Lombok, the adventure island
Many think of Indonesia as a country of culture and historic sightseeing. But Indonesia has a lot more to offer. Sure you can visit Mt Bromo and the crater on the island of Java and Mt Batur on Bali. When you feel that you have been there, done that, take a domestic flight to the island of Lombok and have an whole new concept to explore.
Lombok has a different climate than the rest of the islands of Indonesia. As little rain sweeps over the island there is a more dry heat but still very lush with sense rainforests and subtropical forests.
The currency is the same as the rest of the islands so no need to exchange currency.
There are several options to reach Lombok. There are domestic flights to the one and only airport in Mantaram. Most Asian airlines fly there.
If you are on Bali you can take a boat over to Lombok. Takes around 2 hours with speedboat. To get to the boat you need to get to the port of Padang bai. That will take you around one to two hours from Denpasar.
The speedboat takes you to Bansal and the ferry takes you to Lembar. Lembar takes about 4 hours.
There are several ferry companies and speedboat operators around so don’t settle for an unreasonable price. Speedboat should be around 150.000 Rupiah per person, one way.
When you get to the island you’ll reach a small port where you can take a taxi or motorbike to your destination.
Sights & attractions
In a strange way there are not so many things to see on Lombok. But there are still many things to see. Does it make any sense?
Lombok offers waterfalls, mountain trekking, surfing, snorkeling and perfect white beaches and deserted islets.
If you are up for a challenge then Mt Rinjani is a perfect option. The volcano is set in the north of the island with a staggering 3 726 meters above sea level. It is a 3-5 day trekking depending on you and your fitness level. One or two days are spent climbing up the volcano, one day to spent up on the top and see the crater and to take in the view. And you spend one or two days walking down. This is so that you can adjust your body to the height and not exhaust yourself. Many people refer it as one of the “musts” while you are on the island.
No surfer will become a real surfer until they have taken a wave at Desert point. Steep reefs make perfect tubes with every wave making it a challenge and perfect spot for surfers. Not be attempted if you’ not a well experienced or pro surfer.
But the drive there is an adventure on its own. It is called Desert point for a reason. The orange sandy, rocky road and hills to Desert point feels almost impossible. Cars struggle and if you are two or more it is best to use one motorbike each as the motorbikes almost never are able to manage the weight. The steering feels like an endless battle as you try to avoid sharp rocks or bumps on the hill up and on the way down you feel like the motorbike will try to get you off the road. It is definitely off the beaten track but so worth the struggle.
When you reach the point you’ll be greated by the huge waves crashing into the cliffs and shore line. Surfers from all over the world gather here and it is worth a visit even if you may not be a surfer yourself. There are small cafe’s and diners that offers simple but tasty food if you don’t feel ready for the drive back in a while. There are also bungalows for rent.
Just as on Bali, Lombok has its own “Kuta”. Kuta,Lombok is known as a perfect place for surfers off different levels and a place for good trekking.
The town offers shops, restaurants and hotels like any bigger town.
If you like to get off the tourist areas ( not that the island has many tourists in the first place) you could head over to “Secret islands“. Located in west of Lombok you can enjoy some real island living. There are no permanent residents on the islands. Only the staff from the few hotels work there by day and take the boat over after the end of their shifts.
Just 15 minutes with local boat from from the harbour of Bansal are the Gili islands. One of the top destinations in Indonesia it is flocked with tourists all year round.
Gili Trawangan is the most busy of the the three island with bars and clubs offering almost unlimited party for those that has the urge for it. Stay right on the heart of the action or head uphill if you want a more quite accommodation.
The other two islands, Gili Meno and Gili air, are the more quite islands offering snorkeling and calm days at the beach.
Good to know
There are few ATMs on Lombok, If you are staying in a smaller village or outside of Lembar or Mantaram, be sure to pay a visit to an ATM before you go there. The only ATMs are in Lembar and Mantaram.