Kuta Lombok has developed itself quickly into the main tourist hub of the island. It is the best-known place on the south coast with magnificent stretches of white sandy beaches and rugged hills around it. Where Senggigi is more the ‘beach resort’ town for couples and families, Kuta is the place for surfers, backpackers and explorers. During our visit to Lombok in 2020, we saw that Kuta is undergoing a huge transformation with the $3 billion Mandalika project. In 2021 the MotoGP will be held in Kuta Lombok, which resulted in many additional constructions of new luxury resorts, residences and appropriate infrastructure. So while writing this blog post, I do realize that Kuta Lombok is undergoing an enormous transformation and won’t be the same anymore in 3 years from now… So go discover untouched Lombok before it’s too late!
About Kuta Lombok
Everyone knows Kuta Bali, but only a few have heard of, or visited Kuta Lombok. This small beach town feels like an up-and-coming destination. And that’s not weird if you look at the huge investments and constructions that are going on. The Mandalika project is a $3 billion project to built a new MotoGP circuit, luxury residences, luxury resorts together with an appropriate infrastructure. The aim is to welcome the MotoGP in 2021 in South Lombok. The first MotoGP track in Indonesia! This might be one of the reasons why Lombok will be more popular among tourists in the near future.
After the Mandalika project is finished, Kuta Lombok will be changed into an important commercial centre in Lombok with new resorts, infrastructure and therefore also a lot of new jobs for the local people. So one thing is certain, Kuta Lombok will change a lot in the coming years!
Watch the drone video we’ve made from the MotoGP track of the Mandalika project.
How to get to Kuta Lombok
From the international airport of Lombok it’s just a 20 minute drive with the taxi to Kuta Lombok. If you arrive to Lombok by boat, the taxi drive from Mataram to Kuta takes about one hour.
Best time to visit Kuta Lombok
There are two distinct seasons in Lombok. The rainy season from October to March and the dry season from May to September. Throughout the year, daytime temperatures normally remain around 30°C but during rainy season the island experiences its highest levels of humidity. If you can bear the hot and humid conditions, you’ll have the island to yourself as this is low season. In April, temperatures begin to drop and the countryside becomes lush with green vegetation. May and June is considered to be the best time to visit Lombok as the days are sunny and not too hot with beautiful green nature around. At the end of the dry season and before rainy season start, you can expect the nature in Lombok to be very dry. Based on that, September, October and November are not the best months to visit Lombok if you want to enjoy the lush nature.
Aerial view of Kuta Lombok
How many days to spend in Kuta Lombok
If your days are not filled with surfing, I would say that 3-4 days are enough to explore the south coast of Lombok with Kuta as your base. There are many beautiful beaches waiting for you to be found!
How to get around in Kuta Lombok
The best way to get around in Lombok is by motorbike. You can rent a small motorbike for around 50,000 IDR per day. But be aware of some scams, especially in Kuta Lombok! Read more about Lombok scams at the end of this blog post where I give tips on how to avoid being scammed in Lombok!
Things to do in Kuta Lombok
Watch the sunset at Bukit Merese
One of the best spots to watch the sunset in Lombok is from Bukit Merese, also known as sunset point Kuta Lombok. It’s a short but epic hike to a hill that overlooks Tanjung Aan bay and the next bay to the west. It’s a 15 minute drive on the moped from Kuta Lombok to the parking area. There you have to pay 10,000 IDR parking fee. If you’re thirsty you can grab a coconut or beer before beginning the climb. But always bring your trash back with you! There are several spots where you can sit down and watch the sunset. Merese Hill is quite big, so if you want to have a place for yourself, make sure to walk all the way to the end of the hill. This will take about 15 minutes.
Read everything about Bukit Merese in this complete guide.
Learn surfing at Selong Belanak beach
Surfing in Kuta Lombok is one of the best things you can do! If you love surfing of course.. Selong Belanak beach Lombok is listed as one of the best places in the world to learn surfing! The sand bottom of the ocean and soft waves help to make the first step into the world of surfing fun. There are many surf schools where you can book a surf lesson or rent a surf board if you’re not a beginner anymore. For the more advanced waves you have to go to Mawi beach or Desert Point.
