Lombok – The Ultimate Guide

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Lombok is known as the unspoiled sister of Bali. Not very well known except to avid travelers, it is definitely one of the best places to visit in Indonesia. The fact that it’s right next to Bali and thus easily accessible by plane, ferry or boat makes it a destination you must check out. Here’s our guide to Lombok. We hope to collect all the best places in Lombok in one place and hopefully inspire travelers to add this beautiful island to their bucket list.

Waterfalls

Tiu Kelep and Sendang Gile

The Tiu Kelep and Sendang Gile waterfalls are located at the foothills of Mount Rinjani near the village Senaru. Boasting a height of 30m, Tiu Kelep is the tallest waterfall in Lombok.

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Due to its proximity to Senaru (one of the starting point of trekking Rinjani), the waterfalls are quite popular among the trekkers of Mount Rinjani, who visits it before or after their trek. The waterfall area is very close to the Senaru village. If going from Mataram, it is about a 2.5 hours drive.

The Tiu Kelep and the Sendang Gile waterfalls require a small entrance fee. From the entrance to the waterfall area the Sendang Gile is only 15-20 minutes of comfortable walk. The Tiu Kelep waterfall takes 40-60 minutes of walk through jungles and the path can be steep and slippery.     

Penimbungan Waterfall

This stunning 75m waterfall is not easy to reach. It is located 2 hours along the way of trekking Mount Rinjani through Torean. The Torean route is less popular than the more popular routes (from Senaru and Sembalun, see section Trekking), and is commonly used by locals and pilgrims heading for the Segara Anak lake.

For those who are not trekking Rinjani from Torean, the journey from Mataram can take 5-7 hours. The route is Mataram to Pasar Anyar (3-4 hours), to Torean village (1 hour). From there, the waterfall can be reached by hiking for 2 hours.

Mangku Kodeq Waterfall

Mangku Kodek is a small but unique waterfall in the Sembalun district of Lombok. It requires treading through about 100m of waist high water in the river where the footing is uneven and slippery. So, this is only recommended for the adventurous.

The waterfall can be reached from Sembalun village by a 30 minute motorcycle ride. From the parking area, it is about a 20 minute walk followed by the wading through water. The Sembalun village itself is about a 3 hours drive from Mataram.

Trekking

Rinjani

If you are up for a challenging trek, Mount Rinjani is probably the best trek in Indonesia. Sure, Mount Bromo is the most popular and Mount Ijien has the mysterious blue flames, but Rinjani, standing at 3726m and claiming the title of the second highest peak in Indonesia, can give you the taste of a proper multi-day trek.

The duration of the trek can range from 2-5 days, although the 3 day tour is the most popular and sufficient for most people. Most people opt for a guide and porters for the trek, needing to carry only a small backpack with them. The guide and the porters take care of carrying and setting up tents and preparing food. Although only recommended for experienced trekkers, it is also possible to do the trek alone since the track is easy to find and there is plenty of fellow trekkers.

There are plenty of trekking companies available offering tours. Most of them include transportation from your accommodation and arrange to pick you up from Senggigi, Mataram or even Gili islands. The services of the companies varies quite a lot – from professional to bare minimum. So, if you want good service you should book one of the companies listed in Wikitravel or reviewed in these blogs – theyoganomads and bucketlistly. On the other hand, for the cheapest options it’s best to arrive in Lombok and book a trip 1-2 days before from the local shops. However, in these cases you should ensure that you are well prepared and double check that any equipment/gear you requested are indeed taken by your guide.

Day 1: There are two common routes for the trek – The Senaru route and the Sembalun route. The Senaru route to the crater rim is relatively easier and thus more popular. The trek starts from the Senaru village at 600m and it takes 6 hours to reach the crater rim. The Sembalun route starts at 1100m, but takes 8 hours to reach the crater lake.

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Both routes offer some stunning views along the way especially when the weather is clear. The camp is on reaching the crater rim overlooking the lake. If you hiking with a company, the porters usually go ahead and set up the tents beforehand, so that you can settle in and enjoy the sunset.

Day 2: People doing a 3 day trek go down to the the crater lake on the second day. One of the major attractions of the day is soaking in the natural hot springs along the way. The day ends by ascending the other crater rim and camping overnight.

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Those who are doing a 2-day trek usually makes their way back to the village they started from.

Day 3: The trekkers usually make their way back at a leisurely manner. However, as with any significant treks, the descent should not be underestimated especially if it rains.

Summit: The summit climb is done from the Sembalun Crater rim and thus it can be either on the first night or the second depending on the starting point of the trek. The climb is started in the middle of the night (at 2/3 am in the morning) in order to be able to see sunrise from the summit. A word of caution however, this part of the climb usually takes longer than the said 4 hours and so you should start early to give yourself enough time to reach the top before sunrise.

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The summit climb is by far the hardest part of the Rinjani trek and more than a few opt to skip it altogether or give up halfway. It is steep and the footing is treacherous due to the loose volcanic ash. The footing only gets worse the closer you get to the top. However, the stunning views one gets along the way, even without reaching the summit, makes it worthwhile to attempt the trek.

Beaches

The Gili Islands

The Gili islands are Lombok’s most popular tourist destination. So much so that a lot of travellers from Bali visit Gili islands even if they don’t set foot on mainland Lombok. The islands are laid back (some more than others), and are full of lovely beaches and beachside cafes and restaurants. The serenity is completed by the fact that the islands have no cars or motorbikes.

