Lombok, Indonesia

Located about 40km due east of Bali, Lombok may not have the pull of its superstar neighbour but the island can match it for both beauty and artistic heritage. Visually it’s stunning. Astonishing landscapes define the north of the island, including volcanic foothills. In the deep south is a staggering coastline of largely untouched surf beaches. Culturally, the Lombok Sasak people are predominately Islamic offering a very different experience for the visitor from Bali. Things are changing, too. Down south, around Kuta, new resorts with upscale hotels are cropping up. However, overall Lombok’s cultural character remains largely intact.

The best travel tips for visiting Lombok

Measuring 80km by 70km, Lombok is slightly smaller than Bali. The mountainous north is dominated by the bulk of the sacred volcano Gunung Rinjani, a popular trekking destination. At 3726m high, it is one of the highest peaks in Indonesia.

The main focus for tourists is Lombok's western coast. Here you’ll find Senggigi beach, a convenient hub, and the Gili islands to the northwest which attracts watersports enthusiasts.

In the last few years, interest the wild south coast has come into focus. Centred on the small but growing surfers’ beaches around Kuta, the area has taken off with independent travellers. Sekotong and the southwest peninsula, with its many enticingly tranquil white-sand islets known as the Southwest Gilis, are also increasingly popular.

Despite Lombok's many attractions, visitor numbers are dwarfed by those in Bali. As a result, it’s easy to find remote villages, unspoilt coastline and people still living traditional lives.


Snorkelling off of Lombok is one of the best things to do on the island © Manamana / Shutterstock

Best things to do in Lombok

From sky-piercing volcanos and thundering waterfalls to miles of untouched beaches, Lombok isn't short of things to do. Digging into its cultural side reaps plenty of rewards for travellers too. Between the pottery villages of Banyumulek and the multi-tiered shrine Pura Meru, cultural richness awaits.

#1 Snorkel in the southwest Gilis

Often called “The Secret Islands” because they remain relatively undiscovered, the southwest Gilis are an ideal getaway with good snorkelling from the beaches in crystal-clear waters and excellent diving. Many sites here are within a protected bay, meaning plenty of opportunities for all skill levels to see rare, undamaged coral reefs.

This area also rewards experienced divers with eagle rays, sharks and Napoleon wrasse. Gili Layar is ideal for snorkelling and also for macro-photographers; it’s frequented by turtles, has masses of fish and very good coral. At Gili Nanggu there’s very good snorkelling right from the beach. Gili Rengit (also spelled Ringgit) is good for novice divers and has a lovely beach. Medang beach, at the north end of the peninsula, has coral stairs and nudibranchs.

#2 Explore the beaches near Senggigi

The beaches of Lombok’s premier beach resort, Senggigi, may have been trumped by the idyll of the white-sand Gili Islands but with some of the islands best hotels and restaurants, there's still a real bustle about the place in high season. These days its the outer beaches at Batu Bolong (a 10min walk south) and Mangsit (about 3km north) which are genuinely appealing.

The coastline is indisputably handsome, its 10km series of sandy, swimmable bays curving deeply between a sequence of dramatic headlands.

Rough Guides tip: make sure to read our article about the best beaches on Lombok


Gunung Rinjani is Lombok's best hike © K_Boonnitrod / Shutterstock

#3 Summit Gunung Rinjani, Lombok's most rewarding hike

The best hike on Lombok is the climb up majestic, forested Gunung Rinjani (3726m), taking in the magnificent Danau Segara Anak crater lake. Both the most taxing and rewarding trek on the island, most climbs start from either Senaru or Sembalun Lawang, on the northern slopes.

Two new access points at Aik Berik, near Benang Stokel waterfall, and Timbanuh both on the southern slopes, don't just mean new routes up but also access to more upload villages too.

#4 Experience Sasak village life at Tetebatu

Scenically situated on the southern slopes of Gunung Rinjani, Tetebatu afford fine views of the mountain across terraced fields lush with rice in the rainy season and tobacco in the dry. At an altitude of about 600m, the area is cool but not cold and Tetebatu makes an excellent base from which to appreciate small-town life and explore the centre of the island. You can also arrange ascents of Rinjani here.

The other main local attraction is the trek through terraced ricefields to the local monkey forest and Jukut waterfall, where the water streams down a towering jungle-clad rock face into a pool 20m below.

Traditional Sasak village on Lombok, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Traditional Sasak village on Lombok, Indonesia © Shutterstock

#5 Savour the beaches along the south coast

Lombok's best beaches are on the south coast, west of Kuta. You’ll need your own transport to explore them, but now most blinding curves of white sand are quiet during the week. The south coast also has some world-class surfing at Selong Belanak, plus some stunning bays. Check out Mawun, a fabulous semicircular cover embraced by emerald headlands. It’s usually calm and great for swimming and snorkelling.

