I find it a bit sad that Lombok gets overlooked by her more flashy neighbor, Bali. But for people who are willing to step off the banana pancake trail there will be rich rewards.
The slopes of Rinjani are truly awe inspiring. Verdant terraces of rice and fields of tobacco and strawberries stretch from the volcanic base of the mountain.
On the north slope you have the towns of Senaru and Teres Genit, which are approximately a 1 hour scenic drive from the port of Bangsal. You can stroll through rice terraces and walk to waterfalls or just sit back and enjoy the view. In Senaru I recommend Rinjani Lodge, their pool will knock your socks off!
For a more rustic experience, try Rinjani Mountain Garden in Teres Genit. The owners, an eccentric German Couple, Toni and Roland, will be sure to welcome you with their home made palm wine. There is also a menagerie of animals and a spring fed swimming pool. A very unique experience!
On the south side of Rinjani you have the small village of Tete Batu, home to my favorite escape Haikiki Inn, which is owned and run by Gun ( pronounced ‘goon” ) and his sister Rose. The views and hospitality are like no other. Gun has a 4 wheel drive and will take you off roading through the jungle and to the base of Rinjani. Waterfalls are only a short walk away.
Near Tete Batu is the weaving village of Pringgasela where you can buy authentic and handwoven Indonesian textiles. The village is a co-op and if you take a wander down the side streets you will see the women weaving on their tiny terraces.
So, what are you waiting for? Go explore Lombok, you won’t regret it.