Main Features :
Province : West Nusa Tenggara
Capital : Mataram
For a long time, Lombok has been seen as a quieter alternative to its popular neighbour, Bali. But more and more, visitors are being charmed by the incredible beauty, unique cultural heritage and generous people of Lombok.
Not only is Lombok blessed with pristine white-sand beaches, lush volcanic hills and sweeping palm-fringed bays, it is also seeing a surge of development, making it an exciting place to explore and relax in luxury.
From the stunning Gili islands in the north to the Mandalika project in the south, there’s a whole world of amazing experiences waiting to be discovered on this beautiful island paradise. With more and more visitors gracing its shores, we’ve put together a guide to 20 of the best secret spots of outstanding beauty or interest. Best get there before everyone finds out!
The most popular way to get to Lombok is on the fast boat from Padang Bai in Bali, to Lembar Port, south Lombok. It takes an hour and a half in good conditions but the exact time depends on the current. From August until October, the seas are notorious for being rough, so if you suffer from seasickness, it may be better to catch the 30-minute flight from Bali’s new international airport, which opened in 2011. Budget travellers tend to prefer the slow boat, which takes four to five hours and is not affected as much by rough conditions.
For those arriving from outside Indonesia, there are direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, South Korea and Guangzhou. And in February 2019, a new route from Perth to Lombok will open. Additional routes are expected in the next six to nine months from Hong Kong, Beijing, Australia and the Middle East.
The best time to visit
The wet season lasts from October to April. The island turns a beautiful lush green but it makes getting around a little more tricky. The dry season lasts from May to the beginning of October. Both seasons offer a different experience of the island but there’s a sweet spot, in the middle of the dry season, when it’s less humid but still beautifully green and vibrant. There will be more crowds around this time so it’s up to you to decide what you prefer.
1. The Gili Islands – Air, Meno & Trawangan
It was these stunning islands that originally attracted visitors and served as the entry point to explore the rest of Lombok. Each of the Gilis has its own unique character. Generally speaking, you’ll find honeymooners enjoying a romantic getaway on Gili Meno, yogis and families finding inner and outer peace on Gili Air and a younger crowd partying on Gili Trawangan. There’s plenty to do including snorkelling, diving, paddle boarding and surfing. We suggest allocating at least three days to explore the islands, but you could easily spend a couple of weeks and really get to know them.
Learn to surf at Selong Belanak Beach or for the advanced surfer catch waves at Desert Point
Selong Belanak beach was recently named the best beach in Asia by South China Morning Post and it’s a great place for beginners to learn to surf. More advanced surfers can head to Desert Point out on Lombok’s southwest tip to catch the big waves sweeping in from the north and south.
‘The Magnet’ dive spot
In the south of Lombok at Belongas Bay, there is a famous dive spot that sinks 66 metres straight down, revealing a world of soft corals and colourful tropical fish. This secluded spot is known to attract huge schools of barracuda, giant eagle rays, white-tip reef sharks and super impressive scalloped hammerhead sharks.
Tour the secret Gili Islands in the East
The secret Gili islands off the east coast of Lombok offer the pure, serene paradise island experience that’s so rare to find. Each has its own character and charm. Gili Lampu is a small but beautiful mangrove island. There are no beaches but excellent snorkelling among its coral-filled waters. Gili Kapal is a tiny sandbar island which is almost inaccessible at high tide. This is somewhere to feel totally isolated and enjoyed some of the clearest, pristine water in the region. Gili Badara is larger and more accessible. It’s a good place to stay as you explore the other islands. Finally, Gili Kondo is a must. It’s the most popular of the secret Gilis for its unmatched sunset views, stunning coral snorkelling and popular beach shack selling drinks and snacks. It’s best to come during the week when there are fewer people. Bring a tent and camp under the stars on this paradise island.
Camp at Lake Segara Anak
The beautiful Lake Segara fills the caldera at the summit of Mount Rinjani and is surrounded by lush vegetation. For the full experience of Rinjani’s majesty, camp at the crater lake, taking in the beautiful shimmering turquoise waters by day, followed by spectacular views of the starry sky as night falls.
10. Rinjani-Lombok UNESCO Global Geopark
Rinjani-Lombok UNESCO Global Geopark covers a huge area of northern Lombok, encompassing five districts (Lombok Utara, Lombok Timur, Lombok Barat, Lombok Tengah and Mataram City). Its rich and diverse flora and fauna make it a great place to explore on foot, marvelling at the incredible bounty of nature. The landscape ranges from savannah to semi-deciduous forests to lower montane and tropical evergreen forests.
Paragliding from Prabu Hill
Take to the skies and drink in the awesome views of Lombok’s south coast from the air with a paragliding adventure. The top of Prabu Hill is the perfect spot to take off from. And don’t worry if you’ve never paraglided before, as you will be strapped to an experienced instructor.