This island is often missed because it happens to be Bali’s slightly smaller neighbour, but it’d be silly for you not to make a stop here because it is really beautiful.
The vibe of this island is a lot more laidback than on Bali, there are fewer tourists so it’s less spoilt, although this is changing quite rapidly, and the culture is quite different.
Climb Gunung Rinjani
I ventured to Lombok to climb Indonesia’s second highest volcano – Mount Rinjani. If you’re going to this part of the world then you should drag yourself up it even if you’re not one for hiking because this place is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. I’m not going to tell you that this is an easy climb, in fact, at times it’s really quite the challenge, especially the last 300m of the summit where you’ll climb 3 steps, fall back 2 and then possibly curse at the ground for a little while before trying again. But, for the most beautiful sunrise looking over this gorgeous volcano, the national park and the rest of Indonesia’s stunning scenery in every direction, I can promise it is well worth every effort.
Fortunately, even if you come up with a rubbish excuse as to why you’re not going to get to the top of it, there are plenty of other treks within the park that you can join. If you fancy just walking around the crater rim or going to the hot springs, lots of trekking companies will accommodate, or you can choose to extend the traditional 3days and 2 nights to give yourself more time under the stars.
I used Green Rinjani, which I would highly recommend. It’s very well organised and they’ll take you to and from the start and end locations of the trek and include within the price any extra equipment that you don’t have. They’re also an eco-tourism company so you’ll be planting trees on the side of the volcano and guides will be picking up rubbish along the way. Go you, you eco-warrior. I also would point out that a lot of the locals here don’t care too much about keeping the park clean and tidy, so rubbish can sometimes be a bit of an eyesore. Everything that you want to do to contribute to cleaning it up is definitely a very good thing.
Top tip: Bring lots of layers. It’s damn cold at the summit.
Sengiggi Art Market
Sengiggi is great for a few things. It’s got few good restaurants and bars, it’s got some good surf and it’s also got a cool little market where you can pick up lots of little touristy things if it should suit your fancy.
Top tip: Haggling is a-okay.
Pusuk Monkey Forest
I actually ended up driving through the forest on my way up to Senaru, but there are viewpoints all along the windy road through with beautiful views and not so beautiful monkeys. (biased because I hate monkeys) These little rascals are literally everywhere.
Go to the beach
Unlike some of Bali’s busy beaches, Lombok has paradise awaiting at every side, with far less people to share it with. Most of the beaches that are isolated require that you hire a scooter to get to them and they’re definitely worth it. Pink beach, which has beautiful pink sand (aptly named beach), Selong Balanak and Mawun beach and a couple of really beautiful ones.
Make sure you munch on
Veggies and grated coconut – yes please.
Grab these from a street vendor on Sengiggi beach. They are quite delightful.
This is Indonesia’s national dish but it is also absolutely delicious. Fried rice, usually with an egg and some chicken. Simple. Delish.
Veggies in a peanut sauce. Quite the treat.
Honestly, Indonesian food is some of my favourite. I think it’s quite hard to go wrong. Let me know if you do.