Lombok and Gilis FAQ
1) What’s the best time of year to visit Lombok?
There is no bad time to visit – it is a year-round destination. The year is divided into two distinct seasons. Between May and October expect constant hot sunshine, blue skies and cool sea breezes. From November to April there are spells of heavy yet brief rainfall but plenty of warm sunshine too. Peak tourist season is July and August and again during the Christmas and New Year period when accommodation prices can rise significantly.
2) I only have a few days in Lombok. What are the most important things to see and do?
Lombok is all about its wonderful natural attractions. The three-day climb to the summit of Mount Rinjani is an unforgettable adventure. For scuba and snorkelling, the Gili Islands are unbeatable, famed also for a great island beach vibe. Surfers head straight for the awesome waves around Kuta on Lombok’s south coast, while the beach resort of Senggigi is the best bet for travellers looking to explore ‘Sasak’ village history and culture on day trips.
3) Do I need a Visa for Indonesia?
Most international visitors require a visa to enter Indonesia which can be processed on arrival (cost $25) and is valid for 30 days. This can be extended one time for a further 30 days at the local immigration office in Mataram. Overstaying your visa is a serious offence and subject to a fine of $25 per day.
4) Should I take out travel insurance?
Yes, insurance is very important. There are a few state run hospitals and medical clinics on the island but treatment and sanitary conditions are much better at private hospitals. Virtually all large medical facilities are located only in the Mataram metro area. If you plan on trying scuba diving or mountain climbing, be sure that your insurance policy covers this.
5) Is alcohol available in Lombok?
Although Lombok is overwhelmingly Muslim, it’s a tolerant society and alcoholic drinks are readily available. Locally- brewed Bintang is the beer of choice, while there is a variety of imported beers and spirits at the more popular bars and restaurants. Many places advertise early evening happy hours. Over in the villages of east Lombok, life is a little more conservative with very few bars, restaurants or shops selling alcohol.
6) Can I use my debit/credit card in Lombok?
Cash is still king in Lombok although there are many hotels, restaurants and shops that accept plastic. You should have no difficulty using a card for purchases in Mataram city and popular tourist areas such as Senggigi and the Gili Islands. These areas also have several ATM cash dispensers. If travelling elsewhere it is best to stock up on cash. Most towns also have banks or moneychangers who can exchange foreign currency.
7) Is it Safe to Eat at Local Food Stalls?
Eating at street-side cafes and stalls is generally very safe but hygiene standards do vary. Most food is cooked fresh to order, although if selecting pre-prepared cold dishes, use common sense as food can quickly deteriorate if left out in the open. Only bottled water is safe to drink.
8) What Vaccinations Do I Need?
No vaccinations are required to visit Lombok but a typhoid shot is recommended, especially if staying for an extended period. Cases of Malaria and Dengue Fever have been reported in rural areas of Lombok and it will pay to invest in good insect repellent, especially if visiting during the rainy season.