“In this issue, we take you to the magical sister island of Bali. Lombok has many gems awaiting your discovery – from the majestic Mt. Rinjani, a magical pink beach, 5-star luxury and the tranquil Gili islands, which we think might just be the next Boracay.”
The sister-island of Bali may be lesser-known, but it is no less beautiful. With white powdery sand beaches, azure blue waters and abundant marine life, for those who love the sand and sea, this is equivalent to paradise on earth. Plus, you get to escape crazy Bali crowds to enjoy a more serene vacation. Home to the second highest volcano in Indonesia, you can climb up the majestic Mount Rinjani as part of your adventure. The countryside boasts plenty of forest, wildlife, waterfalls, and villages for an authentic flavour of Indonesia.
11 Things to do in Lombok for your Honeymoon
1. Enjoy tropical island living on Gili Islands
During our trip earlier in March this year, I fell in love with the Gili Islands. On the north-western shore of Lombok, this group of 3 islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno highlighted the beauty of this tropical paradise. With no cars or even motorbikes on these islands, it marks a unique experience for island-lovers. The islands are popular for scuba diving and snorkeling. A day hopping tour will take you around the 3 islands, though I would suggest you spend a full day exploring one, or even stay overnight to fully experience it!
The largest and also most developed of the three islands is Gili Trawangan. A must-do is to have your Instagram shots taken at the ocean swings! With many chic restaurants and bars, be sure to enjoy happy hour at 4 pm. (some even have them all day long!). A big takeaway from the Gilis was that the cocktails are really strong! Each night, there is a designated party spot on the island where everyone gathers. Packed with friendly locals, the island exudes a welcoming vibe – I can just imagine it to be the next Boracay!
Gili Meno & Gili Air
For a more laid-back atmosphere, Gili Meno is known to be a honeymooner’s paradise. With few people and long stretches of beautiful beach, Gili Meno has a more remote and serene feel. Gili Air is a happy in-between of Meno and Trawangan. There are many diving vendors at Gili Air. Most of the island goes quiet by 10 pm, though there might just be one or two party venues on the island. We saw that Gili Air has a lot of upcoming development during our visit, so we can expect it to be more exciting in a couple of months.
Travel tip: We hopped on a fast boat from Bangsal Harbour seafront (US$8.50 per pax one-way), and reached Gili Trawangan in about 20 minutes (it’s the third stop). A ferry boat will take you there for a fraction of the price (~US$1), but the journey will be about 1.5 hours. Also, you will have to wait for the boat to be filled up before it will depart. When going to Bangsal Harbour, the taxis are not allowed to stop right the seafront. The area is cordoned off about 500 metres from the jetty, and taxis will have to drop you off earlier. There are horse carriages waiting to bring you to the jetty, and will usually ask for about US$3-5. Do not stop by any of the vendors before the seafront – they are marked up almost double the price, and will try to sell you private charters. There is an official ticket booth at the seafront, so go there to make sure you don’t get cheated. There will be some locals who will bring you to the boat from there, and you can choose to tip them for their service, though it is not necessary to do so. Locals who take your luggages for you to the boat expect to be tipped though.
2. Experience 5-star luxury at The Oberoi Lombok
The Oberoi Lombok is a luxury 5-star resort spanning over 24 acres of beachfront and lush gardens. Presenting you with views of the Gili Islands and Mount Agung, breakfast and sunset hours here are especially stunning. Located in the enchanting Medana Bay, The Oberoi Lombok has their own private jetty where you can easily jet set off to the neighbouring Gili islands, or borrow snorkeling gear to explore the house reef. Spend a lazy afternoon soaking in the serenity at the infinity pool, or indulge in pampering at The Oberoi Spa, which has open-air massage pavilions, herbal baths, jacuzzis and a steam room.
The resort houses 20 thatch-roof villas and 30 pavilions, each beautifully furnished with natural, earthy tones and styled in a traditional Sasak fashion. During our trip, we stayed at the Luxury Pavilion that came with an Ocean View. The room was charmingly rustic and presented us with a morning bay view which we could enjoy on our private balcony. Our en-suite bathroom was spacious with a walled-in courtyard that came with a lotus pond, as well as a marble bathtub that was carved into the floor.
3. Conquer Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia
Standing at 3,625 metres tall, Mount Rinjani is Indonesia’s second tallest volcano (out of 130 volcanoes) and is the reason why many travellers come to Lombok. This active volcano is home to a 3-day epic climb that will have you standing atop its summit facing a jaw-dropping view of the sunrise and volcanic caldera. It presents you with a view of nature so incredible and breathtaking that we are certain you will never forget. Fair warning though, the climb does pose a challenge (as compared to Mount Bromo, where little climbing is involved). That being said, it is doable for most experienced hikers and the strong-minded. You can ascend from the village of Sembalun or from Senaru. We suggest starting from Sambalun for a better trail configuration.
