Climbing Gunung Rinjani -- Demanding, frustrating, yet hugely rewarding, the climb up Mount Rinjani is a highlight of any visit to Lombok. If a climb up a 3,726m-high (12,224-ft.) volcano is too daunting, treks through the lush forests of the Rinjani National Park have their own rewards.
Heading to the Gili Islands -- Needing no introduction, the famous islands of Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan -- collectively known as the Gilis -- are the only destination for many travelers to Lombok. Three archetypal coral islands, surrounded by white sands, palm trees, and clear turquoise waters also have no cars, and hence no traffic or pollution.
Sunning & Surfing in the Southwest & South Coasts -- Few places in Indonesia have such a stunningly beautiful vista as the south coast of Lombok. This is where the island meets the Indian Ocean, whose endless rhythms have carved a series of magnificent beaches, bays, peninsulas, cliffs, and inlets into the shoreline. The climate lends itself to days wandering uncrowded beaches, sunbathing on the white sands, and swimming in calm bays. For the adventurous, the south coast is also the surfing mecca of this part of Indonesia.
Relaxing in Senggigi -- Although Senggigi makes the perfect base for exploring the rest of Lombok, it's easy to just choose one of the beautiful resorts and spend your days here instead. The beaches are gorgeous, the resorts luxurious.
Catching a Local Festival -- Lombok's population is a mixture of Sasak Muslims, Balinese Hindus, Chinese Buddhists, and more, and festivals and special events are held most any time of the year. Don't miss the Bau Nyale Festival in February or March. In July, the Senggigi Festival is a wonderful whirl of color, culture, and sound. In October, Perang Topat at Lingsar Temple is a fascinating ritual and hilarious local fun. Catch a Gendang Beleq performance -- unique to Lombok; watch elegant Sasak tari dancing, with colorful and dramatic costumes; or ask a local to take you to see a traditional nyongkolan wedding procession in the villages, with the beautifully dressed bride and groom parading down the street accompanied by dancing crowds and the weirdly hypnotic, wailing kecimol music.
Buying Local Handicrafts -- Quite a few of the crafts on sale in Bali are actually made in the villages of Lombok and are available here at a fraction of the price. Lombok pottery is exported throughout the world. Distinctive designs in terra cotta and earthenware are hand-thrown in the small villages, such as Masbagik, Penujak, and Banyumulek, by successive generations of potters. Wood carving is a Lombok specialty, particularly furniture and ornamental objects carved into intricate designs with mother-of-pearl inlay, called cukli. The markets and villages around Sayang Sayang in west Lombok, just to the east of Selaparang Airport, have a wide selection of these hand-carved items. Purchase magnificent sea trunks with beaten brass hinges and hasps, ornately carved wooden screens and room dividers, or highly polished decorative bowls and ornaments -- all for bargain prices.
Escaping to the Cool Highlands -- If the tropical heat is wearing you down, escape to the magical cool mountain retreat of the Sembalun valley. High on the northeast shoulder of Mount Rinjani, Sembalun is steeped in history and mass tourism is still a long way in the future.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.