Travel Guide: Lombok Island, Indonesia 2016 (Pulau Lombok)

My concern about travel destinations, especially related to the nature beauty, mountains, beaches, waterfalls, lately as the big impact of social media, people get way far from their surrounding. Ignorance for the sake of getting good pictures to share on social media. There's nothing wrong with sharing your moments on social media but be wise. For example, few months ago, because of social media exposure, a flower garden in Yogyakarta was damaged because of massive visitors that came there without any concern but taking pictures. As a writer that shares experience, exposes destinations, I personally think I have a responsibility to say it. Whoever you are, please be a responsible tourist by collecting your waste when you can't find trash bin, do not strike public facilities. Did you know why some travelers prefer to keep their favorite hidden destinations? Answered!

the sluice gate at Tiu Kelep waterfall :(

Getting There

Bandara Internasional Lombok (BIL) is now Lombok International Airport (LIA), 45 minutes driving from the capital city, Mataram. It's a new airport replaced Selaparang Airport. Fastest way is by air though it's possible to use ferry or speed boat from Bali (Padang Bai), it's about 2 hours flight from Jakarta, 30 minutes from Denpasar, Bali. Lion Air has the most frequent flights, some other airlines are Air Asia, Citilink, Batik Air, and Garuda Indonesia. If you're coming from Singapore, it's possible to take direct flight with Silk Air and from Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia.

OK so my trip was really a sudden decision, yet in a budget, I took return flights to Lombok with Lion Air. Around 1,2 million Rupiah because I went back to Jakarta on Sunday (weekend is always more expensive), it can be cheaper if you have flexible time, anyway I booked through Ticket2.com they have good deals for local flights. 


Getting Around

Lombok is less crowded than Bali, and it's not very convenient for visitors to take public transportation. Most of tourists came with arranged tours, but if you're not into it (just like me), renting a car is the best solution. Rent a car with driver is very popular in Lombok, things will be easier as it will reduce scam risk, he'll show you around, and if you have certain place to visit, no worries because local knows better. It's very easy to get a car without driver in Bali but not in Lombok, but yasss you know me, finally got a place called BSA Transport that allowed us to take the car without driver, and it's possible to arrange meeting at the airport (of course with additional fee). Costed us 275.000 Rupiah / day for a manual car (Toyota Avanza), they said it's usually more pricey at peak season (July-August). Try to bargain if you plan to rent for several days.

If you prefer to drive the car then I suggest to use Google Maps or Waze, but please make sure that your mobile phone provider have good enough coverage, let's say Telkomsel or XL. 


Where To Stay

From private villas to beach house, Lombok has quite a lot hotels, mostly in the city and the beaches. Sengigi beach is the most famous area among local tourist, but the beach is not so pretty to be compared with Kuta beach Lombok. The three island, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air are well known destinations, Gili Trawangan is the biggest island, here you can stay in hotel or even home stay. To describe, imagine Kuta / Legian but in small island, I don't think it will suit for family. Moving to the south, Kuta beach (Lombok) yes they also have Kuta here, the beach is beautiful, white sands, green hills, blue sky, definitely recommend this area if you prefer to stay in quiet and peaceful area, Novotel Kuta Lombok is just right. 

Alternatively staying in Mataram is also a good decision, because it's easy to get good food. I stayed a night in Sengigi and two nights in Mataram, at a budget hotel named Idoop Hotel, clean, basic facilities (TV, air conditioner, free WIFI), value for money (only 300.000 Rupiah / night). 


Things To Do:

  • Sun Bathing, not for me but maybe you're into it
  • Snorkeling, bring your own equipment or rent (around 30.000 Rupiah)
  • Island hopping (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air), it's around 600.000 rupiah for a small boat (5-8 persons), we asked Pak Surya (the owner of the car rental) to arrange the trip, usually start at 8-9 in the morning
  • Visit the Sade Sasak Village. A donation for the village is recommended, to enter the village you'll need to be accompanied with local guide, the amount of the tip is usually around 50.000 rupiah or more if you come with a large group
  • Rinjani Trekking, if you think you can only get beaches in Lombok, no, they have Mount Rinjani (Gunung Rinjani) and Segara Anak Lake (Danau Segara Anak). Best time to go there, April-June, otherwise please check the Rinjani National Park website
  • Get yourself ayam taliwang and plecing kangkung, try to search along Jalan Pejanggik, Mataram, there are plenty street food vendors or go to Ayam Taliwang Pak Udin at Jalan Gelatik (close to Lombok Plaza)
  • Shopping. What to buy in Lombok? The famous "oleh-oleh" are dodol rumput laut (sweets made from seaweed, jelly-like in various flavors), madu Sumbawa (honey), massage oils, and kain Sasak (local fabrics)






Beaches

Yes this island is famous for its beautiful beaches, from the west to the south. As a person that not really into beach life, though being underwater is totally fun. Lombok is beautiful and not as touristy as Bali. White sands, clear water, blue sky, green hills, describing south Lombok. Kuta beach and Tanjung Aan beach and Seger beach are the must to visit. 

Sekotong Barat
Kuta Beach Lombok

The Island Life

The three islands, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air are most famous destination in Lombok. Gili Trawangan is the biggest, motor vehicle is not allowed here, there are ATMs in case you're running out of cash. Filled with restaurants and bars, it's quiet at noon, but crowded at night, yes it's made for you that into night life. I don't recommend it for family though a day trip is a mandatory option.


ATMs in Gili Trawangan



Vallazza Gelateria in Gili Trawangan

The Waterfalls

This island has several waterfalls, but the most famous is Tiu Kelep located at Senaru about 2-3 hours driving from Mataram. The other one that located in the same area is Sendang Gile waterfall. Please bring your extra clothes as you'll get wet anyway. It's about 10 minutes walk to the first waterfall (Sendang Gile), and Tiu Kelep is 15 - 20 minutes away from the first waterfall, it could be longer as you need to walk through the river, but it's totally fun, very clear water, green forest. It's recommended to go there with a local guide. On the way back you walk through the tunnel, it's dark, sounds scary but totally fun. Anyway, don't let the water flow take away your footwear :D


Sendang Gile Waterfall
the short-cut tunnel

Tiu Kelep Waterfall

The Food 

Ayam Taliwang, the first thing came into my mind when about going to Lombok. I personally did not have any special preparation, remember it's a sudden trip. But anyway, you know I won't miss every opportunity to get best local food. So, here comes the question, what to eat in Lombok? This island is surely not as hype as Bali with its restaurants and cafes. To me the local restaurants and street food vendors are best choice, where to get the spicy grilled chicken, accompany with spicy sambal, warm steamed white rice, and plecing kangkung.

ayam taliwang, plecing kangkung, and sambal
At tourist destinations, food can be more expensive but fair enough, please ask for the price earlier to avoid scam. More about what to eat in Lombok will be on my next blog post.

food stall by the beach
Coconuts

Gili Trawangan


BSA Lombok Transport & Rental
Jalan Raya Sengigi KM 8 - few steps away from Pasar Seni Sengigi
Phone: (0370) 693563
Bpk. Surya +6287865848111 / +628123727633
Tobi +6287762091481


Find me on:

Youtube and Instagram @heytheresia for daily food and travel updates @tereveler

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