Many people who come to Indonesia looking for a beach holiday choose to visit Bali. The island of Lombok however is only a ferry ride away, and if you want to get away from the crowds and go somewhere a little less commercialized then Lombok is a great place to start.
Some of the highlights of this island include it stunning white sand beaches as well as clean seas and some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities to be had in Indonesia. It is also the home of the famous Mount Rinjani, so if you like trekking then a trip up to the summit of this active volcano is not to be missed. You will also find a slower pace of life here as well as a more relaxed setting, and if you want something different that is still easy to reach from Bali, then Lombok is the perfect choice.
Here are the best things to do in Lombok:
1. Party on Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan is known for being the biggest of the three main Gili islands and is also the most developed.
That said, don’t expect it to be anything like Bali.
There are no roads here and the only way to get around is to take an old fashioned horse and cart or you can walk or cycle around.
Despite the relative lack of development however Gili Trawangan has a jumping nightlife scene and is known for being dotted with beach bars where you can keep partying long into the night.
You can also expect to find a wide range of venues that play live music on a nightly basis as well as some clubs with dance floors.
During the day you can also enjoy the rest of what Gili Trawangan has to offer in the form of pristine white beaches and clear waters that are perfect for snorkeling or diving.
2. Trek to Tiu Kelep Waterfall
Lombok is known for its pretty waterfalls but one of the most famous of these is Tiu Kelep Waterfall.
This gushing cataract can be found in the north of the island and it is surrounded by gorgeous emerald jungle.
The waterfall is located in Senaru Village and the trek out to the waterfall takes around 45 minutes to an hour depending on how fast you walk.
The route will take you past trickling jungle streams and you can check out the local flora and fauna in the forest as you trek to the waterfall.
The falls plunge down over 45 meters and you can expect to feel the cooling mist off the water as you take in the scenery.
You can also swim in the pool at the base of the cataract which can be a welcome break after a hot trek through the forest.
3. Relax on Gili Air
Gili Air is the second largest of the three main Gili Islands and is a good choice if you want something a little more serene than neighboring Gili Trawangan.
It is also one of the best places to come if you want to try some diving in Indonesia as the visibility is excellent.
You will find a range of spots off shore including pretty coral gardens that are the grazing sites of graceful turtles and elegant rays.
4. Enjoy Air Kalak Hot Springs
If you decide to trek up Mount Rinjani, the main mountain on Lombok, then make sure you stop off at Air Kalak Hot Springs which are around 200 meters away from the main campsite.
It is nestled close to the stunning Lake Segara Anak and there is no better way to celebrate after scaling Mount Rinjani than to soak away any aches and pains in the hot springs.
The waters here are said to have medicinal properties due to the high volcanic mineral content so if you want a soothing end to a hike then this is the perfect place to come.
5. Snorkel on Gili Meno
Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and is well loved by families looking for a relaxing beach setting.
It is also popular with couples and if you want to spend some serene time on the sand then this is the place for you.
You will find some small strips of beach here and this is a top spot if you want to try snorkeling in Lombok.
Marine life abounds in these waters and you can go snorkeling with a good chance of seeing marine life like turtles and other sea creatures.
6. Visit a Pearl Farm
People may not realize that Lombok is famous for its pearl farms, and this is big business in the area, with some of the prettiest pearls in Southeast Asia cultivated here.
One place where you can see the pearls is the Autore Pearl Farm and there is a tour which is perfect for tourists that will fill you in on everything you want to know about pearl cultivation.
There is also a showroom where you can buy some pearl products and support the local pearl farming business in Lombok.
7. Explore Kuta Lombok
Kuta in Lombok is not to be confused with the more famous Kuta in Bali.
Unlike its famous sister, Kuta in Lombok is smaller and quieter and is basically a town with some pretty beaches close by.
The best way to explore Kuta is to hire a motorbike or a bike and driver and then make you way along the coast, stopping at any inlets or coves that take your fancy.
You are sure to find something that catches your eye and can spend the day sunbathing on the sands and sipping from fresh coconuts bought from a roadside stall.
8. Check out the views from Bukit Pergasingan
If you don’t want to hike all the way up Mount Rinjani then consider a trek to Bukit Pergasingan which is a hill that sits at around 1,700 meters above sea level.
The hill and lookout point is located in Simbalun Village and the big draw here is the surrounding scenery.
From Bukit Pergasingan you can look out onto the patchwork of fields below that come in a range of different hues and are one of the prettiest sights in Lombok.
9. Sunbathe on Selong Belanak Beach
Selong Belanak Beach is located in South Lombok and is one of the prettiest beaches on the island.
