Ah, Bali. Paradise, no? Jungles, waterfalls, monkeys… but where are all those turquoise waters? Besides a few beaches in Bali, most don’t boast the same turquoise waters that you’ll find on its neighboring island of Lombok. If you’re planning a trip to Bali, make sure you plan in some time to visit Lombok, if only to visit its gorgeous beaches. Whatever you do, just don’t mix up Kuta Lombok, with Kuta Bali. These two Kuta’s couldn’t be more different – and there is a clear winner.

kuta lombok

Kuta Lombok : The crowds

After briefly visiting Kuta Bali, I couldn’t believe the amount of time some tourists spend there. If you’re just there to drink endlessly, ok sure, go for it. Kuta Bali is known for its party scene and for being well… a bit trashy perhaps… maybe run-down is a better word. If you’re looking for something a bit more laid back and with a bit more of a local vibe, head over to the neighboring Kuta.



Kuta Lombok hasn’t yet hit its tourist peak, and is still relatively small and less touristed compared to Kuta Bali. Sure there are still plenty of tourists there, but you won’t (yet) find huge hotels and mass tourism. The streets (I think I counted 2 main streets) of Kuta Lombok are still pretty calm as far as scooter traffic goes, and most of the traffic you’ll find is local. No major traffic jams like in Bali.

The beaches

Finally, welcome to paradise! Lombok has the long white sandy beaches flanked by palm trees and looking out over aqua water that you’ve been dreaming of. Surrounding Kuta, just a short scooter ride away are gorgeous beaches waiting for you to visit. Best of all, they aren’t very crowded, and are not at the foot of hotels like the ones you’ll find in Bali – and they definitely don’t have the hoards of garbage on them that Seminyak and Kuta Bali have. That means more opportunity to just simply chill out and relax. 

On your visit, don’t miss these beaches in the area of Kuta Lombok

Pantai Tanjung Aan
kuta lombok
Pantai Tanjung Aan

Head to Tanjung Aan for a lazy afternoon after surfing, stuff yourself with nasi goreng at Warung Turtle on the beach, and then nap in one of the small beach cabins.

Read more: What to do in Gili Air

Pantai Seger

kuta lombok
Pantai Seger
kuta lombok
Pantai Seger

Better known as Seger Beach, this is the perfect place to watch the sunset in Kuta Lombok. Located just a few minutes outside of the center of the city to the east, Seger Beach has to big hills overlooking the ocean where you can perch and catch the sun go down. Don’t forget to grab a Bintang at the cafe at the bottom of the hill – just be careful not to drink too much cause the hill can be a bit steep in some places 😉

 

Pantai Mawun

kuta lombok
Pantai Mawun

Located to the west of Kuta Lombok, Pantai Mawun is a horseshoe-shaped white sand beach surrounded by lush green hills – not to be found anywhere in Bali! We found the locals here to be a bit more aggressive than normal about selling things, so unfortunately we didn’t stick around here too long.

Pantai Salong Belanak
Borrowed from hipwee.com

This is definitely one of the most “western” beaches. Here you’ll find several restaurants lining the beach with lounges to relax on. You can also try surfing here, but let’s face it, it’s nowhere near as good as Gerupuk.

Unfortunately for us,  it was pretty overcast when we visited and we didn’t see any of the famous ox crossings on the beach as pictured above – but you could!

The surf

kuta lombok
Heading out to the waves in Gerupuk

Ok, so before any “real” surfers argue with me over where it is better to surf, let me say that as a beginner surfer, Kuta Lombok is way better than Kuta Bali… or Canggu… or Nusa Dua where we also attempted to surf in Bali. If you’re a beginner looking to actually enjoy surfing, Kuta Lombok is your place. Big (and sometimes intimidating), yet slow-breaking waves are your best friend there – not to mention the water is turquoise. If you’re in Kuta, head east 20 minutes to reach the small surf village of Gerupuk, hop aboard a fisherman’s boat, and ride out to the surf. Or, better yet, book a week away in a surf camp and learn it properly. 

Although I’m sure for more experienced surfers Uluwatu or Canggu can be great, I found the speed of the breaking waves in Canggu too intimidating to go out in. But hey, that’s just me. I also had a bit of the feeling that everyone goes to Bali to surf… so you’re there with massive crowds who seem to be showing off.

