Despite its proximity to Bali, Indonesia’s most popular tourist island, Lombok is still relatively untouched. There are vast stretches of undeveloped coastline covered in coconut trees and edged with white, black, and even pink sand beaches, pristine rainforest, and a large national park. Lombok has been described as how Bali looked 20 or 30 years ago before a concentration of resorts, vegan restaurants, and souvenir shops created traffic-congested streets. While we loved both Bali and Lombok, we appreciated how easy it was to feel like you were on a remote island in Lombok. We split our time in Lombok between Senggigi and the small surf town of Kuta in the south, taking plenty of day trips to see as much as the island and the surrounding waters as we could. If you are wondering whether it’s worth the trip, here are 20 reasons to visit Lombok, Indonesia.
The Secret Gilis: Gili Nanggu and Gili Kedis
Gili simply means ‘little island’ in the Sasak language, and there are tons of tiny islands just offshore of Lombok. If you hear someone talking about visiting the Gilis, they are most likely referring to the three islands on the northern side of Lombok, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Though these Gilis have excellent snorkeling just offshore, especially if you are hoping for turtle sighting, we opted to visit some lesser-known Gilis, often referred to as the “secret” Gilis. These Gilis also have amazing snorkeling right off their white sandy beaches, though we didn’t spot any turtles. The draw for us is that these Gilis are hardly developed at all; Gili Nanggu has a few cottages and one restaurant, and tiny Gili Kedis just has a little snack hut. We wanted to enjoy them before the crowds come and while the beaches are still pristine. They did not disappoint!
Waterfalls Tiu Kelep and Sendang Gile
We spent a decent amount of time in Bali chasing waterfalls, so we at least had to see how a few of the waterfalls on Lombok compared. The waterfalls Tiu Kelep and Sendang Gile are located near the base of Mount Rinjani on the northern side of Lombok. It takes about 45 minutes to hike to both waterfalls, part of which includes trekking through the river.
Most of Lombok’s coastline is white sandy beaches. Mawun looks like a large cove with hills closing in on both sides, so the water is calm and great for swimming.
Selong Belanak Beach
Selong Belanak is the place to go for beginner surfing. I spent two mornings here taking lessons (again). The waves are nice, soft rolls, perfect for building your confidence!
Senggigi Beach is the tourist heart of Lombok, with most large resorts in this area. One of the coolest experiences there was participating in a turtle release with the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort.
If you’re heading to Lombok to surf, Kuta is a great home-base as most of the best surfing spots in Lombok are along the southern coast. Aaron spent a day surfing at Gerupuk Bay, which actually has 5 different surf spots depending on the tide, and where you have to get pulled out by a boat to reach the reef break. Other popular surfing spots near Kuta include Are Guling, Seger Beach, Mawi, and Ekas Bay. Kuta Beach itself (shown below) isn’t great for surfing, mostly fishing, but most of the accommodation along the southern coast is concentrated in this little town.
Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowls
If there’s one thing I could eat all day every day from Lombok, it would be anything with dragon fruit, especially these smoothie bowls!
Lombok has its fair share of rice paddies, and you’ll see plenty with a drive along the northern coast.
I loved how there was still so much undeveloped coastline in Lombok, with long stretches of just sand and coconut trees.
If you like how these photos are edited, download my four favorite Lightroom presets for travel photos here.
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