Our Lombok 1 week itinerary is the bee’s knees of itineraries for Bali’s big bro to the east. It takes you across the length and breadth of an island that we’re unashamedly in love with. You’ll see emerald rice paddies, wild rainforests, one of the biggest volcanoes in the whole of Indo, and beaches that are veritable fodder for tropical travel brochures.
Over the course of seven days, we’ll check off all the highlights of the second-most-visited island in the Nusa Tenggara region of central Indonesia (no clues for guessing what’s first). Our trip begins on the surf-washed bays of the south shoreline before veering inland and then finishing with a hammock-swinging, Bintang-swilling bang on the Gili Islands out west.
There’s never really a bad time to embark on our Lombok 1 week itinerary. Yes, there are dry and wet seasons here just like you get on Bali. But even the height of the monsoon brings plenty of sunny days. Still, the peak months are generally between May and September, when this corner of Asia has oodles of rain-free days and fantastic surf.
Day 1 – Kuta Lombok
Begin in Kuta Lombok in the far south of the island. In the last 10 years, we’ve watched it grow from a small fishing hamlet with just a few small board shacks to a buzzy little surfer town with loads of boutique hotels and surf camps. On top of some exceptional boho hotels, you’ll also find oodles of fantastic eateries. While we’re on that, we recommend starting your day at The Breakery, a Francophone patisserie with the best croissants we’ve tasted anywhere in Indonesia. No joke!
It’s no secret that the main thing to do in Kuta Lombok is to surf. It used to be kinda’ of hard to organize but there are now umpteen surf schools ready and waiting to take you out to the waves. Get in touch with Kura Kura or the LMBK surf house to see if you can join them on one of their surf days. They’ll put you in a group determined by your level and select a local wave to match.
Back in the town come the evening, there’s time to feel the pulse of Kuta Lombok’s burgeoning nightlife scene. Eat at the groundbreaking Chinese kitchen that is Jiang Nan Lombok. It’s a creative Canton cookhouse with dim sum and stir-fried seaweed and more. From there, move up the main street to KRNK Bar, where there’s often live music.
Day 2 – Selong Belanak
It’s an easy trip of about 20-25 minutes from Kuta town to Selong Belanak, a pint-sized clutch of coast hotels and warungs (traditional Indonesian kitchens serving traditional Indonesian food) that’s set on one seriously stunning beach. You can spend all day lazing on the sands if you like, but the main reason we brought you here on Day 2 of our Lombok 1 week itinerary is to surf…
Mhmm…Selong Belanak is unquestionably the beginner surf mecca of the whole island. It’s got the most sheltered, most forgiving waves of anywhere around. They break over sand without a spiky coral to be seen, and are usually a fifth of the size of the bigger waves you’ll see roaring out back. More advanced surfers can still enjoy by hitching a boat ride across the bay to Serangan, a beach that’s home to a harder right-hand reef break.
Those who prefer to stay off the fiberglass should be sure to scooter around to Pantai Mawi. That’s a bit of a hidden paradise, with sugar-soft sands enfolded by two high hills tufted with jungle. Come the evening, Mawi also happens to be a fantastic place to watch the sunset. Just beware of driving the road out in the dark – it’s got more potholes than a pot with a hole in it!
Day 3 – Gerupuk and Tanjung Aan
There’s more surf on the menu for day three, as you hop back past Kuta Lombok to the quieter beach village of Gerupuk. We have a real soft spot for this one. It’s not a big tourist town like you get across much of Bali and Lombok. It’s a lived-in fishing village with local eateries and shops, but also access to some of the most reliable surf waves in the region. If that’s what you came for, then rock up to the dock area in the morning and negotiate a price for a boat ride to the breaks – the going rate is around 50,000 IDR per person.
The alternative in Gerupuk is to stay nearer the large bay of Tanjung Aan. It’s a little to the east, around 20 minutes’ walk from Gerupuk itself (or a two-minute scooter). There’s a little wave in the middle of the bay that’s suited to beginners, but really we’d go for the beach itself – it’s downright gorgeous. Look forward to a huge horseshoe of cotton-colored sand that’s got azure waters that lap its patchwork of reefs.