Although the Kuta Lombok area is known for its surf, it’s not yet home to all the surf shops that populate the coastline of Bali running from Uluwatu to Canggu. That makes it both really pleasant – for once, no huge Quiksilver or O’Neill shops – but also a bit annoying if you actually need to buy something. So if you need some gear, make sure you bring it with you.

Getting to Kuta Lombok

The easiest, and I’d argue safest way, to reach Lombok is by flying in. It takes only 30 minutes to reach the Lombok airport from Denpasar, and won’t cost you much – I think it cost us €27 each. Don’t try to reach Lombok by boat unless you’re already in one of the Gili Islands – the islands looks close, but the waters can be deceivingly dangerous in the Lombok Strait.

What to know before you visit

  • The best way to get around is on a scooter. Rent one and explore!
  • As with Bali, there are tons of dogs here. But the dogs are typically not treated as pets – they are sometimes accepted by families to serve as guard dogs, but they are not treated nearly as well as in Bali. We saw many abused or starving dogs.
  • Lombok is less safe than Bali. If you visit Kuta Lombok, don’t leave the city center after dark – definitely do not take your scooter west toward Pantai Mawun. In fact that was one of the clear instructions the owner of our surf camp gave us when we stayed. There are quite a few accounts of armed robbery in Lombok – so have fun, but be careful
  • As with the rest of the area, don’t drink any locally brewed liquor. You’ll read that in any guidebook – you don’t want to risk your life over that. Drinks are cheap there anyway, so stick to Bintang to be safe.

What did you think of Kuta Lombok? Do you prefer Kuta Bali?

 

60 Comments

  1. Great post! We just spent a week in Bali and a week in Lombok, including a few days in Kuta, Lombok. The surfing there was awesome! It definitely seems like it’s going to hit the tourist map hard pretty soon, there was so much construction and it looks like they’re starting to build a lot of big resorts! We totally avoided Kuta, Bali because I’d heard how bad it was, which is such a bummer. I hope the same thing doesn’t happen in Kuta, Lombok.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      I hope so too! When we were there in January they said that a big Club Med was being built :-/ … of course I want the locals to benefit from the tourism but it was so great to visit with few crowds.

  2. Omg this is definitely on the list for the next time we visit Indonesia! We lived in Bali for 3 months but now it’s definitely time to explore the neighbouring islands. Thanks for sharing <3

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      be sure to head over soon! according to Kelly’s comment they are building a lot of resorts there already. and amazing that you lived in Bali for 3 months!!

  3. Those beaches! I haven’t ever heard of Kuta Lombok, but I am all for less tourists and more authentic experiences. I was reading another blog that also recommended renting a scooter to get around, which I would have never thought of. Good to know if I get to visit!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      yeah scooters all the way! guess it is standard in Indonesia to rent a scooter, and from what I hear in Thailand too. Definitely put it on your list to visit 🙂

  4. It is great that you included some safety tips in this article, as we often hear of people not taking enough care in Bali. I think Lombok may just be the destination for us in Indonesia. Thanks for the post

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      thanks for reading and the kind words! yeah it is a bit more dangerous (though only really in quiet areas at night), so it is good to be aware!

  5. You know I have been to Kuta but somehow I missed this experience as the pictures are too beautiful – i want to go back- bookmarked your post .

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah thanks, I would so love to go back too! Hope we both get to 😉

  6. Love these photos, that water is so clear! I’m heading to Bali in November and was debating whether to go to Lombok, this has definitely helped make my decision! Thanks 🙂

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah I’m so glad to read that! You will not regret going to Lombok, if only for a few days. You can also climb Rinjani (we didn’t since it was rainy season). Its also way easier to drive through cause it doesn’t have hardly any of the traffic Bali does! Took us 3hrs to drive 40km from Ubud to Uluwatu in Bali!

  7. I hear Lombok is gorgeous and has a few really nice resorts like the Oberoi. I would love to pay a visit to Lombok and neighboring islands.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      definitely plan to visit it! it’s gorgeous!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      It is very cheap to travel to and stay – I’d say probably as cheap or cheaper than Bali!

