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Are you traveling to Indonesia and don't know which islands to visit? While less known than neighboring Bali, Lombok is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Because this island is not as well known as Bali, it gets far less traffic each year, despite numerous attractions, cultural sites, and activities visitors can take part in.
For the traveler that likes to have a little breathing room and avoid the crowds, Lombok travel is the superior choice, and with a range of great activities to do and places to see, you won’t be wondering what to do in Lombok for long.
13 Great Things to Do and See in Lombok, Indonesia
- Hike the Rinjani Volcano
- Take a Day Trip to the Gili Islands
- Visit the Villages
- Visit the Monkey Forrest
- Play a Round of Golf
- Take Advantage of the Lombok Diving Scene
- Surf at Kuta Beach, Lombok
- See the Waterfalls
- See Modern Lombok
- Discover Some Secluded Beaches
- Experience Gentle Lombok Surf at Selong Belanak
- Visit a Traditional Market
- Tour by Scooter or Motorcycle
1. Hike the Rinjani Volcano
You can’t visit Lombok and not visit the island’s volcano. While climbing to the top might not be everyone’s cup of tea—most groups take at least three days to climb to the top—but everyone should at least come and see the majesty of the ancient volcano and take a walk through the thick grass and foliage that now covers its base.
If you do climb to the top, however, expect to be wowed by the most amazing views of the island’s beauty and to be able to cool off, after a long day of hiking, in the crater lake, about three-quarters of the way up the volcano’s side.
2. Take a Day Trip to the Gili Islands
While there’s plenty to do just on Lombok, it’s worth your time to take a boat out to the Gili Islands, even just to step foot on the beautiful white sand beaches and the luxurious huts that dot the coastline.
Around Gili is one of the best spots for the true Lombok diving experience, as the islands are surrounded by a lively reef. It’s also one of the best places for a beach party if you are looking for some nightlife on the islands.
3. Visit the Villages
One of the things that has made this island famous is the pottery made on the island. While it can be fun just to sit in the Lombok surf, taking a walk or a ride into one of the villages, where you can see pottery being made, the same way it was made generations ago, is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Many potters will even offer to let you try your hand at making your own pot, and you can find a unique and beautifully crafted pot to take home.
4. Visit the Monkey Forrest
Near the volcano, you’ll find Tetebatu. While it is one of the more inland villages, it is sheltered by the mountain, making it a respite from the heat and sun that dominates the rest of the island.
The area is agricultural, with beautiful rice fields stretching out on all sides and numerous hiking trails winding away from the village, through what’s known as the Tetebatu Monkey Forrest.
Besides offering a unique insight into the colonies of monkeys that call this forest their home, there are beautiful waterfalls that can be seen from the trial or experienced if you’re willing to leave the beaten path.
5. Play a Round of Golf
While most people don’t think of Indonesian islands when they think of great golfing spots, Lombok’s Golf Kosaido Country Club proves that even these remote islands can offer an excellent round of golf.
In the shadow of Mount Rinjani and poised alongside the beach, this course provides some of the most staggeringly beautiful views of the volcano and the ocean that surrounds the island.
6. Take Advantage of the Lombok Diving Scene
While Gili might be a great place to go snorkeling, the waters around Lombok are perfect for scuba diving and there are skilled instructors on the island that can not only teach you the basics of scuba diving, but also take you to some of the world’s most biodiverse waters.
The scuba schools on the island and multilingual, so no matter what language you learn best in, there’s a class for you.
7. Surf at Kuta Beach, Lombok
The Lombok surf experience doesn’t get much better than Kuta Beach. Surfers come from all over the world to take advantage of the waves. One of the best parts about surfing at this beach is its ability to offer up waves that are perfect for every skill level.
Whether you’re just learning or are an old pro, different parts of the beach give you different waves so you can always find your stride. Kuta Lombok is definitely the island’s premier surf spot.
8. See the Waterfalls
While this island has no shortage of beautiful waterfalls to visit, perhaps one of the most beautiful and popular is the Sendang Gile waterfall, hidden in the foothills around Rinjani Volcano. Crashing over 50 meters into the pools below, it is an impressive sight and provides a great place for a freshwater swim after a day of hiking.