Compared to the beaches in Bali, many of which can be crowded and littered, Selong Belanak Beach unwinds along a scenic bay and is made up of a long strip of clean golden sand.
You will also find a few local stalls that back on to the beach and you can get simple noodle and rice dishes here as well as a fresh coconut.
It is also possible to rent a surfboard or a sponge board here although the waves are not as consistent as they are in Bali so hardcore surf aficionados may be better off choosing another spot.
10. Climb Mount Rinjani
Mighty Mount Rinjani is probably Lombok’s most famous attraction and for many visitors this is the main reason to come here.
Mount Rinjani is not just a mountain but actually a still-active volcano, as well as being the second largest volcano in Indonesia.
One of the big draws here is a trek to the crater at the summit where you can also take in an azure lake and some amazing views over wider Lombok.
There are a variety of different treks that you can choose, most of which last several days, and if you want to take it a little easier it is best to opt for one of the longer treks which will allow you to take your time.
Many visitors to Lombok say that a hike to the top of Mount Rinjani is one of the best experiences to be had in Indonesia, but note that the trek to the crater is strenuous and you will need to be in reasonably good shape if you plan to attempt it.
11. Explore Narmada Water Park
Narmada Water Park is actually something of a misnomer as this is not an amusement park but actually more of a water palace.
The park was built in 1727 under the sage guidance of King Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Karang Asem and is seen as an important religious and spiritual retreat by those who follow the Hindu faith.
Make sure to check out the amazing architecture here as the park is built to mirror the shape of Mount Rinjani which is the highest peak on Lombok and also considered to be a sacred mountain.
The park is surrounded by lush gardens which are perfect for an afternoon stroll as there are natural springs here that give the park its water element.
Narmada Water Park is not as grand as some of the more famous water parks in Bali but it is well worth a visit if you want to check out some ancient architecture in Lombok.
12. Tour the Sekotong Islands
Lombok is an island in its own right but it is also surrounded by a myriad of other smaller islands which offer you the chance to check out a tropical paradise that feels miles away from the more crowded islands in and around Bali.
The Sekotong Island chain is a collection of small islands that can be visited on a day tour from the main island of Lombok, and they are not yet as well known as the neighboring Gili Islands, so this is a good pick if you want to get away from the crowds.
The islands are covered in white sandy beaches and have pretty outlying coral reefs, so if you like snorkeling then this is an excellent choice and you can enjoy a wealth of underwater flora and fauna.
13. Sunbathe in Senggigi
Parts of Lombok are reminiscent of how Bali would have looked 20 years ago before the onslaught of tourists and one of these areas is Senggigi which is one of the main tourist parts on the island.
Despite being looked on as a central hub however, you won’t find a huge range of amenities, and this is more like a quiet enclave where you can relax and enjoy the beach that wraps around the coastline.
There are a range of restaurants and cafes here where you can grab a bite to eat and a drink as well as some hotels and resorts, but there is still a chilled out atmosphere here that lets you enjoy the beauty of the island.
14. Visit Tetebatu Village
Tetebatu Village is similar in some ways to Ubud in neighboring Bali.
If you are looking for something a little different in Lombok and want to get off the beach, then Tetebatu Village makes a nice change of pace and this part of the island is set amongst gleaming emerald green rice paddies and forests that stretch far into the distance.
The village is a great place to learn more about the culture of the indigenous people of Lombok, called the Sasak, and you can also find out about traditional handicraft techniques in the area and pick up some souvenirs at the same time.
15. Go snorkeling at Pink Beach
Pink Beach is the nickname for Tangsi Beach, and it is rather an ambitious one at that.
It is said to be called ‘Pink Beach’ thanks to its pink sand, although you have to look pretty hard to see any glints of a pink hue here.
Instead the beach is more of a strawberry-blonde shade, but it is still a nice spot to visit if you want to sunbathe on the sand or go for a swim.
One of the big draws at Pink Beach is the coral reefs that lie off shore, so if you like snorkeling you can get out into the water and take in all the colorful marine life that swims in these waters.
Other activities at the beach include canoeing around the sheltered bay which is perfect for anyone looking for a little more adventure.
16. Explore Gili Layar
The Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok are getting more and more famous as a holiday destination in Indonesia, but these usually only include Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air.
Most of the time however people don’t visit, or even know about, Gili Layar which is also sometimes referred to by its nickname ‘The Secret Gili’. The island sits in the sea to the west of the three main Gili Islands and has a relaxed and laid back atmosphere that is ideal if you want to get off the grid and beat the crowds.
