Lombok, Indonesia – Backpacker’s Guide

Mount Rinjani, Lombok  

As the gateway to the popular Gili Islands and the starting point of the famous Lombok to Flores boat trip, Lombok is fast becoming a very popular backpacker destination in Southeast Asia.

Looking towards Lombok from Gili Air, Indonesia
Looking towards Lombok from nearby Gili Air, Indonesia.

Just a short 20-minute boat ride away from the world famous destination of Bali, Lombok has so far escaped the massive growth of tourism that has tainted its sister island. Expect wide, white sandy beaches, delicious Indonesian food, a unique Muslim culture, breath-taking coastal views and a challenging volcano hike up the mighty Mount Rinjani.

Hiking Mount Rinjani, Lombok – Photo by Georgeta Vlase-Harvey.

Where To Stay in Lombok

There are plenty of backpacker hostels offering dorm and private rooms (or even a picture-perfect bamboo hut) with prices starting from around $5 USD per night. If you’re happy to splurge, there are also plenty of guesthouses and hotels offering spacious suites, private plunge pools and ocean views…

At the upper end of the scale – Living Asia Resort and Spa, Lombok, Indonesia – Photo by Georgeta Vlase-Harvey.

You are likely to spend your first night on Lombok in Senggigi as this is the point where most backpackers will arrive on the island from Bali. While Senggigi certainly isn’t the most exciting place on the island, it’s okay for a night or two while you get your bearings and figure out your Lombok Itinerary. Read our in-depth guide to Senggigi town here. 

Other traveller hubs are the city of Mataram, the village of Mentigi, the laid-back jungle town of Tetebatu or the popular beach resort town of Kuta, Lombok. Here’s our pick of some of the best places to stay on the island…

Top 10 Backpacker Hostels & Guesthouses in Lombok

1. Boogie Hostel – Kuta Lombok – From $8 US per night 

Boogie Hostel is an awesome little place with a social yet laid back vibe with activities like outdoor movie nights, barbecues and palm wine nights! The dorm rooms are really large and spacious and the beds are enormous and super comfortable! Each bed has a privacy curtain, plug socket and reading light and each guest gets a locker and towel to use during their stay. You can also get a private double room for a steal at just $17 US and contains a large double bed with ensuite bathroom. All rooms are AC and spotlessly clean. The hostel is located in a quiet street, but still close to many restaurants, shops and within walking distance to the beach. Breakfast is offered every morning from 7am and they have a variety of options from banana pancakes (recommended!) to French toast, fruit or cereals. You can rent scooters here for a good price to explore the rest of the island and the friendly staff are on hand to help you booking any tours or activities that you would like to do in Kuta or in the rest of Lombok.

2. Pipes Hostel – Kuta Lombok – From $11 US per night

A gorgeous hostel that’s amazing value for money when you consider the facilities… there’s a beautiful swimming pool, a well-stocked bar, a café that serves delicious food (and good coffee) and there’s even a skate bowl! The atmosphere is lively, but not rowdy, so it’s a great place for solo travellers to meet people and the staff make sure that everyone feels welcome. There are also movie nights (played on a large outdoor screen) and other events to help people mingle and chill and the food is tasty and cheap! When it comes to the rooms, there are dorms or privates that all have AC and good quality hot showers. You can also rent scooters from here to explore the island and visit local warungs and restaurants. Highly recommended!

 

3. Dream Catcher Camp – Tetebatu – From $5 US per night

A magical place set in beautiful surroundings near Tetebatu Monkey Forest. Dorm beds cost $5 USD, while private rooms will set you back $10 USD! Incredible value for money and with fantastic food, many people describe Dream Catcher Camp as their highlight of Lombok. This unique experience will not, however, be what you’re after if you’re used to 5-star luxury. Only hippies need apply!

Dreamcatcher Camp, Tetebatu, Lombok.

4. The Livingroom Hostel – Kuta Lombok – From $11 US per night

A beautifully designed hostel with a swimming pool, an outdoor bar and a tree growing right in the middle of the house! The atmosphere (created by the amazing tree) is pretty magical and the vibe is chilled and friendly. Maybe it’s the design of the hostel or perhaps it’s the friendly staff that mean that everybody here talks to everybody and you’ll feel as welcome as you do in your own living room! The café here serves delicious homemade food and they have excellent bread and coffee for breakfast those craving some home comforts. As for the dorm rooms, they are clean, comfortable and in good condition with good AC and WIFI. The location is great just a minute’s walking distance from warungs, bars and shops and not far from the beach. A pretty special place that you won’t want to leave!

