Have you ever wondered why some tourists prefer Lombok over Bali? Well yes, many people do prefer Lombok over Bali and here is why.
Lombok is the land of 1000 mosques, second highest volcanic peak of Indonesia, splendid beaches and spectacular waterfalls. Lombok is an untouched beauty!
Just 1.5 hours away from Bali, Lombok is strikingly different from cultural standpoint. Being predominantly Muslim, there are few Balinese Hindu families on the west coast. Every village bears 2 mosques. At quite a few places on the island, one can hear the chants, 5 times a day when Muslims pray to Allah. Men usually pray in the mosque while women usually pray at home.
Glimpses of Our Trip
- We stayed in Senggigi (Kebun Villas and Resorts) and traveled to North and South Lombok.
- Beaches in Lombok are phenomenal with turquoise waters and fine white or grainy sands.
- Hindu temples namely, Batu Bolong, Taman Mayura and Pura Meru are extremely gorgeous. Sunset at Batu Bolong temple is beautiful with Mt. Agung in the background.
- Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep waterfalls are the highlights of Lombok. The trek to the waterfalls is breathtaking and sensationally beautiful.
- Mt. Rinjani is a beautiful trek but we had to give it a miss due to lack of time.
- The tour map
- Day 1: Villa Hantu> Batu Bolong
- Day 2: Banyumulek> Sukarara> Rembitan Sasak Village> Kuta Lombok> Tanjung Aan
- Day 3: Sengang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfalls
Things To Do: Food, Vacationing, Photography & a Lot More
Day 1: Villa Hantu > Batu Bolong Temple
We took a ferry from Gili Trawangan and reached Bangsal (Lombok). At Bangsal, we had a private taxi to drop us at our hotel in Senggigi.
The drive from Bangsal to Senggigi is majestic with hills on one side and turquoise sea on the other. On the way we stopped at Villa Hantu (meaning, haunted house in sasak). Apparently, this house located at the hill top, is owned by a Swiss national but could never be completed. It offers absolutely stunning panoramic views of the sea and is a must visit place, preferably on a sunny day. It offers good views of the sunset as well.
We reached Senggigi at 11 AM. This area of Lombok houses most of the resorts and restaurants. The check-in time in most of the hotels is late afternoon but one can deposit the luggage at the hotel and walk around to enjoy the scenery and the food. Our hotel provided us with the map of Lombok that highlighted all key establishments within 2 KM radius and was indeed very helpful. We had our lunch (at Lotus Bayview restaurant in the nearby Art Market) and walked back to our hotel. By the roadside, one can find numerous drivers offering cab service for local sightseeing in Lombok. We booked a cab for the next 3 days for USD 95. Metered taxis are also available for short distances.
In the evening we went to see the Batu Bolong temple. It is a miniature version of Tanah Lot temple in Bali with marvelous views. A sarong is needed to enter the temple complex which can be taken outside the temple. Making donation to the temple in return is voluntary. The sunset from the temple is admirable, especially on a cloudless sky, with Mount Agung standing tall in the foreground. We did not plan much activity on this day and used the time to relax and laze around as we geared up for an eventful next day!
Day 2: Banyumulek> Sukarara> Rembitan Sasak Village> Kuta Lombok> Tanjung Aan
Banyumulek village is a sought-after site for clay and terracotta pottery. The entry to the village is marked by a demonstration of well decorated and alluring pots of all shapes and sizes outside various households and shops. My eyes widened in excitement to see these creative and skillful sasak women making pots and earning livelihood for their families. The women are not only very open to exhibit the process but also encourage tourists to try their hands on it. Sona, my adorable wife created a pot with the symbolic turtle, and brought it home! She loved her creation and is all set to paint it in Lombok style.
You can also view the pottery gallery and purchase souvenirs. The collection is insanely vibrant, making it all-the-more irresistible to buy. The huge vases are matchless but difficult to carry back home.
Sukarara village is known for golden and silver thread weaving for Ikat, which is used to create scarfs and sarong. These sasak women spend their day after day weaving traditional materials. Some of them work in the shops, while many work in their respective homes. The scarves made by them can make an admirable present for your loved ones. Do check them out. As you can see, it was thrilling to weave 2 cms of ikat, off course with little help. 😀
Sade-Rembitan is the most visited traditional Sasak village. While it is modernized, the essence of this village is still very authentic. The villagers live their usual day to day life and sell handicrafts for a living. The handmade goods include sarong, ikat, bracelets, artificial jewelry, caps etc. Women making tea in worn out kettle, men sitting in shacks in their traditional outfits and kids running around with their toys is a usual setting. This place has numerous rural huts with very narrow lanes to walk. The village can get swarmed with tourists at times.
