Welcome to Lombok- the place with extraordinary snorkeling experiences, awe-inspiring natural beauty, warm hospitality, serene beaches, surf spots…something for everyone and the major bonus? Access all of this without the crowds, a perfect fit for family travel.
Where is Lombok Located?
Lombok, often overshadowed by its noisy neighbour Bali, is an Indonesian island located in Southeast Asia. Situated to the east of Bali and west of Sumbawa. It’s part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes and vibrant culture.
Family Travel To Lombok With Kids
Bali is the celebrity of Indonesia but Lombok Island is nestled just to the east of Bali It’s a bit smaller than Bali in terms of land size. If you’re looking for a laid-back and beautiful travel spot, Lombok has got you covered. This place is like a dream with its gorgeous white-sand beaches, awesome surfing spots, lush forests, and cool hiking trails through tobacco and rice fields. Lombok is basically a tropical paradise! And there’s more to it – you’ll also discover Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, Gunung Rinjani, soothing hot springs, and a dazzling crater lake.
Things to know before visiting Lombok
Low key Lombok, often referred to as ‘Bali before the tourists’ or ‘Bali 15 years ago’, is a lesser-known neighbouring island to the east of Bali. But whilst Bali seems to be on everyone’s radar and it’s easy to make comparisons between them, Lombok well and truly deserves it’s own spotlight, and that is what we will do here.
In general Lombok is low-key and is a great destination for families. We loved exploring Lombok as a family and will share more about destinations as we go on. Here is our tried and tested Lombok travel guide so you can get booking that adventure holiday with the kids!
Lombok is sometimes known as ‘The Island of a Thousand Mosques’ and the majority of residents are muslim. Respect local culture by dressing respectively when away from the beach. Alcohol is available to buy in most places.
Best Ways To Travel To Lombok With Kids
Lombok is easily accessible and you can reach it either by Air or by boat (from Bali).
This is the most convenient, cheapest, and fastest way to reach Lombok. Lombok has an international airport with direct flights coming in from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
By Fast Boat
There are numerous fast boat services operating between Bali and Lombok. Find the departure harbor that is the most convenient to your location, book online and you are ready to go! The boats fill up quick and take about 40 minutes. Going in the morning should give you a smoother ride (no guarantees though!) The seas can get rough and the boat ride can be very bumpy, take sea sickness tablets and a fan if you get queasy.
Best Ways To Travel In And Around Lombok
There are two main ways people choose to get around Lombok as they explore – Car/Motorbike and Taxi.
Car & Motorbike
You will find rentals in whichever town you go to. Scooters in Kuta cost around 8GBP for a short term rental. Taxi’s and Grab are the easiest ways to get around. Grab only runs in the bigger towns.
Hiring a car with a driver is a very sensible and popular option, as you won’t be liable for any damage. If you decide not to hire a driver, make sure you carry an International Driving License with you as required by Indonesian traffic laws and like all driving, take your time, follow the rules and make sure you have insurance to cover you!
Taxi’s and Grab are the easiest ways to get around. Grab or GoJek only runs in the bigger towns. Taxis are readily available in many parts of Lombok and are cheap and convenient to use.
All taxis use a meter so there is no need to negotiate a fare before you set off. You can use taxis to take you to any destination in Lombok. The most popular and reputable is Bluebird Taxis (+62 370 627 000).
Best Places To Stay In Lombok With Kids
Lombok is a place where you’ll soak up a uniquely local vibe no matter where you decide to hang your hat. Yes, even those five-star digs here have that extra pinch of Lombok magic.
When it comes to places to stay, Lombok’s got the whole spectrum covered, from budget-friendly to luxury. Picture yourself lounging in a private boutique villa or a beachfront paradise, or maybe you’re more the eco-resort type. In typical budget travel fashion, the Boston’s took full advantage of homestays and met the most beautiful families making our trip to Lombok even more special.
No matter your accommodation style, you’re in for a warm welcome because Lombok’s local folks, the ‘Sasaknese,’ know how to make you feel like part of the family.
Lombok Travel Guide: Where to go?
The southern coast of Lombok is an absolute gem. Its natural beauty is nothing short of breathtaking. From the vantage points atop the hills, you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing panorama of one pristine white sandy beach after another. With a stunning backdrop of lush coconut trees, this place is absolutely stunning.
Notably you won’t find many upscale resorts that have overtaken some other tourist destinations. Instead, the south coast of Lombok offers an abundance of affordable lodges and homestays. This has attracted a particular kind of traveler – easy-going and low-maintenance – and has infused the region with a wonderfully relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. There is an emergence of trendier accommodation. I say trendy because I’m old and not cool and not sure what else to call them…bohemian? I don’t know but lots of white and wicker.
This is a great place to surf – the combination of Indian Ocean swells, consistent trade winds, and warm, clear waters make Lombok an all-year-round surfing haven. Even during peak seasons, you’re more likely to share the beach with village goats or buffalo than with fellow surfers.
Kuta, centrally located along the south coast and just a quick 20-minute drive from the airport, makes for an ideal base to explore.
Don’t worry though; Lombok’s Kuta bears little resemblance to its more famous counterpart in Bali. However, it is probably the busiest place in the South for tourists. It offers a good selection of budget to mid-range accommodations, numerous dining options, local eateries (warungs), surfboard and scooter rentals, as well as other essential tourist services. We use Kuta as a base and travel around the beaches in the south.
