Lombok, the alternative to Bali and even known to travelers as Bali before the commercialization, is one the last best-kept secrets of Indonesia. With weather that is almost perfect all year round and beautiful pristine beaches, you will find that paradise does indeed exist in the backyard of Bali, Indonesia.
The beach is dotted with powdery white sands while the sea filled with astonishing blue corals and marine life. The land boasts its own richness with Mount Rinjani standing majestically as yet another volcano mountain of Indonesia while the countryside boasts forests and wildlife besides villages of people and culture.
Lombok itself meant Chili Pepper, and what more than to pay homage to its name and give yourself a taste of it. Be careful you might get burn but it is worth it as it comes in a form of sambal that unsurprisingly the locals know well to make it dangerously delicious. Sambal is a spicy condiment that you may dip with most of your local Indonesian food or it may be also cooked into some dishes already like curry or grilled meat.
Chill out at the Beach, obviously
Explore the island on a motorcycle
Inside and around Lombok, it has many sightseeing and attractions that would satisfy any curious traveler. Rent a motorcycle and put on your explorer helmet around Lombok, this is one of the best ways as the public transport is unreliable while you have the total freedom of doing whatever you like without needing to wait and stress about haggling price every time. Lombok is relatively small and can be explored in a day, the ride across the 21km coastal stretch from Senggigi to Pemenang are notably beautiful while the other smaller inner roads will bring you to secluded waterfalls and vast rice paddy fields.
Join in Bau Nyale festival and eat roasted worms
In February or March every year, hundreds of people will rush to Lombok to catch a glimpse of the first nyale (worm-like fish) at this huge fishing festival. Join in the crowd and look for your first nyale, and if you are brave enough eat them as well. The indigenous Sasak people of Lombok will commemorate a mythical princess who drowns in these waters to escape a politically arranged marriage. This festival is done the same time with the season of these worm-like fish, where they are caught and eaten roasted in banana leaves with much enthusiasm.
Hike up Mount Rinjani
At 3626m, Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia and one of the most famous ones for travelers, side by side with the likes of Mount Bromo. It is due to its beauty and also because it was doable for most experienced hikers and easy for the strong minded. At 2,700m, you may already soak in the beautiful crater lake view but with another 1,000 ascent that requires extra physical and mental strength, you may conquer just yet a truly awe inspiring volcano of the world. One’s stay in Lombok would not be complete without conquering Mount Rinjani. A guide or hiking tour up Mount Rinjani is much recommended for safety.
Soak in the life of the people here in the village
Stay in one of the many homestays here or just mingle with the local villagers to experience the unique way of life here. Also, visit local villages like the Senaru Village and do your very own walking tour around. Here you will learn about the history of Mount Rinjani and the surrounding, bringing in more meaning and appreciation to what you experience in Lombok.
Take a dip in the beautiful Senaru Waterfalls
Deep in Senaru Village, if you explore enough you may find hidden waterfalls such as Air Terjun Sindang Gila (slightly crazy waterfalls) which is the most famous among the rest for being breathtakingly beautiful with waterfall as high as 50 m but if you want to have a peaceful dip, you may try Air Terjun Tiu Kelep which has a nice bathing pool below the smaller falls.
Get deep relaxation with traditional massage
Here you may get the local Sasak people to give their traditional massage, mainly you may find them in tourist areas such as Senggigi beach or Mangsit. These massages are therapeutic for the body and also the mind as you get to be massaged with background of music of the waves on the beachside.
Get in touch with your artistic side
You may find weaving villages that produce many beautiful tapestry, here you can see how they are made. Or go to pottery making in some other villages and marvel at their beautiful work of arts on handmade pottery. You may do a shopping or two for souvenirs in these villages to support the local community.
Snorkel in the blue coral sea around the islands
Surrounded by the beautiful deep blue sea that apparently houses those deeply blue corals, it is almost impossible not to do snorkeling here. Take a boat out and snorkel in many of the beautiful spots around Lombok.
If all these still have not satiated your appetite, head to the nearest secret islands – Gili Islands. And if you find that we have missed out some of the top best things to do in Lombok do leave a comment, we would love to hear from you!
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