Lombok is far less crowded and much more laid back than Bali. This beautiful island offers quiet beaches, challenging hikes, picturesque waterfalls, and fewer tourists.
How To Get There
Lombok is a quiet little island just east of Bali, Indonesia accessible by plane or by boat. Backpacking Lombok is remarkable and I recommend it to anyone looking for a cheaper and more authentic Indonesian experience!
By Boat: You can take ferries or fast boats to Lombok from multiple places on Bali or the Gili Islands. The ride is only a couple of hours on a clear day and costs under 688,000 IDR ($50 USD).
By Air: Lombok has an International Airport located near the center of the island.
Best Time To Travel
May to July is ideal for backpacking Lombok because prices and crowds are lower and rain is minimal.
Dry season: May to September
Wet season: October to April
Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) 10,000 IDR = $0.95 CAD, 0.64 Euro or $0.75 USD
Our Average Daily Budget
370,000-600,000 IDR ($25-$40 USD) per person while staying in a private room at a homestay, using a motorbike as transportation, and eating mostly local food. It is possible to spend a lot more in Indonesia, but we stayed comfortably within this price range. Here is our daily breakdown:
- Accommodation: 135,000 – 210,000 IDR ($9-$14 USD) per person based on splitting a room between 2 people.
- Food: 90,000 – 210,000 IDR ($6-$14 USD) per day.
- Transportation: 750,000 IDR ($5 USD) per day based on $3.75 USD for a motorbike rental and $1.75 for a tank of gas.
- Activities & Entrance Fees: 100,000 ($7 USD) per day on average.
The recommended vaccinations for traveling to Lombok are Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B, Dukoral (for travelers’ diarrhea), Rabies, and Japanese Encephalitis (because this disease is rare many people don’t get this vaccination). Malaria pills should be taken for Lombok and other islands. Always double check with a travel clinic before you leave to make sure all your shots are up to date.
Agoda was perfect for finding everything from hostels and homestays to 5 star hotels. You can search by map or by price and they have free cancellation.
Budget: 80,000-100,000IDR ($6-$12 USD) per person/night. Breakfast is sometimes included in a hostel dorm room, you will get a fan but no A/C. For 2 people it is worth staying in a mid-range private room.
Mid-range: 180,000-280,000 IDR ($14-21USD) for 2 people/night. Breakfast and A/C included with a private room in a homestay. A home in Indonesia is made up of many different buildings on one property. Our homestays were all newer buildings with a private room, washroom, and a balcony they will bring your breakfast to in the morning.
Luxury: 375,000 IDR + ($28-$100+ USD) for 2 people/night. Includes A/C and breakfast. Treat yourself for a night or two in a private yurt. Luxury room and bathroom, A/C, and quite possibly your own private pool. By doing some research and booking ahead you can easily stay in a stunning 5-star hotel for under $100 USD/night.
Rinjani Lodge: Amazing hotel with an infinity pool and a view! 1,200,000 IDR ($89 USD) per night for a private bungalow.
Bule Homestay: A great location being 5 minute drive from Kuta Beach. 235,000 IDR ($17.50 USD) per night. Private room and breakfast included. The rooms are clean and comfortable and the restaurant is great!
Ibludan Hotel: Great staff, beautiful pool and private room with king sized comfy beds! From 445,000 IDR ($33 USD) per night for a private room including breakfast.
80,000-200,000 IDR ($6-$15 USD) per person per meal on average
We ate a lot while traveling through Indonesia because the food is SO good! You can order a local plate of Nasi Goreng for 15,000 IDR ($1.12 USD) or a 4-course feast for 200,000 IDR ($15 USD). Trip Advisor`s cheap eats section is great when you`re in a new place without any recommendations. We never got sick when eating from the street carts but followed some general rules. First; look for the street cart where all of the locals go to. A busy cart means that the same food hasn’t been sitting out all day and the locals will know the best ones. Secondly; make sure to steer clear of the street meat. You just never know exactly what it is or where it came from, so it’s easiest just to skip it altogether.
Some of our favorite local foods:
Nasi Goreng: Rice, choice of meat, and vegetables
Mia Goreng: Noodle, choice of meat and vegetables
Satay Chicken or Beef: Chicken or beef skewers with rice and a peanut sauce
Tempeh: A thin, deep-fried soybean patty. Most places will offer tofu or tempeh as a vegetarian option. It’s packed with protein and more firm and flavorful than tofu!
Fried Bananas with Ice Cream: A fairly common desert in Bali and it is so delicious
Pumpkin Soup: Very similar to butternut squash soup with tons of fresh spices and vegetables
Smoothies: Made with fresh fruit, ice, and sometimes milk or coconut milk
Motorbike: This was by far the cheapest mode of transportation while backpacking Lombok. It costs $50,000 IDR ($3.75 USD) per day to rent a motorbike and about $1,500 IDR ($1.15 USD) to fill up with gas. The roads can be dangerous and you do have to be careful but in our opinion, it’s the best way to see the island.
Hire a private driver: 40,000-50,000 IDR ($30-$37 USD) per day. Do this when you have a lot planned for a day and/or the places you want to go are far away from each other. For example, we were picked up at the airport at 7:30 am. We were then driven 2 hours to a temple, then 1.5 hours to a viewpoint, and finally back to our home stay that evening. We didn’t have to deal with the crazy airport taxi mob, we could leave our packs in the car while we were exploring, and we ended up getting a steal of a deal for all the driving.
Take advantage of transportation included in tours: Most tours will pick you up or drop you off anywhere on the same island. This can save you up to 400,000 IDR ($30 USD) on a cab ride.
Walk: We walked A LOT in Lombok. We never felt unsafe and the local people are very helpful if you need directions.
Taxi: Make sure to haggle with your taxi driver beforehand. You can usually offer about half the asking price. Taxi meters are becoming more popular in which case it is more difficult to haggle. Be cautious they aren’t driving you in circles or the long way to up the meter.
What to Wear
Dressing modestly is an important part of respecting the culture when in Lombok. Cover your knees and shoulders while visiting temples or local areas. The beaches and tourist towns are generally okay to wear swimsuits and shorts. A lightweight rain jacket is good to have if you are going on the shoulder season.
- Get a homestay with breakfast included
- Book tours on travel days to take you from city to city
- Haggle 50-60% on anything you buy from a shop or a booth.
- Rent a motorbike for transportation
- Eat your meals in smaller restaurants off the beaten path
- Go to temples and attractions on your own instead of with a tour
- The airlines will charge you up to $35 USD per checked bag so bring a carry-on-sized backpack if you plan to catch any flights.