#6 Spend some days at the Gili Islands

A trip to the Gili Islands from Lombok is an absolute must for any traveller looking to experience the best of Indonesia's tropical paradise. These three tiny islands, located just a short boat ride away from Lombok, offer a glimpse into a world of unspoiled beauty and relaxation.

With crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life, pristine white sand beaches, and a laid-back island vibe, the Gili Islands are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you're looking to snorkel with sea turtles, sunbathe on a deserted beach, or simply relax with a cold drink in hand, the Gili Islands offer something for everyone. So don't miss the chance to experience this island paradise and all that it has to offer.

 Kasia Soszka/Shutterstock

Gili island Lombok, Indonesia © Shutterstock

#7 Spend a day discovering Pink Beach

This beach gets its name from the stunning pink sand. It is created by the natural mixing of white sand with crushed red coral. The crystal-clear water, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life make it an excellent spot for snorkelling and diving.

Pink Beach is also a great place to relax and soak up the sun while enjoying the beautiful scenery. With few tourists compared to other popular beaches in the area, Pink Beach offers a peaceful and quiet escape from the crowds.

Beach pink, Lombok  © Shutterstock

Beach pink, Lombok © Shutterstock

#8 Try Lombok cuisine

Lombok cuisine is known for its unique blend of spices, including turmeric, chili, and coriander. One of the must-try dishes is Ayam Taliwang, a spicy grilled chicken dish marinated in a mixture of garlic, chili, and other spices. Another popular dish is Bebalung, a spicy soup made with beef ribs and vegetables.

For seafood lovers, the local grilled fish and prawns served with spicy sambal sauce are not to be missed. Vegetarians will enjoy Nasi Balap Puyung, a traditional rice dish served with a variety of spicy vegetable curries.

Nasi Balap is a spicy Lombok culinary. Consisting of white rice with spicy shredded chicken, dry potatoes, and fried soybeans  © Shutterstock

Nasi Balap is a spicy Lombok culinary. Consisting of white rice with spicy shredded chicken, dry potatoes, and fried soybeans © Shutterstock

#9 Explore the many beautiful waterfalls

Lombok is home to a variety of stunning waterfalls, ranging from towering cascades to hidden gems tucked away in the jungle. Visitors can swim in the crystal-clear pools at the base of the falls or simply take in the breathtaking scenery.

You won't want to miss Tiu Kelep, Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu Waterfalls. A visit to these waterfalls is a memorable experience that should not be missed while on the Gili Islands.

Air Terjun Tiu Kelep waterfall near Rinjani, Senaru, Lombok, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Air Terjun Tiu Kelep waterfall near Rinjani, Senaru, Lombok, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Where to stay in Lombok

Compared to Bali there isn't as much choice of accommodation in Lombok, but there is still a good mixture of lumbung bungalows, homestays, business hotels and newer luxurious resorts.

The largest concentration of tourist facilities, including hotels, is found in West Lombok, which stretches from Sekotong and the southwest peninsula through Lembar port to Mataram, then north to Senggigi and its satellite beaches including the Gili Islands in the northwest.

West Lombok

Lombok’s busiest tourist spot, Senggigi, is a great place to stay. There are lots of options In the centre of town but outside July, August and the Christmas holidays you may find it’s just you here. Nearby Batu Bolong and Mangsit are great alternatives.

Further south on the peninsula, Batu Leong which has a number of good resorts. Pandanan and Pekongan offer some peace and quiet. Sekotong is a main town but it is still little visited, As such its accommodation is widely dispersed.

Lombok Senggigi Beach © Shutterstock

Lombok Senggigi Beach © Shutterstock

North Lombok

The focus of most visits to north Lombok is climbing the volcano Gunung Rinjani. There’s accommodation in the villages at the start of the mountain trails, as well as some luxurious hotels on the beautiful north-coast beaches.

East Lombok

With a sparse population and few facilities, east Lombok doesn’t entice many visitors, though those who visit will likely pass through Labuhan Lombok port. There are no recommendable places here, head north to Labuhan Pandan or onto Mataram or Tetebatu instead.

South Lombok

Interest in the utterly spectacular south coast of Lombok is starting to take off and the varied accommodation range is already ahead of the game. Kuta is the main tourist centre and Mandalika has a new modern resort.

Find all the best accommodation on Lombok.

    Best hotels in Lombok

  • Mama Bella’s Retreat, Senggigi A short walk from the centre, but a world away in ambience, this delightful garden hideaway has gorgeous, very well-presented a/c rooms with minibars, satellite TV and verandas that face a central pool. No children under 12.
  • Tugu Lombok, Sigar Penjalin An astonishing creation, this fantasy hotel with a towering temple-like restaurant fronts Pantai Sire and is the perfect romantic getaway. Its suites and rooms fuse colonial, village and Chinese aesthetics and there’s a huge infinity pool and vast grounds to explore.

Best restaurants and bars

Eating on Lombok is great. Central Senggigi has several good restaurants, but Batu Bolong, with its candlelit tables and flaming torches on the beach, is the most atmospheric place to eat after dark. Portions are large and prices are generally reasonable at Kuta’s restaurants, not least because of the surfers who return year after year.

