Lombok is another beautiful island of Indonesia and I explored a bit of it in 3 days. What is not to miss? What to do and how? Read more to find out what to do if you will be visiting Kuta Lombok, Indonesia!
Lombok is very close to Bali and you can reach it from Bali by boat or plane. I tried both, got there by plane and returned by boat! Both trips felt shaky, but it was all safe. Of course, I am not used to
After the heartbreaking earthquake from August 2019, the North of Lombok is more or less abandoned, most roads leading to touristic attractions like waterfalls and mountains are closed and there isn’t much to do since all looks deserted and the resorts are almost empty. But locals have resumed their lives, the city was busy and the villages were roaming with locals. Where are they to go? Nowhere.
It is understandable as the tourism level has decreased, that many children beg tourists to buy from them or make a donation and the adults working in tourism are working for a lower fee.
Visiting Lombok, Indonesia. Arriving in Kuta Lombok
I arrived in Lombok by plane, in Praya and arranged a transfer to Kuta for 300000 IDR (~18 Eur), but schuttle buses are avaialble at around 60 000 IDR.
Accommodation in Kuta Lombok
Kuta Lombok is a village in the south of Lombok and it’s full of accommodation and restaurants options. Kuta is small, and you can basically walk everywhere.
Budget or no budget, you will find what you are looking for. For a budget experience, I choose Mimi Homestay, close to the centre where you will find many restaurants, supermarkets and tour agencies.
My friend, Rebecca (a Spanish travel blogger at viajeros30.com) stayed at a fancier place in Kuta, which is a bit closer to the beach. Lovely rooms and friendly staff. All places offer breakfast, which is great!
While Kuta Lombok can be explored on foot, for the rest of the places you will need to hire a car with a driver or a scooter. Both are very usual and easy to find. Ask your accommodation about it and check the prices. Remember you can always bargain. We rented a car with a driver and settled for 300 000 IDR (~18 Eur) for the entire day. The driver took us to all the beaches and waited for us. He took us back to Kuta after sunset.
Day 1 – Exploring Kuta Mandalika Beach
We arrive around noon in Kuta, checked-in and decided to start exploring the beach in Kuta Lombok. It was a sunny, hot December day in Lombok. Don’t forget your sunscreen lotion. Or buy one from the supermarket on your way to the beach.
To our surprise, there wasn’t anyone on the beach. Some locals were hiding in the shades of a lonely tree, with their stocks of scarfs.
Along the Mandalika Beach are some restaurants, some cheap and some touristic. Tried both kinds. I recommend the cheap ones. The food is the same, the only thing is that the touristic ones have some sort of western food like pasta, pizza or burgers.
We walked on the beach for a while, met some wild monkey, a few tourists (maybe 4) and after about 1 hour, we reached Pantai Seger Kuta Lombok. This is a famous place to watch the sunset, as we later discovered. This is basically a high land on the beach, and right next to it is the Novotel Lombok Resort & Villas.
For a 100,000 IDR fee (~4 Eur) you can spend the day by their pool, on their beach. It’s very nice and worth it. Had the front seat for the sunset and Indonesian Bintang beer in our hands.
Walked back to the centre of Kuta to our hotels. The streets had public lighting and it was safe. But a bit creepy, since it was almost nobody.
Day 2 – Exploring the famous beaches of South Lombok
Pantai Selong Belanak
This is a popular place for surfers. The locals are kind and the beach is full of cafes and restaurants and local surf teachers. You can rent a surfboard for 50k idr or teach you for 250k idr (2 hours).
The most beautiful blue waves I’ve ever seen (so far) were here. You can see locals farming or fishing, some sunbeds for tourists, but it was almost empty, except for the locals living on the beach.
The waves were too big to go for a swim, but I don’t think it’s always the case.
Pantai Kuta Mandalika
For this one you don’t need a car or a bike, you can walk, if you stay in Kuta. The advantage of this beach is that is near to all the supermarkets and restaurants and you can walk here.
Pantai Tanjung Aan
This is the jewel and the pride of the South. As you can see, in December 2018 there weren’t too many tourists, but here was the place where we finally saw locals and tourists roaming around. Don’t image hundreds of them, but some are more than nothing.
The beach is long and wide, the sand is fine and the water is blue. Free sunbeds if you buy something. We had lunch at one of the small places on the beach. It was safe and the food was good.
Pantai Seger Kuta Lombok
This is the best spot for the sunset, and the one we accidentally discover the day before, by walking on the beach. To get here, you don’t really need a car, you can walk from Kuta Lombok.
Day 3 – Pink Beach East Lombok Day Tour
I think you need to book this tour through a travel agency since you will need a driver/guide to pick you up from Kuta Lombok and drive you to the small port of Tanjung Luar.
From there, you will get on a boat and start exploring tiny islands and find some places for snorkelling. It was a beautiful day exploring the tiny islands near Lombok.
Driving back to Kuta Lombok was an adventure. The day we went on the boat tour to the pink beach, it was Sunday. In Indonesia, Sunday is the day when they have weddings. On the road we encountered 4 different weddings, in the villages. It was really impressive and authentic, as they still hold on to traditions.
Day 4 – Driving to the Pemenang port. Arriving in Gili Air
I think 3 days are enough to explore the South of Lombok. The North is quite impressive as well, and much more touristic. Here you will find many resorts and hotels.
The problem was that in December 2018, after just a few months from the August earthquake, everything seemed abandoned and in poor condition. Locals did not recommend trying to visit the mountain and the waterfalls, and also the roads were still closed to reach those. So there was not much else to do.
We stopped to visit Mataram, the capital of Lombok, to admire the Mosque (Islamic Center NTB). The interior of the mosque still had visible signs of damage from the earthquake.
The drive along the coast on our way to the port was also an attraction, offering beautiful landscapes of the beaches, palm trees and the Gili islands.
What followed were three amazing days on Gili Air, which I will talk about soon, on a Gili Air in 3 days blog post.
If you decide to head back to Bali, check out the 5-day Bali itinerary for first times.
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