Lombok, the island located directly east of Bali has been on my radar for quite some time. After living in Bali for many months, I had heard so many amazing things of its Eastern neighbor. I can say without any doubt that Lombok is as amazing as I had hoped. From the most incredible beaches, to amazing surf destinations, to a Bohemian town with Canggu vibes but no crowds, Lombok has something for everyone.
I spent 10 days on this wonderful island entirely in the south. The south of Lombok is home to the best beaches on the island, and perhaps some of the best beaches in Indonesia. Kuta, the main town in South Lombok is home to a fast growing cafe and restaurant scene like in Canggu, Bali but with a fraction of the crowd. From Kuta, you’re minutes away from incredible beaches where you can learn to surf or simply relax and take in the beauty.
There is something for everyone on Lombok and I will surely be back (probably very soon!)
Map of all the highlights of Lombok:
Best time of year to visit Lombok
Lombok shares a similar climate to nearby Bali. The dry season in Lombok runs from April until November. During this time, you can expect frequent sun with few days of full on rain. Temperatures will be in the low 30s with night time temps in the mid 20s. There also isn’t as much wind during this time. It’s generally a very enjoyable time to visit the island.
The rainy season runs from November to April. During these months, you can expect to see storms throughout the day and few periods of consistent clouds and rain. Temperatures will be slightly cooler than the dry season but as it is a tropical place, there isn’t much variation.
Peak season months in Lombok are July and August so if possible, avoid traveling during these months as prices will be higher and the crowds much bigger. Nevertheless, Lombok is nothing like Bali and even during “peak season” crowds, it will be empty compared to Bali.
How much time do I need in South Lombok?
Lombok is a big island and a special place. I spent 10 days traveling through Lombok and loved every moment of it. I wish I could have spent more time so to explore the north of the island with its incredible rice fields and perhaps even trek Mount Rinjiani.
Nevertheless, my 10 days on Lombok flew by as I dived and surfed the entire time. If you’re strapped on time, I would figure out what you’re looking to do first. If you want to dive or surf, then you should spend more time here as that will take up the majority of your day. In addition, there are numerous day trip options from Kuta like visiting the Gili islands, Mount Rinjiani, and more.
If you just want to relax and chill on the beach, I think 4 days will be enough to see the highlights of South Lombok.
If you’re arriving by ferry from Bali, do note that this takes the entire day so you need to factor that into your itinerary. That’s why I always recommend taking filghts between the islands.
Best Beaches in South Lombok
Lombok is unique versus Bali because of its insane collection of stunning beaches. While Bali is also home to beautiful beaches, they cannot compare to the more idyllic beach setting of Lombok. I love the volcanic black sand beaches of Bali but I’m a sucker for the crystal blue waters and white sand beaches. It also doesn’t help that some of these beaches are devoid of tourists so you can really relax and appreciate the natural beauty of Lombok.
The beaches in Lombok are somewhere in between a Mediterranean beach like in Greece and a more traditional tropical beach like in Zanzibar. The color of the water is light blue to turquoise depending on the beach you go but the sand is always soft white sand.
South Lombok is littered with countless amazing beaches all offering the same beautiful topography. Lombok is the surf capital of Indonesia and probably in South East Asia so expect many of these beaches to be great surf destinations. The beaches on this list are all within 25 minutes scooter ride from Kuta which makes them perfect for a quick beach break from the town.
Few things to know about Lombok Beaches:
- Generally you’ll need to pay to visit or to park at the beaches. The price is 10,000 IDR. Sometimes, you won’t pay this if you buy lunch/drinks at the warung of the parking lot
- There are kids and adults selling bracelets and clothes everywhere. This can be annoying after awhile but they are trying to make a living. Simply say no thank you (a few times so they understand) politely and they will leave you alone.
- Most of the beaches have sun beds and bean bags for you to lounge on the beach. They also have a full restaurant and bar for you to get your drink on with nasi goreng. Coconuts are also my go to things to get at the beaches.
