Lombok is a tropical paradise that will leave you revelling in the white sandy beaches and rugged natural landscape.
If this is your first time on the island, then arriving prepared will help you quickly integrate with the culture and plan for the many adventures ahead.
Here is everything you need to know and a first timer’s guide to Lombok, to get ready for the ultimate trip.
Getting there and transport
To reach Lombok, flights arrive and depart directly out of Lombok International Airport, making it easy to access from most destinations. If you are coming from Bali, choose between a fast boat, flight or public ferry.
Take note that when travelling through Lombok, public transport is limited and mostly based around the larger towns. On arrival, consider renting a car or scooter to move around the island quickly or arrange a driver instead. More about getting around Lombok can be found here.
Depending on the time of year you are visiting in, the weather is mostly tropical and warm. Lombok’s wet season runs from October to April, and the dry season falls from May to September. Pack clothing for a hot and humid climate along with adequate sun protection. Being surrounded by sparkling ocean, you will not want to forget your swimmers and beachwear too. However, be mindful that wearing swimmers should be limited to the beach only, and once you return to town, be sure to get dresses again to respect the island’s religious beliefs. As a backup, pack a sarong or buy one in Indonesia, which is a quick way to cover up after the beach when necessary.
Currency and care
Throughout Lombok, Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) currency is used. Cash is still the preferred payment method and sometimes the only accepted option. However, in the larger establishments, payments by card will be accepted.
Medical, personal care and feminine hygiene necessities may be hard to find in smaller towns so be sure to pack ample supplies, so you do not get caught out.
Culture and religion
People living in Lombok are predominantly Muslim, and the island’s faith is present throughout. The incredible mosques are open to visit and cultural practices are integrated across the island. When visiting mosques, pay attention to dress codes that apply. In Lombok, more than 85% of the population are Sasak, which is the island’s indigenous tribe. Many cultural rituals and practices are still followed, and the community is still heavily involved in traditions.
Adventures and attractions
During your holiday to Lombok, plan your journey to explore the incredible landscape concentrated around the great Mount Rinjani. As Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, it is quite a spectacle standing 3,726 metres above sea level. If you are planning to hike to the summit, then pack accordingly and do your research. Book your journey with an experienced guide, and get ready for the challenge.
If you are not ready to commit to a three-day hike and camping trip, instead opt for a day trip to the surrounding Mount Rinjani National Park, which is another excellent region to explore. The fertile, volcanic soil surrounding the mountain creates the ideal landscape for lush wildlife, sparkling waterfalls and incredible farming.
Just like Bali, Lombok has its very own monkey forest and lookouts over the rice fields. The Pusuk Monkey Forest will take you on a trip through the stunning landscape to the wild monkeys within the forest area. Often travellers on their journey to the waterfalls – Sendang Gila and Tiu Teja pass through the forest along the way. Take a walk through the woods to see the monkeys in their natural habitat, but make sure you don’t bring any food with you, as monkeys are confident thieves.
To experience a view of stunning rice fields, visit Tetebatu Rice Terrace or Bukit Selong Rice Fields Viewpoint. Both provide exquisite views of the surrounding landscape and are best to explore at sunrise when the light is more diffused, and the sun isn’t too hot.
Lombok has a unique Pink Beach worth visiting during your time on the island. The sand has been tinted pink from the coral on the beach and in the water. Arrive at sunrise or sunset when the colours are most vivid. This area is still tranquil and hasn’t been overrun by tourism, which makes it an incredible day trip. Pack some lunch and a bottle of water, so that you can spend the day relaxing by the sea.
Accommodation and places to stay in Lombok
In the north, Senggigi began as one of Lombok’s first tourist destinations. In contrast to the other regions on the island, it is very developed and built up. Filled with bars, restaurants and hotels, Senggigi provides an incredible vantage point of the sunset for you to spend your days relaxing with a cocktail in hand as the sun goes down. For travellers wanting to visit the Gili Islands, the town is often a popular place to stop for a couple of days, being close to the port.
Another top-rated destination for travellers is Kuta, in the south, which sits overlooking the Indian Ocean. Kuta is a quiet retreat filled with locals, surfers and now many new hotels too; which are popping up along the coastline. Surrounded by stunning beaches, Kuta is the ultimate base to explore the diverse landscape. It is a popular pick by surfers, due to the incredible swell all year round. Along the south coast, accommodation options are available from luxury to low budget and all else in between, making it suitable for most travellers.
While Lombok’s capital, Mataram, provides more of a city feel, home to shopping centres, restaurants and temples. Throughout the city, little pieces of history can be seen in the architecture and historical landmarks.
Of course, while you are in Lombok, you could not pass by the opportunity to visit the idyllic Gili Islands. These three islands are set off the northwest coast of Lombok. Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan and Gili Air provide a choice of holiday styles; from a quiet island retreat to a hub of nightlife and entertainment to enjoy. Take the fast boat across and stay for a couple of nights to experience these tiny, but gorgeous islands.
Whether you’re staying for a couple of days, or a few weeks, Lombok provides a choice of adventures and holiday styles to suit. During your vacation, explore Lombok’s diverse landscape; plan your hike up Mount Rinjani or spend your days by the beach on the Gili Islands. However you choose to relax, Lombok is island-lover’s dream.