4 days exploring Lombok

barcos de pesca em lombok. fishing boats in lombok

Lombok is an excellent view from above, but unlike Bali, there is various terrain without any trace of construction, the roads are more empty, and the island is full of cutouts that form curious coves.

The temperature here is also much higher, I can’t explain why.

“It rains less here,” says Mohammed, the driver we hired for the four days we were going to spend on the island.

com o guia a explorar o surf em Lombok. Exploring the surf with our guide in Lombok

The contact was given to us by a friend, and Mohammed didn’t disappoint. Father of four children, he confesses that life in Lombok is not easy, especially for those with a large family.

Four years ago he set up a local lodge near the beach, a modest house, where he still lacks the much sought after wi-fi. However, there is a lack of guests, and he had to turn to other jobs, such as driving tourists to the best surf spots on the island. And with luck, someone lends him a surfboard, and he goes to the water, like what happened with us.

His dream? Improve the house, buy learning boards (very expensive here) and set up a surf school. For now and until luck knocks at the door, he works on what he can, with goodwill and lots of stories to tell.

As a curiosity, during our stay, someone “kidnapped” his eldest daughter… but don’t be alarmed as the girl didn’t disappear.

It is a tradition in Lombok to take the girl home from her parent’s house when they want to get married. This is the first step in a process that will involve the debate between both families about the dowry to pay and the details of the wedding ceremony.

Mohammed thinks his daughter is still young to marry, but once the process is initiated, there’s no going back.

Lombok, a changing island

This is just one of the local traditions. Lombok is to this day as Bali was a few decades ago.

Kuta (yes, there’s also one here) now begins to see some hotels and restaurants much more to the taste of tourists. But warungs and homestays still proliferate, as well as stalls selling some crafts or t-shirts and custom sarongs.

Outside the city, the fields are cultivated or pastured. Cows and buffaloes ruminate the herbs without concern under the eyes of the owners. On the island, those who have cattle have more possessions and are more attractive to girls that want to get married.

búfalos no campo em lombok. field fill of buffalos in lombok
pescador de lombok. lombok fisherman

The beaches in the south of Lombok

The beaches are one of the great attractions of the island. Are Guling, Mawun, Kuta, Mawi, and Mawun were the ones I visited, all of which were highly sought after by surfers. From Europeans to Asians, there’s everything in the water, some better than others, of course.

praia de lombok. lombok beach

There are other well-known waves in Lombok, such as Desert Point, regarded by many as one of the best and longest lefts in the world.

But time was scarce, and the journey there was undoubtedly long, given the state of the roads.

That was also the reason I didn’t go to Pink Beach. There are ten pink beaches in the world. Two are in Indonesia, and one of those in Lombok.

From where I was, it was more than a two-hour drive, and what I was told was that I would still have to catch one more boat to get there.

In fact, I was afraid of making this long trip and being disappointed, since I heard that the sand is not as pink as the photos show on the internet. In reality, it’s more of a peach shade.

Be that as it may, the phenomenon created by red corals is unique and is nevertheless a reason to visit for those who have the opportunity. But do not have your expectations up.

Between waterfalls and ancient tribes

Another point of interest on the island is Mount Rinjani, which holds in itself a still active volcano, the second highest in Indonesia. If you like hiking, a climb to the summit of the Rinjani can be the biggest challenge of this trip.

In my case, I preferred to go looking for some of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. In the Rinjani Geopark, there are waterfalls of incredible beauty, surrounded by lush forest. Super recommended!

cascata em Lombok waterfall

Upon returning to Kuta, there was still time to see how the traditional fabrics are woven in a Sasak village.

The Sasak are at the origin of the people of Lombok, who with the passage of time abandoned these villages and way of life. However, there are still some that today have become tourist attractions.

I was taken to a weaving cooperative to see the manual labor closely. Most of the operation is done by artisans, young women who learned the art very soon and who practice until they reach the age of getting married.

The textiles are made in a meticulous work of thousands and thousands of threads, and the more elaborate the drawing – which depends on the creativity of each artisan -, the longer it takes to be completed, being as long as a month or even two.

In the store there are thousands of models on display and, of course, the cooperative, which gives work to hundreds of local families, sales them to the tourists that pass by.

It was time to leave, and I felt that much remained to be seen, since I only stayed in the south.

As I said goodbye to “the land of a thousand mosques,” I saw from above those empty fields and luxurious greenery and couldn’t help thinking that the next time I visit Lombok things might be totally different.

Things to do in Lombok
  • Skipping between beaches
  • Surfing some of the best waves in Indonesia
  • Visiting a pink beach
  • Diving in waterfalls
  • Climb to Mount Rinjani
  • View the mosques
  • Getting to know the Sasak culture
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Lombok is a curious island that crosses tradition and religion with beautiful landscapes and a development that won't stop.

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Comments

  • Kathleen

    Lombok looks like such a beautiful place, still unspoiled by all of the crazy tourists. I love waterfalls too, especially when it’s hot and you can get a little bit in. It’s disappointing that the pink beach isn’t as pink as it’s portrayed to be. The power of Instagram I think.

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman

    Lombok seems like a little slice of paradise. I would love to try the longest left in the world. I learned to surf in San Diego where it was just that much easier to break left with the current than right.

    I love the pictures of the waterfalls. They look so inviting. Let’s hope Lombok uses the power of tourism for long term, sustainable growth and prosperity.

  • Hannah

    I’ve not been to Lombok. It looks idyllic. Hard that families have to struggle with multiple jobs to make ends meet. I would like to see a pink beach one day!

  • Daniela Frendo

    Lombok looks magical! I’d definitely opt for a homestay for a more authentic experience. Also, I love buying things made by local artisans and I think these textiles are beautiful and truly unique.

    Your photos are lovely, by the way!

  • Linda (ld holland)

    I must admit that we found Bali to be so much busier than we expected. It sounds like Lombok would be a much quieter spot to visit. I can see why the beaches are a big attraction. A pink beach would certainly draw my attention. I would love to visit an active volcano. As long as it was not too active!

  • Adonis Villanueva

    It’s cool that you immersed yourself in the culture like that. Strayed off the tourist path and got in with the locals, bad or good. Kidnapping the girl for marriage? Not at all shocked. There are several cultures I know where this is practised. Weird to us but a common everyday thing to them. Thanks for sharing!

    • Marlene Marques
      Adonis Villanueva

      Hi, Adonis. Couldn’t agree more. At first, I was afraid for the girl as the term “kidnapped” has terrible meaning in our society. But then I understood it was all theatre, part of the local marriage rituals. I learned with time that you can’t condemn right at front cultural traditions. We don’t have to agree with them, but maybe try to understand what’s behind those rituals. 🙂

  • Elaine Masters

    Love finding unusual places like Lombok and I wondered if there’s any scuba diving there. After hearing how over-touristed that Bali is becoming this seems like a wonderful alternative. That heat though and not having WiFi might deter me.

  • Christopher Mitchell

    I haven’t been to Lombok in quite some time actually, almost ten years, believe it or not. It’s nice to read some of the stories and reacquaint myself with the island. Cheers!

    • Marlene Marques
      Christopher Mitchell

      Wow, 10 years ago Lombok must have been so uncharted. Would love to see some of the photos from those days. Glad you got to remember your days on the island with my article. Happy travels!

  • Mike

    We spent lots of time in both Bali and Lombok, and we totally agree, Bali is way over run and full of tourists, while Lombok (and Flores for that matter) have so much open space, and the locals are way more friendly and less after your money and creating an instagramable experience.

  • Stefanie

    I didn’t get a chance to visit the island of Lombok due the earthquake in the fall of 2018. First heard about Lombok from the pink sand beaches, but now I have a lot more recommendations from your blog!

    • Marlene Marques
      Stefanie

      Hi, Stefanie. The earthquake was such a sad event and Lombok’s population did suffer so much. Fortunately, the island has already overcome many difficulties and is now ready to receive tourism again.