- None of the beaches are sunset facing unfortunately. That is perhaps the one and only downside of the South Lombok beaches. None of them face west so you won’t be able to have sunset drinks on the beach like in Canggu, Bali.
Selong Belanak is probably one of the more popular beaches in the south of Lombok. Wide stretches of white sand and beautiful teal water surrounded by rolling hills makes this a great place to see the beauty of Lombok. This is also a popular surf destination and particularly good for those starting out. There are countless warungs that double surf shops on this beach as well for you to take cheap lessons.
I found this beach to be a bit too busy for my likings. There were too many warungs too closely packed together and it felt a bit more commercial than the other beaches. Of course, there is plenty of beach space away from the warungs but then you won’t be able to find any shade. Perfect if you just want to tan!
I came here right after Selong Belanak to continue my beach hopping tour. Mawi beach is for pro surfers but is also home to one of the most remote and least visited beaches in South Lombok.
You know you’re in for a treat when the road to get to this beach is strictly dirt and rocks. Be prepared for a bumpy 2km ride from the main road to this beach but it’s well worth it.
The beach is absolutely stunning with even clearer waters and more secluded beach real estate. The main beach is home to just one warung with no beach chairs. If this beach is too much for you, you can climb the small cliff to the other side of Mawi beach for a completely untouched and unpopulated beach. Absolutely breathtaking.
Pantai Lancing is located a few minutes away from Mawi Beach and caught my eye as it was visible from the main road. The water looked stunning and the beach looked secluded.
There are a few local warungs on this beach and the water is absolutely breathtaking. The best part of this beach was the lack of people trying to sell me bracelets and sarongs. I was able to relax and just chill on the beach in peace.
Mawun, which means pretty in Bahasa Indonesian, is a great description for this beach. Located next to Pantai Lancing and about 15 minute from Kuta, this is one of many beautiful beaches nearby.
There are a few warungs to buy food and drinks, as well as beach chairs to relax and spread out. There were lots of kids trying to sell me things which was annoying but no different than the other beaches. Overall, I think this beach is worth visiting but not better than the final beach on this list!
Saving the best for latis Tanjang Aan beach. Tanjang Aan beach is located just 15 minutes east of Kuta town and it quickly became my go to beach. The water here among the most beautiful of the beaches with the deepest shades of turquoise. This is because there is a wider flatter strip of white sand versus the other beaches on the list.
Tanjaag Aan also has numerous warungs that have restaurants, beach chairs, and surf boards for rent. It’s not as quiet as other beaches on the list like Mawi or Lancing, but it has just enough atmosphere to make it fun.
A lot of the surf shops in town will take you to Tanjaan Aan beach to start your surf session in addition to Gerapuk which is on the other side of the bay. Alternatively, you can just rock up to any of the warungs on the beach and ask for surf lessons which will generally be less expensive.
My daily schedule consisted of surfing in Gerapuk or Tanjaag Aan, followed by an afternoon beach session just chilling in one of the warungs in Tanjaan Aan. What paradise it is!
Best Cafes in Kuta, Lombok
I’m not going to hide it but I’m a sucker for beautiful cafes offering good coffee and tasty brunch style food. Bali, and in particular Canggu has the best cafes in the world but Kuta in Lombok is definitely taking notes. There are a plethora of amazing Instagram worthy, Aussie style cafes that have popped up in Kuta in recent years. I suspect more and more cafes will pop up in the future as well.
Whether you’re into food Instagramming, good Bohemian vibes, brunch style food, or just like good coffee, the selection of cafes in Kuta, Lombok will have more than enough to satisfy you.
Located in the heart of Kuta, Bush Radio is one of the staple cafes in Lombok. Their industrial chic vibe invites you in to relax and enjoy a cup of amazing coffee. Their food is quite delicious as well with some of the best avocado toast you’ll find on the island.
Located across the street from Bush Radio, Kenza is perhaps the most Instagrammable space in Lombok. Their outdoor and indoor space screams to have photos taken. Their coffee and food is just as good as they are aesthetic.
