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Gay Lombok: the ultimate travel guide

Stefan Arestis
Gay Lombok: the ultimate travel guide

Often overlooked for the more well-known Bali, Lombok is fast becoming a popular destination for adventurous gay travelers travelers in Indonesia.

Rugged landscapes, pristine beaches, incredible cuisine, mountainous hiking trails… we just had to see this place for ourselves.

One thing’s for sure, we certainly won’t need to visit a gym for a while… from cycling through Golong Village, swimming at the beach, and hiking up the monstrous Rinjani Mountain, we clocked up enough steps on our Apple Watches to last us an entire year!

Though the lush scenery makes it all worth it. Whether it was the Sendang Giles waterfalls or the charming local villages, Lombok’s beauty makes the workout you endure whilst exploring totally worth it. Even I couldn’t complain about how sweaty or sore my feet were when I had the view of the charcoal black volcanic mountain to marvel at.

Plus, the food is to die for! In fact, we probably balanced out some of those steps we boasted about earlier just by how much we ate. Each restaurant we visited had extensive menus of Indonesian cuisine that were utterly delicious.

There isn’t a gay scene in Lombok, unfortunately, although we didn’t really expect as much. We suggest getting that out of your system in the gay scene of Bali. However, there is a large international presence. We met countless travelers from around the globe, including lots of LGBTQ ones, so we didn’t feel totally “alone”. And with all that in mind, here’s our gay guide to Lombok:

Getting online in Lombok

The Indonesian government monitors internet use and has also blocked gay dating apps like Grindr and other websites that it deems to be “immoral”. Therefore to access Grindr or the like in Lombok you'll need a VPN connection. Using a VPN will also keep your internet browsing anonymous because the location cannot be tracked and ensures your details cannot be stolen.

Is Lombok safe for gay travelers?

While Lombok is a part of Indonesia, a country notorious for its anti-LGBTQ policies, we found it to be perfectly safe. This could be due to the fact we are Westerners, and the area relies heavily on tourism. Regardless, we faced no problems. All the locals we met were super friendly.

Blending in as a gay couple into a conservative society was quite easy. In fact, it’s quite common for Indonesian friends of the same gender to hold hands in public. Though we advise erring on the side of caution and avoiding any other forms of PDAs.

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Each of the hotels we stayed in was very gay-friendly. If you’re looking to book somewhere else in Lombok, we’d suggest calling or emailing ahead to make sure they are cool with two men sharing a bed.

There are also several gay-friendly bars across the island, mostly due to how many ex-pats and travelers are about the place. We met lots of other LGBTQ folks from across the globe, who all said they felt perfectly safe going about their travels here.

As a popular tourist destination Lombok is quite safe for gay travelers
Seby feeling on top of the world in Lombok!

Gay hotels in Lombok

We had heard stories about places in Bali getting shut down in 2020, for promoting themselves as ‘gay friendly.’ Therefore, we expected other places in Indonesia to keep quiet about whether they will accept LGBTQ travelers. This made figuring out what places were safe to stay at quite a challenge.

We bounced around a few hotels during our stay and ran into no problems. The hotels we have listed below attracted a mix of travelers from across the world, so the atmosphere was quite open-minded. However, we do recommend discretion. Here are some of the best gay-friendly hotels in Lombok:

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01

Rinjani Lodge

Rinjani Lodge is our favorite gay friendly accommodation in Lombok with stunning views

In a nutshell


  • Luxurious hotel with amazing infinity pool
  • Lovely open-minded hosts
  • Fabulous bar and restaurant
  • Incredible views of Mt Rinjani

Not that we like to play favorites but …(whispers) this was our favorite!

The Rinjani Lodge had everything we could love. Awesome hosts. Comfortable rooms. Fabulous location. Gay friendly. A stunning bar, with gorgeous cocktails. And that's not even mentioning the amazing infinity pool with incredible views!

All of the rooms are of exceptional value. We personally recommend the Deluxe Double Bungalow – it’s a private terrace building that has an incredible view of Rinjani mountain and the surrounding beaches. Breakfast is included in the room rate, so you can expect to wake up to a scrumptious meal to kickstart your day.

The Rinjani Lodge is owned by a British/Indonesian couple called Jo and Martas who are very welcoming and gay-friendly. We made great friends with them, even indulging in some girl talk with Jo about our homeland of England and whether we miss it (spoiler alert: not really!). They both gave us great tips on sights we should see and places we could dine in. If you’re planning a stay in the lodge, prepare to leave with two great pals!