  8. So useful! I’m heading to Bali next week (fingers crossed due to the recent volcanic activity……) but was thinking about doing Gili islands and Lombok as well, since they have the prettiest beaches. Thank you so much for writing this!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah glad it is helpful for you! have a wonderful trip! I’m a tad jealous…

  9. Tried surfing in canggu and the waves were scary for me (im a beginner). Not to mention the current. True, bali is really touristy. I was shocked when i first arrived in Kuta bali after a month long stay around east java, which was at least still very relatively local. Too bad i didnt check out lombok. Shouldve made my way when i went to the gilis

  10. Tried surfing in canggu and the waves were scary for me (im a beginner). Not to mention the current. True, bali is really touristy. I was shocked when i first arrived in Kuta bali after a month long stay around east java, which was at least still very relatively local. Too bad i didnt check out lombok. Shouldve made my way when i went to the gilis

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Ah I didn’t make it to Java unfortunately.. that will have to be on my next trip! Bali is great but is definitely touristy and not very local. Hope you make it over to Lombok!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      glad to hear that someone else was also intimidated by the waves in Canggu! Pity you didn’t visit Lombok, but now you have a great reason to retun 😉

  11. I think after reading your post, Kuta Lombok is definitely going to start booming with tourists! I am planning a trip to Bali and never thought of adding Kuta Lombok – your tips, advice and suggestion has now changed my mind! Such a great post!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      hehe let’s see, I think it is already getting busy! If you can fit it in, visit Lombok, I have a feeling it won’t be the same in 5-10 years!

  12. I would love to visit Lombok! I’ve only explored Bali and the Gilis and have read fab things with Lombok. The beaches are stunning with the pure white sand and turquoise waters. Seger beach does look perfect to watch the sun go down!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      then you definitely have to return and go to Lombok next time! always a reason to return to Indonesia 😉

  13. Gabby I loved your post. I’m not a fan of crowded beaches and your post hit the spot. I even have Bali on my list, possibly for next year, so your post is super useful.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      you should definitely still go there! there are tons of off the beaten path areas – just see some of the other comments and some people list them. but definitely avoid Kuta Bali and DO put Lombok on your list.. you’ll have a wonderful time!

  14. I honestly love both Bali and Lombok. 🙂 We drove the scooter around both islands and even crossed both via boat with a scooter in tow. 🙂 Bali has a lot more tourist but in off beaten paths (like Tulamben and Jatiluwih) we barely saw any. Lombok’s Senggigi area is swarming with tourists but the Gili Islands are so lovely though. We also managed to find an accommodation (guest house) for roughly 10USD around 7km from Senggigi that has a beach front and when we went to the beach, there were just a few locals swimming one morning. I doubt it would be possible to find something like that in Bali!
    You should check out Sumabawa, that is the epitome of off beaten and the Moyo Island too 😉

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah Sumabawa, I’ve heard about that before! I would definitely love to go back to Indonesia and visit more islands! Bali, Lombok and the Gilis were just the first of (hopefully) my many trips! We definitely got to see more of Bali and also Jutiluwih – that one of the most special places I’ve visited… I think of its beauty so often still 🙂 !

  15. This looks like a great holiday destination. I’ve had Java and Bali on my bucket list for ages but think I need to add Lombok as well now! Might need to get there soon though as it sounds like it’s taking off .

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      ah I wish we had gone to Java as well! I really wanted to visit Yogyakarta, but I guess I have to save it for my next visit 🙂

  16. This looks like paradise! I’m wary of Bali as it seems like a very ‘party island’ which isn’t my scene but this I could do!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      same here actually. I’m not really into the party scene – and that especially was not my reason to bo go Bali! there are still some really nice laid back places there – Ubud for example, but I totally understand how the party stories can turn people off!

  17. I feel like Bali is so hyped at the moment – I don’t even want to go… This sounds like a beautiful and serene alternative!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      honestly I felt the same as you even when we booked our trip to Bali, but it is still really worth the visit! Uluwatu and Ubud are both lovely, and so is Nusa Lembongan. So definitely go, but investigate a bit first the places you want to visit so you can avoid the very busy areas

  18. As somebody who used to live in Bali – I agree with you 100% – the neighboring Islands offered so much more paradise beaches, and I have to say I, like most of the locals despised Kuta Bali. I got to know a few locals when I lived there and they used to joke that Kuta actually translates to ‘place of Australian tourist’ and they sacrificed a small part of the area to them so they don’t ruin the rest of the Island. When I lived there, I would much prefer to head off to Lombok for the weekend. Although I loved my time in Bali, I do miss it but I don’t miss Kuta that’s for sure.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      wow how amazing though that you lived in Bali for awhile! interesting that Kuta Bali is “given up” to the tourists. for such a small island, when you drive just an hour away there are so few tourists, its almost unbelievable how few people leave the Kuta/Seminyak area!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      hope you will get to visit it next time! a great reason to return 😉

  19. Fantastic article that couldn’t have come at a better time for us. We are heading back to Bali soon and have been thinking of visiting Lombok. The beaches there look amazingly turquoise! We never felt unsafe on our previous visits so thanks for the tip. We’ll definitely keep it in mind.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Ah I’m so glad it is helpful for you, have a wonderful trip!