Mushroom Espresso is a small little shop at the edge of the main town that serves fantastic coffee. They are on the smaller side so there’s no room here to do work but it’s good for a in and out coffee. They also serve great Argentina style empanadas which was unexpected.
Munchies is another great cafe located next to Kenza and Bush Radio. It has a true Bali style interior with ample amounts of rattan, open air space, and comfortable couches. They also serve coffee from around Indonesia and you can see which beans are being used for your brew.
The food is also fantastic as they serve all the cafe classics like avocado toast, smoothie bowls, and various egg dishes.
Another staple in the Kuta, Lombok cafe scene, Milk Espresso delivers with their coffee and food. The space is inviting with plenty of open air space as well as an indoor AC’d room. It’s the perfect place to grab brunch, have a good coffee, and get some work done.
Nohi has by far the best view of any cafe in the town of Kuta. I came here regularly to do some work and it is the ultimate digital nomad cafe. They have a large upstairs space with views of the neighboring hills and coconut tree farms. There’s plenty of plugs and comfortable seating for you to do your work and take any Zoom calls. The coffee and food were decent as well and I would recommend only the smoothie bowls here.
Siwa Resort is not a luxury hotel with incredible views of Kuta and the bay. It’s also home to a fancy cafe and restaurant that has plenty of views and seating. I came here just to take some pictures as it was on the way to the beaches nearby and the views did not disappoint. If I had more time in Lombok, I probably would have come here for an afternoon coffee.
Is Kuta Lombok similar to Canggu in Bali?
I spent many months living in Canggu in Bali and absolutely loved my life there. However, much of this time was spent during the pandemic when tourism was non-existent and the only people living there were digital nomads. It was absolute paradise that of course was no sustainable.
Kuta, Lombok has a similar vibe to Canggu in the sense that all the foreigners are flocking to this area. It’s packed with great restaurants and cafes with more popping up every month. However, it is nothing like Canggu in that it’s 1/5th the size with 1/10th of the crowd. There is hardly any traffic to speak so traffic jams are not a thing.
The vibe is also noticeably different. Canggu in Bali has become somewhat of a trendy and posh getaway nowadays. Like an Indonesian Miami if I could compare it. Girls get totally dressed up to go out with heels on at times. Kuta is absolutely not there yet as it is so much more chilled. It is a surfing village first and foremost (although Canggu was also like this in the mid 2010) and people here are far less dressed up than in Canggu.
Nevertheless, there is a rapid development of villain Kuta with land prices exploding in recent years. More and more cafes and restaurants will open in the coming years so I would not be surprised if Kuta approached something like a Canggu within the next 5-10 years.
Best Restaurants in Kuta, Lombok
In addition to the countless cafes in Kuta, there are also some amazing dining options as well. Just like in Bali, Kuta is quickly becoming home to great food of all cuisines. I had incredible burgers, pizzas, tacos, seafood, and even Szechuan style Chinese food in Kuta, Lombok. Of course, if you’re fiending for local Indonesia fare (I don’t blame you), there are more than enough solid warungs to satisfy your cravings.
Without a doubt, Tasty Hesty has the best local Indonesian food in Kuta, Lombok. It’s located right on the beach with a great upstairs space offering chilled vibes. It is the perfect spot to grab a local Nasi Goreng or Ayam Goreng after a hard surf session. There are many other warungs in Lombok, but I couldn’t get enough of the food at Tasty Hesty.
The nasi goreng seafood at this spot was among the best Nasi Goreng’s I’ve ever had in my entire life. I never tried the other dishes but suspect they would also be of top quality.
Seasalt is located next to Tasty Hesty and is the place to go for grilled seafood. Their prawns appetizer and grilled fish of the day is phenomenal. This restaurant also has a few Greek themed dishes but I wasn’t about to test these after spending so much time traveling through Greece.
KRNK is located on the main strip in Kuta and is famous for their delicious burgers. They grill the burgers outdoor on a massive grill for everyone to see. The burgers are absolutely delicious and I ended up eating here twice. The space is also open and inviting with plenty of people frequenting the spot.
