Best Ever Destinations: An Exciting New Normal Travel Guide To Lombok

Best Ever Destinations: An Exciting New Normal Travel Guide To Lombok

Travel’s back! Explore diverse natural landscapes and colors of Indonesia in the island of Lombok

Spot rolling hills and stretches of blue as you fly in and feel your excitement building up to explore Lombok, an island filled with culture and nature. Known as the island of a thousand mosques, you will be welcomed with a picturesque sight of Lombok’s beautiful domes and minarets of these religious houses of prayer. 

Whatever kind of adventure you’re in the mood for, Lombok is the place. Feel like conquering a volcano and refresh yourself in a lake? Put Mount Rinjani and Danau Segara Anak on your list. Want a vibrant beach party? Groove till dawn in Gili Trawangan and hop to Gili Meno and Gili Air while you’re at it. In the mood for surfing big waves? Mandalika’s surfing community is where it’s at. 

With so much to see and do, it’s no surprise that Lombok is one of Indonesia’s Best Ever Destinations. As the country is slowly reopening its doors to tourism, here’s a 1-day beginner’s itinerary to get a glimpse of the best of Lombok’s culture and nature. 

Morning

Explore this: Catch endless waves at Mawun Beach

  • Travel time from Mataram city: 2 hours by car

Stroll until the bay’s end and get lost in time as the waves crash on your feet. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

Start your day with the jaw-dropping natural beauty of Mawun Beach. Located in Central Lombok, it’s the epitome of white sandy beaches and azure turquoise waters. Once you reach this spot, it will enchant you to drop everything and gaze in awe for hours with the view of the Indian Ocean and the surrounding hills.

Mawun Beach’s hues of blue lures you in and welcomes you with open arms to overstay your welcome. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

Tucked away from the crowds, Mawun Beach feels almost like a private beach. The anti-mainstream spot is only 20 minutes away from Mandalika, and the panoramic beauty of it makes the rugged journey all worthwhile. Catch fishing boats or surf the waves here if you like, but expect to paddle further up for the big waves. 

Spending your morning lazing and sunbathing here is encouraged with the sounds of the sea to mellow you down. But we know the calming waters of Mawun Beach are pretty hard to resist a dip from, so bring your kids along for a swim in the shallows and go towards the center if you want to venture into deeper ends.

Untouched and crowd-free, you won’t have to worry about keeping distances from other travelers at Mawun Beach. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

As this pristine, horse-shoe shaped bay is still pretty secluded compared to other beaches in Kuta, social distancing is practiced by default. Just don’t forget to put on your masks when you’re off the beach!

Eat this: Beef Rendang at Artati Restaurant

  • Travel time from Mawun Beach: 10 minutes by car

Tender at every bite, Beef Rendang is a meal that everyone will love. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

Nourish yourself by getting a bite of one of the world’s best foods, Beef Rendang. This iconic West Sumatran beef dish is known for its rich, soulful flavors and tender, meaty textures. Simmered with coconut milk and spices like chili, galangal, lemongrass and candlenut, the aroma of Beef Rendang is sure to satiate any palate. 

Treat yourself to this delight at Artati Restaurant after your fun in the sun. Located between the hills, you can even get a peek of Mawun Beach and listen to the sounds of nature from their alfresco-style restaurant. No masks no entry is a protocol strictly enforced by Artati, and expect to have your temperatures taken before you step in to dine. 

Afternoon

Do this: Go chasing waterfalls at Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu

  • Travel time from Artati Restaurant: 1.5 hours by car

Get lost in the midst of evergreen and find comfort in the waters of Benang Kelambu. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

After a morning of sun, seek some solitude and calm from Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu Waterfalls. Located at the foot of Mount Rinjani and tucked between lush greenery, dipping your toes into the waters is the perfect way to cool down from Lombok’s tropical heat. Don’t hesitate to go right into the falls for a well-earned refreshing and cleansing, as legend has it that this was where Queen Dewi Anjani of Mount Rinjani bathed. 

Take a seat on the rocks and breathe in the fresh air of Benang Kelambu. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

In this destination, there are 5 waterfalls for you to explore, with Benang Stokel as the closest and the furthest one being Benang Kelambu. If you’re bringing kids, we recommend setting base at Benang Stokel as its shallow waters makes it easy for any beginners to enjoy a splashing time. It’s also the closest falls from the ticketing booth, with just 20 minutes to trek. 

For those seeking a challenge, Benang Kelambu is an hour’s trek away but the cascading waters and green vines make the journey all worthwhile. Regardless of which falls you go to,  remember to pack some trusty sandals on this trip as the terrains at Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu can get pretty slippery.

