There is a saying, 'You can find Bali in Lombok, but you cannot find Lombok in Bali'. Just a 30 minute flight from the famous Indonesian island lies an unspoilt gem, full of hidden treasures. Discover a unique culture unlike no other in the world, drive along breathtaking coastal roads where the only traffic you'll come across is buffalo, enjoy deserted beaches and crystal clear waters filled with incredible sea life. Dance under the stars to local bands, ice cold bintang in hand. There truly is nowhere on earth quite like Lombok. Here you will find some useful Lombok information to help plan your travels.
What does Sasak Soul Mean?
In Lombok, 85% of the population are Sasak, who are predominantly muslim, mixed with some animist, hindu and buddhist beliefs. They speak their own language, and many believe in spirits and practising magic. The wedding ceremonies last for days, culminating in a huge street procession. Their rich history, cultural practises and peaceful spirit is primarily what makes Lombok so unique.
The people of Lombok are incredibly friendly and inquisitive. It's not uncommon to be invited for dinner, or to share some rice wine, so that they can talk with you. Despite having so little, everybody shares with everybody, creating a loving community that is incredibly hard to leave!
Sasak Soul is more than just surf lessons. As a brand, and as a team, we aim to represent the spirit of the local Sasak people. Their love, respect and beautiful soul are what makes Lombok such a wonderful place to stay. We work together with locals to share our home with you, to create moments and memories that have you smiling from ear to ear. We respect each other, our guests and our island, leaving only footprints behind.
We live Lombok. We love Lombok. We are Sasak Soul.
Do I need a Visa?
Citizens of 68 countries can visit Indonesia visa free for up to 30 days, but must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months, and be ready to show flight tickets in and out of the country.
For longer stays, you can pay for a visa on arrival for USD 35 (Many immigration points also accept rupiah, aud, gbp and other currencies). With this visa you can extend once for a further 30 days for 500k (without agent). To extend, you must visit the nearest immigration office twice. On your first visit, ask for extension forms, and bring with you a copy of your passport photo page, visa stamp on arrival, and your flight tickets in and out. Hand them all in, and you will be asked to return 3 days later. On your second visit, your photo and fingerprints will be taken, you'll need to pay 500k fee, and wait for your passport to be returned. An agent can be used to do the first visit for you, but be prepared to pay up to 1 million or so for the privilege.
For eeeeven longer stays, you can apply in your home country for a 60 day visit visa or 'social' visa. This can then be extended a further 4 times in the country, allowing you a total of 6 months in Indonesia before needing to fly out. Consult the Indonesian Embassy in your home country for more information on the process.
You can read more information about visas here.Visa Information Indonesia
The currency of Indonesia is rupiah, with denominations starting from the tiny 100 coin (0.005 euros!) up to the 100,000 note (6 euro), you'll find yourself an instant millionaire when you exchange all your currency!
You'll find the best money changer in Lombok just outside of the airport perimeter, but you'll also find a couple in Kuta itself. We also recommend the Caxton currency card, which doesn't charge any fees for atm withdrawal, and exchange rates are very fair. It is linked with your current account which means you can easily deposit small amounts and don't risk your entire account balance disappearing if you happen to be the victim of fraud or card skimming.
More and more businesses in Kuta are now taking cards, such as the chain markets, and larger homestays, bars and shops. However be prepared to pay for most services like surf lessons, drivers and tours, in cash.
How Do I Get There?
Kuta is a mere 20 minute drive from Lombok International Airport, which welcomes flights from a number of cities including Bali, Jakarta, Surabaya, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Garuda Indonesia is a safe and reliable option for flights. Air Asia has also just started a direct Perth flight which will welcome many more Australians to the region.
There are a number of taxi companies waiting on arrival that will charge between 100 - 150k to get to Kuta. If you book with our camp we provide airport transfers.