They also have a great restaurant/bar on site, which lots of travelers love to hang out in. It’s relatively inexpensive, has a menu full of Indonesian cuisine, and plenty of drink choices. Plus, this is a really good spot to base yourself for treks to Mount Rinjani.

Prices at Rinjani Lodge start from $104 per night:


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02

Holiday Resort Lombok

Holiday Resort Lombok is a gay friendly and fabulous accommodation choice in Lombok

In a nutshell


  • Luxurious rooms at an affordable price
  • Delicious dining in five on-site restaurants
  • Right beside the beautiful
  • Excellent spa and sports facilities

Mountains on the left. Beaches to the right. Nomadic Boys in the middle in the pool. Sounds like the best experience ever! Situated in Mangsit village beside the sensational white sand beach, the Holiday Resort Lombok is the perfect choice for solo LGBTQ travelers, couples, and even families.

The hardest choice you’ll have to make on this trip is whether to go for a garden or ocean view, as they’re both equally stunning. Of course, if you want to go even more luxurious, you can opt for the Beach Garden Suite room. It includes views of both the beach and gardens, tons of living space, and best of all, a private pool.

Staff go above and beyond when treating their guests. We got a welcome drink the second we arrived (which made Seby feel very famous). From then on, any request, no matter how big or small, was taken care of. Such attention to detail!

Their in-house dining experience was utterly fabulous. We tried out the seafood platter, one of the restaurant’s specialties – and you know how much we love our seafood. Our plates were bursting with grilled salmon, squid, king prawns, and mixed veggies. There are actually five dining options, and Gecko’s Steak Bar includes nightly live entertainment.

Prices at Holiday Resort Lombok start from $81 per night:


03

Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort

The Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort is an epically cool and very gay friendly resort in Lombok

In a nutshell


  • Cozy, affordable, and luxurious
  • Gorgeous spa, outdoor pool and fitness center
  • Sunken pool bar
  • Scrumptious dining on the beach or three other dining options

Nestled on the stunning Senggigi Beach, the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort is the perfect choice for couples and families who are itching for a luxurious getaway. It’s part of the Marriott group, so you already know you’re in for a gay friendly treat.

There are a variety of room sizes and styles depending on your preference. For a couple, we’d say to opt for the Deluxe Guest Room with a garden view. It’s budget-friendly, whilst still feeling super lavish and cozy. It features modern, stylish décor, with a terrace that overlooks the breathtaking gardens of the resort.

The hotel has a spa/fitness center, which we of course tested out. The massage therapy was sensational. Nothing like a professional rubdown whilst soaking up the sounds and scents of the ocean. Afterward, we relaxed by the pool, occasionally hopping in for a swim or a snack and drink at the pool bar.

When you’re feeling famished from all the exploring, you’ll dine on a quintessential Indonesian meal. Senja is one of three in-house dining experiences, featuring delicious local cuisine. The semi-outdoor restaurant gives guests the chance to sit back on the sandy beach whilst enjoying the amazing food. So romantic!

Prices at Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort start from $84 per night:


Gay bars and clubs in Lombok

We sadly found no gay scene in Lombok although this wasn’t unexpected. For gay nightlife you might want to head over to gay Bali. In Lombok, there are a few gay-friendly places that attract an international, therefore open-minded crowd. Each bar we went to had lots of fellow nomads embarking on trips across the world. It was lovely getting to meet with a few new people, share travel tips, and enjoy a drink. Here are the best gay-friendly bars in Lombok:

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Rinjani Lodge

The poolside restaurant/bar at Rinjani Lodge is a fantastic spot for drinks in Lombok

We touched on the hotel earlier, but now it’s time to gush over the restaurant/bar all by itself. What better way to enjoy the volcanic majesty of Mount Rinjani than in a hip lounge, dining on gourmet food and cocktails? The Indonesian dishes are made using fresh, local ingredients, and based on old family recipes. And the cocktails? Heavenly divine! The atmosphere is very relaxed… after all, who could get angsty in a place as gorgeous as this?

