Lombok Island is on the eastern side of Bali in Indonesia. Tourism here only began in the 1980s and was interrupted by political and religious conflicts from the late 1990s to 2000. Today the island is keeping a slow and steady pace towards international recognition as a leading Southeast Asian summer destination. One of the island’s many natural attractions is clearly Air Terjun Sindang Gila waterfalls located in Senaru Village along the slopes of the majestic Mount Rinjani.
The more than 3,500-meter high Rinjani mountain is Lombok’s towering pride. It is a candidate and possibly even a future official UNESCO World Geopark, a first in Indonesia if it pushes through. A trek within Mount Rinjani Park and up the mountain normally takes about three days. Within the park are natural hot springs, lush greeneries, the Segara Anak Crater Lake and Air Terjun Sindang Gila waterfalls.
Cascading waterfalls always create a majestic view to the delight of viewers. They never cease to amaze tourists, and this may certainly be said of the beautiful Air Terjun Sindang Gila. About 2 1/2 hours away from the capital city of Mataram, Air Terjun Sindang Gila, which means “slightly crazy waterfalls” in English, is perched high at about 600 meters above sea level, making it visible to some restaurants in Senaru. People come to Sindang Gila to hike up its summit, take a dive, and enjoy a refreshing swim. It takes a total of 20 minutes climbing back up and taking another dive, but the experience is worth it. It takes more effort to do it on very hot days, but the cool plunge becomes more inviting. Climbing back up the guided steps is also made more pleasurable by the surrounding lush greenery and resident monkeys.
The pool and river below are cool and refreshing since the waters come straight from a mountain spring. While bathing in the pool, standing right beneath the falls allows guests to enjoy a free tissue-deep massage. The surrounding area also makes for a good afternoon family picnic. There are just so many things to do and enjoy while in Sindang Gila, but a visit here is not without a downside.
Unfortunately, there are pieces of trash all over the vicinity. However, the real eyesore would be the locals who incessantly want to make easy money by posing as guides and selling all kinds of souvenir items to the point of harassing helpless tourists. A tourist trying to see Sindang Gila does not need the help of guides at all, since there is only one path leading to its peak. It is also unnecessary to have a guide just to be told “to be careful” and “this is the waterfall while that is the pool”, and then be asked to pay a considerable amount of money for just that. Tourists could happily accept the need to pay admission and the services of a guide if the money is truly being used to maintain this scenic attraction. This is clearly not the case, however, since the surroundings are unkempt.
Regardless of the negatives, Air Terjun Sindang Gila is definitely one of the spots you should visit when in Lombok. It is not difficult to reach, and while there you can also challenge yourself to a trek on Mount Rinjani.