Not too far away from Rembitan is the famous Kuta Beach of Lombok. The serenity of the beach and the mysterious blue waters makes you want a long stroll to see the end. A small stretch of rock, inside the water, makes a beautiful scenery on the beach. Some tourists are seen snorkeling while some are seen relaxing under the sun. Avoid long weekends as many local tourists tend to swing by for a short getaway trip with their families.
Tanjung Aan beach is very close to Kuta beach and offers a quieter experience, with crystal clear water and fine white sand. Additionally, take a short ferry ride from here to see the small islands on the other side of the hills. These islands offer amazing structures created as a result of erosion from strong currents of water and air. Charges for the to and fro ferry (with capacity of 2-6 people) are around USD 30.
On our way back to Senggigi, we visited ‘Taman Mayura’ temple which is a beautiful complex with lush green plants and two small ponds. The person at the entry door demanded USD 4 as the entry ticket and we didn’t debate about it, though I don’t think it was a fair ask as we didn’t get any receipt. The complex houses two lovely temples. Not known to many tourists, it’s a very unruffled place to gain inner peace and relax. Right across the road is the ‘Pura Meru’ temple, a massive temple with exquisite and magnificent architecture. Unfortunately, this temple was locked when we reached. I highly recommend a visit to both of these temples.
Day 3: Senaru (Sendang Gile & Tiu Kelep)
Having seen a bit of South, we were curious about what lies in the North of Lombok. The journey to Senaru was an absolute eye candy. The weather was cloudy and pleasant. The journey entails outstanding views of the sea on one side and hills on the other. Enroute, we stopped at Malimbu Hill, a view point from where you can see all the three Gili islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air). I must say, that this was one of the most scenic and thrilling day of our stay in Lombok.
It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Senaru from Senggigi based on traffic. We booked a tour guide for USD 27 for two people to see the two waterfalls at the tourist information center. This fees also includes two 500ml mineral water bottles and rain coats. Though, you can visit the waterfalls without the guide as well, but it is recommended to take one so that you don’t have to carry backpacks and you can get pictures clicked on the way. The first waterfall, Sendang Gile, is a 20 mins of climb down and the whole passage is scenic with lots of greenery. You can hear the sound of waterfall as you are approaching it. The waterfall is quite tall and you could enjoy the splashes in the basin. An outstanding experience, worth a visit in Lombok.
After spending an hour here, we started walking towards Tiu Kelep Waterfall. It takes about 45 mins to reach the falls. The terrain is particularly flat and not strenuous at all. This journey is sublime and beguiling to say the least. Indeed one of the best forest trails that we have experienced so far. To add on to the adventure, there are streams of water speeding through the terrain and you need to cross a couple of them. The current is not very strong and the water is not deep (a bit cold!). It was an exhilarating experience. Watch out for your footwear and hold them in your hands if you need to. Our guide was very good and carried our water bottles and bag, giving us full freedom to go wild. Tiu Kelep is a humongous waterfall with multiple water streams and the droplets could be experienced 50 meters away from the fall. Even before jumping to swim, our clothes were wet as we approached the waterfall. The wind is very chilly and it felt like another world all together. You can spend as much time as you want here in the nature’s lap and you will still not be satisfied.
Our walk back to Senaru was more eventful than we thought. You either have an option to retrace the same path or you can jump into a pitch dark tunnel about 100 meters long with fast water currents and walk in knee deep waters. Needless to say, we picked the latter choice. The tunnel has a couple of small openings which are the only source of light. We used our mobile flashlights to find our way. Be cautious and avoid a couple of small iron rods inside the tunnel. Our guide was walking ahead of us and cautioned us on the way. Our voice was echoing and the sound of water current gushing through the tunnel caused a strong adrenaline rush. We felt victorious to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This route is a shortcut as well and is highly recommended for the adventurous souls!
Thereafter we reached Senaru and looked for restaurants nearby as we were starving. The one and only decent restaurant was booked with waiting time for 2 hours! We decided to pick up something on the way instead of the endless wait. I suggest you carry some basic eateries. We could not find any decent eating joint on the way back as the entire stretch is quite un-commercialized and decided to have dinner directly in Senggigi at the Banana Tree Café. The food was freshly prepared and served hot! We ate as if we never saw food before.
Next day early morning we took the return flight to Bali. To know more about Bali, refer our post on Bali here.
Overall, Lombok was an incredible experience. This un-commercialized island has a plethora of natural views to offer. We stayed in Kebun Villas and Resorts and had a very good experience. The hotel staff was very helpful and we received prompt responses for our requests. The road network is good with less traffic. There is lot of greenery and can get a bit hilly especially towards North Lombok. It’s advisable to book a taxi for full day for local sightseeing. Lombok attracts more local tourists than international tourists. So, avoid local holiday season to beat the crowd. If possible, plan your itinerary in such a way that Bali and Lombok are not after one another and plan to visit different type of attractions at these two places. Otherwise, the experience might be repetitive.