Top 10 Things to Do in Lombok, Indonesia's Island Gem

Top 10 Things to Do in Lombok, Indonesia’s Island Gem

It’s time for this amazing island to stop lurking behind its shadows. With pristine beaches, awesome food and rich culture, there are countless reasons why you should visit Lombok.

Lombok? Where’s that?

Admit it, you probably have never heard of Lombok until a few minutes ago. Unfortunately, this stunning Indonesian island has often been eclipsed by its more popular neighbour, Bali. Despite its equally, if not wider offering of natural beauty and entertainment, Lombok doesn’t get much attention at all. Since it is not a popular tourist destination, many areas of the island still remained untouched and hence, act as the perfect destination for a private getaway.

Here’s letting you in on a little secret, and revealing the very best of Lombok, Indonesia’s true island gem.

1. Scale the heights of majestic Mount Rinjani

things to do in lombok

Image credit: (left) (right), skyseeker

One of the most iconic natural splendours that you might recall would be Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Located within the Gunung Rinjani National Park in West Nusa Tenggara, this majestic mountain is a must-visit for all adventure enthusiasts. Battle the elements of wind and rain and expect a challenging trek as you ascend to the summit. Due to the presence of volcanic ash and loose stones, the ground is not firm and trekkers need to be careful not to slip downwards. Aside from the physical toil of the trail, the high altitudes may result in additional difficulties in breathing. Hence, it is advised that you first engage in proper training to build up your fitness and prepare for this feat.

One of the most popular treks is the sunrise route, where you will race against the clock to reach the peak – just in time to witness the most beautiful sunrise of your life. If you are up for it, you can also choose to camp overnight on the mountain, and watch as the starry skies take over the night.

2. Bask in the sun over and over again

Image credit: (top left) Schristia, (top right) Mazzali, (bottom) Andrey Samsonov

There’s no question that Lombok is worthy of being one of Indonesia’s best islands. Its multitude of different beaches, each with their own distinct characteristics, guarantee a novel experience at every turn.

Whether you pop by the Pink Beach (its pastel shade comes from the mixture of white sand and tiny skeletal fragments of organ pipe corals), sunbathe at Tanjung Aan or hop on a boat at Mawun Beach, you are bound to enjoy a great day out in the sun!  

3. Snorkel with sea turtles at Gili Islands

things to do in lombok

Image credit: (right) Francesco

In addition, Lombok is in close proximity to the Gili Islands. This group of three small islands all have their own distinct personalities – Gili Air is the most open to tourists, and the people there are exceptionally inviting to foreign guests; Gili Trawangan is known for throwing the most epic parties; and Gili Meno is the quietest, most underdeveloped of them all. Regardless, these three islands share similarities in having unparalleled pristine waters and gorgeous reefs. Suit up and dive in for possibly the best snorkelling experience of your life!

Not only will you be refreshed by the salty sea water, but you can also get up close with the vibrant coral reefs and friendly sea-turtles. When you’re willing to finally get out of the water, just relax and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere on the idyllic Gili Islands.

4. Visit your monkey pals

Image credit: (left) Lombok Tour Travel, (right) Lombok Villa

Now, this isn’t for the faint-hearted. The Pusuk Monkey Forest may sound relatively innocuous, but these pesky monkeys will definitely get your heart rate up! As you walk through the lush greenery of the forest, take in the fresh air and be on constant alert for these mischievous wild monkeys.

If you want to get a closer look at them, you can use snacks like bananas and nuts to bait them towards you, but don’t feed them any cooked or preserved food. Since they might get a bit rowdy, try not to attract a big group of them all at once. Do take care of your own personal belongings in order to prevent brazen monkeys from running off with your bags!

5. Understand the local Sasak culture

Image credit: (left), (right)  Mikaku

One of the biggest differences between Bali and Lombok is the presence and visibility of their indigenous people. In Lombok, the Aboriginal Sasak people make up a whopping 85% of their local population and still continue to exert a significant influence on the society today. Consequently, visitors have a better opportunity to immerse themselves in authentic Sasak culture and customs.

Pick up some local words from the native Sasak language, and visit their traditional clay and straw houses. If you are lucky, you might even be able to catch them decked in their traditional costumes, all ready to perform a sensational song and dance. To best experience local Sasak life, you can opt for a private tour with them as guides – it doesn’t get more authentic than this.

6. Experience a blast from the past

things to do in lombok

Image credit: irsyadrobbani31

In the spirit of really getting to know a place, you have to visit Lombok’s historic suspension bridge in Gurung, West Lombok. This 86 year-old bridge was built in 1932 during the Dutch colonisation, and hangs at a whopping 100 metres above ground. Even though it was built from solid iron, the bridge has been broken twice by being hit by strong currents from the underlying river. Rest assured – it has since been reinforced and is good to go!

In the past, the bridge served the crucial role of connecting remote rural areas. Now, with the country’s modernisation and abundance of roads, the suspension bridge can only be accessed by foot or bike. It remains to be a symbol of Indonesia’s colonial past, and youth flock there for its aesthetic views and historical significance.

7. Admire the Grand Canyon of the East

No, this is not Europe or America. Instead, Pantai Tebing, dubbed as ‘Grand Canyon of the East’, is an enigmatic cliff on Lombok that overlooks the sea. Its relatively obscure position makes it ideal for a tranquil retreat away, and people love to admire the picturesque sunset views there. Imagine the off-white cliff reflecting warm shades of pink and purple, as the sun descends slowly into the horizon. It’ll be a view like no other!

8. Take an outdoor shower at Benang Kelambu waterfall

Image credit: Erlan Rudiyanto

Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime shower under the Benang Kelambu Waterfall – right smack in the middle of beautiful nature, and in full public view. This alluring waterfall is located on the Southern foot of Mount Rinjani, and it is surrounded by beautiful native plants like banana and jackfruit trees. Although you won’t actually be able to take a real shower, there’s no harm in standing in one of the waterfall pools and experiencing the cold spray of the neverending downward stream. Experience serenity at its best, and be rejuvenated by the crisp air and endless green canopies.

9. Marvel at these colorful fields from Bukit Pergasingan

Keep your eyes wide open to marvel at this vibrant patchwork beauty from Bukit Pergasingan. This smaller hill offers a more manageable trek than Mount Rinjani, while still delivering an exhilarating hiking experience.

At the very top, be rewarded with panoramic views of colourful rice terraces and vast mountains. One of the most popular activities to do here is to set up camp and enjoy a locally packed lunch or picnic. It’ll certainly be a meal with a view!

10. Eat your heart out!

Image credit: (top left) Lombok Eco Tour, (top right) JustChay, (bottom left) Franklin Heijnen, (bottom right) Luca Eandi

Last but not least, your time in Lombok will not be complete without going all out and feasting on some delicious Indonesian cuisine. Although the dishes may look deceptively simple, they will certainly take you on an entire gastronomic adventure! Whether it is the unique Ayam Taliwang (fresh chicken), or the classic staple Nasi Goreng (fried rice), the local food here is cooked from the heart, and jam-packed with flavour.

Furthermore, since Lombok is less commercialized than other populous Indonesian places, the prices here are much lower as well. It’s cheap and simply sedap (delicious) – what more could you ask for?

Now that you’ve been let in on the secret, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take the opportunity to discover the beauty of Lombok on your own! With a multitude of exciting things to do and places to check out, you’ll definitely have an amazing time on Indonesia’s island gem.

About Author

Lydia Lee
Lydia Lee

A linguistics student, Lydia suffers from the occupational hazard of thinking too much about the quirks of language. She yearns to see more of the world and its people, and cannot wait for her next adventure to soak in more beautiful sights and sounds. Before she can do that again, her perfect day would include taking a slow walk, having a warm cup of coffee, and being immersed in a good book.

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