Lombok’s allure lies in its intriguing culture, gorgeous beaches, vast and verdant landscape and its trio of paradise islands known as the Gili Islands. Lombok is an Indonesian getaway that attracts hedonistic backpackers, adventurous families and laid-back vacationers to spend days lingering in its sparkling waters, lounging on luminous sands, snorkeling in aquatic scenery and hiking through its volcanic interior.
With fast boats connecting the islands, the best way to travel around Lombok’s mainland is to catch a local bus or hire yourself a vehicle. The Gilis are motor-free, which means the only public transport is horse-powered, so don’t expect to get anywhere fast. Slip easily into simple island life and stay at one of the many homely, locally run beach bungalow resorts that dot the beaches. There are some more high-end accommodation options available, but don’t expect to be forking out too much cash; life here is low-budget and centered around living off the land.
Map of the Best Places to Stay in Lombok
Spend your time hiking up Lombok’s highest peak: Mount Rinjani, learn how to surf at some of the spectacular surf beaches, or seek out old mosques in rustic villages. Find out more of where the best places to stay in Lombok are below.
The biggest of the three islands that sit just off the coast of Lombok, Gili Trawangan is the place to go to party. The pleasant island is a beach paradise with white sands and turquoise waters. There are no cars or motorbikes so it’s best to hire a bicycle to visit its many beaches. Try out some snorkeling or take a boat out on a fishing trip. Parties on Trawangan often continue until the next morning and are a great opportunity to meet people if you are traveling alone.
There’s a wide range of choice when it comes to eating out and accommodation, but prices are higher here when compared to the rest of Lombok. There are, however, a wide choice of mid-range lodgings.
Gili Air is a lush and green island with stunning beaches and blooming banks of coral that are just asking to be explored. Stay in a budget jungle bungalow or a mid-range beach villa complete with a pool; there is plenty of accommodation to choose from and many laid-back local eateries for you to enjoy.
Hiring a bicycle is the best way to get around here, with pathways around the island passing through stunning natural scenery. At high tide, the waters just off Gili Air are home to groups of turtles which can be easily spotted whilst snorkeling. Boats run regularly from here to Lombok or you can catch the smaller local boats to the next island along for a spot of island hopping.
The smallest of the Gili Islands, Gili Meno is less developed, much quieter, and much more budget friendly. Island life on Meno is laid-back and friendly; locals welcome families who are attracted to holiday here by the island’s clean, safe beaches and chilled atmosphere. As with the other islands, cycling or walking are the main modes of transport. Snorkeling is one of the top activities on Meno; the pure white beaches give way to turquoise waters where you can spend hours just drifting and exploring the underwater seascape.
Reasonably priced backpacker-style bungalows and family-friendly beach resorts offer great value for money. The resorts often come with restaurants attached, serving fresh seafood and cocktails that go perfectly with a Gili sunset.
Senggigi is all about sitting back and taking in spectacular sunsets from one of the many beachside bars. As Senggigi is the main tourist spot on Lombok, it’s home to tourist-focused restaurants, ticket touts and travel agents. Senggigi is popular with local tourists who spend Sunday afternoons socializing at the seaside. Stay near the main beach if you’re looking to take the fast boat that connects to the Gili islands and Bali.
Accommodation is plentiful and very affordable. Spend a couple of nights in a budget homestay and be treated to breakfast local style, or shell out a bit more cash for a luxury villa or beach-side pool.
Stunning Kuta beach is a long stretch of white sand in the south of Lombok. A great location to stay in order to explore the beaches on the south of the island; Kuta beach boasts healthy reefs and dramatic scenery. Surrounded by lush landscapes, the hills and peaks around the shore offer fantastic views across Kuta and its waters.
Along the beach, cafes and restaurants serve local and international food to hungry travelers, and chilled surf shops sell all the equipment you need for making the most of island life. The international airport is close by and there is public transport that connects to the nearby towns, but it can be unreliable, so hiring a car is more convenient. Value for money accommodation isn’t easy to come by in Kuta beach area, but homestays do offer better value for money; for a little more, stay in a hotel on the road that leads to the beach or further inland. Better value can be found in the form of mid-priced hotels with pools.
Tiny Tetebatu is made up of a small cluster of roads with a smattering of accommodation choices. The main attraction to this village is its proximity to the national park. As such, the area surrounding Tetebatu is littered with waterfalls and abundant natural gems. If you like hiking in tropical landscapes, then spend a few nights tucked away in Tetebatu taking in the rice fields, the overflowing fruit trees, the lush rainforest and the spice plantations. The area is a veritable paradise for nature lovers.
Choose from accommodation with views across farmland or perhaps a mountain resort.
Guest houses here are all mainly low budget and run by friendly families who can help you to arrange trekking tours or organize transport to your next destination.
If you want to try out trekking during your visit to Lombok, then you should head to the stunning village of Senaru. Located along one of the ridges of Mount Rinjani, an active volcano in the center of Rinjani National Park, Senaru is the jumping-off point for hikers who are keen to make it to Rinjani’s summit. Even if you aren’t planning on climbing to the top of a volcano, Senaru is still a truly special spot. Stunning hiking routes wind past waterfalls and under jungle canopies.
Guesthouses are nestled along the ridge of the mountain and naturally offer incredible views. There is a selection of accommodation that runs from luxury rooms with big bathrooms and all the amenities, to more humble lodges which are budget friendly but clean and welcoming.
Tanjung is home to some prestigious holiday resorts, so if you want to stay in luxury surroundings during your Lombok trip, then Tanjung has the accommodation and dining options for you. Hotel rooms look out onto pools and manicured gardens, which give way to the sandy beach that lends itself to lazy days sunbathing.
There is the chance to explore local culture at the town’s traditional market, where you can pick up some fresh fruit. For a spot of golf, try out the golf course nearby. Elsewhere, you can take a stroll along the charming marina. Tanjung also has a transport hub where you can catch buses to other Lombok destinations.
Sun, sand and surfing; Selong Belanak’s sloping crescent beach is its big draw. The clean beach attracts many surfers who come here to try out the waves in a beautiful setting.
One end of the beach is used by local families who fish the waters. Watching their daily routine makes for interesting viewing and will give you insight into the lives of locals. Scatterings of food stalls set up along the sand sell the freshly caught fish that are served with spicy sambal. Sit back and relax after a busy morning surfing and tuck into lunch with your toes in the sand.
Accommodation is very reasonably priced: charming lodgings that boast sweeping scenic views, swimming pools and restaurants. Hiring your own transport is the best way to get around the area, otherwise you can catch a ride on a local bus.
Sprawling Mataram is Lombok’s largest city and is where many of the island’s Orang Sasak people live. The city is the island’s center for administration and is home to hospitals and transport hubs. A good place to stay in Lombok in order to travel to more remote areas of Lombok, the city has a port with regular ferry service, a bus station and is close to the island’s airport.
There are some interesting cultural sites to see in the city along its wide lanes and tree-lined boulevards. Hang out with the local youth scene in the air-conditioned malls, adventure along back-streets on a motorbike and sample local delicacies in the markets; this is the place to come to find out about modern-day life on the island. Accommodation comes in the form of squeaky clean new hotels, which are very budget friendly.