Gili air is the least developed of the Gili Islands and is a mix between the other 2. Gili Meno is the smallest and caters mostly for couples and Gili Trawagen is the largest and caters for the party animals. Gili Air is somewhere in between. Good restaurants and bars but no boom boom boom till the wee hours. Below we’ll help you explore Gili Air and offer a bite sized guide to island life.
Exploring Beautiful Lombok | A stunning volcanic island
Lombok was for us a stopping off point on the way to the Gili islands which are just a short boat ride of the shore. We were really glad we decided to stay here for a few days as we had a great time exploring beautiful Lombok. It is well known for it’s beaches and it’s active volcano Mount Rinjani. You can trek up the volcano. but it’s a good hard fours days.
Lombok is part of the Indonesian archipelago and sits just off the coast of Bali. Accommodation is on the main quite cheap compared to western standards and you get a good choice for your money. There is plenty on the island to keep you occupied for a good few days.
How did we get to Lombok?
Leaving Singapore we headed to Bali on Air Asia and after a 2 hr layover we boarded our Lion Air flight from Bali to Lombok. This flight was only 45 mins and soon we were swooping down to the lush green island below. Both Lion Air and Air Asia were great airlines to fly with and the flights were really comfortable and reasonably priced. Check out flight options here.
Arriving at the airport we were bombarded with taxi drivers all keen to take us to our destination. We chose a young well dressed lad who piled us into his range rover and took us on a crazy journey to Sengeggi on the East coast of the island. Welcome to Lombok.
Where did we stay on Lombok?
Our accommodation was a room in a lovely B & B residence Villa Jati Mangsit in Senggigi, Lombok. The villa itself comprised of eight rooms in individual two story buildings in a setting of lush green foliage, trees and flowering plants. It was a real tropical feel and immediately we felt at home.
We were lucky enough to secure a top floor room called the coconut room and as well as a really comfortable double bed with a full mosquito net it had a lovely balcony with a day bed so you could chill after sightseeing. The bathroom was basic with a decent shower, toilet and sink.
What did we do in Lombok
Hire a car and driver for the day
Our B & B host arranged for a driver to take us to see some of the highlights of Lombok. We shared our Range Rover with a German couple and it cost us approx £12 for the day. The trip was really worth it and would take us to:
- Visit the Monkey forest – an area in the North of the island where monkeys rule the forest. It was lovely to see them in a natural habitat with their families.
- See the rice and other produce farming – The highlands of Lombok are forest-clad and mostly undeveloped. The lowlands are highly cultivated. Rice, soybeans, coffee, tobacco, cotton, cinnamon, cacao, cloves, cassava, corn, coconuts, copra, bananas and vanilla are the major crops grown in the fertile, volcanic soils of the island.
- Visit a traditional Lombok village – this was pretty much staged for tourists which is not usually something we’d do however it was good to see some of the houses up close.
- Visit the waterfalls – we visited 2 waterfalls and it was quite a trek over bridges and through tunnels to get to them. In the heat of the day it was so refreshing.
- Get some fantastic views of the volcano Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. We had planned to hike up to the summit but the timings of that trip didn’t fit in with our plans sadly.
I couldn’t have a post about Lombok with out mentioning the food. It was incredible. The variety of curries was outstanding and their were some really good restaurants on Lombok. Here’s just a few of the restaurants we tried and like, a lot!
Molly’s Bar and Grill right next to our accommodation Villa Jati we ate here the first night before we found our bearings. Really good food. Cafe Bumbu sadly this restaurant is now closed but we had the most amazing local food here. Not quite sure why its closed but I’ll keep my eye on it and update if it reopens. The Taman Restaurant we visited this place a few times as not only was the food excellent they also had amazing cocktails.
Some of the best places we ate were the local cafe’s called Warungs. These were small, family owned business and traditionally were small shops selling groceries but since the arrival of tourists transformed themselves into small eateries. Absolutely delicious food cooked and served by the family. A whole meal at lunchtime would cost around a pound.
Visit a local Lombok market
We visited the local market and that was one of the best things we did on the island. Food is a big part of our travelling and visiting the market with the sights and smells and the selection of produce, spices and food available was incredible.
There were stalls with absolutely everything you could ask for. The market was really busy and the lanes between stalls were quite narrow but I was really touched by the politeness of the local ladies visiting the market. If they wanted past then they just gently tapped you on your shoulder and that was their signal to ask you to move out the way. One of those little things that just stays with you and demonstrated how lovely the people of Lombok were.
Take a cooking class
On our last day we, before heading over to Gili Air, we arranged to take a cooking class with Anggrek Putih. Nining who runs the cooking class invites you into her home and teaches you to prepare some pretty amazing dishes. Our class prepared a chicken curry, chicken satay, a fish curry, corn fritters and nasi goreng rice.
The class was excellent value for money as Nining takes you slowly through preparing the spices and veg before helping you cook the dishes and then then best part is we all get to have lunch together. If you are in Lombok and love your food then please do not miss this class.
Lombok is a wonderful place to spend a few days exploring the countryside and the wildlife or just relaxing on the beach or by the pool. With the Gili Islands just off the coast it’s a great place for a stop off on the way. A great alternative to the more touristed and costlier Bali. We would recommend a stay of at least three days may be more.
Booking resources for your trip
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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Southern Ridges. little did we know that one of the best walks takes your right out of the city into lush green parks and elevated walkways.
The Gardens by the Bay
The gardens by the bay was one of the best things we did in Singapore. For information on how we got to Singapore and the other things we got up to you can visit that story here.