5. La Boheme – Mentigi – From $9 US per night

La Boheme is a laid back and super friendly backpacker hostel, situated on the outskirts of the traditional village of Mentigi (Teluk Nara) on the Western coast of Lombok. With plenty of outdoor space, clean and simple dorm rooms and a movie night that’s famous all over the island, it’s the perfect place to relax during your Indonesian trip. For solo travellers, it’s also a great place to socialise with fellow travellers and the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Teh attached café serves a variety of local and Western dishes and there are cocktails, beer and coffee available 24/7! Dorm beds cost between $9 USD and $11 USD. Read a full review of La Boheme here.

Restaurant at La Boheme Gili Trawangan
The friendly staff at La Boheme Hostel, Lombok.

6. Qurnia Homestay – Kuta, Lombok

Very possibly the best value for money in Kuta Lombok, Qurnia Homestay provides basic double private rooms for $10 USD. The rooms are spotless, comfortable and quiet.

7. Pandan Duri Homestay – Tetabatu

If you’re after a countryside stay with a lovely hospitable family, for an incredibly low price, Pandan Duri could be the place for you. A private room costs $7 USD in this village getaway in the Rarang area of Tetebatu.

8. Merendeng Hostel – Kuta, Lombok

With dorm beds around $10 USD, Merendeng Hostel offers a nice atmosphere, friendly staff and a twenty-minute walk to the beach at Kuta Lombok.

9. On The Way Hostel & Lounge – Senggigi – From $7 US per night

If you’re arriving in Lombok from Bali, your first point of call will be Senggigi and this cheap and cheerful hostel does the trick for your first night or two on the island! The beds are clean, the atmosphere is sociable and the owner and is super friendly and willing to help you with your onward travel plans in Lombok! Plus, they make a mean cup of coffee. The hostel is located just a few minutes from the beach and art market and is a great place to stay while you’re finding your feet on the island.

10. Sasak Homestay – Kuta, Lombok – From $28 US per night

Sasak Homestay offers charming, family-run bungalows just far away enough from the busy streets of Kuta Lombok for $28 USD. The bungalows are designed in the traditional ‘Sasak’ style made completely out of local bamboo with a straw roof, but with all the modern amenities that you may need. The rooms are comfortable and clean and each one has a balcony where you can relax. Owners Remy and Yuli are wonderful hosts and will help you with anything that you need during your stay. This is a great place to stay in Kuta for couples and families and is located just a 20-minute bike ride from the centre and Kuta’s famous beaches.

For more accommodation options click in the various parts of Lombok click on the following links: Kuta Lombok, Tetebatu, Senggigi, Teluk Nara, Senaru, Mataram.

Lombok Beaches – Top Picks!

An island the size of Lombok has many beaches on offer. Here are some of the must visits!

Beaches in South Lombok

Kuta Beach – Not to be confused with the much uglier Kuta Beach in Bali, Kuta Beach, Lombok, is home to beautiful beaches with powdery white sand and rugged cliffs that rise dramatically from turquoise seas! Located on the southern coast of the island, Kuta is a great place to take some surfing lessons, especially if you’re a beginner, and there are also several boat trips which will take you island hopping.

Kuta is a very popular place for travellers to base themselves on the island and is therefore blessed with a significant number of awesome backpacker hostels, as well as several boutique guesthouses and more luxury hotels. All in all, it’s a fantastic destination for some chilled out beach time in Lombok!

Selong Belanak – A beautiful strip of beach in a relatively uninhabited part of the island, you can expect a quiet time on Selong Belanak. Your beachmates are most likely to be beginner surfers (the waves here are very kind to the newbie) and buffaloes. The first of these companions may well join you at one of the bars that dot the sand.

Selong Belanak Beach on Lombok, Indonesia
Selong Belanak. Photo credit, Flickr

Tanjung Aan – A crescent-shaped slice of white sand, Tanjung Aan is another lovely beach, equipped with a few laid-back larungs (local bar and restaurant). A few visitors have complained about persistent vendors hanging out on Tanjung Aan, including reports of theft and scams (particularly related to parking so watch out!).

Tanjung Aan Beach, Lombok, Indonesia
Tanjung Aan. Photo credit, WikiCommons

Seger – Particularly recommended for its spectacular sunset-viewing potential, thanks to a handy hill, Seger is great little gem. One of the more deserted beaches on the island, there are several crumbling huts for the urbex fans among you.

The View From The Hill Near Pantai Seger, Kuta, Lombok
The view from the hill near Pantai Seger

Beaches around Sengiggi

Nipah – About a 20-minute drive out of Sengiggi, you come to Nipah. Unsurprisingly, Nipah offers a considerably quieter beach experience than what you find in Sengiggi itself. However, the main draw here is the seafood, with locals cooking up their catch of the day all along the beach. Prices can vary, but if you check what you’re expected to pay before you order, you can find yourself with a delicious sizzling plate of grilled fish at a very pleasing rate.