The food stalls at the night markets are great for local cuisine - try the grilled sweetcorn on the headland just north of the Sheraton Senggigi. On Sundays, local warungs serve sate and seafood from the sea-view shacks along the beach at Karandangan.

Nightlife is less good. Across a lot of the island, it's either restaurants with live music or dodgy karaoke places catering to male domestic tourists or non-existent. Expats and locals in Kuta have a couple of better options, including cocktails.

    Best places to eat in Lombok

  • El Bazaar Café & Restaurant, Kuta El Bazaar offers excellent, healthy Middle Eastern food including tagines and kebabs as well as an outstanding meze platter which takes in pita bread, hummus, couscous, carrots with honey and mustard dressing, cumin potatoes in olive oil and baba ganoush.
  • Asmara Restaurant & Lounge, Senggigi This long-standing, family-friendly favourite serves good international and Indonesian dishes including steak (with blue cheese sauce), great Wiener schnitzel and good kids’ meals.
Air Terjun Tiu Kelep waterfall near Rinjani, Senaru, Lombok, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Air Terjun Tiu Kelep waterfall near Rinjani, Senaru, Lombok, Indonesia © Shutterstock

How to get here

Depending on where you want to go in Lombok, and how well you can cope with the rough seas, flying from Bali is often a much more comfortable option, at approximately the same price.

Arriving by plane

Lombok International Airport (LOP) is 35km southeast of Mataram, near Praya. At the moment it’s served by only two regular international flights: Singapore on Scoot and Kuala Lumpur on Indonesia Air Asia, but has domestic flights to nine Indonesian airports, including daily flights to Bali, with AirAsia, Lion Air, Garuda, Citilink and Wings Air.

Arriving by boat

There are five fast boats and a ferry connecting Bali with Lombok. The quickest is Amed to Bangsal (1.5hr). Others include: Padang Bai to Lembar (6hr) or Bangsal (2hr); Serangan to Teluk Nare (3hrs) or Bangsal (3hr); and Sanur to Senggigi (3 hr).

How many days do you need in Lombok?

Plan to spend at least four days in Lombok or up to a week if you want to go visit the Gili Islands too. With some superb beaches, Lombok’s main resort, Senggigi, is a great place to base yourself.

From here you'll need a day to soak up traditional village life at Tetebatu, on Gunung Rinjani’s southern slopes. Aim to climb the huge volcano the next day. It is possible to hike up Rinjani or its foothills as a day trip from Senggigi, too.

Day three head south to Kuta for some great beaches and nightlife. Then spend your final day exploring the bright-white sand beaches and world-class along the south coast.

Looking for inspiration for your trip? Talk to our Indonesian travel experts.

 Kasia Soszka/Shutterstock

Lombok has some amazing beaches © Kasia Soszka / Shutterstock

Tips for getting around

Navigating the island of Lombok is an adventure in and of itself, with a wide range of transportation options available to travellers. From motorbikes to taxis to horse-drawn carts, getting around Lombok can be an exciting and sometimes challenging experience.

These are your best options.

By bemo (minibus)

Bright-yellow city bemos ply numerous routes across the island. Either flag down or catch one at a bemo station. The number of bemos has declined in recent years and usually leave every hour or so, or when they are full.

By taxi

Blue Bird and white Express taxis are plentiful in bigger towns. They can be flagged down or booked ahead.

By bike or motorbike

Rental cars and motorbikes are widely available. Ask for references at your accommodation. Always pay the parking fee in towns, which offers some security. Consider taking a local guide with you as a driver or passenger, too.

By shuttle bus

In Kuta, Perama operates a shuttle service to the Gili Islands, Senggigi, Lembar and Mataram (minimum two people). Other travel agency bus transfers are widely advertised in Kuta.

On a tour

All agencies offer tours round Lombok – nearly everywhere on the island is accessible on a day-trip – but it’s more fun to design your own by hiring a car and driver.


Tropical lagoon with clear water and palm trees on a coast. Lombok island, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Lombok is April to September, though the tropical island has constant year-round temperatures of around 28°C.

Try to avoid the annual monsoon season (October to March), which gets very humid. Expect wind and rain, too – often as brief downpours. Do not climb Gunung Rinjani during the monsoon as paths can wash away.

As it's much quieter than Bali, booking accommodation months ahead usually isn't warranted. That said, peak season in Senggigi gets busy. Reserve hotels here in July, August, and over the Christmas period.

Find out more about the best time to visit Indonesia.

Plan your trip to Bali with the Rough Guide to Bali and Lombok.

Discover more places in Indonesia

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Ties Lagraauw

written by
Ties Lagraauw

updated 16.01.2024

Ties is a true world explorer - whether it be for work or leisure! As Content Manager at RoughGuides, and the owner of Dutch travel platform Reis-Expert.nl, Ties is constantly on the move, always looking for new destinations to discover.

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