I just concluded a one week trip to Lombok, a truly magical place with endless stretches of empty beaches, beautiful hills, and of course the mighty Rinjani Mountain. Like everyone else, I read several travel guides and tips on where to go in Lombok; however, when I got there, I kinda lazied out and when I thought about it, I realized maybe I am not the adventurous, let-us-hike-4-hours-into-the-jungle kind of guy. Which is fine, and I still had a lot of fun without having to move around a lot.
Shoutout to my two day guide, Agus, who managed, despite my doubts, to squeeze 3 day worth of activities into less than two. He’s fun and knowledgeable and I highly recommend you get in touch with him if you visit (Whatsapp or call +62-877-6534-3999).
1. Bukit Selong
We started our Lombok exploration with what will turn out to be the best part of the entire tour. Despite having to wake up at 4 am to make it there for sunrise since I was staying in Kuta in the south and this place is way up in the north, I do not think any wake up call would ever be worth it as much as this one. Agus dropped me off about 5 minutes away from the viewing point, which I climbed excitedly since I saw the pictures and wanted to see the whole vista unravel before my eyes at literally the crack of dawn. It surely did not disappoint, and I will forever remember the moment I saw Mount Rinjani for the first time, the patches of different crops in the land underneath it, and more importantly the color of the sky at that moment. I doubt that I or anyone else could do this place justice with the pictures and you need to see it to yourself.
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It was 4 am when we started the drive to Bukit Selong. Pitch black darkness, made even darker by the absence of any kind of lighting on the streets. As the first light cracked, we were still making our way up to the viewing point, completely oblivious to the magnanimous Rinjani Mountain behind us. I took more than 150 pictures that morning, NONE of them could do this place justice.
2. Bukit Merese
So you saw the magical sunrise at Bukit Selong and you started thinking, where can I see an equally beautiful sunset? Say no more fam. Bukit Merese is to sunset what Bukit Selong is to sunrise, but unlike Bukit Selong you are not going to be alone. Dozens of people flock here each day to see the sunset but not to worry, it is actually a large hill and you will certainly be able to find a quite spot for yourself. Grab a cold beer or popsicle from one of the many vendors on site and watch the show that Mother Nature is about to put out for you. The colors of the sky changed at least 4-5 times in less than 30 minutes. You will be thinking can life get better than this? The answer is no, it probably cannot.
3. Kelambu Waterfall
All the guides you will read about Lombok are more than likely to recommend at least one waterfall. What they might not tell you is that most of the waterfalls require a decent trek into the jungle. I am jealous of the people who can do it, but as I said in the beginning, I am just not one of those people. So what’s the alternative? When you arrive at the entrance to Kelambu waterfall, you will be surprised to know — if you didn’t do proper research — that there are actually 5 waterfalls with Kelambu more demanding than the others to reach. However, some of the guides at the entrance would be happy to drop you off at the waterfall itself for about $3. You can haggle for a better deal. And let me tell you that I do not think I WOW-ed in my life as much as I did when i saw this piece of nature’s work. You can bring your swimsuit and take a dip in the waterfall’s pool to cool down from the trek you did NOT just take.
4. Sendang Gile
Another waterfall that everyone will recommend to you is the Tiu Kelep waterfall but if you are still reading, you are likely to want to skip the 2 hour trek back and forth to this place (it used to be shorter before the earthquake which destroyed some of the paths). What to do then? On the way to Tiu Kelep is a beautiful yet smaller waterfall that can be reached in 15 minutes from where the car drops you off. I did not see anyone swimming there but I think you can also cool off a bit here.
5. Pick a beach, any beach
There is one thing that Lombok doesn’t have a shortage of and that is beaches, beautiful, sandy, and empty beaches. Ask your hotel/host on their favorite beach and head there to spend the day, crack a few coconuts (about $1 each) and enjoy the good life by the beach.
Where To Stay in Lombok
I spent my entire week in Kuta, staying at Marta’s Windows, a 7-room/bungalow hotel right off the main street in Kuta. It was perfect for my needs, and the staff and the owner, Marta, are masters in the art of customer service. I have stayed at very luxurious hotels in my life and I do not think I have seen the level of guest service that I have seen here and the speed by which any issues are resolved. You can check the hotel’s reviews on Trip Advisor or Booking.com to see what I mean.
Where To Eat in Kuta, Lombok
Kuta may be a small town but packs a punch when it comes to good and healthy food. I may be couch potatoes but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give my stomach a break after weeks of intense eating across Asia! The places I tried and can recommend are:
— Milk Espresso for your coffee and smoothie bowl needs
— Kenza for your brunch, lazy afternoon needs
— Terra for your raw/vegan needs (do not miss their “pizza”)
— El Bazar for the best octopus you will ever have