Things To Do In Lombok; The Perfect Lombok Itinerary (3-5 Days)
Lombok is an island paradise right next door to Bali. Unlike a Bali itinerary though, Lombok is much more serene and far less developed. It has picturesque, unspoiled beaches and awe-inspiring, towering mountains. Up until recently, Lombok wasn’t really on the travel radar with Bali still the place to go for some travel fun. Now, more people, and especially the more adventurous type of traveller are contemplating Lombok as an alternative. For many, it will remind them of how Bali was before developers had a greater influence. And with so many things to do in Lombok, at a fraction of the Bali prices, it’s the next big thing in Indonesia!
The highlight of all the things to see and do in Lombok for me? Trekking Mount Rinjani, Lombok’s active volcano and highest peak. All 3,726 metre (12,224ft) of it. It’s breathtaking.
Before I tell you about the perfect Lombok itinerary, and all the things to do in Lombok, let me first give you some facts about Lombok that will give you an understanding of what to expect once you are there.
Lombok is roughly the same size as Bali, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) across with a total area of about 4,514 square kilometres (1,743 square miles). The capital and largest city on Lombok is Mataram, home to a population of around 420,000 (but it’s really nothign special, I avoid it when I’m in Lombok). The money used on Lombok is the Indonesian Rupiah. If you are looking to change dollars, Euros or GBP for Rupiah, there are plenty of exchange shops around the Senggigi tourist resort area. The exchange rates offered in Lombok are actually quite competitive.
Contrasting with Bali, where the majority of the population are Hindu’s, here in Lombok, they are Muslim and have a strong adherence to cultural rituals. Although, Alcohol still flows pretty freely (thankfully!). Generally speaking, most people on Lombok either speak or understand the national language of Bahasa Indonesia, but English is also widely spoken.
When is the best time to visit Lombok?
Lombok has a year-round warm and humid tropical climate. Temperatures range from 21 Celsius to 32 Celsius.
Like most tropical locations, Lombok has a wet season that runs from November to March, so if possible avoid that. If you’re in Indonesia during the wet season though, I’d still come to Lombok, no big deal. Unlike Bali, Lombok seems to dodge the major storms and only gets sporadic showers. If you plan on hiking Mount Rinjani, the suggested ideal time period to do so is between the middle of June and October. You can read about my friends and I trekking Mount Rinjani, and how you can do it too, here.
How to get to Lombok?
You have two choices, by boat from Bali, or by plane.
The easiest way to get to Lombok is to fly from Bali (for as little as $10 or so!). Most people fly from Bali to Lombok, but you can also fly straight to Lombok from Tokyo and Singapore.
Bali to Lombok Ferry: You can catch the public ferry across the Lombok Strait from Padang Bai Ferry Terminal in East Bali to Lembar Ferry Terminal in Lombok. Ferries leave every hour, 24 hours a day. The journey is 4 hours or so. Price wise, though, you can’t beat it, with a one-way fare available for around $4 dollars. The fast baot from Pedang Pai to Sengiggi (Lombok) costs $20, and takes 30 minutes. Once a day at 9am.
Lombok Packing List
Think of Lombok like you would the Caribbean, so pack for summer (with a chance of tropical rain!). Light cotton clothes and sandals are perfect for Lombok, as are clothes that dry quickly after a shower, especially if you’re visiting in the rainy season. As Lombok is not as commercialized as other islands, you likely won’t find what you’re used to back home here in most shops. Therefore you may want to bring your own specific toiletries.
Where to stay in Lombok?
If you’re heading to Lombok as a traveller, or a surfer, you will want to stay in the backpacker area of Kuta (not to be confused with Bali’s crazy, party area in Kuta) or in Senggigi, another traveler hotspot . Lombok’s Kuta is only 30 minutes from Lombok airport and has some of the most spectacular beaches that you will find here.
Getting Around Lombok?
If you want to get out and explore, your best option is to rent a car or scooter. Public transport and buses are pretty rare in Lombok. You can either base yourself in Kuta and book each tour you want, they’ll include pick-up and drop-off normally. Or as I mention, get yourself a scooter and be free!
Do I need a visa to visit Lombok?
Yes, you need a visa for Indonesia. But most 99% of tourists get a visa-on-arrival so you don’t have to do anything, just arrive in the airport. Pay $35 when you first arrive in Indonesia at your place of entry. The visa is valid for 30 days for tourism, family visitation, and other purposes.
Helpful Indonesian phrases
The locals adore that you try to communicate in their mother tongue!