Treehouse Restaurant and Bar
Treehouse is my favorite go to place on Fridays. Their steak special consists of a 250g tenderloin steak served with unlimited sides of potato wedges, mashed potato, and vegetables. For 150k IDR, it’s one of the best deals in Kuta in my opinion especially for the quality of the steak.
Treehouse was also one of the places I would continually go back to for drinks as they served craft beers from Bali.
Cantina Mexicana – Satu Lagi
Cantina Mexicana is the best Mexican restaurant I’ve had in some time. They are a real Mexican style cantina serving real corn tacos in a relaxed chilled atmosphere. I tried many of their tacos and they are as close to Mexico as it gets for somewhere that is half way around the world. They make their own corn tortilla because they have to being so far removed from Mexico. The prices are high but is to be expected for a place with a nice vibe and delicious food. Again, these are legit tacos. Almost as good as the Mexico City tacos that I still dream about.
Come here for Taco Tuesdays as they have a special deal. Buy a margarita and get any taco for free. Their margaritas are actually quite decent as well!
The Mexican In Town
The Mexican In Town is the other Mexican restaurant in Kuta, Lombok. It doesn’t have the same vibe as Cantina as it opts for a more upscale island themed vibe. Nevertheless, they have damn good tacos albeit not as traditional as the ones in Cantina Mexicana.
In addition to Tasty Hesty, I absolutely loved the local food at Warung Bude. This streetside stall served massive portions of nasi goreng, delicious soto ayam, and other local delicacies.
The place is popular among the surfers for their price to food ratio and I ended up eating here multiple times on my trip.
Without a doubt the best pizzeria in Lombok. In fact, this might be one of the best pizzerias in all of SE Asia. They have a proper wood fire oven that reaches extreme temperatures making proper Naples style pizza which I haven’t had since I was in Italy. Prices are higher than the rest of Lombok but for such a good pizza so far away from Italy, one can’t complain.
This place always gets busy so get early or be prepared to wait. Their Aperol spritz is also quite decent but nothing compares to their pizza!
Jiang Nan Lombok
Jiang Nan Lombok is an authentic Chinese style restaurant serving a lot of Szechuan themed dishes as well as various types of dumplings. I was pretty surprised to find something like this all the way in Lombok but that’s the beauty of these bohemian towns in Indonesia.
This restaurant even had xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) which were surprisingly tasty, albeit with a skin that was too thick. I tried their mala noodle dishes as well and they were pretty on point. Definitely a great option to go to mix it up from the burgers and pizza from the nearby places.
Best bars to go out in Kuta, Lombok
Kuta, Lombok is home to a few very active beach bars for those looking to get their drinks on. There are no cocktail bars or any higher end places like you’d find in Bali but there are plenty of places to party.
The two main bars in Kuta are Surfers Bar and Rasta Bar. These two bars are located next to each other and have the laid back beach bar vibe. Every night there is something going on but Fridays and Saturdays are the big nights. I came here on both nights and there was always a huge crowd of tourists partying it up here. Drinks are affordable with local beers going for 35k IDR and shots going for 50k IDR.
Diving In South Lombok
Lombok is not known for its diving as it is often overshadowed by its surf culture. The diving I’ve heard with Lombok have always been concentrated to the Gili islands in the north east. Gili Trawangan is known as one of the biggest dive hotspots in the world churning out Open water certifications by the hundreds and partying everywhere in between.
Diving in Lombok is totally different. There are a few sights in south Lombok that have been discovered and are occasionally dived by the few dive shops in Kuta. Blongas Bay in the southwest is home to the famous hammerhead shark migration and various manta cleaning stations. Unfortunately, there is only one dive shop that visits this bay as the conditions are known to be hardcore with negative entries the norm.
Diving with Blue Marlin Kuta
There are only a few dive shops in Kuta including Blue Marlin and Scuba Froggy. I went with Blue Marlin as I’ve dived with them in my past in other locations. They discovered numerous dive sites in the strait between Lombok and Sumbawa and are the only operator that visits this channel.