Alternatively, you can grab a fast boat through Gili Getaway from Padangbai in Bali, this hour and a half trip stops off at the Gili Islands on the way, with a final stop in Bangsal, North West Lombok. To reach Kuta, you will need to get a taxi (either arrange through your hotel or walk 10 minutes out of the harbour to reach the metered Blue Bird Taxis), which costs around 350k and takes around 2 1/2 hours to get to Kuta, or 2 hours to reach Lombok airport.
If you really are on a budget or need to bring a bike or car into Lombok, you'll want the public ferry! A real local experience! Departing from Padang Bai at regular intervals, it's a bit like Russian Roulette knowing how long it will take, many people are lucky with a 4 hour trip, but some people have know it to take 10 hours! So bring lots of snacks and entertainment - and there are places to buy food and seats on board. You'll reach Lembar harbour in the South West, where you'll need to arrange a taxi to get you to Kuta - around 90mins away.
From the Gili Islands
You have 3 options to reach mainland Lombok from the Gili's or vice versa. The first is public boat, costing 15k. You will need to buy from the main ticket office in the relevant harbour. The boats go when around 30 tickets have been sold. It takes between 20mins - 30 mins depending on where you are going.
The second is by hourly fast boat - these cost about 85k per person and take 10 mins or so.
The third, chartered fast boat from/to Teluk Nare - at a cost of 350k up to 4 persons. Again, it takes around 10 mins.
How Do I Get Around?
Kuta itself is a fairly small town of only a few square kilometres, with all the shops, restaurants and a vast majority of accommodation nestled on 3 or 4 roads within 1 kilometre of each other, so it is very easy to walk around, if you can stand the heat. However, the real gems of the island lie outside of the main town itself, so it is highly recommended to have some kind of transport so that you don't miss out!
Please note: There is no Gojek/Grab in the South of the island, so you'll need to arrange transport privately.
One option is to hire a scooter. It is cheap and easy to hop around from beach to beach, and even explore further North and East. Scooter hire starts from 50k (€3) per day and petrol is 10k (60c) per litre which fills up the tank of most smaller models. A word of warning though - only do this if you have an actual license to drive this class of vehicle in your own country. Not just if you get stopped by the police, but if something happens to you, your insurance will not cover it, and you could be in very serious trouble if you are badly injured. Driving in Indonesia is risky, many locals don't have licenses or follow the rules that you may be used to (indicating, giving way, using a roundabout!). It is also recommended that you hire bikes from your accommodation, be sure to check it over and take pictures before taking it away.
A second option is to hire a driver and car from your hotel or homestay. For a few hundred thousand a day, you have an air-conditioned vehicle and can visit places at your leisure. This can be a cost effective option, especially for larger groups as most cars are people carriers that can fit up to 5 or 6 people.
What's the weather like?
Lombok has a wet and dry season. Dry runs from around April to early November. Wet from November through to March, with the heaviest months being January and February. Although often rain passes over the South coast and dumps it all inland! And you won't necessarily be caught in rain all day, you'll often just get showers in the afternoons or evenings, so get up early and enjoy the sun! Also - wet season is the best time for surfing! Glassy waves, more spots and less crowds! You can check out all about the weather on our blog post here: Lombok Weather
Where can I buy groceries and essentials?
We always recommend shopping local for as much as possible. For fresh foods and some essentials, you can try the 'Banyu Urip Mart' on Jalan Pariwisata Pantai Kuta, central Kuta. For anything you can't find, hop next door to Fresh Mart supermarket, for a wider variety. There's also a daily morning market in the central fishing village, the main days are Wednesdays and Sundays - you'll find livestock, fresh seafood, spices and other local goods. Get down there early, it's usually all over by 10!
There are so many stray dogs and puppies around - what can I do?
Firstly - please don't take puppies back to your homestay! There is a high likelihood that the mum has gone searching for food, so if you are unsure, monitor them for a few days, and leave food for them if there is no sign.
Also, there is no shelter in Kuta, so if you remove them, they will struggle to survive after you leave, and the majority of expats have already taken in as many animals as possible!
You can contact Kuta Lombok Dogs if you are concerned, and they can try to continue to monitor them. They also run sterilisation programs for females, so consider donating!