Known by some as ‘the Bali yet untouched by tourism’, Lombok features an enchanting landscape of beaches, waterfalls and the gargantuan volcano of Mount Rinjani. Here, the ‘village’ way of life still very much continues, so enjoy the rustic and rich culture of this captivating island, of which the main tourist attraction is Senggigi, an area named after a local princess.
Sasak princes ruled Lombok for most of early history. Relations between them and the Balinese soured to the point that Sasak chiefs invited the Dutch to rule them in place of the Balinese, and even until today the Dutch are remembered as liberators of Lombok from Balinese hegemony. After Indonesian independence, Balinese and Sasak rulers continued to vie for control of the island, and in 1958 it was incorporated in to the province of West Nusa Tenggara with Mataram becoming its capital. The 1980s saw increased interest in the area, however economic slumps and other events led to Lombok never receiving as much ‘modern attention’ as other areas around it.
Islam is the main religion in Lombok, however there is still a strong tradition of Hinduism evident on the island due to the many ethnic Balinese inhabitants. All the main Hindu religious ceremonies are celebrated here, and you will also find Christianity practiced by some locals of Chinese ethnic heritage.
The Sasak people represent the tribe indigenous to Lombok, and they still have an enduring effect on the island’s culture – around 85% of its local population are Sasak, after all. The Sasak combine Muslim and local traditions with hints of Balinese influence.
- PDA frowned-upon, as well as immodest dress (especially on women or visitors to religious sites).
- Besides handshakes, avoid touching people, and never do so with your left hand as it is considered ‘unclean’.
- A call of “hey Mister!” or “Bule!” is a common reaction to foreigners in Indonesia, particularly by children – do not take offense or feign surprise for standing out.
- No public raging (even loud speech) or loss of face.
- Pay particular attention around the elderly, the pious, and modestly-dressed women.
The 20km-wide Lombok Strait separates Lombok from Bali to the west, while the Alas Strait lies between it and Sumbawa to the east. Its tropical monsoon climate is drier than nearby Bali, thus making it a somewhat more attractive option during the rainy season (from October to April).
The topography of Lombok is dominated by Mount Rinjani volcano, which rises to a massive 3,726 metres—it’s erupted as recently as 2010. The highlands of Lombok are dominated by masses of forest, while the island itself is surrounded by islet upon islet.
Large tracts of Lombok have been declared as national parks, representative of the island’s status as in area rich in both greenery and animal life. A few of the many highlights to be found upon Lombok include the Mount Rinjani National Park (best for wildlife), Gili Islands (best for marine life), and Monkey Forest (best for nature).
Before you go
- Language: Indonesian, or Bahasa Indonesia, a standardised registry of Malay
- Currency: Indonesian rupiah (idr)
- Time Zone:Central Indonesian Time, utc+8
- Voltage: 230
- Electric Socket: Type C/F
- It is highly advisable you buy a card as you get to the airport.
- There are 4-5 operators in Indonesia who offer prepaid, local network sim cards compatible with the gsm network.
- Telkomsel has the highest coverages (country-wide) but the highest prices; Tri has the lowest coverage but cheapest prices; Indosat in between the former two.
- Expect to pay around $1 for a 7-day, 300-megabyte data credit.
- ATMs are widely available and are very popular with both local citizens and expatriates, and plenty are open 24 hours.
- Citibank offers withdrawals in U.S. dollars, whereas other banks working through the main international networks will offer only rupiahs.
- Credit card cash withdrawals are also commonly accepted.
- The usual limit per withdrawal is between 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 rupiah ($70-100) and 10,000,000 rupiah per day ($700).
- Moneychangers are usually open on weekends and after banking hours, but their pricing fluctuates. Changing money at banks is usually good in terms of rates and safety, but it can take a while
- Most banks close by 3.00pm.
- Ayam Taliwang– half-grilled, then tenderized chicken that is later dipped in oil before being served in a spicy sauce of garlic, chili and shrimp paste.
- Pelecing kangkung – water spinach is served cold with spicy sambal, shallots, chilis, garlic, shrimp paste and an assortment of other herbs and spices – with a pinch of salt and sugar on the side.
- Nasi Puyung– nasi (rice) dish’s appeal is in its side ingredients, which are a delectable mix of grated coconut, soy fried chicken and chili sauce.
