The coastal town of Kuta lies in the south of Lombok island. As Kuta has some of the best surfing in the world most tourists come because of this reason. The whole place is still quite laid-back and so far managed to keep its sleepy, natural character as a typical fishing village. And once you leave the touristy center, you will be able to enjoy and experience the spectacular scenery surrounding the area. From awesome views to cliffs, mountains and pristine white sand beaches with crystal clear blue-green waters – you will find everything around Kuta.
How to get there?
You can either take a boat to Lombok (fast boat or public ferry) or fly to Lombok International Airport. Flights from Bali only take 30 min and are quite cheap. Kuta is only another 25 min drive away from the airport.
Besides the many opportunities for good surfing we really enjoyed our little scooter trips to explore the east and west of Kuta. If you go west you will find many beautiful bays and beaches, combined with stunning views as you will be going up and down the mountains a lot. If you go east you will not find as many mountains and beaches, but we also enjoyed driving through the rice fields and tiny villages. You will be greeted by many friendly smiles as the further east you get, the less tourists you will see. This will give you the opportunity to experience a more traditional and untouched Lombok – make sure to stop at one of the little shops or Warungs to enjoy some super delicious and crazy cheap food.
How long to stay?
South Lombok is a region on the move and it is easy to see why so many people are traveling this region. The south coast has views that leave visitors speechless at the sublime panoramic beauty that unfolds beach after beach. The pure white sands and the crystal clear oceans as well as the surf breaks make it hard to leave. Also Kuta is the main town and tourism center in the south – so you most probably will find everything what you need. It is the perfect hub for exploring the fantastic southern beaches and the many places of interest in the region. This is why you should at least stay for 2-3 nights. If you want to spend lots of time at the beaches and enjoy the surf, you can stay much longer without getting bored.
Where to stay?
In Kuta you will find a lot of accommodation: From backpacker options up to four star resorts, there is a place for every budget. We stayed at the Tri Putri Homestay for 21 EUR per night/double room including breakfast. The wifi is good and the place even has its own small supermarket. The staff is super friendly and helpful and will make everything to make your stay as nice as possible. Some nice restaurants are close and Kuta Beach is just a 10 min walk down the street. Some of the rooms have their own little seating area or a balcony and there also is a shared kitchen on the property.
Surf Kuta In Kuta you will find some of the best surf breaks in whole Indonesia. Here are our favorites:
Gerupuk This spot lies east of Kuta and is probably the best known one. This top surf location is situated on a peninsula of land that juts out into the ocean, with stunning views of the sea and the surrounding islands and bays. You will easily find a good surf school in this area and no fewer than five surf breaks. You have to charter a boat to get to the breaks (we paid about 14 EUR for a two hour trip) and you better get out there early. The spots are likely to get super crowded.
Are Guling So far this beach and spot are less known and popular, but you should not underestimate this wonderful beach. The spot offers clean, consistent surf year round when the conditions are right and there are often less crowds here even on the best days. It works better at lower tides and is best in the wet season. You can charter a boat to take you to the break – so far this service is quite cheap compared to the prices at Gerupuk (we paid about 3,50 EUR for a half day). Ask for Diego – he is the best to take you out and probably will jump into the water with you. He can also give you some advice.
Selong Belanak This beach is perfect for beginners and located about 30 min from Kuta. The waves break fairly close to the shore and it is best at high tide or when the tides are shifting. It is protected from the wind so it makes for a really fun first lesson. The beach offers white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. There are no reefs or rocks and the surf is generally quite light. In case you rent a board make sure they give you one that is in good shape. We heard lots of bad stories about people who rented an already broken board (which has been poorly fixed) and had to pay for it after it fell apart during their session.
Beaches As already mentioned south Lombok has almost countless amazingly beautiful beaches. We really enjoyed taking a scooter to ride along the coast and explore the beaches. And of course we found some personal favorites:
Pink Beach You will find this beach about 55 km east of Kuta, which means you will sit on your scooter for about two hours. And your butt will hate it. But this beach definitely makes a good day trip and except for the last 10 km the roads are in a pretty good shape. You will be rewarded with lots of awesome views along the way and experience a more untouched area of Lombok. Pink Beach is a popular destination for local toursist and you most probably will not see a lot of other Western tourists in this area. We were told that the beach looks best early in the morning (until 10 am) or in the late afternoon (around 4 or 5 pm). In case you do not arrive at these times you probably have to use a lot of imagination to see its pink color.
Tanjung Aan This beach is located about 5 km east of Kuta. It is a long picturesque beach with a super wide sweep of white sand, perfect aquamarine water and shady trees on the shore. At the far west end you will find “Warung Turtle”, a charming beach cafe that sells cold drinks and beer, as well as surprisingly good meals. You also can relax on the sun lounges in front of Warung Turtle and spend your day swimming in the calm waters. In case you get hungry: We heard the fresh grilled fish and the chicken in red sauce are their bestsellers.
Mawun Beach This beach is a 30 min drive west from Kuta. Its almost circular bay with green headlands rolling into the ocean from either side is spectacular. Its calm blue waters are perfect for a lazy beach day and you can even find some nice trees to spend your day in the shade. Some kids and beach vendors might try to sell you shade, drinks or fruit, but they easily give up once you tell them you are not interested.
Traditional Sasak Villages Just before arriving in Kuta from the airport the road passes two traditional Sasak villages: Sade and Rambitan. On the east side of the road is Rambitan, a village that caters to tourists and has authentic clusters of thatched Lumbung, or rice barns and traditional homes made of thatch and bamboo (with hardenend cow and buffalo dung floors). Nearby on the hilltop you will also find one of the oldest mosques in Lombok: Mesjid Kuno. The small building is considered holy and many believers make pilgrimages to pray here. Slightly further south is Sade, a hilltop village with more Lumbung and traditional homes. Both villages have been renovated, but still are interesting examples of traditional Sasak architecture and communal living. Some residents might act as a guide, in change for a small fee, to walk you through either of the villages and are happy to share a glimpse of their lifestyle with you. Restaurants There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars in Kuta which suit all budgets and will feed you well. We never saw so many places offering wood fired pizza in Asia before. We did not try the pizza, but found some other nice places to eat more traditional food or enjoy a drink with a view. So make sure to try one of these: Warung Flora (good place for traditional food, super friendly staff and make sure to try their “drink of the day”), Warung Grand (good place for traditional and western food, a vegetarian Nasi is only about 1 EUR and we loved their fries and chicken fingers) and The Summit Dine and Lounge (west of Kuta with a great view over the whole bay and city, good for food but also for a sundownder).