Visitors trek through Rinjani National ParkVisitors trek through Rinjani National Park © Alfian Widiantono / Getty Images

Trek in the shadow of Gunung Rinjani

Dominating the northern half of Lombok is the surging and brooding profile of Gunung Rinjani, one of Indonesia’s most spectacular mountains. Sacred to both the Hindu people of nearby Bali and the Sasaks of Lombok, ascending the 3726m ­high peak is a challenge, but definitely achievable by travellers with good fitness. Guides and porters can be hired in villages on the fertile slopes on Rinjani – including Senaru and Sembalun Lawang – and the ascent is usually undertaken across three days and two nights. Located 600m below the massive rim of Rinjani’s huge caldera, the cobalt blue Danau Segara Anak (Child of the Sea) is a 6km ­long lake trimmed with hot springs – a perfect natural tonic after completing the trek – and on the mountain’s eastern edge, the more recent volcanic cone of Gunung Baru (‘New Mountain’) is a steaming reminder of nature’s immense power.

Hot springs along the Rinjani trekHot springs along the Rinjani trek © Andras Jancsik / Getty Images

More leisurely trekking opportunities also abound in villages in the lea of Rinjani. From Tetabatu, paths meander through a lush patchwork of tobacco plantations, rice fields and orchards, or continue up Rinjani’s southern slopes to the beautiful Air Terjun Jekut waterfalls. On the eastern side of the mountain, the bucolic Sembalun Valley is another fertile farming area cradled by the iconic profile of Rinjani, and at Senaru, mountain and ocean views combine with walks to nearby cascades and swimming holes. Senaru’s Rinjani Trek Centre has information on local walks and can arrange guides for climbing Gunung Rinjani.

Learn to surf on world famous waves

From Sumatra to Java, Indonesia offers some of the finest surfing on the planet, and the board­riding scene in Lombok includes what Tracks magazine has called the ‘best wave in the world’. Located near the town of Pelangan in southwest Lombok, the left-handed break dubbed ‘Desert Point’ rolls in from the Bali Sea to offer rides up to 300m. May to September offers the best waves for experienced surfers.

South Lombok is a surfer's paradiseSouth Lombok is a surfer’s paradise © Konstantin Trubavin / Getty Images

From October to April, Lombok’s surfing scene is focused on Gerupak, a sprawling bay 6km east from Kuta on the island’s south coast. Here, with its Indian Ocean waves rolling in and five different breaks, there are opportunities for surfers of all abilities. Sheltered from the tradewinds by surrounding hills, the dependable Bumbang breaks over a flat reef and is suitable for beginners. More challenging is Pelawangan or ‘Kid’s Point’, a right-hand break that generates spectacular barrels during the biggest swells. Located in the sleepy coastal town of Kuta (not to be confused with energetic and cosmopolitan Kuta across on Bali) same same can arrange board rental and surfing lessons.

Find solitude on spectacular southern beaches

For a coastline offering such wild and untrammeled beauty, southern Lombok remains one of Southeast Asia’s undiscovered gems. While it’s true travellers are beginning to discover the region – courtesy of the island’s conveniently located international airport at nearby Praya – beaches including Selong Blanak and Mawun are still well off the mainstream tourist radar. Simple roads negotiate Lombok’s southern coastline west of Kuta, often detouring inland to meander through rice fields and rural countryside, before heading back to a series of arcing beaches framed by rugged headlands. Around 3km from Kuta, Mawun is a sheltered half­moon cove that’s ideal for swimming, and just further west, more rugged Mawi is a popular surfing destination from May to October.

Mawun's traquil half­-moon coveMawun’s traquil half­-moon cove © Denis Moskvinov / Getty Images

Continue 15km west of Kuta, and Selong Blanak trumps even the sublime beauty of Mawun and Mawi. Access via a simple pedestrian bridge reveals a crystal white bay lapped by gentle Indian Ocean surf and the promise of more leisurely hours of swimming and relaxing.

Make it happen

Getting there: Lombok’s Bandara International Airport links the island to Bali – a short 30­minute flight – and other domestic Indonesian destinations from Lombok include Jakarta, Makassar and Surabaya. International flights to Lombok include Silk Air from Singapore and Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. By sea, public ferries connect Lombok’s west coast with Bali, and east to the island of Sumbawa. Ferries link with bus and minibus transport. Faster express boats also run between Lombok and Bali.
When to go: Lombok offers warm, tropical weather throughout the year, with a rainy season occurring from late October to April. The dry season runs from May to September, with the least rainfall being experienced from July to August. Note this two-month period also coincides with the highest visitor numbers. Book Now