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The Gili islands consist of three islands – Gili Trawangan (more commonly referred to as Gili T), Gili Air and Gili Meno. Gili Trawangan is the most visited of the three and is known as the party island, although its west side is relatively quite. It also has the most options in terms of accommodation choices. Gili Meno is the most laid back of the three, with the best beaches and an atmosphere for couples and honeymoon. Gili Air is a mixture of the two, with a good range of facilities but having the same laid back vibe as Gili Meno. Check out this article to get a comparison of the 3 islands. 

The Gili islands can be reached by boat from Senggigi and Bangsal harbour of Lombok or directly from Bali.   

The beaches in Gili islands are also an excellent place to enjoy some stunning sunrise and sunsets.

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Tanjung Aan

The Tanjung Aan is one of the most well known beaches in the South Lombok. It is 5km east of Kuta but the road is not in great condition. There are several entrances, some of which requires a small parking fee. There is not a lot of development around this area. For food, drinks and sun loungers, head to Warung Turtle.

If you are visiting from Kuta it is recommended to have a local with you or return before sunset for safety reasons.

Mawun

Mawun beach is about 30 minutes drive from Kuta. Its part of a horseshoe bay with hills on the east and the west side. The calm waters make this beach perfect for swimming, especially at the two sides of the bay. A good place to try out local food and baby pineapple. Also, climb the hills on the two sides to enjoy some breathtaking views.

If you are visiting from Kuta it is recommended to have a local with you or return before sunset for safety reasons.

To see more of Tanjung Aan beach and Mawun beach, check this link. 

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Mawi

An advanced spot for surfers, Mawi is definitely one of the top beaches in Lombok. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that its Mawi has nothing to offer to non-surfers. In fact, watching pro surfers catch a wave is a bonus to the pristine white sandy beach. Mawi is 45 min drive away from Kuta.

Seger

While the beach itself is quite decent, the reason Seger has made our list is the stunning views from the numerous cliffs. The climbs are short but can be tricky for some people but definitely worth it.

If you are visiting from Kuta it is recommended to have a local with you or return before sunset for safety reasons.

Surfing 

Surfing is one of the major attractions for many visiting Lombok. Strictly speaking, the waves are somewhat inferior to those in Bali and Sumbawa, but the lack of crowd and the great scenery makes it popular as a surfing destination. Like Bali, Lombok caters to surfers of different experience – from advanced surfers to those who wants to try surfing for the first time. There are plenty of surf instructors available and the price for surf lessons are very reasonable.

Here we will show you some of the most popular spots. Most of the spots are in the south of Lombok. Most surfers stay in or around Kuta and visit the surf spots from here.

Selong Blanak (Beginner)

About 40 minutes of scenic drive from Kuta, Selong Blanak is the spot for you if you are surfing for the first time. The beach, with its white sands and  turquoise water, is worth a visit by itself. The sloping sandy bottom and the small waves makes it very suitable for first-timers and beginners.

Gerupuk Bay (All Levels)

About 7km east from Kuta, the Gerupuk Bay actually consist of 5 different spots, Gerupuk Inside, Kids Point, Don Don, Outside right, and Outside left. The different spots are suitable at different tides and season, so you can always get a wave at Gerupuk. All the spots need a boat to reach, and boats and surf instructors are available easily.

Here’s a good place to check out the spots. 

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Ekas Bay (All Levels)

Surrounded by cliffs on both sides, Ekas Bay is just east of Gerupuk Bay, taking about 45 min from Gerupuk to the Awang village. It is also possible to take a boat from Gerupuk. Ekas Bay offer long rides in a stunning setting. There are two spots in Ekas Bay – Ekas Inside and Ekas Outside.

Mawi (Expert)

Mawi is probably one of the best beaches in Lombok and a great spot for intermediate to advanced surfers. It is a 45 min drive from Kuta.

The 8-10ft waves, along with very strong currents in the channel and a nasty sharp reef mean that it is not suitable for the less experienced.

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 Bangko Bangko/Desert Point (Expert)

Among the surf spots in Lombok, Desert Point is the exception. It was elected Best Wave in the World by Tracks magazine’s readers with 10 second tubes being common. That means it is also the only spot in Lombok where crowd is a problem.

The waves are most consistent from May to October but it can go weeks without waves since a low tide, a south-east wind and big swell is required.

 

Have we missed something? Let us know if you have a suggestion of a place you have visited in Lombok!

6 Responses

  1. Interesting concept to select bloggers or posters who have written detailed posts on specific locations. The photos are all beautiful, and it’s a great way to view things from a variety of eyes!

    • Travscapade

      Thanks a lot for the encouragement. Check out our app – Travscapade – which helps people find awe-inspiring destinations personalized to their likes.

  2. That is some amazing scenery – and photography.

  3. Love all the information that you provide in this post. I would love to get back to the area and this looks like the perfect place/area to explore. Beautiful pictures, my absolute favorite is the surfing picture in Mawi!

  4. Lombok looks like a beautiful place! I have not been to Indonesia yet but I’ll make sure to visit Lombok when I do.

  5. Always love a good guide and this one of Lombok is truly inspiring.

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