Open: The Rinjani Lodge restaurant/bar is open daily from early morning until 10pm

Location: You can find it at Jalan Periwisata Senaru Bayan, Senaru


La Chill Bar

La Chill is a lovely gay friendly beachside bar in Lombok

This bar was a happy encounter. After a day spent exploring the sandy beaches, we were ravenous and parched, dying for a drink. We luckily stumbled upon this gem and couldn’t have loved it more. They had a large variety of cocktails (gold star from us!), plus tons of delicious seafood. The staff were welcoming – happily chatting to us about our travel stories. The crowd was mixed, with people from around the world visiting the bar. And did we mention the beach views? Absolutely glorious!

Open: La Chill Bar is open daily from 4pm until 10pm

Location: You can find it at Jalan Raya Senggigi, Batu Bolong No.KM8, Senggigi


Surfers Bar

Surfers Bar in Lombok faces the beach and often has live music

Surfs up! The name fits it well, as it faces out onto Kuta Beach, so expect to see lots of surfer dudes drinking here after hitting the waves. We spent our first evening in Lombok right here when they had a live band playing. The music was a mix of pop, classic rock, and some blues. It’s a very easy-going spot, with relaxed bar staff… and even more relaxed guests. In the past, they’ve thrown BBQ parties on the beach so keep an eye on their Facebook page to see if they’re planning any more events.

Open: Surfers Bar is open daily from early morning until midnight, and until 2.30am on Friday nights

Location: It's located at Jalan Pariwisata Pantai Kuta Sengkol, West Nusa Tenggara


Juice and Booze Bar

Juice and Booze Bar serves alcohol in a treehouse in Lombok so we were pretty much instantly sold!

What could be cooler than a treehouse? Well, how about a bar IN a treehouse? The Juice and Booze Bar is a hip, laidback spot, built within a gorgeous tree. All of that surrounding wood décor and lanterns served us rustic couture henny! The cocktails were reasonably priced, and the bar staff extremely cute and welcoming. Tens tens tens across the board from us! They’re also known for their themed nights – everything from cabana parties to techno raves. Check out their Facebook page to see what they have coming up next.

Open: Juice and Booze Bar is open daily from 5pm until 11pm

Location: You can find it at Jalan Mawun 16, Kuta


Where to eat in Lombok

We are proud self-proclaimed foodies. And anywhere we go, we are eager to try out the local cuisine. Lombok, despite its small size, is an island bursting with flavor. Indonesian food is full of spices, veggie delights, seafood, and so much more. When we were there, we were just itching to try as much as we could!

Waiting and cooking staff are very proud of their local food and will excitedly walk you through their menus and offer recommendations if you’re new to the country – so even the fussiest of eaters are bound to find something. Here are some of the best places to eat in Lombok:

Kenza Cafe (listed as permanently closed but still appears to be open – updated February 2022)

We love the delicious and healthy food at Kenza Cafe in Lombok

We passed through Lombok at the beginning of a health kick, which is why Kenza Café was perfect for us. They had a wide range of veggie options, full of nutrition and delicious goodness. Each of our plates had so many colours (from the mix of vegetables) that we thought it was an homage to the Pride flag! The wait staff were super friendly and told us about how all ingredients are locally sourced to ensure the best tasting meals for their guests.


SeaSalt Lombok

SeaSalt is, not surprisingly, one of the best seafood restaurants in Lombok

Spending so much time on an island, frolicking on the beach sands, and breathing in the salty air gave us such a hankering for seafood. We sought it out as much as we could. And Seasalt Lombok had to be one of our favorite finds. Every time we went, they had new specials and items to try – we always opted for the fresh catch of the day. The calamari, in particular, was exceptionally scrumptious, especially with the sides of potato wedges.


Olah Olah Restaurant

Olah Olah Restaurant is one of the best in Lombok for traditional Indonesian cuisine, and beach views!

We’d been asking around to find what restaurant served the best Indonesian cuisine – and nearly everyone would cheer ‘Olah Olah'! It did not disappoint! The menu was extensive, containing a mix of Indonesian, Asian, Western foods, and even their own special pizza. No matter who you’re dining with, everyone will find something they’ll like here. The other reason we loved it so much – the stunning ocean views whilst dining!


Go Vegan Go Veggies

Vegan and vegetarian visitors to Lombok will love Go Vegan Go Veggies for plant-based food

Vegans are lowkey geniuses… how they can come up with seemingly meaty-without-being-meat-at-all food is beyond us! Whilst we are omnivorous, we do love a vegan meal every now and again. This place ticked all the boxes for us. Welcoming staff who were patient and walked us through the menu? Check! Reasonably priced items? Check! And plenty of options, so even the most staunch meat-eater wouldn’t be fazed sampling some of their food. Check! We gorged on spaghetti and veggie balls – and were convinced we were eating meat… it was simply incredible!


What to do in Lombok

Lombok is quite the land for adventure! Yet with so much to do and so little time, it can be quite laborious narrowing down an itinerary. We covered a lot of ground, from beach days to mountainous tracks. We even squeezed in an afternoon of strawberry picking. Here are some of the best activities to do in Lombok for gay travelers:

Trekking Rinjani Mountain

Mount Rinjani is an active volcano on Lombok that you can climb to the top of!

Believe us when we say, this mountain is a beast! And like the task of defeating any beast, the payoff is incredible. Once we reached the top, all the huffing, puffing, and sweat we faced on the trek up was all totally worth it! Stretching a whopping 12,225 ft (3,726m) above sea level, Rinjani Mountain hovers above the entire island of Lombok and is an active volcano. It’s intimidating AF, but we were up for the challenge. It takes at least two days and one night to hike Rinjani, although we opted for the three day trek in order to really enjoy sunrise from the summit and see the shockingly blue Segara Anak crater lake.


Tanjung Aan Beach

Tanjung Ann Beach is a must-visit for gay travelers to Lombok
伊賀上野ニンニン, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Would it be a Nomadic Boys gay guide if we didn’t geek out over the beaches? This one isn’t just white sands and sparkling blue waters though. It’s loved for its iconic swings, which you and a loved one can sit in and live out your rom-com fantasy. And snap pics for the ‘gram of course! The beach is a 15-minute drive from Kuta, so you can get a cab or rent a scooter. You also have to pay a small entrance fee, plus a small charge for using the bathroom. Beach seats cost around 25,000 IDR ($1.75) to park yourself in, but other than that, it’s all free.


Visit local Senaru Sasak tribe villages

Visiting local villages of the indigenous tribes is a must-do while in Lombok

A day trip to the Senaru villages is a must. We went on a tour exploring the villages, home to the Sasak tribe. This tribe mainly ruled Lombok before Indonesia became independent, and yet, around 85% of the local population still belongs to this indigenous group. Throughout our tour we got to see their homes and marketplace, as well as the chance to chat with some of the locals. Our personal highlight was the trip to the strawberry plantations where we were allowed to pick a few delicious fruits for ourselves.


Sendang Gile Waterfalls

The stunning Sendan Gile waterfalls was one of our highlights of visiting Lombok

Senaru may have two waterfalls, but we think the Sendang Gile one is far more impressive. For one, its backstory is so fascinating. Legend has it that a prince once hid here whilst being hunted by a crazed lion. Whether it’s true or not, the waterfall is stunning by itself. We got a snap of ourselves standing in front of it, and it is undoubtedly one of our favourite pictures. Standing beneath it, you’ll be amazed at how loud the water rushing is. Yet, it still holds a tranquillity that will instantly wash away any stress you may be having! Join a trekking tour to see this gorgeous spot for yourself.


Cycling to Golong Village and Lingsar Temple

A cycling tour is a fun way to explore Lombok, especially the Pura Lingsar temple

They say you never forget how to ride a bike… well we say, you’ll certainly never forget biking through Golong Village! Passing traditional farms, some of which come from the Balinese colonial times, you’ll get to view endless fields, meet friendly locals, sample some village treats, and marvel at the Lingsar Temple. You’ll get matched with a local guide, who’ll walk you through all the historical titbits of the monument – did you know it was built as a symbol of harmony between the Buddhists and Islamists of Lombok? Be ready for plenty of uphill cycling…


Visiting the Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are beautiful and easy to visit from Lombok

We won’t be made to feel gili-ty for our island getaway fantasies. Especially when they are as undeniably stunning as the Gili Islands. Imagine this: white sands, blue waters, and peaceful island living… that’s the reality in the Gilis! There are opportunities to go surfing, diving, and snorkelling, or check out the local bars/restaurants. There are even a few spots to indulge in a spa day – up for a hot stone massage? Everyone we met was eternally optimistic and welcoming to travelers – can we live here forever, please?


