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Exploring Kuta, Lombok Posted by on Dec 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

Kuta, Bali is an overcrowded tourist trap. The beach is packed full of touts who constantly pester you. The town has ripoffs and scams around every corner. It’s got Western fast food chains left and right and tons of chain hotels. Walking around here, you’d be forgiven for not even realizing you’re in Indonesia. Thankfully, there’s a much better Kuta nearby. Exploring Kuta, Lombok is a much more enjoyable experience. Let’s take a closer look.

An Intro to Kuta

Welcome to the good Kuta.

Kuta is located in the south of Lombok, just a 30-minute drive from the island’s airport. Unlike its Balinese counterpart, it’s a sleepy town that’s still clearly a cluster of kampung (villages). You won’t find McDonald’s or Starbucks here, but you will find plenty of local warungs. While more and more people work in tourism here, it’s still mostly a town of fishermen. It’s a beautiful place to explore, and is well worth a couple of days on your Lombok trip in addition to climbing Mt. Rinjani and chilling on the Gili Islands.

Beach Hopping

One of several peaceful beaches.

You’re spoiled for choices when it comes to beach hopping around Kuta. With a rented motorbike, it’s possible to hit 3-4 a day. There are no noisy bars or incessant touts here, just some fishing boats and a handful of shacks selling coconuts, snacks, and Bintangs.

Selong Belanak

Even the most bustling beach here – Selong Belanak – is still super chill compared to Kuta, Bali. Here you’ll actually find some beach chairs for rent as well as a restaurant at the end of the beach. There are also surfboards available and plenty of instructors happy to get you started. That brings us to our next point.

Surfing

Surfs up!

If you’re trying to catch some waves on your trip here, there are several places to go. The aforementioned Selong Belanak is a great spot for beginners, while the more remote Mawun beach is better for more advanced surfers. It should be noted that it’s not advisable to leave valuables in your motorbike or on the beach while you surf, as robberies are unfortunately quite common here. It’s a good idea to leave your important things at your accommodation, or leave them with a friend or with a shopkeeper on the beach if you’re alone.

Viewpoints

What a view!

From a few of the beaches around Kuta, it’s possible to take a short hike to stunning viewpoints. It’s quite possible you could find yourself glancing out at a massive beach that’s entirely empty. That’s something that’s impossible to do in Bali these days. There’s one viewpoint near Pantai Seger that makes the perfect spot to take in the sunset.

Photo Opps

Picture time.

While more and more tourists are starting to trickle in here, you’re still somewhat of a novelty as a bule in Lombok. As such, don’t be surprised if locals or tourists from other Indonesian islands want to take photos with you. My wife’s blonde hair attracted a huge group of Javanese girls who proceeded to snap dozens of pictures with her. There are also some good spots for you to get that perfect Instagram shot, such as a the beach swing in the collage above.

Eat and Drink

The Corner Boutique Cafe

Even though this Kuta isn’t very developed for tourism, you’ve got several choices for eating and drinking here. A great place to start your day is the Corner Boutique Cafe, where you can get a delicious fruit bowl and a real coffee or a delicious sandwich.

Ikan Bakar

It’s easy to eat on a budget here, as there are tons of local places serving up classics like nasi goreng. As a beach town full of fishermen, you can also find plenty of fresh seafood. Order up some ikan bakar with some rice and veggies for a great dinner.

Drinks with a view.

If you’re looking for something slightly fancy, head to Ashtari. This beautifully decorated restaurant and lounge has some of the best views in the area. This comes with a price tag to match, so it’s a good idea to come here for a cocktail and appetizer and save dinner for elsewhere.

Booze and nachos!

A great place to hang out and grab a drink with fellow travelers is the Bus Bar. It’s not just a clever name – the bar is actually in an old school VW microbus. In addition to tasty cocktails and ice cold beers, they’re also serving up nachos and tacos here if you need a break from rice and fish.

Reggae music and cold drinks.

You won’t find a ton of rowdy bars and nightclubs here like you will over in Kuta, Bali, but there are still a few places you can go to party. The Shipwreck Bar usually has live music and attracts a good crowd of travelers and locals who come to jam out to some reggae.

Accommodation

A great place to stay.

There are choices for all budgets when it comes to accommodation here, from hostel dorms to a 4-star resort. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at La Bangkat, which has a nice outdoor pool and a restaurant. They have a handful of A/C rooms, as well as a few simple fan rooms. We went for the latter to save some Rupiah and were very comfortable, especially lounging in the hammock.

Summary

Traffic in Kuta.

If the crowds and the hype of Bali’s tourist centers turn you off a bit, consider paying a visit to this chilled out beach town on Lombok. Traffic jams here consist of water buffaloes instead of tour buses, and you’ll have a much more enjoyable stay. Rent some wheels and a surf board, and you’ll be all set for a few epic days of exploring Kuta, Lombok.

 

Have you been to Kuta, Lombok? What did you think of it? Leave a comment and let us know!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.