Pantai Pandanan – An little bit further up the coast from Nipah is Pandanan Beach. Generally quieter still and a favourite with families. A great place to watch the sunset!

Kecinan – There are a few distinct draws for those that come to Kecinan Bay. It’s a popular dive spot, though only suitable for advanced divers. Lion fish, scorpion fish and the loveable nudibranch head the underwater attractions. There are speed boats running to Gili Air that launch from the port here. Most importantly though, is the “Selfie Coconut Tree”, providing Instagrammers with smug shots of themselves halfway along a tree (image search “Kecinan Beach” and you’ll see what we mean). Tacky, done to death, but… undeniably appealing!

Top 10 Things To Do in Lombok

1. Climb Mount Rinjani

Dominating the northern part of the island, Gunung Rinjani stands proudly at 3,726m high (and holds the title of the second highest volcano in Indonesia). The best time of the year to climb is April to November, during the dry season. Most treks kick off from Senaru or Sembalun Lawang.

The crater Mount Rinjani Lombok Indonesia
Hiking Mount Rinjani is one of the top must do things in Lombok, Indonesia.

A local guide is mandatory, as is registering with Rinjani Trek Centres. Gunung Rinjani, being a National Park, has a small admission fee (150,000 IDR). In return for your money and your efforts, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views from the top over the volcano’s crater lake, Segara Anak. There are some spectacular flora and fauna to be spotted along the way, from tropical fig trees to green hanging parrots and long-tailed grey macaques… it’s one of Lombok’s best adventures and is not to be missed!

If you’re looking for a recommended local tour company, check out the highly-rated Mount Rinjani Tour with Oke Trekker which you can book through this website.

2. Hang out in Tetebatu

Feeling worn out having trekked to the top of Gunung Rinjani? Take some time out in the sleepy village of Tetebatu in the centre of the island, surrounding by lush green rice terraces and lots of fresh air! Chill out in the cooler climate, rent a motorbike and explore the monkey forest, visit the picturesque Jukut Waterfall and drive through rice paddies for a glimpse of rural life on the island.

If you’re feeling active, You can also head off on a jungle walk with a local guide who will take you to see secret waterfalls and swimming holes. The area around Tetebatu is also famous for local arts and crafts and you will see traditional basket weaving, sculptures and artisanal products. The locals here are very friendly and love to show off their local culture to visitors.

In the heart of the jungle, Tetetabu. Lombok.

3. Visit Lombok’s Local Markets

Found in Mataram, which is Lombok’s biggest city, Cakranegara Market is one of Lombok’s best markets if you’re looking for clothes, traditional jewellery or souvenirs. Pick up some local Indonesian pottery whilst you’re there and take it home as a souvenir. Close to Lombok’s first mosque, Bayan Beleq, you will find Tanjung Traditional Market which is also a great place to pick up handicrafts. Don’t forget to test out your haggling skills!

4. Cycle to Sekotong from Senggigi

Avoid the crowds of holidaymakers relaxing on Senggigi’s beaches. Instead, use a little pedal power to head off the beaten track and cycle to the peace and quiet of Sekotong. There are plenty of tour operators offering group trips or grab a map, hire a bike and head off in search of adventure. Don’t forget to pack your snorkel!

5. Surf in Kuta Lombok

Lombok’s top surfing spot is Kuta Beach, a reputation that has transformed it from a traditional fishing village into one of Indonesia’s most renowned beach resorts. If you’re happy to face the crowds and development, then Kuta Beach will reward you with reliable surfing waves and plenty of surf shops to hire from. For slightly quieter beaches, hire a scooter and drive to Selong Balanak (shallow waters and gentle surf) or either Mawun or Gerupuk (for more advanced surfers).

6. Eat Local Food at the Markets

Lombok is covered in traditional food markets. Here you can pick up fresh, local produce for just a few rupiah (although you can expect to pay a small premium as a tourist!). A lot of the local cuisine includes coconut in some way. From the traditional Ares, a curry made from a banana stem, coconut milk and chicken, beef or fish, to Sate Pusut, a tender satay stick made from coconut, seasoning and meat, grilled.

Don’t be afraid to try Lombok’s speciality dishes, including the delicious Ayam Taliwang. Made from chicken, smothered in a chilli and garlic marinade and grilled (or deep fried). Served up with a portion of rice, and a squeeze of lime… delicious. Embrace the spice!

