Lombok may be part of Indonesia, but it has a culture all of its own. Often eclipsed by next-door Bali, it’s a sedate, relaxed island with a largely undisturbed forested interior and a coast fringed with coffee, rice and coconut fields. You’ll frequently find the powder-fine stretches of sand deserted, disturbed only by the occasional low-rise hotel. The indigenous Sasak culture prevails, their way of life reflected in the thatched-roof artisan villages and mosques scattered across the island.
Things to see and do on Lombok
Senggigi, on Lombok’s west coast, has become the island’s main — albeit very quiet — beach resort. The beach runs along a 10 km (6.2 mile) stretch of coastal road, interrupted by the occasional beachside bar or hotel. At dusk, from your chosen spot you can watch the sun send streaks of red across the sky as it sets behind Mount Rinjani, the island’s highest peak.
Sire Beach is a short drive along the coast, curving around a headland on the northeast corner of Lombok. A few luxurious hotels have been discreetly built behind the thick groves of coconut palms that edge the sand, the occasional daybed or hammock tucked between the trees.
The nearby Gili Islands
Just 15 minutes off Lombok’s northwest coast is a trio of tiny palm-fringed islets: the Gili Islands. Hotels on Lombok often run regular boat shuttles to Gili Trawangan, the largest island, or you can join a small group snorkeling tour to visit all three Gilis.
Each island is surrounded by flourishing coral gardens, sheltering schools of vibrant fish and roaming reef sharks. The sea is so clear that you can often see the hawksbill sea turtles swimming below even before you have entered the water. A number of dive schools operate from Lombok, running trips to some of the deeper shelves of coral.
Wherever you are on Lombok, Mount Rinjani pierces the skyline. Climbing to the crater rim of this still-active volcano is a challenging hike, but the views are arguably the best on the island.
You’ll have an early start from your hotel, driving to Senaru, a village on the mount’s western slope. From here it’s a steep seven-hour hike — depending on your fitness — through thick rainforest. As the trees thin, you’ll emerge onto Plawangan, a flat section of hillside on the crater’s edge. At this position, you can see the light reflecting off the crater’s lake.
Your guide will cook dinner as you prepare to camp for the night. As the sun sets, the stars come out in force uninhibited by a lack of light pollution. Wake early to watch sunrise over the crater rim as the morning mist collects in the crater. After a hearty breakfast, you’ll descend back down.
The Balinese invaded Lombok in the 18th century. The island was then annexed to the Netherlands before being occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Despite these outside influences, the indigenous Sasak people have fiercely protected their culture. On a full-day tour of the island with a driver and guide, you’ll gain an insight into the Sasak community, of which very little has been documented.
Sukarare is an artisan village that produces songket, a traditional handwoven cloth. Walking around, you’ll see bright displays of the carefully folded fabric, which is often made using gold and silver threads on simple looms.
Driving onwards to the potters’ village of Penujak, you have the chance to see how Lombok’s hand-raised pots are made. At another village, Rambitan, you’re able to explore traditionally built Sasak houses, constructed with bamboo frames and topped with thatched roofs.
Best time to visit Lombok
From April to August, Lombok enjoys clear, sunny skies and temperatures averaging 27 C (80 F). July and August tend to be the busiest months, so we recommend booking ahead. If you don’t mind the occasional shower, September is a great-value time to travel. Rainfall is frequent from October to March, when flooded roads and rough seas can disrupt travel plans.
Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit
- Once a year, usually in late February or early March, hordes of nyale (a tropical worm) arrive on the southern beaches of Lombok to spawn. The Bau Nyale Festival celebrates their arrival with traditional music and peresean (sword fighting) as locals paddle into the shallows to catch them for food.
- In mid-July, usually just before Ramadan, the island’s artisans, dancers and musicians gather for the Senggigi Festival. In a celebration of Lombok’s culture, floats and traditionally dressed dancers parade through the town, accompanied by bands of beleq (large drum) players.
- Pura Lingsar, near Mataram on Lombok’s west coast, is a Hindu temple housing a Muslim shrine. In mid-December, Muslim and Hindu communities gather together to celebrate Perang Topat Festival. To nurture good relations, they take part in a huge rice-cake fight in the streets surrounding the temple before everyone enjoys a communal feast.
Places to visit in Lombok
Featuring heavily on our experiences of visiting Lombok, these selected places are destinations that also prove consistently popular with our travellers. Our specialists can help you choose how to include them in your wider trip, based on your preferences.
Suggested itineraries featuring Lombok
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Lombok, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Lombok
Places & hotels on the map
Places in and around Lombok
- The Gili Islands Lombok
- Medana Bay Lombok
- Mount Rinjani Lombok
- Senggigi Lombok
- Sire Beach Lombok
- Candidasa 57 miles away
- Lembongan Island 66 miles away
- Tembok 72 miles away
- Ubud 78 miles away
- Sanur 79 miles away
- Moyo Island 84 miles away
- Seminyak 85 miles away
- Jimbaran 85 miles away
- Bukit Peninsula 86 miles away
- Munduk 92 miles away
- Lovina 98 miles away
- Medewi 109 miles away
- Bali 120 miles away
- Pemuteran 123 miles away
- Bali Barat National Park 129 miles away
- Ijen National Park 150 miles away
- Tambolaka 205 miles away
- Komodo Island 213 miles away
- Pantai Marosi 217 miles away
- Pantai Nihiwatu 221 miles away
- Mount Bromo 240 miles away
- Malang 261 miles away
- Surabaya 266 miles away
- Sumba 268 miles away
Accommodation choices for Lombok
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Lombok. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.