On the first day, your trek starts off with a climb of 1,500 metres over 8 km, which gets pretty steep during the final 4 km (will take about 4 hours). The route is sandy and slippery, so make sure you wear good hiking shoes and bring loads of water. Trekking poles will be a big help. On your first night, you will sleep in a tent on a campsite on the crater rim or by the Segara Anak Crater Lake. The lake is located inside the caldera at the Rinjani summit. Overnight camping by the crater lake is beautiful, you can see the spectacular night sky filled with stars over the crater rim.
The second day starts in the middle of the night, for you to catch the sunrise. It is very cold at the summit, so have warm clothing with you. Definitely, have a guide with you for the climb. Porters are also available to help you with your camping equipment. Check out Hajar Trekking for your tour. Pack a ziplock bag to bring your own personal garbage down the mountain. There is a lot of trash on the mountain, don’t be one to add to it!
About 200 metres away from the main campsite is the Air Kalak Hot Springs, where you can soak away the aches and pains in the mineral waters after a tough ascend. Penimbungan Waterfall Viewpoint is also another spot you may want to add to your itinerary. The 75-metre waterfall is a two-hour trek from the Torean entrance.
4. Marvel at the amazing Rinjani view
If you are not keen on a climb, there are still other ways for you to enjoy the majestic views that Mount Rinjani has to offer. You can ride a helicopter to enjoy the aerial view of the volcano, the lake, and its surroundings. Alternatively, drive up to Pusuk Sembalun Tourist Park (Taman Wisata Pusuk Sembalun). You can enjoy unparalleled views of the mountains here without having to exert yourselves.
Pusuk Sembalun Tourist Park
Jl. Wisata Gn. Rinjani, Sembalun Bumbung, Sembalun, Kabupaten Lombok Timur, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83656, Indonesia
Directions: From Mataram City (capital of Lombok), you will head to East Lombok Regency. Your exact destination is Sembalun Bumbung Village. You will drive about 2 hours 10 minutes (82.3km) to get there. For your route, take Raya Mataram – Labuan Lombok Street.
5. Nestle yourselves in nature & timeless romance at Tugu Hotel
Hotel Tugu Resort embodies the art, soul, and romance of Indonesia. Founder Anhar Setjadibrata & his daughter Lucienne Anhar designed the resort to warmly host guests from all around the world and showcase Indonesia’s romantic history to them through his collection of fine antiquities. Accommodations in Hotel Tugu Resort are within steps from the beach and clear sea waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling in the day. Housed in traditional buildings, the rooms feature high thatched ceilings that create a spacious and uplifting atmosphere. Each room comes with a huge four-poster bed and antique furnishings.
During our stay, we resided in the exquisite Bhagavat Gita Oceanfront Suite. On top of its spacious and comfortable interiors, the suite came with a private garden patio with daybeds and a private plunge pool. We enjoyed direct access to the beach and ocean. In front of our suite was a huge lawn where you can lay out a mat and stargaze at night. The bathroom revealed an outdoor shower with one of the largest rain showers we had seen, and the bathtub was uniquely crafted out of a rock. One of our highly anticipated moments of the day was afternoon tea. Served daily at 4 pm, we enjoyed sipping on hot tea by the pool while admiring the serene view. If you are up for exploration, a 15-minute boat ride will take you to the famed Gili Islands.
Aside from being an ideal romantic honeymoon destination, Hotel Tugu Lombok is a charming wedding venue as well. Say your I Dos on their beachfront lawn facing the sparkling sea, or at Sanghyang Purnama, a grand altar under the moon and stars. For your wedding reception, Gedong Gandrung is a unique and grand venue that illustrates the splendor of Lombok Palaces a thousand years ago. Bale Kokok Pletok is a rustic open air space with a tall thatched ceiling facing the pool and tropical landscape, with enormous pillars made of statues of Goddess Dewi Sri. Whether you are looking for an idyllic beach wedding, a traditional Bali wedding or a rustic themed wedding, Hotel Tugu is an ideal romantic spot for you. Inquire here for a proposal.
6. See a gorgeous patchwork of fields at Bukit Pergasingan
Bukit Pergasingan is a hill that sits at around 1,700 metres above sea level. This lookout point brings you very close to seeing Mount Rinjani, but yet the hike only takes about 2-3 hours as compared to the 3-days for Mount Rinjani. One of the reasons why Bukit Pergasingan is so popular is thanks to the gorgeous view of the patchwork of fields below. They have different hues and is one of the prettiest sights you will see in Lombok. Besides hiking and scenery, you can also do paragliding, mountain biking and even camping for the sunrise at Bukit Pergasingan.