Guides are also available for you to help navigate through the routes, just be sure to ask the friendly ticket officers to help you with that. And if you’re itching to get to the falls faster, you can opt to hop on a motorcycle taxi to the falls. Just keep in mind that wherever you go, keep your masks on during your trek and put them back on after your dip.

Eat this: Nasi Campur at RM Pesona Benang Kelambu

  • Travel time from Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu: 15 minutes on foot

A wholesome plate of Nasi Campur for a tasty afternoon pick-me-up. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

No trip to Indonesia would ever be complete without a plate of Nasi Campur. This delicious mixed rice dish is ubiquitous anywhere around the archipelago and champions the national love for warm jasmine rice. Complete with a colorful array of side dishes ranging from proteins to vegetables, there’s always something for everyone. 

As most foods in Lombok are spicy, you can always opt for the reliable fried chicken at RM Pesona Benang Kelambu. Fried tofu and tempeh are a must for a wholesome meal, but if you’re curious about how spicy things can get, their tempe oseng is good for spicy food beginners. The restaurant is just at the entrance of the waterfalls, so drop in to feed your hunger pangs and remember to keep your masks on when you enter. 

Evening

Enjoy this: Fall in love with colorful woven textiles in Sukarara Weaving Village

  • Travel time from RM Pesona Benang Kelambu: 50 minutes by car

Strike a pose in front of a traditional Sasak hut for keepsakes to take home. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

End your day in multicolor and learn the intricate, traditional art of weaving in Sukarara Weaving Village. Home to the Sasak tribe, the art of hand weaving, or nyesek, is an obligatory tradition for women to learn at the age of 10. This artistry is part of their wedding preparation, as a married lady is required to wear their woven tenun to symbolize eternal marriage. 

Watch as the Sasak women work on their loom and carefully weave their yarn. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

Find these charming women manually weaving their masterpieces with their traditional loom stations around the village. From clothes, sarong, to table cloths, expect them to be working their hard hands on the daily as it can take up to 5 months for them to finish the craftwork. There’s something calming about admiring them working their magic, but if you want to appreciate their work for longer, take some textiles home with you to furnish your home or rent them out and try it on yourself.

Try your own hand at it or stroll around the village to learn more about Sasak culture. Here, you can find the hill-shaped traditional Sasak homes made of bamboo and straw ash. As the Sasak tribespeople believe in using natural materials found in their surroundings for their huts, cow dung has become the trusty medium for repairs. This sustainable solution for fixer uppers is even said to shield dwellers from dark magic. 

Keep your masks on as you pick between the delicately made traditional textiles to take home. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

Being a cultural hub for Sasak tribe, Sukarara Weaving Village garners locals and international tourists alike. It’s hard not to walk out without taking a souvenir home and we encourage you to do that to support the livelihood of the villagers. Another way you can support the villagers is by ensuring that you follow the health protocol of wearing a mask and regularly washing your hands throughout your visit. 

Eat this: Sate Pusut at Lalapan Santai

  • Travel time from Sukarara Weaving Village: 35 minutes by car

Paired with juicy stir-fried vegetables, one skewer of Sate Pusut is definitely not enough. Photo by Samsul Rizal.

End your day with Sate Pusut, the Lombok skewered meat specialty. This scrumptious, savory dish has been a favorite for locals and making its way to the palates of international visitors of the island. Mixed with a spice blend of coconut milk, chili, kaffir lime leaves and shrimp paste, the umami flavors of Sate Pusut will keep you going for more. 

Have a taste of these at Warung Santai, a quaint laid-back food joint which really lives up to its name. The menu here extends from local delights to international foods so if you’re craving for Sate Pusut with a side of spaghetti, Warung Santai is the place to be. Despite its name, health and safety protocols here are not taken lightly. Wear your mask when you enter and remember to wash your hands after paying for your food. 

Health & safety protocols to note

Throughout Indonesia, health and safety protocols are strictly enforced. Temperature checks upon entry is the norm across all establishments, including tourist destinations. Don’t forget to bring your vaccine certificates with you or have it ready from the PeduliLindungi app. Masks in public spaces are required all over the country, so double up and always bring extras in your bag.

While some destinations still allow cash, major establishments prefer cashless and card payments so have your e-wallets topped up before you start your itinerary. However, hand washing stations are required to be installed at every establishment, making it easy for you to keep clean after every cash transaction.

As of current, only international travelers on business visas are allowed to enter Indonesia while certain international travelers are allowed to enter Bali. However, domestic travel is open for vaccinated tourists across the archipelago, with a requirement of vaccine certificates and a negative PCR test result for travels by land, water, or air.

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This guide is produced in association with Indonesia Travel. 

  • All photography by Samsul Rizal
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