WARNING: AVOID LOCAL LIQUOR ARAK

When it comes to alcohol, stay safe. There have been some worrying incidents of alcohol being fortified with other substances (such as methanol), which can make for a dangerous and potentially lethal drink. Stick to drinks that have been opened in front of you (such as Bintang Beer!) and avoid the locally produced spirits.

7. Visit Lombok’s Waterfalls

Central Lombok has some amazing waterfall’s to splash around in. There’s Benang Stokel Waterfall, one of the highest in Lombok at 20-metres high. The waters here come straight from Mount Rinjani and the area is lush, green with cool, fresh air that’s great for trekking. The nearby Benang Kelambu Waterfall is just a 30-minute walk from here. Then there’s Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep waterfall, which are great to do before or after a Mount Rinjani hike. On the way, you can also see Pantai Tebing – which is kind of like Lombok’s mini ‘Grand Canyon’.

Benang Kelambu, Lombok, Indonesia.

A great value for money way to explore the island and take in the waterfalls (as well as other sights) is on this fun Lombok Tour with our pal Ibey. He became disillusioned with backpackers simply using Lombok as a jumping off point and decided to create a tour to help them see the hidden gems that they had been missing!

8. Go Island Hopping

Most people who land on Lombok do so with the main aim of jumping off to the famous Gili Islands of T, Air & Meno. It’s easy to get a shuttle boat over to the Gili Islands from Bangsal Harbour on Lombok, which leave twice daily and cost around 25,000 IDR. If you want to travel in style (and you’re prepared to pay double the price) then you can jump on a short 35-minute fast boat ride. Each Gili Island has its own unique vibe, with Gili Trawangan being the backpacker’s fave, Gili Meno being the lovebird’s fave, and Gili Air – a pleasant mix between the two.

Turtle in the waters of Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.
Swim with turtles in the waters around Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.

However, much lesser known to backpackers are the islands of Nanggu, Sudak, Kedis, also dubbed the ‘Secret Gilis’. The islands are home to amazing coral reefs where you can swim with turtles and other tropical fishes. Be careful not to touch or stand on the reef as you may damage it.

9. Visit Narmada Water Palace

This palace and temple dates back to 1727 and houses a holy spring on its manicured grounds where local Hindus used to come to perform traditional water ceremonies. (Now Lombok is mostly Muslim). The spring is said to bless whomever swims in it with eternal youth – so why not give it a try! The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in a beautiful spot surrounded by rice paddies and forests.

Narmada Water Palace, Lombok, Indonesia.

10. Take a Boat Trip to Flores!

One of the best adventures that the island has to offer is the legendary 4-day, 3-night sailing adventure from Lombok to the island of Flores via Komodo National Park. Along the way you’ll visit uninhabited islands, visit Indonesia’s famous “Pink Beach”, take in amazing views of Komodo National Park, swim and snorkel with manta rays amidst pristine coral reefs and, of course, go on the hunt for Komodo dragons! You can read more about the Lombok to Flores adventure and what to expect here.

It’s an epic backpacker adventure that’s not to be missed and it’s super cheap, costing just $165 US for 4-days worth of activities, food, entrance fees and accommodation included. If you’re looking for a great company to book with (there are so many and it can be hard to sort the good from the bad and the ugly), we recommend Wanua Adventure whose trips you can  book here on this website.

Group trip Lombok to Flores
Passengers on the 4-day, 3 -night Lombok to Flores trip.

How to get to Lombok from Bali

There are a few ways to travel to Lombok. You can travel by air, with a one-way quick flight from Bali to Lombok starting at 350,000 IDR. There are public ferries departing every hour from Padang Bai harbour in Bali that will cost you just 40,000 IDR per person.

This journey takes around four to five hours depending on the sea conditions. If you would rather a speedier crossing, hop aboard a fast boat from the harbour, prices vary but you can expect to pay anything from 350,000 IDR to 550,000 IDR.

You can also fly to Lombok’s main airport (Zainuddin Abdul Madjid International Airport) from many places in Indonesia. Check Skyscanner for cheap prices.

Join Our Community!

  • Join Our Facebook Group: South East Asia Backpacker Community.
  • Join Our Newsletter: Find out about opportunities to review trips for free.
  • Our Recommended Travel Resources

  • Travel Insurance: True Traveller and World Nomads.
  • Transport: Skyscanner (Flights) and 12Go.Asia (Local Transport).
  • Accommodation: Booking.com and HostelWorld.
  • Having just graduated from the University of Birmingham, Georgia and John packed their bags and headed to New Zealand and Australia. Now travelling through South East Asia they are on the hunt for the region’s best hostels, tastiest dishes and most awesome adventures. Interested in becoming a writer for us?

    [wpdreams_rpp id=0]