The channel itself is about 1 hour away from Kuta and you’ll be driven there in the mornings every day before embarking on their dive boat to the channel.
The dive sites are impressive and definitely better than I had been planning for. There was ample marine life with schools of fish, turtles, cuttlefish, and more. They are also home to quite a few frogfish which I’m always a fan of. Sometimes, you can even see thresher sharks in these sights which were amazing to see in Malapascua, Phillipines.
Surfing in Lombok
South Lombok, located in the Indonesian archipelago, is a paradise for surfers seeking an unforgettable wave-riding experience. Renowned for its pristine beaches, warm tropical waters, and consistent swells, South Lombok offers a haven for surfers of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, this region has something to offer.
One of the highlights of surfing in South Lombok is the world-class surf breaks that dot the coastline. One of the most famous spots is Gerupuk, a picturesque fishing village that boasts several breaks suitable for all skill levels. Inside Gerupuk Bay, you’ll find breaks like Inside Ekas, Outside Ekas, and Don-Don, each providing unique and challenging waves. The breaks at Gerupuk offer a mix of rights and lefts, catering to different preferences and ensuring an exciting surf session.
Taking surf lessons in Kuta, Lombok
I’m a total newbie when it come to surfing I must admit. I was originally planning to spend most of my time diving in Lombok but decided I had enough after three days. With my remaining time, I decided I might as well pick up surfing since it is the main thing to do on the island.
There are literally countless shops on Lombok that offer surf lessons and equipment rental. I just searched on Google Maps for a few options and ended up going with Kuta Lombok Surf School. The instructors here were very good and I absolutely loved my experience here. I took a total of 4 lessons (spread over 4 days) at this shop. They instructors taught me proper technique and they help you with catching waves. There is a max of 2 surfers per instructor.
I started out horribly without catching much of anything. I also died paddling constantly as surfer muscles are just different. After the second session, I put it all together and was completely shredding waves all throughout the session! It’s an absolutely addictive feeling once you get a few waves.
They also have photographers on nearby boats that take photos of your surf session. You can purchase these photos after you’re done.
For experienced surfers
If you’re an experienced surfer, you can simply rent boards and catch waves yourself. From Gerapuk village in Tanjang Aan, you can simply hire a boat and get taken to the waves where they’ll wait for you to finish your session.
Alternatively, you can go to the local warungs which double as surf shops at Tanjang Aan beach. You can rent a board for 50k IDR per day, and pay 25k IDR to be taken out by boat to the waves about 200 meters out.
Kitesurfing in Lombok
Kitesurfing has also become quite popular in Lombok, albeit not nearly as big as surfing itself. There are a few kitesurfing spots in Lombok but the most well known is a bay in the southeast of the island near the beach of Pantai Kaliantan.
This beach is home to shallow flat water and a constant wind which makes it perfect for kitesurfing. Sadly, on the days I was in Lombok, the wine wasn’t quite good enough for a good kite session. This area is also 1 hour away from Kuta and I very much enjoyed staying around the town. Next time!
How to get to Lombok?
There are several ways to get to Lombok, depending on your location and travel preferences. Here are some common methods of reaching the island:
Flight to Lombok
The most convenient way to reach Lombok is by air. Lombok International Airport (LOP) is located in Praya, Central Lombok, and receives flights from major cities in Indonesia, as well as international destinations like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Several airlines operate regular flights to Lombok, making it easily accessible from various locations.
If you’re staying in Kuta, flying is definitely the way to go in my opinion. If you’re staying in Sengigi on the west side of Lombok, a ferry might make more sense.
Ferry from Bali to Lombok
: If you prefer a scenic journey or are coming from nearby islands, taking a boat or ferry to Lombok is a popular option. There are multiple ports and harbors on Lombok’s coast, with regular services connecting Lombok to Bali, the Gili Islands, and other neighboring islands. The most common departure points are Padang Bai and Serangan in Bali, and Bangsal and Teluk Kodek on the Gili Islands.
