Lombok fascinates travelers especially with its white-sand paradise beaches, the highest volcano in Indonesia and the authentic Indonesian culture. Before traveling to Lombok, we heard someone saying “Lombok is what the people think Bali is”. And that is true as Lombok has managed to stay much more untouched and quiet compared to its neighbor filled with the tourism industry.
Our goal on Lombok was simply to explore beautiful paradise beaches and relax. We didn’t even try to see the whole island or conquer the incredibly high Mount Rinjani because there wouldn’t have been enough time for everything. Before going to the island, we read some negative things and warnings regarding the safety on Lombok. Some blog articles warned about motorbike rental scams and robbers that even had attacked a tourist riding a motorbike and stolen the bike on a full speed. We decided eventually thought that with a normal carefulness and attention, we would be fine like in many other destinations.
We decided to choose Kuta as our base that is located in the southern part of Lombok. This is where most of the accommodations and restaurants are concentrated. From Kuta, it is easy to do day trips and go explore the nearby beaches on a motorbike. We traveled from Bali to Lombok by a local ferry. The journey took about five hours and cost 46.000 rupiahs. The ferry was air-conditioned and had comfy seats. The television was entertaining people with weird Chinese movies.
We arrived on Lombok late in the evening so there was no chance to travel around by local bemos. We spotted a group of three traveler girls on the ferry and went to ask where they are going to. They were gonna head to Kuta like we so we decided to find a taxi together and negotiate a good price. And with some bargaining, we did get a taxi ride for 50.000 rupiahs each. Normally a taxi from the ferry port to Kuta should cost 250.000 rupiahs. Two more foreigners joined our group and we all packed into the minibus. The journey from Lembar harbor to Kuta took only a bit more than an hour. In order to save money, it’s a good idea to get together with other travelers and bargain a good price for the transport.
Accommodation and restaurants in Kuta Lombok
Next we had to find us a place to stay. We managed to accomplish in less than 5 minutes after we found reasonably priced Rahayu homestay right on the main street in the center. They first offered us a more expensive room for 300.000 rupiahs but after we told it’s way too much, there suddenly was another similar room upstairs that was half cheaper. For breakfast, we got the best banana pancakes we have ever tried!
Next day we changed to another place as we found an even cheaper room with a better shower in Ranty homestay that is run by a local family. There were chicklings running around on the shabby but kind of cozy yard and neighbors’ cows and goats were kept shouting to each other. We managed to negotiate a discount as we wanted to stay three nights. The homestay also offers a laundry service. The daughter of the family tried to get some extra cash though by setting the scale to show one kilogram extra… Apart from that, the place was nice and we had hot water and coffee available all the time on the terrace.
In Kuta, you can get a basic room in a homestay for 100.000-150.000 rupiahs. The price normally includes breakfast. You will find cheaper options directly on the spot than looking online.
There is a good selection of restaurants and cafes in every price class in the center of Kuta Lombok. You can get a meal in a cheap warung for 15.000 rupiahs while the main dishes in more pricey tourist restaurants start from 50.000 rupiahs. We ended up eating in Jawa warung several times. The place serves crazy good and big nasi campur that you also get vegetarian. Another memorable and cheap meal was the burgers and 8.000 rupiah fruit juices in Boom Burger! On the last night, we found Nana’s warung where we stuffed ourselves with fried spring rolls, fried rice and noodles and beng beng smoothies that were incredibly tasty!
The nightlife in Kuta wasn’t very vivid at least during our visit. One night we walked around and tried to find a nice beach bar. We did find some indeed but they were all empty. The parties probably depend pretty much on the season and weekdays.
Lombok’s paradise beaches
One day we rented a motorbike at our homestay and went to look for those famous paradise beaches. We read some warnings about renting a motorbike and many topics told that the safest option is to rent the motorbike in your accommodation. The guesthouses rarely want to ruin their reputation by scamming tourists. Many people warned about the rental places on the streets instead, especially near Kuta Indah hotel. We didn’t luckily have any issues with our bike during the day. We paid 60.000 rupiahs for the motorbike rental.
First we headed to Tajung Aan beach that is one of the most famous beaches in Lombok. A purely white, almost glaring sand and turquoise water were close to perfection indeed. We paid a 10.000 rupiah parking fee and looked for a nice spot for us under a tree. We spent the noon reading books and glancing at the perfect view. There were some tourists and vendors on the beach but we cannot really talk about crowds. Tajung Aan is located about 20 minutes ride away from Kuta to the east. This beach is definitely a must see place to all those traveling on Lombok!
Next we returned to Kuta center for a lunch and continued our trip to the other direction to the west. The day had passed surprisingly quickly and we realized that we wouldn’t manage to visit that many beaches during the same day. We decided to have a look at Mawun beach that was only 10 kilometers from the center. On the way, we got on the top of a big hill where we could see gorgeous landscapes! A bit further west, there is also the famous Selong Belanak beach, but as it was already afternoon and we had heard split opinions about that beach, we decided to leave it for the next time. Mawum wasn’t maybe as impressive as Tajung Aan but we couldn’t complain about chilling in these landscapes and watch the waves hit the beach.
Another day, we also spent time on Kuta beach. We walked along the beach boulevard that was still being constructed and found very quiet small beaches on a small peninsula at the foot of a hill. There were just a couple of tourists around and we found a completely private beach for us with no people around the corner. At some point, a coconut vendor appeared out of nowhere and soon we were sipping fresh coconut laying on the sand in our own paradise.
We had time to see only a few beached during our Lombok trip which means we definitely have to go back later and explore more. There are many more beautiful beaches in the southern part of Lombok and the famous Pink beach with pink sand in the east. We also heard a gossip about small islands in the eastern part of Lombok called Secret Gilis (read more about the islands here). These empty islands are still waiting to be conquered and it would be awesome to make a day trip there with a private boat driver!
Summarized, Lombok is a real paradise for those who want to explore beautiful beaches in their own beach without big tourist crowds.
We found Kuta Lombok a very calm place where you also get to experience local life. Even though there are tourists around, it’s not even nearly as touristic as Bali. There are big construction works going on in Kuta and the place will probably look totally different in a few years. Summarized, Lombok is a real paradise for those who want to explore beautiful beaches in their own beach without big tourist crowds. Kuta Lombok is also a popular surfing spot so if you are into surfing, here you can do it probably for a lower price than in Bali.
The easiest way to travel out from Kuta is to catch a shuttle bus ride. You can book the ride in one of the travel agencies in the town center. We continued our trip to Gili Air and got to travel the whole way easily by the shuttle bus. The boat ticket was also included in the price of 115.000 rupiahs. We will publish more pictures and feelings about Gili Air in a separate post soon!
Have you visited Lombok and what was your favorite place there?