Plan your trip to Lombok

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Lombok. Read on to find out everything the gay traveler should know before they go.

How to get there: Most visitors to Lombok will arrive by flying into the Lombok International Airport (also known as Bandara Internasional Lombok). There are international flights directly to Lombok from Perth (Australia), Singapore and Kuala Lumpur; if you're coming from further away you will need to transit somewhere on the way.

You can also get domestic flights from within other parts of Indonesia or even reach Lombok via ferry from nearby Bali. If you flew into the airport then we recommend pre-booking a private transfer to get to your accommodation, as there are only taxis or buses available, and the buses stop running at night.


Visa requirements: Visitors to Indonesia from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada can simply get a visa on arrival, which costs around $35. Make sure you check your personal visa requirements before making your travel plans for Lombok, or if you like to have these things organized ahead of time.


Getting around: To see all the best parts of Lombok you will need to organize transport around the island. You can easily hail ‘bemos' (converted passenger-carrying minivans) whenever you see them to take you from A to B, just be wary of pickpockets on them. Alternatively, you can hire a private driver for quite low prices to take you everywhere you want for the day (or longer). Here is some more information on getting around Lombok.


Power Plugs: In Lombok, and the rest of Indonesia, type C and F power plugs are used. These are the same as the standard European plugs but if you're traveling to Lombok from outside of Europe then you'll need to bring a travel adaptor with you in order to charge your electronic devices.


Travel insurance: We never travel without the peace of mind from having travel insurance and strongly recommend you do the same for your trip to Lombok! You just never know when you might get sick, lose your luggage or miss a flight and have to fork out lots of extra money. But with affordable and comprehensive cover like that provided by World Nomads Travel Insurance, you will be able to breathe easy. We've been using them for years and found it very easy to make a claim online when something does, unfortunately, go wrong.


Vaccinations: All travelers to Lombok should be up-to-date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps and chickenpox. It's also recommended you have a polio booster if you're planning to stay in Indonesia longer than four weeks. Some travelers may also need to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A, typhoid, Hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, rabies or yellow fever, so make sure you check the most recent information on the CDC website and speak to your doctor or travel nurse well before making your travel plans.


Currency: The currency used in Lombok is the Indonesian rupiah which is abbreviated to Rp. The official currency code is IDR. $1 US converts to around Rp 14,057, €1 is worth around Rp 15,516 and £1 is around Rp 18,142. Confusing? Sure was for us. We relied heavily on the XE Currency app for conversions!


Tipping culture: Tipping isn't really expected in Indonesia but as wages are generally pretty low you might like to tip a few extra dollars for good service at hotels, restaurants, for your driver or tour guide in Lombok. It certainly won't be refused!


Internet access: Free WiFi can be found in most cafes, restaurants and hotels in Lombok, but it may not be as fast or reliable as what you'd find in, say, Bali. If you know you're going to need a lot of bandwidth then you might like to bring a portable WiFi device with you, or purchase a local SIM card package when you arrive at the airport.


Online privacy: We strongly recommend investing in a good VPN while traveling to Lombok. The Indonesian government is not terribly gay friendly and the internet is heavily regulated. Lots of LGBTQ apps and websites are blocked, including Grindr. But using a VPN will enable you to get around this, while also allowing you to browse online anonymously and securely.


Accommodation: We always use Booking.com when searching for accommodation across Lombok, as they have the biggest selection at the best prices! Many listings also offer free cancellation which we often like to use when being spontaneous and changing our plans to stay somewhere we love a bit longer. Their online customer service is available 24/7 and is excellent.


Sightseeing and adventure: We love to check GetYourGuide for fun activities on Lombok, from tours to cooking classes to exciting adrenaline-fueled adventures, they have so many choices. They also have excellent customer support available 24/7, plus it's really easy to book your activities online.


When to visit: Lombok is tropical year round, although the dry season between May and October is also peak tourist season since the humidity is less. You can still visit during the wet season, as it only rains for about an hour a day, but it is slightly more humid. If you're ok with humidity then it's a great way to save money by traveling in the off-season!


Gay map of Lombok

Here's our gay map of Lombok with all the places we've talked about marked on it to make your own trip easier. We hope you have a great time!

Use our gay map of Lombok to plan your own fabulous trip
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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor, and author of the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times, Pink News, and Attitude Magazine. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practiced as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

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