Just note that the boat from Bali is a long journey. You’ll have to get to the port of Padang Bai which can be 1-2 hours depending on where you’re starting from. The boat ride from Bali to Lombok harbor takes 2.5 hours. Finally, you’ll need to then take a 2 hour car ride from Lombok harbor to Kuta.
All in all, you’ll probably spend something like 700-800k IDR for this entire trip which is likely about the same price as flying if not more expensive. The ferry will take you the entire day however whereas the flight is less than 1 hour.
During the rainy season months, ocean conditions can become treacherous so you can expect severe turbulence on some days. If you’re one to get seasick, I don’t recommend taking this ferry.
How to get around South Lombok?
Like with pretty much anywhere else in Indonesia, the best way to get around South Lombok is by scooter. Scooters are widely available for rent just about anywhere in Kuta. Your hotel/guesthouse will have them for rent as well as one of the many scooter rental shops in town. Hell, you can even find them for rent at some of the restaurants/cafes in town.
The going rate for scooters varies depending on your model. I’m totally fine with the more basic Honda Scoopy scooters and paid 70k IDR per day. The more powerful NMax or equivalent will be somewhere in the 150k IDR per day range. You can negotiate better rates if you’re renting for longer.
Traffic is non-existent in Lombok
If you’ve already visited Bali and have been scarred by the scooter experience, rest assured that Lombok will be very different. There is hardly any traffic in Lombok to speak of. Kuta, even though it is similar to Canggu in Bali as far as vibes goes, has zero traffic. There are simply way fewer people that visit Lombok versus Bali.
In addition, Lombok prepared for this well in advance by building big open roads that fit cars and scooters. I absolutely love to drive a scooter and found it especially therapeutic in Lombok without traffic to deal with. Just feeling the ocean breeze while the sun sets is magical.
Where to stay in South Lombok
South Lombok is a huge place with a coastline that spans over a hundred kilometers. There are countless options for places to stay. I decided to stay in Kuta which is the main town in South Lombok. It has countless cafes, restaurants, surf shops, and other amenities that you won’t find anywhere else in the area. It’s the perfect base to explore the beaches in the nearby area but have the amenities of a bit town.
There are a few luxury resorts within a 15 minute drive of Kuta in the surrounding hills that are great for those that want to get away from the crowds and be treated to something more private.
Budget accommodations in Kuta, Lombok – Under $40 Per night
Middle End accommodations in Kuta, Lombok- $40-100 Per night
High End accommodations in Kuta, Lombok- $100+
Day trip to Tetebatu Village and Mount Rinjiani
Tetebatu Village is a charming destination located in the heart of Lombok, Indonesia. Nestled amidst lush green landscapes and rolling hills, this village offers a serene retreat for nature lovers and those seeking a glimpse into traditional Indonesian life. Visiting Tetebatu Village is like stepping back in time, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and explore the natural wonders of the area.
One of the highlights of Tetebatu Village is its stunning natural surroundings. The village is situated at the foothills of Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. The picturesque scenery includes vast rice fields, cascading waterfalls, and dense forests, making it a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The cool climate of Tetebatu adds to its allure, providing a refreshing break from the heat of the coastal regions.
Kuta to Tetebatu
From Kuta, you can easily visit Tetebatu village and soak in the incredible views. It’s just over 1 hour by scooter to reach the village. Along the way, you can expect beautiful scenery filled with rice fields and volcano views.
Once you arrive, make your way to Octavia Warung where you can enjoy a nice Indonesian meal and go on a walk through the rice fields. You need to book a tour with the locals because there are no premarked paths to walk through the rice fields. I paid about 100k for a 2 hour trip through the rice fields. I even sampled local coffee and tea along the way.
I would highly suggest visiting Tetebatu in the morning hours. Dawn will offer you the most beautiful views and you’re more likely to be able to see Mount Rinjiani before the clouds roll in. I would recommend leaving Kuta at 6:30am at the latest to arrive at Tetebatu by 8am.
If you have more time in Lombok, I would recommend staying here for a night before making your way to the even more stunning village of Sembalun which has the most out of this world views of Mount Rinjiani I’ve seen!
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