Lombok might be the lesser-known sister of Bali, but really, it’s a destination with a charm of its own! Let this be your guide in discovering the best of Lombok.
1. Waking up by a crater lake
Credit: Most Beautiful Scenery
The mighty Rinjani is on many hikers’ bucketlist… for all the good reasons! There are multiple trails to choose from, varying from 3 to 4 days, depending on your fitness and the time that you have. Hikers will camp overnight at the Segara Anak lake, so you can expect to wake up to an amazing view.
Credit: Trekking Rinjani
The Segara Anak, meaning “child of the sea”, gets its name from the blue tinge of the water – similar to that of the ocean. If you have the chance, ask your guide about the story of the goddess Anjani!
2. Shoot the Milky Way
Credit: @hannanroshdy on Instagram
Craving to capture the centre of the galaxy or star trails? Being the 3rd highest mountain in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani is a popular spot, given its location and minimal light pollution. Be sure to have a steady tripod, warm clothing, a headlamp, and good company to stay up with you!
Even if you’re not into astrophotography, a sky full of stars is a breathtaking sight – so take the opportunity to say mashaAllah!
#HHWT Tip: Plan your trip when the moon is reaching its new phase and avoid the rainy season. Best time to hike Mount Rinjani is around April to December.
3. Swim with turtles
But not too close! Your guides will usually bring you to the ‘hotspots’ located on the three islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. The turtles might be the stars of the show, but there are also a lot of pretty tropical fish and corals to spot while you snorkel. There are turtle conservation projects running in Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno that you can visit for an educational experience.
#HHWT Tip: Take great care of the environment you’re in and follow proper swimming and diving etiquette!
4. Experience Bau Nyale
Credit: Word In The Woods
Every February or March, visitors and locals both congregate to South Lombok for this one of a kind festival. It essentially means, “to catch seaworms” in the Sasak language. A beauty pageant and theatrical performances including dancing, and music are held on the beach, and precede the night’s main event: catching the Nyale!
The festival is closely tied to the legend of Princess Mandalika, and the worms are believed to be her reincarnation. Nyale that is caught during the festival will then be eaten – either raw, or made as a local delicacy, pepes nyale.
5. Eat your heart out
Credit: Travel Kompas
In contrast to Bali, Lombok is predominantly Muslim… and that means halal food galore! Some dishes are a sure hit, such as ayam taliwang, sate rembiga and sate bulayak. Ayam taliwang is chicken marinated with a special sauce, and then roasted. Similar to ayam penyet, it is usually served with rice, and a side of veggies – in this case, plecing kangkung. Spicy and oh-so-delicious!
Credit: Alberto Ceriteno
Sate and its variants are commonly found in parts of South East Asia, but what’s special about the one in Lombok is sate bulayak. It is served with rice cakes that are cooked with coconut milk, wrapped in palm leaves.
6. Catch some waves
Credit: Celebrity ABC on Flickr
The beaches of Lombok are definitely something special. They have the Pink Beach, white sands and sapphire blue waters of Mawun, but if surfing is on your mind, Gerupuk bay is the place to go! Located 9 km away from Kuta beach, the waves here are a bit of a challenge and are more suitable for experienced surfers.
Never even held a surfboard in your life? No worries! Selong Belanak beach has been rated one of the best beaches to learn surfing. Also located in south Lombok, the area is dotted with surf schools and colourful fisherman canoes. Hire an instructor to show you the ropes!
7. Weave kain tenun at Desa Sade
Desa Sade is the place to be for a dose of Sasak culture! It is a traditional village that houses families of the original inhabitants of Lombok. From the unique structures of their homes, their language to the interesting customs they practice, the Sasak are proud of their heritage and are happy to share it with you.
Try your hand at weaving their version of the songket or kain tenun. Sasak girls are taught this skill at a young age. One piece of songket would take about 2 weeks to complete, but more time is needed for more intricate designs.
8. Go on a waterfall chase!
There are at least 20 waterfalls in Lombok, so you’re spoilt for choice! The calming sounds flowing water, fresh air and surrounding greenery is a great remedy for a cluttered mind. It does require some trekking to reach these waterfalls, but it’s worth it.
One of my favourites is the Benang Kelambu waterfall. The water flows through plants rather than stones, creating a misty, curtain-like effect, hence the name. Translated literally, it means “curtain of threads”. Before reaching Benang Kelambu, you will pass the Benang Stokel, a waterfall that has a pool underneath that you can swim in. It takes about 30 minutes from one waterfall to the next, so don’t just stop at the first one!
#HHWT Tip: Bring proper footwear as the trail can be slippery. There are small shacks selling water and snacks at the waterfall grounds, but you can bring your own too.
9. Watch the sun go down at a water temple
Located in Senggigi, Pura Batu Bolong is one of the Hindu temples in Lombok. Perched on a cliff that extends into the ocean, believers go to meditate and place offerings, but it is open to visitors as well. The best time to go is during sundown – the vibe is ethereal, and you’ll definitely want that silhouette shot for your Instagram feed. 😝
10. Spend an evening at a spa
What better way to relax aching muscles and just chill? Indonesians know their stuff when it comes to traditional massages (ngurut), scrubs (lulur) and baths. Most resorts would have their own spas, but there are also dedicated salons off the grounds that provide the service, too. Call ahead or drop by to ask if they can cater to your needs (eg, same-sex masseuse, female-only area, etc).
Whether you prefer roughing it on the trails or being a beach bum, you’ll find bliss in Lombok and I guarantee this – you’ll want to be back!