East of Kuta, you’ll find Putri Nyale Beach and Segara Beach, while a bit further along, the rocky cape of Tanjung A’an showcases postcard-perfect sandy. This could be one of our favourite beaches. Clear water, swimming, rockpools and an amazing breeze!
Heading west from Kuta, nestled within a sheltered bay, Mawun Beach offers clear, calm waters perfect for both kids and snorkeling. Further along, Mawi Beach and Selong Belanak are renowned for producing impressive waves that attract surfers from near and far. We visited in September and the waves were perfect for beginner surfers or for the kids to play in the shallows. Overall, the southern coast of Lombok is an absolute treasure trove of beautiful beaches and hidden coves (I’m not going to commit to my answer 100% but I’d probably rate them with Sri Lankan beaches).
Head up to the slightly cooler climates of central Lombok with a mix of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor activities. It’s definitely quieter here than the beaches and islands but that is where the charm is. Most people will head to the village of Tetebatu, and 90 minute taxi from Kuta (400,000IDR) and we stayed in a small village just west of there.
We had such a special stay at Tereng Willis Bungalow that I want to mention it specifically. This homestay was so welcoming, our kids were incredibly sad to leave. Set right by the rice paddies, with Mt Rinjani in the background, this is the place to reset in nature, kick back and relax. Our host Edy took us to find the local waterfalls, the kids foraged jungle fern for dinner and we spotted the rare black monkey (the Javan Lutong/Ebony Leaf monkey).
We also visited the local bamboo weaving village, pottery village and the sarong village. The first were ok, the kids enjoyed playing with the clay but it was clearly more of a shopping experience but the sarong village was fascinating. We spent 5 hrs there with the kids and staff playing chess, learning magic tricks and making friendship bracelets. The weaving was ridiculously intricate and time consuming and the whole process was fascinating. Such an interesting experience but for us it opened up a conversation with the girls about opportunities. As a girl in this village, this is your destiny, to become a weaver. It was an eye opening experience.
I also said I wouldn’t do the whole comparison with Lombok’s neighbour but if you are looking for those amazing rice terraces then this is where you find them but without the 700 other people all looking for the perfect instagrammable spot! But shh, keep it quiet or it won’t stay quiet!
This is the jumping off point for the Gili Islands and it is closely followed by the slightly tired town of Sengiggi. The original high end resorts can be found here and most of these survived the 2018 Earthquake and then closures from covid 19. It was really clear on our visit in 2023 that many of the small, locally owned businesses hadn’t survived. It’s not a bad little stop off with plenty of activities and restaurants.
We don’t often do shoutouts for the places we stay, they are such a personal experience, but I have to recommend the place we stayed at in Sengiggi. The Country House was the perfect escape. The owner Jim is possibly one of the most interesting people I have ever met. This property has been beautifully designed, with the most attentive staff and a calming atmosphere. It felt very much like we were staying with a family friend.
Looking to escape everyone and everything? Then head to East Lombok. Much less travelled but with all the best bits of Lombok. Beautiful beaches, amazing nature and friendly locals.
When is the best time to travel to Lombok?
Throughout the year, daytime temperatures in Lombok normally remain around 30°C but there are two distinct seasons:
High/Peak Season: From April to September, it is the dry season on Lombok Island. May – June is considered to be the best time to visit Lombok as the skies are clear, and it’s sunny and less humid so it’s perfect for enjoying snorkelling with clear visibility. This is also the best time for trekking and enjoying the beaches in Lombok while the greenery is lush after the rainy season has given it a boost. At the end of the dry season and before the rainy season starts in October, you can expect Lombok to be very dry and less lush.
Low Season/Off-Peak Season: From October to March, it is the rainy season in Lombok so expect more rain and higher humidity. The upside is that Lombok will be even quieter than it already is and you may get better rates at some hotels. We hear the surf conditions are pretty good still during this period.
Family-friendly Lombok Travel Tips:
- Bring earplugs (for early morning cockerels or if you are near a mosque and are a light sleeper).
- Depending on where you stay you may want to bring your own snorkelling equipment (especially kids’ sizes and life jackets).
We had such a fantastic trip showing our kids around Lombok, Indonesia and would not hesitate in recommending a visit here to enjoy the amazing snorkelling, the delicious Indonesian food and to experience Lombok’s unspoilt beauty where adventure waits!
FAQ about Lombok
Indonesian is spoken although English is widely spoken especially in more touristy areas
Can you drink the water?
No recommended. Drink filtered or bottled water.
Currency Used and ATM access
Rupiah (Rp) is the currency. Often prices will be displayed without the zero’s (ie, 55k). Word of warning if changing money or using the ATM, check the amount of zero’s you use! ATMs are easy to find and you can access cash easily.
Most places will accept cards except small local establishments. Some will charge additional fees. Always check if they accept card payment if this is your only method.
Phones and Sim cards
Sim cards are easily picked up with the most recommended network being Telkomsel. Prices start around 10,000Rp
Bargaining is expected in local markets but not in supermarkets, restaurants and bars. Most services such as tours and accommodation can be flexible with price, always worth asking.
Mostly two rounded pins. 220-240V
Free wifi is common in most tourist areas. Cheapest date will be through a local sim or esim.
Most accommodation will have a laundry service or will be able to direct you to a nearby service.
Culture and Religion
Lombok and the Gili islands are predominantly Muslim. This means you should dress conservatively away from the beach. Be prepared to hear the call to prayer throughout your stay in Lombok. Alcohol is available in most places be again, be mindful of the local culture.
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