  20. I’m definitely a Kuta Lombok kind of girl – looks beautiful – and I’d far rather be a little off the beaten track. It’s a shame about the locals at Pantai Mawun as it looks really stunning.

  21. Have heard so much about Lombok from my Indonesian friends and now you tell me how gorgeous it is. I have been wanting to go to Bali and spend some time there exploring the coastline. Last time I was there, I ended up spending most of my time in Ubud, which was great too. Must add Lombok to my itinerary.

    Stunning images.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Ah, I love Ubud as well! Definitely get over to Lombok on your next visit, it is wonderful

  22. You absolutely hit the nail on the head there. Bali has become a victim of crass-commercialization and over tourism(Thanks Aussies). Very few clear beaches left now. Even I had to head to smaller surrounding islands for clearer waters for diving. Lombok of course is a great alternative!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Yeah I cannot really complain I suppose since I am a tourist, but I choose the Lombok beaches any day! Just hope that it won’t become too overcrowded soon

  23. I haven’t been to Bali yet, but thanks to you, I definitely know where I’m going! Kuta Lombok looks amazing. That white sand and blue water are just dreamy. Would love to see the ox crossing too!

  24. I was looking for recommendations for a place to visit that wasn’t touristy. This looks like a wonderful place for me and my family to visit 🙂

  25. Yep, I’m not into the trashy party / drinking scene, and would much rather spend my time in an area like Lombok which has cleaner beaches, incredible nature, and far less tourism / crowds. Thanks for the tip on catching the sunset at Seger Beach, and I love the beauty of Pantai Mawun! I’ve always been a bit turned off the idea of visiting Bali, because of it’s reputation for the party scene, but I’m starting to realize it’s just about knowing where to go, and which neighborhoods to avoid!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      you’re right! you should still visit Bali, it has loads of areas that are still nice, especially if you drive to the north. But Kuta Lombok cannot be missed, it is so gorgeous and is the perfect stop on a trip through Indonesia!

  26. My partner and I have been thinking about going to Bali this December over Christmas, so I’m really happy to read your post! From your descriptions, Kuta Lombok clearly sounds like the place to go for us. We want to try to avoid all of the things you mentioned about Kuta Bali: crowded beaches, mass tourism, drunken tourists, garbage on the beaches. It’s a shame to hear that Kuta Bali has become that way! Also great to know that the waves are calmer in Kuta Lombok. Going to check out the surf school you mentioned, as that sounds really fun! Thanks for your advice 🙂

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      so glad this post was helpful to you! you will definitely have a great time in Lombok, it is such a lovely place and has a way more chill vibe than Kuta Bali!

  27. I feel like I must be in the minority of people that aren’t dying to visit Bali. It has little appeal to me and I just feel like there must be better places to go in Indonesia. Kuta sounds like hell and certainly not my cup of tea. Your photos of Lombok look lovely, but I’m still not sold especially after you addressed the safety concerns. The beaches do look pretty there, though.

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Yeah I also felt the same about Bali – but don’t get me wrong, the whole island isn’t bad! There are also plenty of areas of Bali which are much less crowded than the main tourist areas. I guess almost all areas have some safety issues at some point, but in general Lombok is great!

  28. Just came back from Indonesia a few days ago and I must agree that Bali was very disappointing. I am not sure what all the fuss is about when it comes to this island. Indonesia has so much more to offer, including Lombok which is most of the time completely disregarded by tourists. Perhaps it would be worth throwing a marketing campaign to advertise this little piece of paradise… or perhaps not! Let’s keep it a secret in order to preserve its integrity! 😉 Thanks for an awesome post!

    • gab.grow@gmail.com Reply

      Thanks for your kind note! I agree,.. maybe I shouldn’t have posted this to keep it a better secret 😉

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