Eat at the hip cafes and restaurants in Kuta Lombok
If you’ve been to Bali, and especially the Canggu, Ubud, Uluwatu area, you know that there are some amazing healthy & tasty restaurants. Coming to Kuta Lombok, we didn’t know what to expect from the restaurants. But luckily, there are some amazing places to eat in Kuta Lombok! Our favourite restaurants in Kuta Lombok were:
Watch the sunset at Bukit Seger
On the opposite of Bukit Merese is Bukit Seger which is also a great hill to watch the sunset. It’s pretty much the same kind of view, but the hill itself is a bit smaller than Bukit Merese. So if you want to do something different than going to Bukit Merese, Bukit Seger is a great alternative. From here you will have a view on Kuta beach Lombok and Elizabeth beach on the other side. Because the hill itself is smaller than Bukit Merese you don’t have to walk that far to get to the viewpoint. This also means that when there are more people at Bukit Seger, it gets quickly over crowded. See for yourself which viewpoint in Kuta Lombok you like the most!
Book a snorkel trip to the secret Gili’s
From the main street in Kuta Lombok you can easily book a day tour to the secret Gili’s to go snorkeling. We did a tour to Gili Nanggu, Gili Kedis and some other small Gili islands scattered along Lombok’s South West coast.
Did you know that there are 26 different Gili’s around Lombok?! Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are the most popular, but the other Gili islands are absolutely worth exploring.
While the “secret Gili” islands are far from secret and all looking like each other, they are beautiful. The marine life is great here, and with the tiny sandbars, turquoise blue waters and remote vibes an absolute fun day trip from Kuta Lombok. Most tours offer a lunch-stop on the shore of a remote island, snorkeling gear and water. The price should be somewhere around 1,200,000 IDR for two persons including transport from and to your accommodation in Kuta.
Cool off at Benang Kelambu and Benang Stokel waterfall
Tucked away in Geopark Rinjani are Benang Stokel Waterfall and Benang Kelambu Waterfall located. The Benang Kelambu waterfall is a really unique one. The water that flows from the bushes and the epic wall of vines hides several waterfalls that flow quietly along the wall. It’s a beautiful waterfall to see, but there’s even another one to explore in this area! The Benang Stokel waterfall is a collection of two, and sometimes even three waterfalls in a small valley. The Benang Stokel waterfalls are not as huge or powerful as the other Lombok waterfalls, but definitely worth a visit!
Relax at Tanjung Aan beach
Tanjung Aan is a beautiful pristine beach from about 1km long. You kind of get ‘two for the price of one’ with double bays sweeping along either side of the peninsula. It is known to be one of the best beaches in Lombok, and we can agree with that! Fine white sands, turquoise waters and small beach shacks selling fresh coconuts and local food – heaven! It can get a bit crowded in the middle of the day, but the beach is big enough that you can find a secluded spot if you’re willing to walk further from the parking lot. This is actually the best beach in Kuta Lombok as Kuta beach itself isn’t that appealing with lots of fisher boats and rubbish on the beach.
Visit a traditional Sasak village
If you want to learn about the traditional Sasak culture, you should take a trip to one of the indigenous local villages like Beleq or Sade Village. These authentic villages are known for its elevated woven huts, textile vendors & street performances. Beleq Village dates back from the 14th century which means that it has a fascinating history. The interesting thing about these villages is that it hasn’t changed much over the years. Although, it is still a tourist village aimed at educating visitors about the traditional Sasak way of life.
Diving in Lombok is maybe not the first things that comes to your mind. But diving here is great with unspoiled reefs and an array of marine life. The conditions are variable and there can be rough seas at the south east coast of Lombok. Therefore it depends on the weather conditions to which dive sites you can go. Diving in the Kuta area can be done year round, but the best time is during the first half of the dry season when the sea is still calm and the visibility around 10-15+ meters. There are many diving schools in Kuta Lombok where you can book dive trips or to get your PADI!
