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An island with incredible surf along its coastline, a striking volcano in its center, white sand beaches, colorful mosques, waterfall treks, quiet villages, and a busy capital… it’s a challenge to know where to start on a trip to this exciting island.
After living here for nearly two decades, here’s how to spend a two weeks in Lombok.
Lombok 2-Week Itinerary: At a Glance
- Day 1: Arrive in Lombok and transfer to Kuta Hotel
- Day 2: Kuta’s East Coast Beaches
- Day 3: Kuta’s West Coast Beaches
- Day 4: East Lombok
- Day 5: Secret Gilis
- Day 6: Senggigi
- Day 7: Senaru
- Days 8 & 9: Rinjani Trek
- Day 10: Down from Rinjani and transfer to Gilis
- Day 11-13: Discover the Gilis
- Day 14: Transfer to Bali or Lombok for return
14-Day Lombok Itinerary: In Depth
Day 1: Arrive and transfer to Kuta
Not to be mistaken for its namesake in Bali, Kuta is a good place to either start or finish your Lombok trip as it is only 20 minutes from Lombok International Airport. Kuta, once a sleepy resort only visited by surfers and back trackers on the SE Asia overland trail has now become a tourist destination in its own right.
On your first day, get acquainted with the town by taking a walk around the souvenir stalls and shops. Grab some food along “Eat Street” where you will find anything from fine Mediterranean cuisine at El Bazaar down to street food from carts.
You can take a walk along Kuta beach. Avoid the actual fishing village and head to the center of the beach and walk west. When you get to the very end by the big hill, that area is known locally as Monkey Beach. Monkeys come down early morning and late afternoon to play on the beach and dig for crabs. If you’re disappointed by the beaches of Kuta’s town, note the best beaches are actually a few kilometers to the east and west. Kuta Beach is fine but you are going to see some far more spectacular ones in the next few days!
Day 2: Kuta’s East Coast Beaches
For getting around the Kuta area, you will need to either rent a scooter, a car or hire a car and driver. While you will not be asked for a driving license at the time of renting a scooter you should be aware that if you do not hold a valid license, should you have an accident it is very likely that your insurance will be invalidated. Having said that, it is still the most popular way for people to get around. Scooter rental is Rp60k-80k, car rental is Rp300k-400k and a car and driver is Rp600k.
Take whichever transport means you have decided on and head West from Kuta. A few kilometers out of town, you will come to Bangkang, which is home to bat caves. If these are your thing, take a short stop. The first is on the left hand side and is identifiable by the new “bat fountain” out front. The entrance fee is Rp20k and you can go into the caves and see the thousands of bats and maybe a snake that lives in the caves feeding on the bats. You can visit this and/or another bat cave about 1km further on, on the right hand sign of the road. Look out for the sign for Goa Bangkang (Bangkang Caves). Here, you have to descend down a bamboo staircase, once very rickety but it has been much improved and this is a popular cave for Instagram shots with the light coming in through a small opening above. Once you are done with caves, I would suggest you rinse your feet off with some bottled water, just in case you have any small wounds as they could become infected after walking through all that bat guano!
As you continue on this road, there are quite a few beaches to enjoy.
Are Guling: This is the first turn off and a surf beach. There are a number of nice hostels and some warungs where you can grab a beer and a bite to eat while you watch the surfers.
Mawun: The second beach you will come to is Mawun. This is a beautiful bay, which if you walk to the far eastern end looks like it is fully closed. The beach here is quite steep and the water gets deep suddenly, as well as having a strong current at times so is not suitable for inexperienced swimmers. I personally never swim here but it is always a stop on my route when I have visitors stay as it is just too beautiful to miss.
Tampah: Tampah prides itself on the fact that they have no sellers here. This is the only place close to Kuta worth snorkeling around. There are some big coral bommies and rocks out in front of where the road ends but due to the current it is best to walk to the eastern end of the beach to get in and then drift with the current along the beach.
Lansing: Lansing is basically a continuation of Tampah, further along.
Mawi: Mawi is a surf beach and best for intermediate surfers. Access is also not that great and unless you are an experienced scooter rider I would not recommend it.\
The final and most beautiful of the beaches on this trip is Selong Belanak. Here, there is a small beach break where beginners take surf lessons, and it’s also great for swimming. It is fabulously long and wide. White sand and turquoise waters. Every morning and afternoon water buffalo are walked along the beach to and from their grazing spots. So do try and time your visit to either start here, be here by 9am or end here, be here by 4pm. As well as the popular but expensive Laut Biru restaurant there are a lot of budget warungs offering the usual fried rice, fried noodles and nasi campur.
