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
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.
See below for:
Where did we stay on Lombok?
What did we do?
What sights did we see?
What restaurants would we recommend?
Visit the market
Take a cooking class.
What’s next on our South East Asian Adventure?
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 8 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.
- The B & B had a fantastic pool that was perfect in the hot sun.
- The host could organise tours and trips to various parts of the island and other activities such as cooking lessons
- It was really close to the beach just a 10 min walk
- The breakfast was fantastic and a real variety of cooked and continental breakfast.
- There was a local taxi service that took you anywhere into town for a few £’s
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 to 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 if its only temporary I’ll add their webpage.
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 £1
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.