Indonesia is home to over 16,000 unique islands, and to only experience Bali in your Indonesian travels would be a shame. Lombok, Bali’s eastern neighbor island, is earning quite the reputation as a must-see tourist destination. Beautiful beaches, rolling hills, and impressive volcanic mountain peaks are sure to be enjoyed during your Lombok holiday. Lombok’s Mount Rinjani is a premier mountain climbing experience, complete with a crater lake at the top. In case you needed more reason to add Lombok to your Indonesian travel plans, check out these fifteen photos to help inspire your wanderlust!
While Lombok may share some paradise qualities with it’s more famous neighbor, Bali, the islands are really quite different. The majority of Balinese are Hindu religion and the majority of Lombok residents are Muslim. The impact of these two cultures is evident in the tourism industry. Lombok is more reserved, more modest, and less drunken than Bali’s tourism scene. Until you reach the Gili Islands. The Gilis are a set of three islands just off Lombok’s shore. These little pieces of paradise are much more well known than Lombok itself, and tourism has found it’s mark on the Gilis. Gili Trawangan is the largest, and the most “party” environment of the three. In my opinion, it’s overrated and not worth visiting. Gili Meno is much smaller and much more serene. Only a few hotels and restaurants can be found on this tiny piece of land, and the hustle & bustle of Gili Trawangan has not found it’s way to Gili Meno. Gili Air is the best of both. Plenty of hotels and restaurants, but plenty of serenity. It’s also the closest of the three to Lombok island, and just a quick ferry boat ride over. Here’s three locations I recommend visiting if you are going to Lombok:
- Sengiggi: This is the original tourist scene in Lombok. It’s a cute little beach town on the west coast with epic sunset views every night. Western food & Indonesian food can be found around every street corner. This is definitely the easiest stop for a foreigner arriving in Lombok. And worth the stop!
- Senaru: If you ever wanted to climb a volcano, you have to visit the village of Senaru. This little tourist town just at the foot of Mount Rinjani is the destination for serious hikers and day trippers alike. The air is cooler and the wind is crisper. Everything is green in Senaru. Aside from hiking volcanic peaks, you can also discover beautiful waterfalls hidden throughout the village. Senaru is a beautiful escape.
- Gili Air: As mentioned above, Gili Air is a great combination of a hip & trendy beach scene and a postcard paradise. Rent a bicycle and explore all the backroads of this tiny island. There’s loads of great food & drink options, and the snorkeling is top notch. If you only pick one Gili, pick Gili Air.
And if you are traveling through Lombok, here’s some experiences you cannot miss!
- Sunsets in Sengiggi. Specifically, the overlook at Batu Layar on Raya Sengiggi Road is a great spot to catch the fading light and absorb local culture. Food sellers come out and the locals get chatty. Grab some street food and make new friends while enjoying some great views.
- Visit a mosque in Mataram. The capital city of Mataram is a busy place, full of motorbikes, cars and horse-drawn carts. But the most common of sights in Mataram are the mosques. Lombok is a devoutly & proudly Muslim island, and the size of their mosques are proof! One of the largest mosque complexes in Southeast Asia can be found in the city. Take a few moments of reflection and check out the incredible architecture.
- Hike to a coffee plantation. While staying in lush Senaru, you won’t want to miss this hidden gem. As you enter the official Mount Rinjani hiking trail, walk for about 20 minutes, and it’ll be on your left. Even marked with a coffee plantation sign! Check out the harvest, but stay for the views. You can grab a local drink or snack, and look into the green valley of waterfalls below. It’s pretty spectacular.
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