At all beaches you will be expected to pay parking of between Rp5-10k. This is for security for your bike/car. Do not try and find somewhere quiet further along to park for free. It isn’t worth it.
On the way home, stop off at one of the three hilltop restaurants overlooking Kuta for a sunset drink or dinner.
Day 3: Kuta’s West Coast Beaches
Yesterday was a big day with quite a few beaches, but there are still a few more to explore. Seger and Serenting. They are only a couple of kilometres out of Kuta and next to each other. Seger is the smaller surf beach and home to the legend of Princess Mandalika and the Bau Nyale festival. Climb the hill next to the beach for some fabulous views back towards Kuta. Serenting is the long beach and is very flat so only good for swimming at high tide. At low tide, it is great fun to do a bit of beach combing and find all sorts of creatures in the rockpools and shallows. Starfish, urchins, sea cucumbers and more.
Another few kms further on you will come to Tanjung Aan. This is my personal favorite and my favorite place to plant myself is at Turtle, which is the original Tanjung Aan Warung. Sunbeds and umbrellas are free to customers who order drinks or food. The water here is great for swimming, with clear turquoise waters and white powder sand. I recommend staying here for a few hours to relax and enjoy… but if you are still itching to see more beaches, you could drive another 30 minutes or so to Bumbang. At the western end of Tanjung Aan is Merese Hill, a popular spot for watching the sunset. It is an easy climb and the sunset can be spectacular.
If you stay here for sunset, I recommend driving back to Kuta with a few of the others who are also there. There have been robberies of tourists on this road after dark.
Day 4: East Lombok
Head out early because your first stop is Tanjung Luar, the infamous shark market of East Lombok. Now while you may not want to see the fish and sharks at the market, the reason to come here is to take a boat ride along Lombok’s East Coast. There are efforts in place to get the shark fishermen to turn towards tourism to help reduce the shark fishing in the area. So a visit here is in a way helping shark conservation. A boat hire costs Rp500k-600k including snorkel gear. You will stop at a few snorkel spots. If the tide is low, you’ll get a chance to stop at a tiny sandbank in the middle of the sea.
The main focus of these boat trips is to get you to Pink Beach. Be aware that the photos you see online are mostly “enhanced” and make the sand look much pinker than it actually is. The pink comes from particles of red coral in the sand and it looks much pinker in low light of early morning and late afternoon rather than in the middle of the day, when most day trippers get here. It is possible to drive to pink beach and avoid Tanjung Luar, but the last 10kms of road have been bad for years. There is talk of it being repaired so check beforehand if you decide to drive directly without the boat trip. The boat trip would definitely be my recommend way to visit if budget allows.
Day 5: Secret Gilis
Unlike their famous cousins in North West Lombok the Secret Gilis in the South West have little to no development. What they do have is an abundance of underwater life and if you enjoy snorkelling, this is definitely a must. Though our trip will finish up at the Northern Gilis of Lombok, the abundance of sea life down here is far superior. You can take a day trip from Kuta or make your own way and hire a boat at Tawun Harbour.
Mimpi Manis Snorkel Trips are a highly rated company offering all inclusive trips including transport, snorkel gear, snack box and underwater photos of you and your sightings of the day. However you choose to come here try and avoid weekends when it can be busy with domestic tourists and get here as early in the day as you can. I recommend starting off with a few hours on Gili Nanggu. Don’t just snorkel the one spot in front of the beach, make sure to explore around there is so much to see and there is very little current. Access to the water is from the beach in a sandy slope so good for even nervous swimmers. Head on to Gili Sudak for lunch and finish up with a final snorkel on the tiny Gili Kedis. Many people just have a brief photo stop here but it is definitely worth snorkelling here too. Look out for seahorses in the shallows!
Day 6: Senggigi
After a busy few days, have a lie in and check out of your Kuta Hotel and transfer to Senggigi for one night. Senggigi was the original tourist resort in Lombok and has the big hotel chains and lots of boutique villas… but there are also losmen and hostels if you are on a budget. Senggigi Beach is made from black volcanic sand and is not as postcard-perfect as the Southern beaches, but it is worth at least one night stopover to recharge and maybe visit the Hindu Temple Batu Bulong just south of town.
The highlight of Senggigi is having sunset drinks on the beach as the sun goes down over Mount Agung on Bali. There are a whole host of popular beachfront bars where you can settle down to enjoy the sunset. If you would like to keep on drinking and maybe have a party night, Happy Café is “the” place in Senggigi for live music and drinks.
Days 7-9: Senaru and Trekking Mount Rinjani
Transfer to Senaru. As you will be going to Senaru to trek Mount Rinjani, you can negotiate your trek price to include pick up from Senggigi and also onward travel afterwards to Bangsal Harbour for your transfer to Gilis. Or, make your own way and do it at your leisure for a bit more cost. Senaru and Sembalun are the two villages at the base of Rinjani where treks depart from and have accommodation. Senaru offers more choices and while treks often start from Sembalun, it is no problem to stay in Senaru, you will be picked up.
