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Lombok | An alternative to Bali island

You are planning your next trip and immediately think of Bali in Indonesia. But how about considering the much lesser-known but equally beautiful neighboring island of Lombok? There, you can expect stunning beaches, endless green rice terraces, spectacular waterfalls, adventurous volcano hikes, and a colorful underwater world, all away from mass tourism.

Beautiful Beach in Lombok

Before we dive into the highlights, let's start with some general information and a small FAQ about Lombok. Lombok is one of the 17,000 islands in Indonesia and is located east of the well-known tourist island of Bali. It is easily accessible from Bali by taking a speedboat from the small port town of Padang Bai on the east coast of Bali. The speedboat ride takes about one and a half hours, while the local ferries take approximately six hours. Although the speedboats are faster, we recommend taking the local ferry as it is much cheaper (only 5€ instead of over 30€) and offers a more relaxed journey where you can enjoy the view and even bring your rented scooter from Bali. Once you arrive in Lombok, you will reach the port town of Lembar on the west coast, from where you can easily travel to your first destination on the island. Alternatively, you can also fly to Lombok, as there is an international airport with connections to many cities in Indonesia and international destinations such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

The best time to visit Lombok is during the dry season, which lasts from May to October. The beginning of the dry season is particularly beautiful when the island is still lush green. We visited in August and September, towards the end of the dry season, and while some areas were starting to dry out, overall, Lombok was still a very green island.

The duration of your stay in Lombok depends on how much you want to see. Lombok is not a very large island, so you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. If you only focus on the southern coast and explore the beaches, three to five days might be enough. However, we recommend planning one or even two weeks to fully experience all that the island has to offer. Lombok has much more to offer than just beautiful beaches, and we will now dive into the highlights.

Indonesia is generally a very affordable travel destination, and Lombok is no exception. We budgeted around 30-35€ per day per person, and it worked out quite well for us. We also felt that Lombok was overall slightly cheaper than Bali. We will discuss the detailed costs of scooter rentals, accommodations, food, and drinks later in the post.

Now, let's start with the highlights, beginning with Kuta, the most well-known and touristy place in Lombok. However, it is important to note that "touristy" in Lombok's context is still far from being overcrowded. Kuta is a great place for foodies, with many excellent restaurants and cafes offering delicious food and beautiful accommodations at reasonable prices. There is also a small beach in Kuta, although it may not be the most beautiful on the southern coast. However, nearby Tanjung Aan Beach is a must-visit. It is a picturesque beach with white sand and turquoise blue water, dotted with small warungs (local food stalls) where you can enjoy a meal or a drink. Make sure to visit during high tide, as during low tide, a lot of seaweed and unfortunately, some trash washes ashore. Another beautiful spot near Tanjung Aan is Bukit Merese, which offers a stunning view of the sunset.

Now, let's explore the countless beautiful beaches along the southern coast of Lombok. As a general rule, the further away you go from Kuta, the quieter it gets. Renting a scooter is the best way to explore the entire southern coast. We rented a scooter in Kuta and were able to visit all the beaches easily. One relatively well-known beach is Mawun Beach, which is not far from Kuta and can get a bit crowded. However, as you go further, for example, to Selong Belanak Beach, you will find endless stretches of beach with hardly any people. Another great beach is Mawi Beach, which is a small surfer's paradise. Our absolute favorite beach was Selong Belanak Beach, about 30 minutes from Kuta. It offers a perfect mix of relaxation, with sun loungers and warungs, and tranquility, as you can walk a bit further along the beach and find a quiet spot. It is also an excellent beach for beginner surfers, as the waves are not too strong.

If you have heard of Ubud in Bali, then Tete Batu is often referred to as the "Ubud of Lombok." It is known for its lush green rice terraces, waterfalls, and dense jungle. We visited Tete Batu without high expectations, but it turned out to be one of our favorite stops in Lombok. We took a tour with a local guide who showed us the flora and fauna, walked through the rice fields, and enjoyed breathtaking views of Mount Rinjani, the volcano in the background. We also explored hidden waterfalls and ventured deeper into the jungle, where we spotted wild black monkeys on the treetops. The next day, we rented a scooter to visit two more waterfalls, Benang Kelambu and Benang Stokel. The journey itself was already spectacular, driving through the green rice fields. The waterfalls were unique, with water flowing down steep green cliffs, creating a panorama we had never seen before.

No visit to Indonesia would be complete without a volcano, and Lombok has the second-highest volcano in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani, standing at 3,726 meters. There are different hiking routes and difficulty levels to either reach the summit or the crater rim of Rinjani. We opted for a two-day hike to the crater rim, reaching an altitude of 2,650 meters. The view from the rim is mesmerizing, with the towering peak of Rinjani and the massive turquoise-colored crater, which even has a smaller volcano inside, known as the "Baby Volcano." We witnessed a spectacular sunset and even saw the Milky Way at night. The next morning, we were greeted by a breathtaking sunrise over the camp, the lake, and the crater. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we highly recommend it if you are looking for an adventure. However, it is quite expensive, but we believe it is worth every penny for this unique experience.

