Lombok, Indonesia. You’ve probably heard of it. ‘Isn’t that the one near Bali?’ I hear you ask. Well yes, technically you’re correct, but I for one am fed up of Lombok having to live in Bali’s shadow. Lombok is Bali’s cooler little brother. If Bali is Mario, Lombok is Luigi.
Sure, Bali offers a lot of awesome adventures but it is also great if you love crowds. I recently spent some time on Lombok and realized it has just as much to offer. If you like your adventure a little more off-kilter and a little less mainstream, then it might be the island for you. It has some of the best beaches Indonesia has to offer, with some awesome (and not so crowded) surf breaks. There’s mountains, volcanoes, hikes, and of course, monkeys. Lombok has something for every adventure junkie, it just doesn’t feel the need to shout about it so much. It’s too cool for that.
So without further ado, here are our top five adventurous things to do on the sweet little island of Lombok
1. Go Surfing in Lombok’s Secluded Beaches
Yes Bali has good surf, I’m not denying that. But have you seen how crowded it gets? On Lombok, look around and you can find deserted beaches, or at least ones where you’re not sat in a line up for ages waiting to catch that perfect break.
A great place to start is Kuta beach as there are numerous points around here such as Mawi or Mawun. Ask around on the day which has the best surf and you’re sure to find something that suits your style.
For even more secluded experience, head to Gerupuk beach where you may need a local with a boat to take you out to reach the waves. Better yet, head to Desert Point, also known as Bangko Bangko beach which is known for its long walled left handers that will blow you away. Seriously, the waves in
If you’re a beginner, don’t worry, there are plenty of surf schools on the islands. Check out Selong Balanak for real easy beginner waves. A lesson there should cost you around $25 USD, just rock up and look for the guys with the foam boards and try your luck in one of the best water sports out there!
2. Hike Up the Majestic Mount Rinjani
Want to hike up an active volcano? Sure you do! Well look no further than Lombok’s Gunung Rinjani. Standing at 3,726 metres, its Indonesia’s second highest volcano, and bigger than anything on Bali! Ha!
The trek up is incredible, however you do it. Tours can range from overnight to a full week, passing through forests, waterfalls, hot springs and caves as you make your way up. You’ll camp out overnight in tents and be treated to some of the best sunrises and sunsets in South East Asia.
You’ll need to be reasonably fit to do the hike, plus you’ll need to aware of the 2am start if you want to get for the summit for sunrise! This is completely worth it though, at the top you are rewarded with views of Segara Anak crater lake, an oval-shaped caldera filled with the bluest volcanic water you’ve ever seen.
Resources: Read about our Adventure Junkies, The Wanderlovers as they Conquere the Epic Mt. Rinjani in Indonesia and read up on the 10 Epic Treks In Asia That You Have To Do In Your Lifetime
3. Hire a Motorbike (a big one)
Want to get out and feel the open road? Lombok is definitely the place to do this if you’re a motorbike fanatic. There’s so little traffic here compared to it’s noisy Balinese brother that you can really take your time and enjoy how incredible beautiful this underrated island is.
Take the road from Senggigi to Pemanan as the ride is breathtaking. If you can find the view point at Malimbu Hill, you’ll be rewarded with views looking out over Nipah beach and the 3 Gili Islands. Best part is you won’t have to jostle with hundreds of other tourists to get a good photo.
If waterfalls are your thing then jump back on your bike and head to Tiu Kelep. This is one of Lombok’s best kept secrets, and while the road here will only take you so far, the trek heading to the falls in is an adventure on its own.
Resources: If you are heading to Bali, you can check out this Bali Honeymoon Guide
4. Get Mobbed at Pusuk Monkey Forest
Have you been to the monkey forest in Ubud? Of course you have, everyone has! There are more people there than monkeys these days, soon they’ll start taking pictures of us.
Lombok has a monkey forest too, only a lot less people know about it. Here you can observe monkeys in their natural habitat and watch as the mothers feed their infants. While they probably don’t see as many tourists as their mates on Bali, they are still very cheeky monkeys who will grab that sandwich out of your bag when you’re not looking. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The monkey forest sits at the foot of mount Rinjani, you can drive up your motorbike, or take a tour. Alternatively, if you’re doing the Rinjani trek, see if you can choose to see it along the way.
Resources: Don’t miss our guide to The Best Places to Stay in Indonesia
5. Chill Out on the Gili Islands
Ok, this one is technically not on Lombok but it’s very close by and you can book boat tours to take you here for the day. The Gilis are three smalls islands, Trawangan, Meno and Air, with no motor traffic at all. Although a little built up in places, some parts still have that idyllic paradise feel.
There’s so much cool stuff to explore around here. Jump on a bicycle and explore the pedestrian streets of Gili Trawangan, grab one with extra fat tires if you want to take it onto sand. Alternatively, you can check out the diving and snorkelling tours and marvel at the amazing underwater world. In the Gilis, you’re bound to see turtles (lot’s of them), tropical fish and maybe even a shark. Probably just a small one though, don’t worry. After you’re done swimming you can grab a cocktail and chill out in a hammock, or watch the sunset from Gili T’s famous sunset swing. Just be prepared to line up for your instagram photo.
Resources: Interested to go diving in the Gilis? Check out From a Beginner to Padi Certified in the Gilis, or our Beginner’s Guide to Snorkelling: How to Not Look Like An Idiot
Indonesia is a huge country and outside of Bali there’s around 18,000 islands to explore, each one hiding a new surprise. Get out there and try and find something different, something no-one has ever seen before, and let us know all about it.
This article was written in partnership between Adventure in You and the Indonesian Tourism board as part of the 2016 Trip of Wonders Tour.
Looking for more Indonesian adventures? Check out some of the articles below;
- Things to do in Bali (that are not on TripAdvisor!)
- 4×4 Offroad Adventure in Bandung Indonesia
- Diving in Komodo National Park
- Jungle Trekking in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra