With divine beaches, the majestic Mt Rinjani and spectacular marine life to discover, the island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara has no shortage of attractions both in and out of the water. It’s little wonder then that Lombok is the most popular destination in West Nusa Tenggara. Come here to surf the massive breaks on the south coast. Challenge yourself with a trek up steep volcanic peaks. Hire a bike and cycle through lush evergreen rice paddies. Whichever way you choose to spend your time you won’t be disappointed with the spectacular natural beauty on offer here.
There are daily flights between Denpasar, Bali and the capital of Lombok, Mataram. Lombok International Airport is situated at Tanak Awu, in the Central Lombok District, some 30 km or an hour’s drive south east of Mataram. Airlines which fly to Lombok are Garuda, Lion Air, Silk Air and Trans Nusa.
The public ferry travels between Padangbai (Bali) and Lembar (Lombok) multiple times a day. The trip takes around four hours. Motorbikes and cars can be taken on the ferry. If you are prone to sea-sickness be warned that the trip can be rough. Ferries travel between Labuhan Lombok and Poto Tano on Sumbawa multiple times a day. The trip takes one and a half hours.
By Fast Boat
Blue Water Safari’s run express boats from Bali to Lombok, the Gili islands and Lebongan Island.
THE MIGHTY MOUNT RINJANI
The mighty Rinjani mountain of Gunung Rinjani is a massive volcano which towers over the island of Lombok. A climb to the top is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in Indonesia. At 3,726 meters tall, Gunung Rinjani is the second highest mountain in Indonesia. The climb to the top may not be easy but it’s worth it, and is widely regarded as one of the best views in the country.
Within the mountain is a crescent shaped lake, the breathtaking Segara Anak which is a spiritual place. The Balinese come here each year and perform a ceremony to the mountain spirit. The Wetu Telu people also regard the lake as holy and come here to pray on full moon nights. This lake of sulfur is located 600 meters below the crater rim. Rising from the waters of this lake is a new volcano, Mt Baru, which is a result of a series of eruptions during the 1990’s.
Mt Rinjani lies within the Gunung Rinjani National Park. The park covers 41,330 hectares and sits inside a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallacea). This is where the tropical flora and fauna of South East Asia meets that of Australasia. This National Park was established in 1997 and is one of over 40 throughout Indonesia.
Three-day Rinjani route from Senaru to the crater rim, down to the Crater Lake then on to Sembalun Lawang, is considered one of the best treks in South East Asia. More adventurous trekkers may want to head all the way to the summit of the volcano. This is best reached from Sembalun Lawang and takes four days, finishing up in Senaru.
The most popular way to climb Rinjani is through a four or five day hiking expedition, starting at Senaru and finishing at Sembalun Lawang. Trekkers begin from Senaru hiking to the stunning crater rim, down to the incredible crater lake and then onto Sembalun Lawang. More information about trekking up Mt Rinjani is available at the Rinjani trekking club website.
Senaru and Sembalun Lawang Villages are the two starting points to climb Gunung Rinjani. Senaru Village is a three hour drive north of Mataram, while Sembalun Lawang Village is approximately a four hours drive to the east of Mataram. You can get to Senaru by taking public transport to Bayan and then walking.
SENGGIGI BEACH, LOMBOK’S OLDEST AND MOST FAMOUS RESORT AREA
A perfect place to relax, Senggigi boasts a series of white sandy beaches and safe swimming areas. The point at central Senggigi has good waves for surfers. This place has a colourful reef which provides shelter to a variety of marine life and exquisitely shapped coral and makes it a perfect place to snorkel.
In the dry season, there is an interesting variety of boats moored in the bay. The town of Senggigi spreads out along nearly 10 km of coastal road. This road continues north to Bangsal, the port for the Gili Islands.
Swimming off the beach is safe. You can also do some canoeing here in Senggigi. Visit Pura Batu Bolong on a rocky point south of Senggigi. There’s good snorkeling off the point and in the sheltered bay around the headland.
Simply walk around Senggigi Beach to develop that sand leg you can depend on. Or, you can ride cidomos. Just try asking for it.
There are few alternatives to get Senggigi Beach, coming from Lembar harbour, you can go straight to Senggigi by any shuttle bus service available. Lombok taxi available on call for 24 hours of service. If you are coming by plane, there is a taxi service at the airport that will take you to your hotel destination. Public transportation or bemos are available from 06:00 am-06:30 pm (Ampenan-Senggigi, or Senggigi-Ampenan) one way. Or you can use ojek (mopeds) service that are available at night.
