Lombok may not be as famous nor as trafficked as its popular neighbour Bali, which only adds to its appeal. This island attracts scuba divers, trekkers, surfers, families, and couples looking for an adventurous yet romantic retreat.
Known to many as Land of 1000 Mosques, the local Sasak people of Lombok have also maintained their rich history and culture of craftsmanship, religion, and language — all of which Sasak Indonesians are eager to share with you.
Here is the complete guide to Lombok, covering accommodation, budget, transport, the best things to do, the best places to visit, and more.
When to visit Lombok
Lombok is a tropical island with two main seasons, dry and wet. May to October is Lombok’s dry season, and July-August is when crowds pour in and prices go up. Visit in either early June or during the month of September for great weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds.
Tip: Enjoy a saving of $42 (6% cheaper than the average price paid over the year) if you book your flights 12 weeks in advance).
How to get to and around Lombok
Fly: Regular flights arrive at Lombok International Airport in Praya. Flights from Bali take ~30 minutes.
Public Ferry: The cheapest option, the public ferry takes 4-5 hours to transfer between Bali and Lombok. Note that the ferry also often has major delays. The public ferry services Padang Bai Harbour in Bali and arrives at Lembar Harbour in Lombok. Price: 40,000 Rp per person.
Fast boat: There are a variety of fast boat options that service the Gili Islands, Lombok main island, Nusa Lembongan, and Bali. Most companies include local pick-up and drop off and a bottle of water during the ride. Price: 400,000-800,000 Rp+ per person.
Avoid booking a flight the same day that you take a ferry or boat between Bali and Lombok. Due to unpredictable ocean conditions, fast boats and ferries are often canceled without warning for safety reasons.
Something to keep in mind about Lombok is that nearly everything is negotiable except for set restaurant menus. Accommodation, motorbike rentals, transport services, and even physical items are often advertised at inflated prices. Bartering is expected.
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (Rp)
Accommodation: 150,000 Rp+ per night (including breakfast).
Food: 50,000 Rp+ per day.
Transport: 20,000 – 50,000 Rp for local journeys. 100,000 Rp + for journeys over one hour.
Motorbike rental: 50,000 – 75,000 Rp per day.
Travellers on a budget can easily get by on 250,000 Rp per day, not including long-distance transport or guided activities.
Accommodation (usually includes breakfast):
Prices are often negotiable and travellers can often get a discount by staying at the same place for more than three nights.
Homestays tend to be better value than hotels. At the moment, many foreign investors are buying property in Lombok with the intent of building hotels. To support the citizens of Lombok, opt for locally owned and operated hotels and homestays over commercial ones.
Best places to go in Lombok
Kuta: For adventure addicts and surfers
Kuta, unlike Bali’s namesake, is a mellow town that’s the main hub for surfers, motorbike riders, and beach lovers who come to experience Lombok to its fullest potential. Stay in a thatched roof bungalow and enjoy days spent exploring the nearby beaches. My personal favorite stop in Lombok, I was one of many who intended to visit for just a few days but ended up staying for weeks.
Best beaches around Kuta: Couples and beginner surfers will enjoy the lively white sand beach of Selong Blanak. Tanjung Aan is a turquoise bay where you can grab a cold drink at Warung Turtle and climb up to Sunset Point when the time calls for it. A long and windy motorbike ride is worth the effort for the beaches of Mawi, Ekas, and Mawun. For the best overall surf experience, head to Gerupuk, where you can charter a fishing boat and get lessons from a local friendly surf instructor.
Where to stay in Kuta, Lombok
Gecko Eat & Sleep: A favorite for solo travellers due to its incredible location, 24-hour security, and friendly staff. Request a cozy rooftop room that offers a panoramic view of the whole town and ocean. Price: 150,000 Rp per night (available for negotiation down from 200,000 Rp per night).
Gecko Eat & Sleep Jl. Pariwisata Pantai Kuta, 83573 Kuta Lombok, Indonesia
Bombora Bungalows: Cute thatched roof bungalows around a pool, located in the middle of Kuta. Price: 400,000 Rp + per night.
Bombora Bungalows Jalan Raya Pantai Kuta, 83573 Kuta Lombok, Indonesia
Lara Homestay: Tucked away from the main-street, Lara Homestay is a boutique and comfortable place for every type of traveller. Price 200,000 Rp+ per night.
Lara Homestay Jalan Raya Pantai Kuta, 83573 Kuta Lombok, Indonesia
Surfing in Kuta, Lombok
There are a multitude of surf breaks available for all levels of surfers. Many require a fishing boat to access (such as Ekas or the bay of Gerupuk). The main breaks, especially in high season, can be extremely crowded and tend to be a hit-or-miss. Go at sunrise for an amazing experience.