Relax at untouched Mawun beach
Mawun beach is one of the most picturesque Lombok beaches that you’ll find. Locally known as Pantai Mawun, this beach is a wide bay of soft white sand that drops into the deep turquoise waters. Approximately 20 minutes from the heart of Kuta Lombok is Mawun beach located. The calm water in Mawun’s bay is perfect for swimming and the soft white sand is great to relax. The headlands give a kind of protection to the beach, so you will really have the feeling of a secluded beach.
Read in this blog post about all the best beaches in Lombok.
Visit the bat caves
It’s maybe not the most popular thing to do in Kuta Lombok for tourists, visiting a bat cave. But, the small caves nearby Kuta Lombok are absolutely worth a visit! The Kuta Lombok Bat Cave, also known as Bangkang Cave, is a small system of caves on the hillside behind Kuta Lombok. There are actually three different caves; Goa Bangkang Prabu, Goa Puwun (or Mystical Neverland) and the third cave is Goa Sumur. You’ll find them all in the same area and no matter which one you choose, you will get to see, and smell, thousands of bats. We’ve visited two of the caves and our goal was to create a picture with the magical lightrays. They only appear at a certain time when the sunlight comes right through the gap of the roof. It’s super magical to see and capture with your camera!
Read in the complete guide everything you need to know about the different Bat Caves in Lombok
Explore Pink beach
Located in a remote area of Lombok’s east coast, Pink Beach is not an easy place to visit. It’s an off the beaten path destination, which is a bit difficult to reach. But mostly, when a place is difficult to reach, it means there’s a big chance that you will have the place for yourself! There’s not much else to do or to see around except the impressive cliffs and endless views on the ocean. But if you like snorkelling you can see some amazing marine life along the shore of Pink beach. The drive to Pink beach from Kuta Lombok takes about 1,5 – 2 hours, so be prepared for a half day trip. Also the last 20 minutes to this beach is on an unpaved road, so it can get very bumpy. But riding around through the local villages and sightseeing along the way is part of the adventure to this unique beach!
Be aware for typical scams in Lombok
During our time in Lombok we had a few encounters with potential scammers, and we heard stories about tourists being scammed. I absolutely don’t want to discourage you to travel to Lombok, because the island is beautiful and has lots of things to offer. But I do want to warn you for a few potential scams to make your trip to Lombok a beautiful memory!
Please be alert when renting a motorbike. There are a few potential scams possible with renting motorbikes.
1. Paying for damage you didn’t make. How to avoid?
Always check AND photograph scratches or other damage to the motorbike you rent together with the person you rent from. In this way you have prove that certain scratches were already on the motorbike. Otherwise you have the chance that these people want to scam you by paying for the damage on the motorbike you didn’t make.
2. Your motorbike got stolen but surprisingly found back by other locals (or not!) who insist and sometimes even threaten you to pay. How to avoid?
Make sure to check reviews of the party you want to rent from or rent from the hotel or hostel you’re staying. Mostly these people work together with a group, and they share their proceeds with each other. If you want more information about this, read this article on Lonely Planet about someones experience being scammed in Lombok with a stolen motorbike.
Same as what happens with motorbike rental. When you bring the surfboard back to the surf school, they tell you you made a scratch and insist you to pay for the damage. How to avoid? Same as with the motorbike rental. Always check AND photograph scratches or other damage to the surfboard together with the person you’re renting from.
“You need a guide” waterfalls scam
Some locals want to earn some extra money by walking with you to the waterfalls “as your guide”. They say “you need a guide to go to the waterfalls”, but that’s just nonsense. The paths to the waterfalls are very straight forward so you can’t get lost. It’s not a tricky hike or whatsoever. So how to avoid? Either go very, very early (before the ticket office opens), or make sure you’re very steadfast in negotiating.
Mount Rinjani trekking scam
How to avoid? Go to either Senaru or Sembalun directly and talk to the companies there. Always read reviews before booking a tour with a company! Trekking Mount Rinjani is a serious thing and requires a serious company to guide you! Don’t book in Kuta because they add up a lot of costs.
More Lombok travel guides
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the best things to do in Kuta Lombok. If you have any questions, let us know!
For more inspiration about Lombok, read these guides: