The Getaway
15 Reasons Lombok Is a Lovely Island Alternative to Bali

Lombok is an Indonesian island known for its diverse landscapes, from beaches to mountains. It offers a less touristy alternative to its neighbor, Bali, but with equally stunning natural beauty. The island is home to Mount Rinjani, one of Indonesia's most famous volcanoes, and offers a range of activities from hiking to snorkeling. Camping opportunities abound here, and you can wake up to glorious sunrises. Join us as we dive into what makes Lombok a truly memorable destination.

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01 Conquer the heights of Mount Rinjani

Multi-day hikes are tiring but so satisfying. Trekking up Mount Rinjani, an active volcano, will reward you with spectacular views that stretch as far as Bali and Sumbuwa, but you must be physically fit. A hike to the summit takes at least three days and up to five, depending on your route. You'll come across lush forested terrain, grasslands, caves, waterfalls, and hot springs. If you're pressed for time, you can hike the lower slopes in a day or two.

Beautiful view of the Mount Rinjani in Indonesia Wirestock / Getty Images

02 Explore the underwater world at Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a trio of car-free specks on the map with beautiful coral reefs. Gili Trawangan has the most amenities and nightlife, Gili Meno is the most peaceful, and Gili Air is a mix of the two. The islands are 15 minutes apart. Swim with turtles, sunbathe on white sand beaches, or snorkel. Look out for the “Nest” undersea sculpture garden at Gili Meno. Gili Trawangan and Gili Air are great for diving—if you're lucky, you'll see rare and colorful marine life, including box fish, black frog fish, blue-ringed octopus, and whale sharks.

Woman with turtle in water,Gili Air,Indonesia Agnieszka Wieczorek / 500px / Getty Images

03 Visit the spiritual Lingsar Temple

Pura Lingsar is a large multi-denominational temple dating back to 1714. It's a relic of the Kingdom of Karangasem, and a symbol of religious harmony, accommodating Hindu and Wetu Telu Muslim worshippers in different sections. Fascinating annual festive traditions like the topat war involving a rice cake food fight are centuries old. You can also purchase boiled eggs to feed the holy eels—it promises good luck.

Lingsar Temple Guardian Statues in Lombok Ingo Jezierski / Getty Images

04 Take a dip in the Benang Kelambu & Benang Stokel Waterfalls

Benang Stokel is a fitting name—it means a bundle of thread and refers to the curtain-like cascades you'll see here. These waterfalls are accessible by car (it's about an hour and a half drive from Mataram) and are fed by a Mount Rinjani river. Chat with your hotel concierge about the latest official ticket rate to avoid overpaying opportunistic locals. Well-marked trails mean you don't need a guide—just do your depth checks before jumping and leave the mostly harmless snakes alone. Women can't swim in bikinis, so know before you go—the pools are super refreshing, and you wouldn't want to miss out. Just below Benang Kelambu, you'll find a cooling man-made pond.

indonesia Alex Kereen / Getty Images

05 Surf the waves at Selong Belanak Beach

Surrounded by misty green rolling hills and home to wandering water buffalo herds, Selong Belanak is a Lombok highlight. It's a family-friendly beach, but it's particularly welcoming to surfing noobs who want to learn the basics with the help of gentle waves. Numerous operators rent boards and equipment such as sun loungers and bean bags, and teach folks how to ride waves—sessions usually last two hours. When you're peckish, casual cafes and roasted corn sellers come to the rescue. If you're a more experienced surfer, the locals will guide you to areas farther up the coast.

06 Discover the hidden Pantai Tanjung Bloam

Tanjung Bloam is also called the Forgotten Heaven—the crystal clear waters and sandstone formations here look like something out of a James Bond movie, and you won't find as many tourists at this hidden beach. It's a turtle conservation area surrounded by cliffs offering amazing views. The waves are powerful, and the wind can get quite strong, but if you're after beautiful seascapes, you won't regret putting Tanjung Bloam on your itinerary. A five-minute walk from Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp resort will get you there, and there's an admission fee.

