the lake are breathtaking. To hike another 1000m you need another day. If you go with the organized trip, they arrange tent, sleeping bags, and food for you. If you have all those things you can go by yourself. However, in both cases, you have to pay the fee to enter the National Park that is 150k IDR. Take warm clothes, head light, and good shoes.
Let me know what are other attractions in Lombok, that you would add to this list. Happy Travels and do not forget to share this post. Sharing is caring :).
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