Best places to stay in Lombok
Senggigi is Lombok’s main arrival hub and busiest destination, nestled amid a series of exquisite sweeping bays that run north to south along the west coast of the island, one hour’s drive from Lombok airport. Although it is the most developed area on the island, the pace is slow and it is a good place to stay for its combination of beach and water sports, restaurants and nightlife. Discover colourful reefs and marine life off the coast of the southern tip, or hire a canoe or kayak. Senggigi is also a good base from which to explore the rest of the island and there are numerous hiking opportunities and adventure tours to Gunung Rinjani volcano.
Along its main drag you will find a range of useful amenities including travel agents, shops, supermarkets, ATMs and money changers. It is famous for its kaleidoscopic sunsets which can be enjoyed while kicking back with a cocktail in hand, in one of the many beachfront bars and restaurants. There is an assortment of nightclubs and live music venues that keep going until the early hours.
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three Gili Islands that float serenely in the aquamarine sea, a 30-minute boat ride from the northwest coast of Lombok. There are few islands that offer such an enticing combination of striking landscapes, pristine beaches and vibrant marine life. Gili Trawangan has a range of places to stay that are designed to suit all budgets. On this island there is no motorised transport, meaning that the only way you can travel is by foot, by bicycle or on pony carts known as Cidomos. It takes around 1.5 hours to cycle around the circumference of the island. The most popular beaches, Goodheart and North Beach, have amazing snorkelling and diving opportunities. At the end of the day, sink your toes into the sand and sip a cocktail under the summery sky while watching the fiery sun bid its farewell and dip below the ocean. At night there is a varied nightlife from live music and DJs to laid-back cocktail bars.
Gili Air has the perfect balance of harmony, relaxation and leisure activities. Lapped by turquoise-blue water and fringed by dreamy soft white sand and gently swaying coconut trees, Gili Air is the ultimate escape. It is popular with honeymooning couples and willing castaways who come to experience peace, an easy-going vibe and sheer natural beauty. The only way to travel around the island is by foot, bicycle or on horse drawn carts known as Cidomos. The water is generally shallow before giving way to coral reefs where you will find excellent snorkelling opportunities. You can also take a glass bottomed boat further out to see turtles. There are several places to stay on the island that cover all budgets and a good choice of restaurants and sunset facing beachfront bars and eateries. Although Gili Air is more sedate than its big brother Gili Trawangan, you can still find a good selection of chilled cocktail bars and even the odd dance party in high season.
The middle of the three Gili Islands, Gili Meno is a castaway’s dream, a tiny paradisiacal place to stay with sugary white sand beaches, coral reefs and crystalline waters. Accessible from mainland Lombok and Gili Trawangan, it takes around two hours to walk around the island and there is no motorised transport. Snorkellers and divers can explore the colourful corals and admire turtles roaming freely around the Gili Meno Wall. The sun-drenched beachfronts have a good selection of eateries serving local and international cuisine that face out over sensational views of Lombok or Gili Trawangan. Should you wish to have a break from the beach, the Gili Meno bird park does guided tours, home to over three hundred birds.
Kuta is the only tourist area with a good choice of places to stay in the south coast of Lombok and has some of the Indonesia’s best beaches and surf breaks. Located only a 25-minute drive from Lombok International Airport, visitors come here for the dramatic coastline views, dazzling white sands, surfing and swimming. While Kuta has its own beach, the area is most celebrated for the series of surrounding swathes of beach at Tanjung and Seger, popular with sunbathers and beginner surfers, as well as an array of smaller coves that stretch down the coastline. Mawun and Tampa are secluded coves good for swimming and surfing, while the more remote Rowok and Selong Blanak will engulf you in total peace and tranquillity, with hardly any development and only basic infrastructure, ideal for those wanting private relaxation. The easiest way to access the beaches is by motorcycle which can be rented in the main village. There are a number of accommodation options around Kuta Lombok as well as restaurants and bars to suit all budgets.