Now, let's move on to the west coast of Lombok, with Senggigi being the most well-known place. However, it has a different character than Kuta in the south. Senggigi is more of a resort town, with many hotels and resorts. While it didn't capture our hearts, you can still rent a scooter and explore the beautiful beaches along the west coast. One thing you must do in Senggigi is to sit in a beachfront restaurant with sand between your toes and enjoy the stunning sunsets. They are truly exceptional on the west coast.

Lastly, let's talk about the famous Gili Islands. We mentioned them earlier as an alternative to the well-known Gili Islands. Lombok has its own "secret Gili Islands" on the southwest coast. These islands range from small and uninhabited to larger ones with accommodations. You can take island-hopping tours to explore them. We visited Gili Nanggu for snorkeling, Gili Kedis, a tiny island made entirely of sand, and Gili Sudak, where we had lunch and relaxed. We found the tour to be cool, as there were not many tourists, and we enjoyed it a lot.

In terms of transportation, we recommend renting a scooter to explore Lombok. It is affordable and gives you the freedom to go wherever you want. We rented a scooter in Kuta and were able to cover a lot of ground, even driving to Tete Batu. You can rent a scooter at various places in Lombok, and the prices vary depending on the model and duration. We paid around 60,000 Indonesian Rupiah (approximately 4€) per day for a scooter with 125cc, which we recommend for the hilly terrain. Fuel costs around 1€ per liter, and you can find small roadside stalls selling green bottles of fuel.

While scooter rentals are affordable, other forms of transportation, such as private drivers or taxis, can be relatively expensive. However, there are also shuttle services available, which are more budget-friendly. You can find offers for transportation everywhere, as there are signs along the roads indicating the destinations.

Accommodation options in Lombok are plentiful, and you can find beautiful and affordable places to stay. We paid an average of 20€ per night for a nice double room with a private bathroom and air conditioning. Some accommodations even included breakfast, so it's worth checking the booking details. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and value for money of the accommodations in Lombok. Many places also had swimming pools, and the outdoor areas were beautifully designed with attention to detail. You can find all the accommodations we stayed at on our blog, www. bedbon. de.

When it comes to food, Lombok offers a wide variety of options at affordable prices. Local Indonesian dishes like Nasi Goreng (fried rice) or Mie Goreng (fried noodles) can be found for as little as 1-2€. We also discovered yellow curry, which is available in almost every local restaurant and costs around 3€. You can request vegetarian options, which often include tofu and tempeh, or have the egg removed from dishes like Nasi or Mie Goreng to make them vegan. The food scene is particularly vibrant in Kuta and on the Gili Islands, where you can find a wide range of international cuisine, including burgers, pasta, pizza, healthy bowls, and excellent coffee. There are also many dedicated vegetarian or vegan restaurants. Even in local Warungs, you can often find Western dishes like burgers, pizza, or pasta. The overall food selection is excellent, and you will be spoiled for choice.

In terms of negatives, there are a few aspects worth mentioning, although they are not significant issues. Firstly, the internet connection can be unreliable, especially the Wi-Fi in accommodations. Mobile data is usually okay, but if you rely on a stable internet connection, it's best to check the reviews or find a coworking space or cafe with good Wi-Fi. Secondly, Lombok, like many other Southeast Asian islands, has a problem with waste. When driving around on a scooter, you will see a lot of trash on the side of the road. It's unfortunate, but it's a reality that comes with traveling in this part of the world. Lastly, as mentioned earlier, Lombok is predominantly Muslim, and the call to prayer from the mosques can wake you up early in the morning, especially if your accommodation is close to one. This is not meant as a negative or judgmental comment, but rather something to be aware of, as it is part of the local culture. Bali, on the other hand, is predominantly Hindu, so the call to prayer is not as prevalent.

In conclusion, we loved Lombok. Having traveled extensively in Indonesia, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, the Moluccas, Halmahera, Ternate, and Flores, we can confidently say that Lombok might be our favorite island so far. It offers a lot to see and do in a relatively small area, it is affordable, diverse, and still relatively untouched by mass tourism. We were particularly struck by the friendliness of the people, who were always open, interested, and welcoming. It's incredible how comfortable and at home we felt in this country. We highly recommend visiting Lombok; it is truly worth a visit.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to Lombok. If you want to read all the information in written form, visit our blog at www. bedbon. de. Thank you for watching, and we'll see you in the next video. Take care!

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