Not mandatory in Indonesia but feel free to show appreciation through small gratuities for great service.
Taxis: Both Indonesians and expats commonly round up the fare to the nearest multiple of ten thousand (e.g. a 27,750 fare would be rounded to 30,000 rupiah).
Restaurants: In all kinds of restaurants, it is customary to leave behind any loose change as tip, or at least 10,000 rupiah. In high-end restaurants, a government mandated 10% tax applies. Warungs and other eateries do not expect to be tipped.
Hotels: Most hotels charge the mandatory 10% government tax, as well as another 11% of service charge to your bill. Porters can be tipped 20,000-50,000 rupiah for 1-2 guests.
- Suggested Vaccinations: Hepatitis A and Typhoid
- Drinking tap water is never truly safe in Indonesia, so do buy bottle water.
- Protect yourself from sunstroke by wearing a hat and using sun lotion.
- When swimming at Lombok’s beaches, be careful as they can have very strong currents, particularly if you’re swimming at the Gili Islands.
- Drug use and contraband is heavily punished in Indonesia
- If injured, you are better off taking a taxi to the nearest hospital, and remember to take cash or a credit card, you may not be admitted until you flash the money.
- The police is notoriously corrupt, if still polite, most often they will demand payment to do their job
- Seriously consider purchasing travel insurance before heading to Indonesia.
Search and rescue: 115,
Tourist Police: near the Art Market at Jl. Raya Senggigi, (+62) 370 632 733
Klinik Risa or Risa Centra Medika Hospital (private): Jl. Pejanggik No.115, Cakranegara, Mataram, Tel: (+62) 370 625 560
Puskesmas Senggigi (public): Jalan Raya Kerandangan (on the main road just past Puri Saron and Pacific Hotel)
- Hello (in general): Ah-pah-kah-bar
- Excuse me. / Sorry: Mah-ah-f
- Thank you: Teh-ree-ma ka-si
- You’re welcome: Sah-mah-sah-mah
- Good morning/evening: Seh-lah-maht mah-lahm
- Goodbye: Seh-lah-maht ting-gahl
- How much is this?: Beh-rah-pah har-gahn-yah
- Cheers! (Toasts when drinking): Sun-ti
- Bon appetit!: Seh-lah-maht mah-kahn
- Where’s the toilet?: Di-ma-na-kah- toilet
- Help!: Toh-long
- I understand: Sah-yah meng-ger-ti
- I don’t understand: Sah-yah ti-dahk meng-ger-ti
How to get into this area, and how to get around it!
Lombok International Airport is the only airport on the island, with flights coming in daily from Java (in particular, Jakarta and Surabaya). International flights do occasionally come in from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Perth. Once in Lombok, you may reach the most notable city, Senggigi, through the DAMRI public airport bus, which costs 35,000 rupiah. Airport taxis (paid in advance by coupon at a counter) and normal taxis (costing about 125,000-155,000 rupiah to Senggigi if using meter) are also available
Lombok is accessible via a slow ferry that leaves from Padang Bai on Bali, and the 4-5 hour trip costs about 40,000 rupiah. A somewhat faster express option is available through a variety of ‘fast boat’ services which will do the job quicker, but for a much more inflated price of about 400,000 rupiah.
Bemos (or converted minivans) are the main form of ‘public’ transport in Lombok – hail one whenever you like, even for just a short trip. As for how much to pay, it fluctuates so the best method is to check how much the locals travelling a similar distance to you are paying: however around 5,000-7,000 rupiah per person should generally work. You may be required to pay a ‘luggage surcharge’ if carrying large items such as many shopping bags.
This is an interesting yet possibly risky option, as street signs are infrequent and ambiguous and roads are sometimes in disrepair, with potholes lying in wait. If you do choose to rent a car, expect to pay around 150,000-175,000 rupiah per day for a small jeep and 250,000-300,000 rupiah for larger vehicles.
Metered taxis are common all over Lombok, with flagfall approximately being 4,250 rupiah and every additional 100 metres costing about 300-400 rupiah. If you’d like to call a taxi, you may try Lombok Taksi (+62 370 627000) or Express Taksi (+62 370 635968), both of which are available 24/7.
Things to see
The top locations to visit in this destination.