Where to stay in Lombok, the sister island of Bali
Lombok is the less popular, sister island of Bali, although it has a lot to offer and is gaining tourist attention in recent years. The island is perfect for anyone looking for a more traditional, laid back experience of Indonesia and those who are more budget-conscious. This article will help you choose where to stay in Lombok.
Our top areas in Lombok
Lombok has a lot to offer for all sorts of travelers. Plenty of beaches are available along the coastline with crystal-clear water. The inner island is full of nature resorts, waterfalls, viewpoints, and more. Residential areas are less crowded than Bali, which helps maintain the culture of the island from being taken over and influenced by tourism. Here are some areas to consider staying in with an overall reason they might suit you:
|Best area for first-timers||Baturiti|
|Best area for nightlife||Mangsit|
|Best area for bohemian/nature lovers||Sembalun|
Transportation, getting around Lombok
- Taxis – are available and very cheap, just make sure they use a taximeter to avoid overpaying. The official taxi service should cost you just a few dollars on top of a starting fee, depending on where you’re going. Although a taxi can be hailed on the street in crowded areas if you’re staying anywhere with fewer people it might be good to call even a few hours in advance.
- Bike Taxi – known as Ojek in the area, a very cheap means of transportation. It can be hailed on the street and many of the drivers will be around major tourist attractions, in case you don’t feel like walking.
- Renting – you can rent a bike or car in Lombok and it’s reasonably priced, especially if you split it among multiple people. Both the cars and bikes are new and surprisingly well kept. If you want to drive it yourself, officially, you will need an international driver’s license. Locals will still be willing to rent you one without it, but if you get stopped by the police, you’ll get a ticket. The price for rentals is around $25 per day. Alternatively, you can rent a vehicle with a hired driver, this will cost around $50 per day but the drivers will expect you to be reasonable about your trips – as in keeping it within a standard 8-hour workday for them. Check out some rental options here.
Where to stay for first-timers – Baturiti
Baturiti is a town located on the south side of Lombok and is home to some of the nicest white sand beaches on the island. It is located in the district known as Kuta and has a beach with the same name, although it should not be confused with Bali’s Kuta and its beach. The area is a popular tourist destination because, apart from its seaside activities and sparkling water, it’s surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery such as cliffs and forests, making for some stunning views and photographs
What to do and see in Baturiti?
The beaches in the area are world-renowned surfing spots, which explains the many surf schools and shops in the area. It’s the perfect activity to make use of the naturally long waves approaching from the ocean. Although it’s considered an extreme sport, surfing in shallow waters near the beach isn’t dangerous, especially since you’ll be on the close watch by professionals. For those more daring and experienced, who want the adrenalin rush, you can always catch a boat that leads to the further part of the ocean, where you’ll be met with higher tides.
This unique landscape features a beach with plenty of green cliff sides and hills you can climb to catch a good view. It’s a popular place to watch the sunrise or sunset, depending on your preference, and many tourists and locals frequent it. The scenery makes for some amazing views and photographs, although the beach is not for swimming due to the sharp underwater rocks.
Tanjung Aan Beach
Located within a 15-minute drive (or 1-hour hike) out of Baturiti. The beach is known as one of the most beautiful on the island because of its soft, white sand and turquoise water, which is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Considering it’s a regulated area, it’s kept as natural as possible with minimal additions, such as a few snack bars. From the beach you can see rocky cliffs emerging from the water, making for some beautiful scenes, especially at sunset.
Note that there is a 10 000 Rupiah ($0.70) entry fee
Where to stay in Baturiti, our top accommodations
Affordable price range: Sekar Kuning Guesthouse
Moderate price range: Villa Sienna – gorgeous villa with private garden and pool
Luxury price range: Villa Madita Lombok
Where to stay for the nightlife – Mangsit
North of the main city of Mataram and home to the most visited beach on the island – Senggigi beach. Although Lombok island is not well known for its nightlife, the coast of Mangsit has the biggest concentration of restaurants, bars, and clubs. The beaches in the area are famous for their black sand and volcanic rock formations, which are results of the volcanic activity of Mount Rinjani. Forests completely cover the area right up to the coast.
What to do and see in Mangsit?
This beach and its surroundings are one of the main reasons people chose this area. Plenty of drink and snack bars to choose from, from street food to local cuisine. For those looking for additional beach activities, you can go surfing, diving or snorkeling as well.
Taman Wisata Alam Kerandangan
This forest is one of the best escapes from crowded tourist areas into nature. Along the walk, you’ll have a chance to see some rare butterfly species, and you’ll often see monkeys strolling around in their natural habitat. There’s also a river stream and two waterfalls to see, at the base of which are natural forming pools you can take a swim in. Just note that there’s a usual entry fee of 5000 Rupiah (less than $0.50)
One of the most popular nightlife activities in the area is visiting Karaoke bars. An interactive twist to clubbing, even if you don’t consider yourself a good singer, it can be a lot of fun to spectate.
There are plenty of those, so here are some recommended ones:
- Melati Dua Bar, Restaurant & Karaoke
- Sahara Club, Karaoke & Pizza House
- Metropolis club & karaoke
Where to stay in Mangsit, our top recommendations.
Affordable price range: OYO 2817 Sammy Homestay
Moderate price range: Romantic Gateway Lombok – 1-bedroom apartment surrounded by nature, with pool
Luxury price range: Katamaran hotel & resort
Where to stay for nature lovers/bohemian edition – Sembalun
The area of Sembalun is located on the north part of the island. It’s the perfect place to set yourself up if you want to explore the nature and experience the inner-island life.
What to do and see in Sembalun?
This gorgeous landscape is created from the agricultural land used by the nearby villagers, backed by the surrounding mountainside. Climb up the nearby hills to catch some amazing views and photographs. This area is highly recommended for watching the sunrise or sunset (or both).
The mountaintop and the national park are the #1 attraction on the island for nature explorers for lots of reasons. There are plenty of marked hiking paths to take and amazing panoramic views at every turn. It’s an (active) volcano mountain standing at around 3700 meters (12 000 feet) high, making it the second-largest in Indonesia behind mount Kerinici. The crater of the volcano is surrounded by lake Segara Anak (meaning child of the sea), creating a breathtakingly unique landscape. The location is a favorite among outdoor campers and sky gazers, as the clear sky at night provides an otherworldly view of the Milky Way galaxy.
Mount Rinjani was recognized by UNESCO as a Global Geopark in 2018
Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfall
Explore the dense forests of the surrounding area before being greeted by Sendang Gile. Since it’s an extension of Tiu Kelep, just follow the river upstream until you reach the second waterfall. Tiu Kelep is aptly named since translated it means “flying pool”, and the base of the waterfall is a giant natural lake. People can take a swim in it, although the water is cold.
Be careful of many ripoffs, fake guides in the area offering a paid service, the trails are marked and easy to follow and it’s unnecessary to pay for information
Where to stay in Sembalun, our top picks!
Note: This area is recommended for nature lovers, it doesn’t host luxurious locations or entire properties, so we’re listing a few private rooms with good ratings.
Camping: Rinjani Garden – we can’t mention a nature lovers section without recommending a camping site. This one comes with camping essentials and free breakfast.
Affordable price range: Rinjani Garden Rooms – private room with breakfast included
Moderate price range: Rinjani Lighthouse Family Room – traditional wooden house with a great location