GILI MENO, THE MOST IDYLLIC AND ROMANTIC RETREAT FOR HONEYMOONERS
If you dream of being completely away from it all, or honeymoon on a remote island, but you still want to be near “civilization”, then Gili Meno is your answer. Situated only some 20 minutes from Senggigi Beach by speedboat on the west coast of Lombok island, Gili Meno is one of three islands now gaining worldwide popularity. These are Gili Terawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. In the local Sasak language, “gili” means island. So take note that there are many “gilis” around Lombok that are either stand-alone or are in cluster.
Among the three islands in this cluster, Gili Meno is the quietest, and Gili Terawangan the most popular. If Gili Trawangan looks more like a tourist village, Gili Meno offers more of serene nature, besides superb diving opportunities. Meno is the smallest island with the least inhabitants, located in the center of the cluster. Here are white beaches, and shady palm trees interspersed with grassland, where cattle graze.
Gili Meno is a most idyllic and romantic retreat for honeymooners, but has sufficient attractions and things to do. Around the island are three dive spots that are favorite with scuba divers, they are called the Meno Wall, Sea Point Turtle, and Point Coral Blue. Besides, there is a seawater lake and a Bird Park that comes complete with homestay facilities.
Amidst amazing scenery of white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, crystal clear seas and the soft lapping of waves, you will hear the chirping of many birds. The Gili Meno Bird Park was built by an Australian in a dome-like structure and has over 200 species of Asian and Australian birds, that include flamingos, cuckatoos, eagles and pelicans, besides other beautifully feathered friends. Uniquely, visitors must pass through labyrinths before reaching the dome.
The Gili islands strictly ban motorized vehicles. Therefore, transport is by bike or on a “cidomo” the local horse-drawn carts. But to really absorb the beauty and serenity of nature you can hike, taking care to bring sufficient drinking water with you.
The small port at Gili Meno is called Bangsal Port, and you must wait until there are 20 passengers before the boat leaves. If you are in a hurry you can rent speedboats. When arriving by plane at the Lombok International Airport, you can take a taxi to Senggigi. You can also take the DAMRI bus to Mataram, capital city of Lombok and continue by taxi. There are direct ferries that ply between Bali and Gili Terawangan. At Gili Terawangan, find a boat to take you to Gili Meno.
THE GILI ISLANDS, YOUR TROPICAL GETAWAY
White sandy beaches. Tropical coral reefs. Warm inviting waters. All this awaits you on the Gili islands. And with no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions other than beautiful tropical island scenery, the Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok are truly an ideal destination for a tropical getaway.
Offering spectacular reefs and ominous dive sites like Shark reef, the Gili islands are the perfect escape for anyone wanting to get away to beautiful, natural and relaxing surrounds. This is why these islands have become a popular destination for Western tourists looking for a remote island experience.
For divers and snorkelers, there are few places better than the Gili’s where you can get up close to all kinds of marine life including a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in all its glory. Swim up and watch this graceful creature glide through the ocean. You should be able to spot these turtles at depths of 10-20 meter below sea level.
The Gilis consist of three islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. In local Sasak language, “Gili” means “island”. In the Indonesian language, plural is denoted by repeating a noun. So “Gili Gili” literally means “islands”.
Renowned for friendly locals and superb natural beauty, each of the island’s are well prepared for tourists. Gili Trawangan is the largest and most popular of the three islands. It has a vibrant nightlife to keep you entertained once the sun goes down. With a wide collection of restaurants and bars, you’ll never be short of entertainment here.
If you’re after a quiet getaway, try Gili Meno or Gili Air. Gili Air is closest to the mainland and is the most populated of the Gili’s. Gili Meno is the smallest island and, with only a few hundred permanent residents, it has the most remote feel to it. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants built in keeping with the islands’ homely village atmosphere.
Cars and motorbikes are prohibited on the Gili’s giving each island a very peaceful atmosphere. The best way to get around and explore the islands is by bike. You can rent a bike and take a ride and look at the spectacular views of the tropical landscape.
A horse-drawn carriage or cidomo is another popular way to get around for both locals and visitors. A tour around Gili Terawangan in a cidomo taking around half an hour. When you want to stretch your legs there’s nothing quite like taking a leisurely stroll around the island. If you want to travel between the Gili’s you can also hire a motorized boat.
The Gili islands are easily reached by speedboat from Senggigi, taking only some 20 minutes boat ride. Many tourists also travel direct to Gili Trawangan by ferry that leaves Bali daily from Serangan or Padang Bai. Travel on the islands are only by bike or “cidomo” the small horse-drawn carts taking 3 persons per ride.
No motorized vehicles are allowed here. There are also regular passenger boats from Senggigi harbour. There are also regular fast ferries from Bali direct to Gili Trawangan, departing Serangan at 08:00 am and 10:00 am, and daily from Padang Bai, leaving at 11:15 am.
Source : indonesia.travel