Only a stone`s throw away from Bali, a lately discovered island draws more and more visitors each year. The close proximity to the idyllic Gili Islands makes Northern Lombok increasingly appear on many travel itineraries.
Lombok considerably differs from its famed sister-island Bali; Islamic culture, deserted bays, less infrastructure and less traffic, greater authenticity and lower prices. Although the northern coastline is magnificent it is rather the hinterland what stands in focus of all travellers. Rinjani National Park makes a wonderful retreat for both adventurers and comfort lovers.
Senggigi is the most developed town and the premier beach holiday hot-spot in Northern Lombok. It features resort complexes, hotels, a great range of restaurants and entertainment facilities.
Long coconut palm tree-fringed bays covered with powdery ash-black sand and the evergreen jungle-clad slopes of the Rinjani Volcano in the background attract many photographers and hikers.
Senggigi is a great base for exploring the rest of the island and also a gateway to the heavenly Gili Islands.
Mataram is the capital of Lombok and its administrative center. There is nothing extraordinary about this city, but if you decide to spend some time here you should definitely stay in Cakra. It offers nice restaurants, good nightlife and even shops for tourists.
Mataram is the cultural epicentre of the island with plenty of Hindu temples, mosques and impressive architecture. It is a great spot for buying very good quality Sasak products at a reasonable price, like silk or pottery.
The major tourist attractions are the largest temple in Lombok – Meru Purse, Islamic Centre and the water palace of Pura Mayura.
RINJANI NATIONAL PARK
From a distance, Gunung Rinjani (3726 m) appears to rise in solitary glory from the plains, but in fact, the entire area is a throng of bare summits, wreathed in dense forest. Dubbed as “Ring of Fire”, Mount Rinjani is situated at the heart of Rinjani National Park, and it is the second highest volcano in Indonesia and one of the TOP 5 volcano hikes in Indonesia.
Although Mount Rinjani is the major point of interest in the national park, there are many gorgeous walking treks to waterfalls, rice fields and traditional villages around Senaru.
1.Rent a scooter in Senggigi and explore the countryside with a good camera – the scenery is just sensational
2.Snorkel in the gorgeous beaches of Senggigi
3.Sunbathe and relax on the idyllic Gili Islands
4.Trek Gunung Rinjani if you have enough courage
5.Have a swim in the refreshing waterfalls around Senaru
6.Hire a mountain bicycle and have an exciting outdoor day in the Rinjani National Park
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Surprisingly, the most beautiful season on the island is the wet season, between October and April. It is when the landscape turns lush and bright-green and humidity decreases.
However, Mount Rinjani becomes inaccessible during the rainy season, so those who come to Lombok for volcano trekking, the best time is the peak season (June-September), which is extremely hot and dusty.
HOW TO GET THERE
You can fly to Bali/Denpasar and take a Perama shuttle bus to Padang Bai, from where a speedboat will bring you to Lombok/Senggigi. Alternatively, you can have a stopover in the Gili Islands on your way if time allows before you arrive in Senggigi.
If you do not wish to stop in Gilis, there are also frequent Pelni ships operating between Bali/Padang Bai and Lombok/Lembar, which is probably the cheapest way to get to Lombok (4-5 hours trip)
There is an international airport in Lombok/Mataram but the flights tend to be quite expensive.
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