Lombok, the New Bali: The Natural Wonders of the Island
Ask anyone what Indonesia’s number one destination is. The answer will undoubtedly be Bali. Bali has a lot to offer, but her reputation is slowly suffering. Visitors looking for authentic culture and contact with the locals are neglecting Bali. The main complaint about Bali is that it’s too crowded and touristy. More and more travellers are recommending to visit her sister island instead, Lombok. Moreover, a lot of articles are designating Lombok as the new Bali, but why?
Lombok is so close to Bali yet so different. She has a lot to offer and on every layer. Lombok has natural wonders, underwater treasures, omnipresent culture, and a laid-back atmosphere. This is a large topic so this is the first of a series of three blog posts explaining why and how Lombok is becoming the new Bali. Today we will talk about Lombok’s natural wonders, both on land and in the water
Rinjani is the second largest volcano in Indonesia. It is a wonder of nature, with a crater lake called Segara Anak. There are different trails to climb this beauty. Usually, it takes three days and two nights to the summit, less if you stop at the crater lake.
It is quite a challenging experience but definitely rewarded with incredible views. For the ascent, you have to get a guide. You can find one online or at the Rinjani National Park association. Keep in mind that the trails close once a year when the weather is too bad to climb, between January and March. It allows the ecosystem to regenerate without any inconvenience for the visitors.
The northern half of Lombok has a very wide range of waterfalls to offer. So when visiting Lombok, make sure to hike to at least one waterfall (if not all). Here’s a short list of the top five waterfalls to have a refreshing dip:
- Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep: located on the foot of the mighty Rinjani. It’s a necessary stop on the way to the top.
- Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu: the water is flowing down among lush plants here.
- Mayang Putek: a 60m high sulfur waterfall, believed to have healing properties.
- Jukut / Jeruk Manis: located on the south side of Rinjani. This waterfall is also known for its magical properties. Yes, locals believe that if you wash your head with these waters, it might cure you of baldness.
- Tiu Tedja: an easy yet glorious waterfall. It takes 15 minutes to reach it through a soft trek.
Lombok has a lot of plantation and farm tours. Agriculture plays an important part in Lombok’s heritage and economy. Visiting a plantation or a farm will help you better understand the culture. Lombok’s main harvests include:
- rice paddies
- coffee plantations
- coconut trees
- cinnamon fields
- vanilla fields
- garlic fields
- tobacco farms
Everything to please your palate!
Bali can definitely not compete with Lombok when it comes to beaches! Lombok has some of the most spectacular and pristine beaches in the country. This makes perfect opportunity not just to relax, but also to surf, snorkel and dive!
The best beaches are on the west and south sides of Lombok. White or pink sand, with beach vendors or deserted, it’s really up to you. Lombok has them all! Here are the not-to-be-missed beaches during your holiday in Lombok:
- Tanjung Aan, with turquoise waters and extremely white sand. A hill also offers a gorgeous view of the bay.
- Selong Belanak is the perfect beach to relax, have a swim, and try surfing. The waves are gentle here!
- Mawun is a quieter beach, with almost no beach vendors here. Enjoy the place to yourself!
- Kuta is a quite popular beach for surfers! Nothing in common with Bali’s Kuta though, as here the atmosphere is completely laid-back.
- Tangsi (Pink Beach) is quite self-explanatory. The sand appears pink in some places! Here, too, you have a hill offering a nice overlooking view.
- Senggigi is the most popular beach in Lombok. Here you can find a large variety of restaurants and accommodation. A safe choice!
- Pandanan is a bit further north of Senggigi, and much quieter. Locals mostly come here late afternoon or for sunset time!
Do not get confused, but if you think we are talking about Gili Trawangan, Air and Meno here, you are a bit wrong. Well, not completely. Here’s another post where you can learn more about Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air. Gili in Sasak language (Lombok’s dialect) means small island. So every small island around Lombok is a Gili! There are way more than three. To name a few that are worth checking out:
- Gili Nanggu: private island with deserted beaches and crystal clear waters.
- Gili Gede: deserted beaches, hidden coves and fantastic views across the other islands.
- Gili Kondo: on the Eastern side of Lombok, a local favourite for camping on weekends and holidays.
- Gili Asahan: deserted white sand beaches, clear calm waters and swaying palm trees.
- Gili Genting: old volcanic caves and alcoves carved from centuries of tidal flow.
The three northern Gilis are a good place to get your first surfing lessons. Also, south Lombok offers great swells to get your first lessons or master your surfing skills! For beginners, we recommend Kuta Lombok, the most popular surfing spot of the island. Ekas Bay has waves suitable for both beginners and advanced.
Mawi is more reserved for experienced surfers. Then, you have Desert Point on the southwest coast. This last one obtained the “Best Waves of the World” title, so be prepared to meet a lot of experienced surfers.
Diving and snorkelling
Lombok has crystal clear waters, buzzing reefs and marine wildlife. The perfect setting to have a glimpse through a mask, get certified or just fun dive! The three northern Gilis are well known for diving and snorkelling. The huge population of sea turtles around the islands is certainly the reason why.
Yet, we believe the best diving and snorkelling locations are somewhere else. The Sekotong area is diving heaven, especially around the southern Gilis. Be sure to check Belongas as well, there are some top diving destinations there.
Experience the island
There are many hidden gems to be found in Lombok, so make sure to take the time to explore! Get off the beaten track. Talk to the locals. They will share their love for their home like no one else can. Lombok is an island to be experienced, and she totally deserves the same popularity as Bali.
This is the first post of our “Lombok, the New Bali” series, where we explain why and how Lombok is the new Bali! We focused on the natural wonders of this incredible island. The next blog post in the series will tell you everything you need to know about Lombok’s culture, read it here!
Do you see Lombok as the new Bali?
Do you know any natural wonders in Lombok that we missed in this post? Share it with us in the comments below!
Embrace the journey!
Written by Virginie Fauquant