Two of the most popular are Sindang Gila and Tiu Kelep, both are stunning and a must-see. I love waterfalls, I don’t mean a small trickle of water dribbling over the side of a hill, I want plumes of white water crashing down into rivers and over rocks.
And that is what I got when I visited Sindang Gila and Tiu Kelep.
If you tell anyone you are “going to the waterfalls on Lombok”, everyone knows where you mean, despite there being a number of waterfalls you can visit.
Nestled at the base of Mount Rinjani in Gunung Rinjani National Park, Sindang Gila and Tiu Kelep Waterfalls are located in the small village of Senaru. They are the most popular in Lombok and it’s easy to see why. Not only are they easy to reach but they are spectacular. Well worth a day trip if you are in Lombok, or if you are staying on any of the Gili Islands, Gili Air, Gili Meno or Gili Trawangan.
When Mark, our adventurous friend from the UK came to visit us on Gili Air, we knew this would be the perfect fun day for all of us – and we weren’t wrong.
Our journey began on Gili Air where we caught a local hopper boat to the port of Bangsal north Lombok then a taxi to Senaru. During the 1.5 hour journey, we followed the coastal road west before heading inland passing lush green trees, grassy fields and local Sasak markets.
We took a slow and leisurely walk for about 10 minutes up the hill to the entrance of the falls, and paid our 10,000 IDR entrance fee each.
Sindang Gila Waterfall
We couldn’t resist and stood watching the little monkeys for a short time. But we were here for the waterfalls; its thunderous noise could be heard long before we reached it.
Surprisingly, for the time of day and year, there were far fewer visitors than predicted. This could be because tourists were staying away from this part of Indonesia; we were here during the time Mount Agung was having a bit of a puff.
I watched as families brought picnics, sitting around on one of the stone table and chairs enjoying their day. There were a few snack stalls selling cold drinks, pop mie and fried snacks. We couldn’t resist buying something and, for 5,000 IDR for three pieces, we enjoyed fried banana, fried cabbage and fried tempe – a delicious burst of energy that was much needed for the next part of our adventure … the walk to Tiu Kelep.
Note: There are toilet facilities here and litter bins. Please dispose of your rubbish in one of the bins or take it with you, I did see some litter on the floor and a place as beautiful as this should be preserved.
Leaving Singang Gila, there was a gravel path to the left with a sign leading us to Tiu Kelep. The first part of the walk was easy and pleasant through more jungle, up some steps and across a viaduct bridge, however this soon gave way to a more adventurous route.
The boys swam towards the thunder and stood behind it. The water had carved out a ledge for them to stand on, Sy checked his dive computer for the temperature which read a chilly 20 degrees, no wonder they wanted to swim – it was to keep them warm. Maybe they had heard the myth that to swim in Tiu Kelep can make someone ageless.
Would I recommend Sindang Gila and Tiu Kelap waterfalls? Abso-flaming-lutely!
Travel advice and tips
Local Hopper: Gili Air to Bangsal – 12,000 IDR
Taxi – Bangsal to Sangal – 250,000 IDR
Taxi – Sangal back to Bangsal – 300,000 IDR
Note: We tried to get a Bluebird taxi however it was an unusually quiet time of year so there wasn’t one to be found. We negotiated the best we could with local taxi drivers but they were all charging the same. We tried to get a Grab/Uber which would have been cheaper but, once again, there wasn’t one around.
Where to stay
Budget: Anak Rinjani Guesthouse – 150,000 IDR per room
Luxury: Rinjani Lodge is 150 metres away - 1,000,000 IDR – 1,500,000 IDR per room
There are other budget accommodation options on this road but we loved Anak Rinjani Guesthouse and would recommend it. We would have loved to have stayed at Rinjani Lodge which receives rave reviews but alas, our backpacker budget couldn’t afford the expense.
When to visit
It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit; during the dry season (May – October) there may be less water but you may have blue skies; during the rainy season (November – April), there may be more cloud or rain but you get wet from the falls anyway. July/August is high season when there will be significantly more people.
9am is apparently the best time of day to visit as there will be less visitors (local and tourists).
Guides can be hired for 50,000 IDR and it’s your choice if you want one. You do not need one for Sindang Gila but you may need a hand for Tiu Kelep. We did it alone and simply followed other people heading in that direction.
What to wear
Walking sandals or footwear with a good tread are the sensible option. You will wade through a few streams and your feet will be completely submerged in water. I did see people wearing flip flops but if you aren’t careful, these can become lost in the flow then you have to walk without any shoes.
Wear waterproof clothes as you will get wet – even if you don’t swim. The spray from the falls is powerful and, if you walk to both falls, your bottom half may get wet wading through the streams (the depth will depend on the time of year).
If you want to swim, then wear your bathers underneath your clothes. There are toilets at Sindang Gila and changing facilities at Tiu Kelep but they are easily missed.
Bring a waterproof bag for any valuables such as camera, phone, wallet etc, I was very grateful that Sy was sensible!
Have you heard of the waterfalls in Lombok? Do you want to visit? We want to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
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