Another viewpoint that shares a similar patchwork of field plots is Bukit Selong Rice Fields that is up North of Lombok. You can drive up to the viewpoint without a drive. Do arrive before sunrise to see the view. The variety of different coloured crops gives the fields a patchwork quilt of contrasting colours. It covers the entire valley and is quite a sight to behold.
Sembalun Lawang, Sembalun, Sembalun Lawang, Sembalun, East Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83656, Indonesia
Sembalun Lawang, Sembalun, Sembalun Lawang, Sembalun, East Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83656, Indonesia
7. Marvel at a Pink Beach (Tangsi Beach)
No need to travel to the Bahamas to see a mesmerising pink beach, for it is right in Lombok! Tangsi beach, located on the island’s far-south eastern shore, is one of the 10 pink beaches in the world. The pink hue of Tangsi Beach is not as saturated as what you see in photos. In fact, the beach itself is white. It is the pink corals that gives it a peachy-hue. Visit this beach on a clear day to see the colours at its brightest under the sparkling sunlight! From Mataram city (capital of Lombok), it will take you about 2 – 2.5 hours drive to the beach. Previously, the roads leading up to this beach were very bad, causing drivers not wanting to take people here, but since June 2015, the road has been vastly improved! Though there is not much to do here, you can snorkel, and head to the nearby viewpoint that overlooks the pink beach. The cliffs of Tanjung Ringgit are also nearby and worth a visit.
8. Explore the Kuta of Lombok
Unlike its famous sister, Kuta in Lombok is smaller and quieter than Bali’s. The best way to explore the coastal town of Kuta is by a motorbike or a bicycle, so you can simply stop wherever you fancy. Kuta has a variety of restaurants and accommodations, from backpacker to 4-star offerings. Most come to Kuta to just unwind and have a peaceful day out. Most of Kuta retains a sleepy, natural character, typical of a fishing village. From here, getting to the best beaches of Lombok, such as Mawun, Tanjung Aan, and Selong Belanak is easy for they are close by (see #9 below). Kuta beach might also be worth a short visit. Kuta is about 20 minutes from the airport.
9. Relax on Lombok’s best beaches
Like Bali, Lombok also has many wonderful beaches for you to enjoy the sand and sea. The most popular are Tanjung Aan beach (East) and Mawun beach (south). Tanjung Aan has clear waters and fine sand that is almost Caribbean like! The bays are peaceful and Batu Payung, another beach with an unusual rock formation is approximately 1 km from Tanjung Aan beach. Mawun beach is great if you are staying around Kuta South. It will take you about 25 minutes, and you will see an enclosed bay flanked by two hills. The calm waters are perfect for swimming and the serene atmosphere is wonderful for a day lounging under the sun.
For other beaches, Selong Belanak Beach is great for beginner surfers. Mawi beach is also a popular surf spot on the island. Seger Beach is where most go for snorkeling. At Semeti Beach, you will see a unique landscape of volcanic rocks and caves.
10. Chase waterfalls in Lombok
The hills of Lombok is home to beautiful waterfalls. You can literally spend a day or two just chasing waterfalls for there are so many to discover! The most popular are Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep in the town of Senaru (north of Lombok). You can start the day with the Senaru sunrise, followed by the waterfalls. Sendang Gile is a two-tiered waterfall that plunges down a 31-metre cliff into a pool where you can take a dip. After which, head to Tiu Kelep waterfall, which poses a dramatic landscape. You will have to walk through some slippery dirt paths to get here and it takes about 45 minutes from Sendang Gile. Entry to the park costs IDR 10,000, excluding a guide.
Another noteworthy waterfall is Benang Stokel Waterfall. It comprises five falls near each other, the first three literally just next to each other. The other two will require a trek to reach. The curtain-like appearance of the falls is magical.
Sendang Gile Waterfall
Senaru, Bayan, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83354, Indonesia
Bayan, North Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83354, Indonesia
Benang Stokel Waterfall
Aik Berik, North Batukliang, Central Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara 83552, Indonesia
11. Watch the sunset at Bukit Merese Hill
When in Kuta Lombok, stay back and wait for the sunset at Bukit Merese Hill. The first viewpoint is just a 5-10 minute hike up the hill, and a 20 minutes hike will take you all the way to the top. Once you reach the top, marvel at the fiery orange sun as the rays reflects in the blue waters of Kuta Beach Lombok – it is truly a sight to behold.