9. See Modern Lombok
Mataram is Lombok’s bustling modern capital, with shopping and restaurants. After stopping by the city to get some traditional Lombok food, you can take a walk down the floating Hindu temple, called the Mayura Water Palace.
This ancient and beautiful structure appears to be floating on the water. Lombok food is usually flavorful and spicy, especially if you buy it from one of the street carts around Mataram.
10. Discover Some Secluded Beaches
While there is usually plenty of room on the island’s most popular beaches, if you want a beach all to yourself you can seek out one of the hidden coves along the south side of the island.
No Lombok travel excursion would be complete without finding one of these stunning locations. Not only are the waters cool and clear and the sand soft and welcoming, you’ll likely have the beach to yourself.
11. Experience Gentle Lombok Surf at Selong Belanak
Because neighboring beaches have better surfing waves, Selong Belanak is often deserted on weekdays. If you’re traveling with children or just prefer a long and shallow beach, this is the one to visit. The bay is not as sheltered as some that Lombok features, but the sand and shallow waters are great for families with small children.
12. Visit a Traditional Market
While you’re in the city, you have to at least walk through one of the traditional Asian markets. You won’t find fresher vegetables, eggs, fish, and spices. If you have a translator or know a little Indonesian, that always helps, but you can usually get by, even if you don’t speak a word of the language.
13. Tour by Scooter or Motorcycle
Traveling by scooter or motorcycle is definitely the best way to get around Lombok. You won’t be blinded to the vistas like you might be in the back of a taxi, and you’ll be able to get where you want to go quickly and easily.
Because the hidden beaches and villages are often down one-lane dirt roads, a scooter of motorcycle makes navigating much easier than trying to get a bulky car around the island.
© 2019 Sam Shepards
Sam Shepards (author) from Europe on August 07, 2019:
Thank you Liz, Lombok is a great place to visit although I've also seen more interesting places in Indonesia. East Java, Alor, Timor, Flores region, etc. Depending on what people are looking for Alor mostly for diving and Timor for villages etc. Komodo for the lizards and the boat trip to get there stops at awesome beaches and diving spots and tropical remote paradise spots.
Lombok has a little bit of everything and is easy to reach by plane or from the neighboring Bali.
Liz Westwood from UK on August 07, 2019:
You have given great suggestions of things to do in Lombok. The photos are eye-catching.
Sam Shepards (author) from Europe on August 07, 2019:
Well a personal favorite, but difficult to copy experience is arriving in the middle of the night by ferry from Bali with a girlfriend grabbing a ride from some shady looking guys and 2-3 hours in starting to doubt if they know what you are doing or they are going to rob you. The drivers getting lost and calling their friends and saying all we'll be okay in a not so convincing voice, see another car and people arrive, pressure rising, me telling them we are very close by in the village we need to be and the owner of the guesthouse is expecting us etc. A very weird experience to have in the middle of the night in a country you don't know. All ended well.
We also started a 3 day "cruise" from lombok to Flores there with stops in Komodo etc. A cruise means older wooden boats with 10-20 people on it. We also were in a nighttime storm with the boat, racking us from side to side sleeping under the open sky, not enough lifevests, when I crawled the toilet some crew members were hanging on the side looking for rocks so we wouldn't crash etc. Nothing happened, but 2 years later friends of ours went and had a similar "cruise", the boat crashed and they had to swim 1.5-2 km to shore. I've also seen these types of incidents with deadly consequences, but you only live once and you know that you are alive in a storm with those little low-quality boats. Also fun to see peoples "I'm scared to death faces" I mostly remember experiences that make an emotional impact or long hikes that push me to my limits or when I was sick and finally made it. It's a personal thing I guess, when you've seen 3 beautiful beaches or mountains you've seen them all, it's the experience or getting there that counts. Indonesia can offer some of those experiences.
Maxwell Kamlongera on August 07, 2019:
Hi Sam, thanks for the article! Do you have a personal favorite "underrated" thing to do in Lombok that you wouldn't necessarily recommend but you'd do for yourself?