- Selamat Pagi: Good morning
- Apa Kabar?: How are you? – Kabar Baik: I’m good
- Selamat Siang: Good afternoon
- Terima Kasih: Thank you
- Selamat sore: Good evening
- Sama Sama: You are welcome
- Selamat Malam: Good night
- Yes/No: Ia/ Tidak
Things to do in Lombok
Before we go into the specific Lombok Itinerary, let me list all the things to see and do in Lombok that you can tick off, one by one, when you arrive in paradise!
Multi-day trip to the Gili Islands (Gilli Trawangan is the party one)
Trekking Mount Rinjani
Beach hop (don’t miss Mawun Beach & Selong Belanak)
Tiu Kelep Watefall (THE BEST ONE!)
Sindang Gila Waterfall
Betara Lenjang Waterfall
Benang Stokel & Kelambu waterfalls
If you do your waterfall hunting, a spot of cycling, a couple of surfing lessons, and a day or two on the beaches, followed by trekking Mount Rinjani, that means you probably need at least a week in Lombok to soak it up. This place is slow paced, so no need to rush. You could easily spend more time here and not be rushing around. That being said, if you only have 5 days in Lombok, here’s how I would form my Lombok Itinerary.
When you arrive in Lombok from Bali, take a taxi to the surfing Mecca of Kuta. (Not to be confused with Kuta on Bali as this place is much more laid-back.) At the airport, there is a desk where you can buy a voucher for the taxi ride to Kuta, or you can go outside and arrange it yourself among the keen local taxi drivers. I paid just 70,000IDR, about $5.00 to get from Lombok Airport to Kuta and the ride only took me about 25 minutes.
Sleep in Kuta.
Day 1: Surfing in Kuta
When you wake up in Kuta, whether you intend to surf or not, you’ll notice straight away that Kuta is on the map for its very attractive beaches. The beach boys there can sort out surf lessons, and surfboard rental for $10 or so. So settle in. The waves in Kuta are great for beginners, so enjoy.
Sleep in Kuta.
Day 2: The beaches of Senggigi
Your body might be aching from the surf lessons, or maybe it’s the Bintangs from the evening? Anyway, I decided to head on up to Lombok’s main tourist area of Senggigi. It’s a great hop-off point for half-day excursions, or you can wile away the day at both Senggigi Beach and Kerangdangan beach.
Here you will find plenty of western style restaurants and places selling fresh food for lunch. In the island’s native Sasak language, Lombok translated means chilli. When you sample some of the local cuisine made with mouthwatering fresh ingredients you will find out why; you’ll usually be offered something called sambal. This is a rich, spicy sauce made from local chilli peppers grown in the countryside of Lombok.
Sleep in Senggigi.
Day 3: Snorkel Trip to the Gilis
If you don’t have time to visit the Gili ISlands for 3 or 4 nights after Lombok, then try to squeeze in a snorkel trip to them on one of your Lombok Itinerary days. Although I really recommend you go and spend a couple of nights on Gili T at least. The most beautiflu water in all of Indonesia. The Gili Islands are a group of three small islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air located just off the northwest coast of Lombok. Famous for their unspoiled palm-fringed beaches, the Gili’s are surrounded by coral reefs just teeming with fluorescent fish and marine life. You can book day-trips snorkelling here from either Sengigi or Kuta.
There aren’t too many places in the world where you can swim with turtles, which for me made the Gili Islands the highlight of my trip.
Sleep in Senggigi.
Day 4: Waterfall Hunting
The village of Senaru is at an altitude of 600 metres, so it’s a little cooler than down on the coast and has some excellent walks that include a couple of amazing waterfalls. While it is possible to visit the waterfalls on your own, I found it easier to hire a guide. Firstly, this gave me someone to answer my questions, while at the same time stopping people from asking me if I needed a guide. The scenery around Senaru is spectacular, so you will have no end of ‘national geographic quality’ photographs to share. There are a lot of waterfalls dotted around Lombok, so make sure you find the right guide!
Sleep in Senggigi.
Now it’s up to you how hardcore you are! I recommend booking a Mount Rinjani trek from here. But if not, then go and chill on the Gili Islands, head back to Kuta or stya in Senggigi and mingle with the other travels. Lombok is nothing but chill vibes, so try to schedule some time to do nothing!
Sleep on Mount Rinjani!
Final Tips For Things to do in Lombok
- Try to base yourself in both Senggig and Kuta. It makes the drives on your day-trips less time-consuming.
- Try to factor in time to visit the Gili Islands after your Lombok adventure, they’re gorgeous
- Don’t expect beach clubs, and banging night clubs like Bali. Lombok is much quieter.
- Learn to ride a scooter, Lombok is the perfect place to get your head around driving on tropical islands!
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