Things to do in Mandalika, Lombok
While Lombok isn’t as internationally known as Bali, travellers are increasingly heading to this seaside getaway. Since the beginning of 2019, a particular area of Lombok called Mandalika has started to get a lot of buzz – from its as-yet untouched beaches to rock structures to local cuisine.
Get away from the Bali crowds and claim bragging rights as one of the first to discover this gorgeous coastal resort. Here are some things to do in Mandalika to add to your itinerary.
1. Merese Hill – stunning photogenic scenery
Image credit: @arie_rahmt
Whether you’re a professional photographer or casual shutterbug, you’ll fall in love with Merese Hill, or Bukit Merese. Locals call it Merisik, which has the double meaning of “barren” and “bald,” as you can only see one lonely tree on the entire hill.
To get the best view, plan to reach the hill at sunset, or if you’re a morning person, at sunrise. It’s not hard to trek, but as with most places so high up, it’s always a good idea to be prepared – wear shoes designed for outdoor activities with a good grip that keep you stable and your feet protected.
You can capture this shot with a drone camera
Image credit: @tommy.nyu7
With the effortless beauty that Merese Hill exudes, it will eventually end up on every Instagrammer’s wishlist – so visit now to experience it first on your own terms.
GPS coordinates: 8°54’50.3″S 116°19’12.0″E
2. Tanjung Aan Beach – a unique crescent-shaped coastline
Image credit: @_wiwiyandika
Tanjung Aan is the one-stop beach for those of you who need some serious fun in the sun, from swimming, snorkelling, and surfing to sunbathing.
Image credit: @lombokexperience
In addition its unique, crescent-shaped coastline, this beautiful Mandalika beach also boasts sparkling clear water that’ll give the snorkeling crowd something to be rightfully excited about.
Although Tanjung Aan Beach is not the most popular beach in Mandalika, it’s a lesser-known alternative for those who aren’t too fond of packed tourist spots.
GPS coordinates: 8°54’35.7″S 116°19’13.9″E
3. Goa Kotak – a natural frame for a scenic view
Image credit: @rudiart
Goa Kotak, meaning “square cave”, not only lives up to its name, but also looks like it’s been specifically made to go hand-in-hand with the Instagram format. Completely absent of stalagmites and stalactites, this cave is like a window through which you can gawk at the oceanic landscape.
Image credit: @aryaryadi
Located near Tanjung Aan Beach, Goa Kotak can quite literally function as a frame for your special holiday selfies.
GPS coordinates: 8°55’24.3″S 116°20’33.3″E
4. Seger Beach – a site for the annual Bau Nyale festival
Image credit: @inschebinsche
Seger Beach is, like the rest of the beaches on the list, still relatively untouched when compared to the touristy areas in other parts of the Indonesian archipelago. The combination of the clear blue water and soft creamy color of the sand makes a pretty color palette for unbeatable holiday photos. With colors like these, you’ll probably forget about the existence of ready-made camera filters.
In addition to its beauty, Seger Beach is also the site of the annual Bau Nyale Festival, a traditional ceremony in which the people of Central Lombok catch sea worms that are believed to be incarnations of the city’s namesake, Princess Mandalika. This event is usually held in February or March of each year.
GPS coordinates: 8°54’24.8″S 116°17’49.5″E
5. Serenting Beach – view the giant mushroom rock
Image credit: @twainona
Serenting Beach is one many alternatives for surfers and anyone eager to go beach-hopping in Mandalika.
Sitting close to the coastline is a huge rock that looks like a giant mushroom. The Sasak word for mushroom, tengkong, is what locals call the rock that has become a special identifier of Serenting Beach.
Image credit: @dropinlombok
This particular beach is recommended for those who don’t enjoy being in crowded places as it’s one of the less popular spots in Mandalika. You can take in the tranquil ambience as you relax under the sun with few to no interruptions.
GPS coordinates: 8°54’24.2″S 116°18’21.9″E
6. Ende Village – get to know the Sasak people of Lombok
Image credit: @maureen_nuradhi
Beautiful beaches aren’t the only reason why you should visit Mandalika. You can also get to know the Sasak people who live in Desa Ende, or Ende Village.
See how they go about their day-to-day lives in their close-knit community of no more than 40 families. If you come at the right time, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of a traditional wedding.
There are no organized tours here yet, but if you’re invited to enter one of the houses, you’ll notice that you have to slightly duck in certain sections of the house. This is because the roof is deliberately constructed to get guests to walk and stand in a humble posture to show respect to their hosts.
Address: Sengkol, Pujut, Central Lombok, Western Nusa Tenggara 83573
7. Gerupuk Beach – the perfect place to surf the waves
Image credit: @ronnyvalstad
Home to a local fishing community, Gerupuk Beach is yet another gem waiting for you at Mandalika. It’s mostly loved by serious surfers who want to ride challenging waves on top of enjoying a nice view.
For those more interested in getting some chill downtime, the softness of the sand will make you want to lie down and stare at the sky forever. You can also trek the surrounding hills to get a better view of the entire beach.
Address: West Pagutan, Mataram, Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara 83127
8. Ayam Taliwang – an original Mandalika chicken dish
Image credit: @cerita.kuliner.ku
Foodies, this last one’s for you. You’ve heard of Bali’s famous mouth-watering Ayam Betutu, but Mandalika equally delicious chicken dish, Ayam Taliwang, has also earned some serious street cred.
Ayam Taliwang can either be fried or grilled, and the natural sweetness of the meat is preserved. The dish can be quite spicy for those who aren’t used to Southeast Asian cuisine, but a side order of kangkung, a type of water spinach found in a handful of Indonesian dishes, can help balance the taste.
This dish is sold everywhere in the area, and prices typically start from Rp. 10,000 (~USD0.71) a piece in Mandalika.
How to get around Mandalika
From Lombok International Airport, take a taxi or rent a car. You can also rent a car online from Rp. 196,000 (~USD13.84) per day.
Alternatively, you can hop on a bus or bemo, which is a small car for public transport, or rent a motorbike or bicycle.
Things to do in Mandalika
Mandalika is, for now, a lesser-known vacation destination site with delights ranging from attractive beaches to food that will make your stomach rumble. Get started on your travel plans so that you can be wowed by the wonders of Mandalika.
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