07 Experience local culture at Sade Village

Sade, a traditional Sasak tribe village in central Lombok, contains 15 generations of history. The indigenous locals live in wood and bamboo dwellings, and the women start weaving from a young age. Detailed woven pieces can take months to produce. You can watch the ladies at work and purchase unique souvenirs, or learn about cultural customs, such as those surrounding marriage. You could spend at least an hour here, seeing what life is like in the community and supporting the small businesses.

Sade Sasak Village Lombok. Indonesian iFerol / Getty Images

08 Catch the sunset at Bukit Merese

Bukit Merese is a go-to spot to watch a panoramic pastel sunset, but it's gorgeous in the morning too, and going earlier will help you avoid the crowds. You'll get to see Batu Payung, a rock shaped like a face, in the distance. The beach is in the same area as Tanjung Aan Beach, so don't pay the admission fee twice if you want to see both.

09 Walk through the Pusuk Monkey Forest

Just half an hour away from Mataram, you can hang out with macaque monkeys in a nature preserve after navigating some windy mountainous roads. They monkeys are wild but have gotten used to people, and you can buy bags of nuts to feed them at the summit if you like. The Pusuk Forest viewpoint overlooks a stunning valley backdropped by the ocean.

Wild Macaque on a rock in a national park Kamionsky / Getty Images

10 Camp under the stars at Bukit Pergasingan

If camping is up your alley, make a note of Bukit Pergasingan, an iconic hilltop viewpoint. Trekking to the summit takes approximately three hours, and the descent is much quicker. You can do a guided hike, or go it alone. But it's best to use a guide for an overnight adventure complete with breathtaking sunrise views of Mount Rinjani waking up, ricefields at its feet.

Bukit Pergasingan Tukang Foto / Getty Images

11 Visit the Pink Beach for unique sand and snorkeling

Don't go expecting a bright candyfloss pink, and you'll be delighted with Pink Beach. The grains of sand vary in color from pinks to browns, thanks to crushed dead red coral. Go snorkeling to see diverse marine life, including Nemo himself, rare lion fish, and reef sharks. Make your way to the top of the hill for impressive pictures.

Couple lying on famous pink beach in Komodo national park. Turquoise mint color clear water, tropical vacations on honeymoon. Drone aerial view from above. olegbreslavtsev / Getty Images

12 Get adventurous at Mawi Beach

Mawi, half an hour from Kuta, is for conquerors. If you're an advanced surfer, you'll love it here during mid tide. But even beginner and intermediate surfers will find joy when the tide is high. Pack your first aid kit, just incase. Shacks at the cove sell mie goreng for when you've worked up an appetite.

Mawi Beach, Lombok, Indonesia Cultura / Getty Images

13 Enjoy a day at Lombok Wildlife Park

Elephants, hippos, iguanas, and other rare and endangered animals call Lombok Wildlife Park home. Make a point to explore this kid-friendly attraction—it's staffed by well-trained employees who elevate the experience. Interact with orangutans, various birds, and reptiles for an additional fee—the upsell gets you a photo, and you can feed some of the animals from a basket.

14 Take a scenic drive to Tetebatu Terrace

You can't go to Indonesia and not carve out time to see ultra-green rice terraces and paddies. Tetebatu is a standout, gorgeous even when it's overcast. The nearby waterfalls, spice plantations, and little villages are additional points of interest. It's best to hire a driver to take you from point A to point B efficiently and conveniently." to the end of item 14. Thank you!

Simple rice terraces of Tete Batu, mt Rinjani, Lombok 79Photography / Getty Images

15 Relax and dine at La Chill Bar in Senggigi

La Chill Bar, with its colorful bean bag chairs, lanterns, and romantic vibes, is highly Instagrammable at any time of day. The menu is fairly priced and won't set a family back too much, and the smoothie bowls are yummy. You may get a few entrepreneurs trying to sell you trinkets, but a polite "no thank you" will do the trick if you're not interested. Order a shisha, dip your toes in the beach sand, and sigh happily.

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