Photo by Ben Gollow
How to access off-shore breaks: Charter a fishing boat in Gerupuk from Hassan, who drives a red boat called ‘Perigi.’ Price: 50,000 Rp per person, or 130,000 Rp if chartering alone. He also offers surf lessons. The locals of Gerupuk have standardized their prices and generally will not go lower than 50,000 per person no matter how large your group is.
Join a surf camp: Led by local surfer Ozzy, Nalua Surf offers surf lessons and surf camp packages that are fun, safe, and tailored for your abilities.
Nalua Surf Jl. Raya Kuta Kuta, Lombok +62(0)819 079 69162
Mt. Rinjani: For trekking, incredible views, and camping
In the middle of Lombok is Mt. Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Travellers can embark on a multi-day trek to reach its summit and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience of camping in the Indonesian wilderness.
As trekking alone on Mt. Rinjani is illegal, you will need to hire a guide and porters for your trip. Note that you get what you pay for when it comes to choosing a trekking company. Cheaper companies tend to come with thinner mattresses, large tour groups, bland meals, and are not as eco-friendly as their higher priced counter parts. Hikers complete the entire route in three grueling days, or opt for a more relaxing five day hike.
Recommended trekking company: Green Rinjani, an environmentally conscious trekking company who is very attentive to their guests. Green Rinjani offers thick mattresses, delicious hot food for every meal, and a low guide-to-trekker ratio. Price include transport to Senaru and one night of accommodation prior to the trek.
Green Rinjani Jl. Parawisata Senaru, Bayan Lombok Utara, 83354 Senaru, Indonesia
Senaru: Home base for most trekking companies. Those who stay behind can check out the incredible waterfalls of Air Terjun Sindang Gila and Air Terjun Sindang Gila with a guide. Beware of the monkeys!
Senaru Accommodation: Pondok Senaru offers cute bungalows, lush views of the valley, and is walking distance to nearby waterfalls. Choose between rooms with a simple fan or more luxurious stays with hot water and air conditioning.
Pondok Senaru Jl. Pariwisata, 80335 Senaru, Indonesia
Senggigi: For families and those looking for a low-key resort getaway
Senggigi is Lombok’s leading tourist town, with resorts, restaurants, and shops stretched along its white sand beaches. Like everywhere in Lombok, you can find paradise at an affordable price. Spend your days relaxing on the beach with a good book in hand or take time to walk along the coast in search of your favorite patch of sand. When done relaxing, book a scuba dive or snorkel on the north side of Senggigi, in front of the Windy Cottages.
Recommended dive school: Scuba Froggy is an upbeat and reputable PADI dive school offering everything from fun dives to certifications. Dives generally head to the reefs surrounding the Gili Islands, known for hosting multicolored corals, sea turtles, the occasional manta, and other marine life.
Where to stay in Senggigi
Quinci Villas & Hotel: Likely the most luxurious accommodation in the area, Quinci Villas has an array of rooms, villas, gourmet dining options, and spa treatments for the upscale traveller. Rooms go for 2,000,000 Rp+ per night.
Quinci Villas & Hotel Jalan Raya Mangsit Senggigi Lombok
Alam Mimpi Boutique Hotel: Tucked away from the main drag, Alam Mimpi is a cute, clean, and affortable boutique hotel offering great value.
Alam Mimpi Boutique Hotel Jln. Raya Senggigi, Kampong Duduk, Vincent Gogh, 83355 Senggigi
The Gili Islands: Three little doses of paradise
The Gili Islands are three islands off of the coast of the main island of Lombok that attract scuba divers, freedivers, honeymooners, partiers, and people looking to get away from the chaos of typical Southeast Asia (no dogs or vehicles are allowed on the islands).
Gili Trawangan: The largest and most popular of the Gili Islands by a long shot. Gili Trawangan attracts a crowd who scuba dives during the day and parties through the night. Choose between sleeping at popular dive schools, homestays, or top-notch hotels. Order a fresh seafood feast or hot plate of noodles at the island’s night market, a cheap and delicious event.
Recommended dive school: Blue Marlin, the first dive school on the island, is a reputable PADI dive center offering courses and fun dives around the entire Gili Island area.
Gili Meno: The smallest on the island chain, Gili Meno is a far cry from its rowdy neighbor of Gili Trawangan and is where you want to go if you truly want to pretend you’ve been stranded on an island all by yourself. Restaurants and accommodation are spread out and most beaches are left untouched.
Gili Air: Donning the best beaches of the three islands, Gili Air is a mellow getaway with prime snorkeling and holds tight to its local roots.
Go with an open mind
Don’t expect Lombok to be a replica of Bali, or anywhere else in the world. As Lombok is relatively new on the tourist scene, most of the island can still only be described as rugged. Venture to Lombok with a sense of adventure, an open mind, and no expectations, and you’re sure to have an incredible time.
Ready to see Lombok for yourself? Skyscanner Australia can help you hire a car, book a flight, and find the perfect place to stay.