There are plenty of places to eat in the early evening actually on the beach at Tanjung Aan, but they do close early so try to dine around 6pm. For the sunset, make for the small rock that rises in the middle of the bay. It’s topped by a grassy meadow that’s filled with dragonflies and offers sweeping views of the light fading behind the coastal mountains to the west.
Day 4 – Sembalun Village
No Lombok 1 week itinerary could miss out on getting up close and personal with the majestic sleeping giant that lies at the very heart of this isle. Cue Mount Rinjani. At a mega 3,726 meters above sea level, it’s the second highest volcano in Indonesia and the undisputed king of the region. Climbing the peak can only be attempted in the dry season and takes at least three days of hiking, so you’ll need to tack that onto the end of your trip if it’s something you’re keen to do.
For now, settle for a jaunt to lovely Sembalun Village. It’s only little but is one of the main starter points for the trek up Rinjani proper, so comes with oodles of hiking outfitters and backpacker hostels. They can also help you plan smaller treks, such as the overnight or early-morning romp up Pergasingan Hill, which has jaw-dropping views of the surrounding rice paddies and the outline of eastern Rinjani to boot.
If you embark on one of those treks, it’s likely to take all day. That means you won’t have time for the other draws in these parts – the Bukit Selong lookout (which reveals 180-degrees of glowing green and brown rice farms) and the Mangku Sakti Waterfall (a wild waterfall that’s a real challenge to get to) to name just two.
Day 5 – Tete Batu
Tete Batu (also sometimes written Tete Batu) is often billed as the Ubud of Lombok. To be honest, we don’t really agree with that moniker. Little TB is a whole load smaller than its compadre across the Bali Strait and therein lies the charm. You can still come here to wander totally deserted rice paddies in the company of water buffalo, not a taxi tout in sight.
Book into a proper Lombok homestay for your visit. They often cost no more than $20 per night but offer a chance to meet a real local family and get a feel for the way of life up in the highlands around Mount Rinjani.
You can also ask your hosts to help you organize your activity for the day: Trekking. There are loads of secret little paths that weave and wiggle around the Tete Batu rice fields. They usually hit a zenith at a series of lookout points that reveal eye-watering broadside views of Mount Rinjani from the south, complete with its duo of smoke-belching volcanic summits.
Day 6 – Senggigi
The last hurrah of our Lombok 1 week itinerary whisks you to the fabled west coast of the island. This was one of the first ever regions to be colonized by holidaymakers out of Bali. That’s because it’s the closest of all to the Isle of the Gods but also because it’s downright stunning.
Now, the town of Senggigi itself is a touch past it these days. There are lots of rundown hotels and bars stringing up a long street that’s often crammed with traffic. It’s not exactly paradise. The best way to experience the R&R that the beaches here are famed for is to head to a spot that’s slightly out of the main resort area. Our favorite is probably Klui Beach, which has a wisp of yellowish sand under rugged cliffs.
When evening sets in, be sure to find yourself a spot plum on a west-facing beach. The sunsets from western Lombok are simply unbeatable, particularly during the dry season, when it’s often possible to see the outline of Mount Agung over on Bali silhouetted against the horizon. Cool, eh?
Day 7 – The Gilis
The grand finale of your trip comes courtesy of the Gili Islands. We’re cheating a little here since these aren’t actually a part of Lombok at all, but rather a whole separate string of isles that spread into the Bali Sea off the northwest coast. However, they’re almost always accessed from Bangsal Port, which is only 20 minutes’ drive north of Senggigi.
The Gilis always promise a real bout of tropical fun in the sun. They’re pinprick isles ringed from head to toe in pure white sand and dotted with deluxe hotels. However, each has its own unique vibe and feel. Here’s a general outline of what to expect from each…
- Gili Air – Our personal fav among the Gilis, Air is pretty much the only island with a real, working Indonesian village on it. It strikes a nice balance between being a hippy yoga destination and a place to let loose when the sun dips.
- Gili Meno – For the romantic couples out there, Meno offers sleek hotels right on the edge of the best beaches in the region. You’ll be able to snorkel with turtles just steps from your beach villa!
- Gili Trawangan – Gili T, as it’s affectionately known, is the party island of the trio. Choose this one if you want to end your Lombok 1 week itinerary sinking cold Bintangs with the diving crew in all-night clubs.