Locals will also tell you that some of the best snorkeling in Lombok is found off the coast of Gili Layar, so if you enjoy underwater scenery then this is a great place to find it.
17. Visit Semeti Beach
One of Lombok’s other famous beaches is Semeti Beach which is famous for is stunning volcanic formations.
The beach is covered in volcanic rocks which over time have been carved up by the waves making a series of small pools, bays, and inlets, as well as some pretty blow holes.
Despite its dramatic scenery, Semeti Beach is often not visited by travelers to Lombok, so this is one of the quieter and more secluded beaches which is a great place to explore if you like rock pools and climbing.
You can also go swimming here and admire the scenery from the vantage point of the water.
18. Trek to Benang Kelambu Waterfall
Benang Kelambu Waterfall stands at over 20 meters high and the water gushes over a tumbling cliff before crashing into a pool below.
The waterfall is also covered with gorgeous green plants and the scenery here is breathtaking, and you can get to the waterfall from neighboring Mataram, the capital city of Lombok which is around an hour away by car.
You can swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall and also get behind the curtain of water which leads to some great photo opportunities.
If you have had enough of checking out Lombok’s many beaches then this can offer a nice change of scenery.
19. Visit Sukarare Village
Many visitors to Lombok may not realize that this island has a thriving textile industry.
Many textiles made in Lombok are woven by hand and these include tenun ikat which is a kind of woven cloth made by men and tenun songket which is made by women and is usually inlaid with gold and silver thread.
One of the best places to check out Lombok’s weaving industry is at Sukarare Village which is located in the south of the island and you can join a traditional weaving workshop here and learn exactly how traditional pieces are made.
Needless to say you can also pick up a few pieces which make great souvenirs.
20. Go for a hike in Tanjung Ringgit
If you like hiking then make sure not to leave Tanjung Ringgit off the itinerary, as this is one of the best trekking spots on the island.
Located in the south of Lombok, Tanjung Ringgit is covered in lush fields and you can enjoy views that stretch all the way across the sea.
Of course you can also see Mount Rinjani towering in the background and as you trek along the coastline you may even be lucky enough to spot a turtle or two bobbing in the water.
As you make your way along the cliffs here, also make sure to look out for the abandoned gun emplacements and bunkers that date from the time of the Second World War and would have been built here by the Japanese.
21. Trek to Mangku Sakti Waterfall
Mangku Sakti Waterfall is one of the most impressive in Lombok and is actually a number of cataracts that join together to pour down into a scenic gorge.
The trek out to the waterfall is an experience in itself as you will have to walk along a series of small and winding pathways through the forest, but the scenery more than makes up for the hike.
One thing to note however is that unlike many of the other waterfalls in Lombok you will need to exercise caution if you want to swim in the pools here, as the water is fast moving, particularly when it is the rainy season.
22. Tour Beleq Village
Anyone who wants to learn more about traditional Sasak culture should take a trip to Beleq Village which is one of Lombok’s many indigenous local villages.
Beleq Village actually dates from the 14th century which means that it has a fascinating history, and you will find a range of traditional Sasak houses as well as a village hall and some typical Lombok-style gazebos called berugak.
One of the most interesting things about the village is that it hasn’t changed much over the years, although it is still a tourist village aimed at educating visitors about the traditional Sasak way of life.
23. Marvel at the waves at Tanjung Poki
Tanjung Poki is known for its gorgeous scenery and this is also where you will find one of the most amazing natural phenomena in Lombok.
The area is made up of rock formations and craggy scenery and the rocks have been carved away by the ocean leaving several large blow holes in place.
When the tide is high the water rushes in and creates huge eruptions of water through the holes, and while you should be careful not to get too close, this is also not to be missed as one of the most impressive natural spectacles in Indonesia.
24. Visit Gunung Tunak National Park
Gunng Tunak National Park is a great place to come in Lombok if you want to get some fantastic views of the local scenery and take in the beauty of the island.
The park has a number of trails including a three kilometer trek that will take you along the coastline to an old lighthouse that stands on the cliff side.
There is also a famous viewing platform in the park in the Taman Wisata Alam section which looks like a transmission tower, but you can climb the structure and see all the way across Lombok.
25. Camp at Lake Segara Anak
If you are going to trek up Mount Rinjani then one of the key places to stop along the way is Lake Segara Anak.
The lake is located insie the caledra at the summit of Rinjani and is surrounded by lush vegetation making it an experience not to be missed.
You can camp at the crater lake overnight and take in the beautiful turquoise waters in the day time followed by the spectacular stars over the rim as night falls.