Lombok Warnings and Dangers
Although Lombok Island in Indonesia is known for its beautiful tourist attractions, please be aware of a few warnings and dangers.
Dangerous Alcohol in Indonesia
Beware of the alcohol in Indonesia! Several people have died in the last years from methanol-poisoning! DO NOT buy ANY COCKTAILS! And DO NOT buy ANY alcohol in the stores. They mix or make the alcohol diluted with methanol. It is extremely DANGEROUS! BEWARE! Most deaths have been in Bali, Lombok and Gili Island, especially Gili Trawangan!
While the blissfully clear, turquoise water may seem as safe as a bathtub, be warned that there are very strong currents flowing between the islands and underestimating their power can be and have been fatal. The relatively short distance between the islands can make it tempting to try to swim across the channels but this disillusioning swim has led to several drowning over the years and locals will warn you of the inherent dangers of any attempt to swim between the islands. The currents are especially strong around the north-eastern corners of each island. Also worth bearing in mind is that many of the dive sites have strong currents which results in a drift style dive at many of the sites…a strange and sometimes alarming experience if you are not used to drift dives although the Gilis are a good place to try your first drift due to calm, shallow and clear waters.
Be aware of the porters that will flood your boat when arriving. We were “attacked” by 5 really scruffy men fighting over our suitcases. We tried to get them away as we could handle our luggage ourselves. They wouldn’t listen. When we got to our taxi they demanded 100000 IDR (US $12) for carrying 2 suitcases 10 meters. I told them to bugger off and they got really aggressive. One tried to rip off my T-shirt. We managed to get away without paying anything as I did not want to risk taking out my money as it would most definitely been stolen. This is something the tourist authorities should get rid of. Really scary first ‘welcome’ to Lombok.
Drugs Freely Available
When in Gili Trawangan, people seem to be offering all sorts of drugs in public. We even got asked by a waiter who took our order at a restaurant if we wanted some magic mushrooms. I think this is mainly due to no police on the island. Please remember this is still Indonesia and there are very strict laws against drugs.
Again because of the lack of police on the island, you should take care with your belongings. The islands are very safe but there are incidents of petty crime on all islands but especially Gili Trawangan. It has to be said that most of the petty crimes committed on the island are carried out by people from the mainland and indeed other travelers rather than the islanders themselves. Make sure that all your valuables are locked safely away at your accommodation. Ask at your lodgings for a safety deposit box but don’t be surprised if they don’t have any, especially at the cheaper accommodation. When you are out ensure your bags are locked and chained if possible and that the doors and windows are secure. Most theft is opportunistic and taking sensible precautions will eliminate the risk of petty crime. Also avoid walking alone at night around isolated parts of the islands including the western coasts and interior.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about areas to avoid on Lombok Island.