Alternatively, if you are only going to do the two day Rinjani Trek to the crater you could opt to stay at Sembalun and take a day to hike Pergasingan Hill for some stunning view of the rice fields. Either trek you will see some of Lombok’s most beautiful waterfalls, which is why I have not included any waterfall tours in your this itinerary. If you are skipping Rinjani, I would recommend a day trip from Kuta to the central Lombok waterfalls of Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu.
Mount Rinjani tours:
- Four days, three night trek with Green Rinjani – recommended
- Two days, one night trek to the Rinjani crater rim
Day 10: Down from Rinjani and transfer to Gilis
The time you will arrive back at Senaru or Sembalun from your trek will vary but usually early afternoon, when you can pick up your bags and take the included transfer or make your own way to Bangsal Harbour for transfer to the Gili Islands. After your trek, you are going to want a few days to rest and recover and there is no better place for that then beachside on a tropical island. Which island you pick is a matter of taste.
In the past, these three islands have had the reputation of being the party, family or honeymoon island but things have really moved on since then and all three have something to offer everyone. All are great for scuba diving, snorkeling and soaking up the sun.
Gili Meno is no doubt the quietest of the islands but don’t expect it to be full of honeymooners. There are also plenty of singles and families here, too.
Gili Trawangan is the island with the party reputation but that is only really in the area known as Central and if you book your accommodation away from there you can avoid the parties if you want to.
Finally, there is Gili Air which although it has the reputation for being the family island, you shouldn’t expect it to be full of families and children. Less busy than Gili T, as it is affectionally called, Gili Air is my favorite of these islands for a getaway.
Day 10: Beach Bliss on the Gilis
Spend the day relaxing and recovering on the beach or by the pool on your chosen island. Enjoy a beachside dinner and sunset.
Day 11: Snorkel and Scuba Dive with Sea Turtles
You may need another day to recover… but if not, it is time to get out in the water and enjoy what these little islands are famous for, the turtles. You may well be able to find turtles in the water right in front of your hotel. Personally, any time I have snorkeled the North side of Gili Trawangan I have seen turtles but I have not been so lucky at Gili Air. Gili Meno you also have a very good chance. You can also take a snorkel trip by boat that takes you to several points around the islands where you are more or less guaranteed to see turtles. It is truly amazing to watch these magnificent creatures and better still to be able to swim along beside them. Boat tours will also visit the Bask underwater statues off Gili Meno. If you want to visit these statues for photos, make sure to start your boat trip early and head there first before the crowds descend, with everyone trying to get the perfect underwater Instagram shot at once.
Day 12: Gilis or Return to a Favorite Spot
For the last few days of the trip, I am leaving a bit of flexibility. You may have needed an extra day to recover from your Rinjani trek and you might decide you would like to stay on the Gilis for an extra day or two. Or, maybe you would you like to get back to Kuta, as so many do, and enjoy more of the beaches along the South Coast? If you are staying on the Gilis you could visit the Horses of Gilis charity center on Gili Trawangan where you can enjoy a horse experience, which might be a riding lesson, a walk on the beach and bathing the horses, or feeding and learning about them in the stables.
Day 13: Return to Lombok’s Mainland
If you opted to stay on the Gilis again last night and you are going to be flying out of Lombok Airport tomorrow, I would recommend spending your last night on the mainland, ideally in Kuta, 20 minutes from the airport. Although timings can work for getting from the Gilis to the airport for later flights. For an early flight it can be a bit trickier and there are occasions when the boats do not run due to bad weather. This is most often in cyclone season in January or February but can also happen between June to August due to high winds and rough seas. So, it is always advisable to leave a night earlier to avoid missing your flight. Enjoy your last night in Kuta at one of the fabulous restaurants in Eat Street and surrounds and maybe catch some tunes at whichever bar has live music that night. They tend to work together and rotate through the popular bars so everyone gets a shot at hosting a party night.
Day 14: Lazy Day in Lombok
Check out is usually at 11am or 12pm but most accommodations in Kuta are happy for you to leave bags if you have a later flight and pick them up later. Some will even have a room where you can take a shower before you head off or you can book a late check out. Depending on how much time before your flight, enjoy a last walk around Kuta, a scooter ride back to your favourite beach, a massage or therapy at one of the hotels or spas, a yoga class at Ashtari or Mana. There are lots of relaxing ways to fill your last few hours. One thing is for sure, it will be the last few hours of only this trip, for like me I am sure you will want to be back!