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Lombok, the island next to Bali, Indonesia, is one of those places we look back on and miss dearly. We went over to Kuta Lombok somewhat on a whim and enjoyed it so much we ended up staying several weeks. This Kuta Lombok Itinerary will cover where to stay, what to see, and the best things to do in Kuta Lombok.
When we first decided to take a detour from Bali and head to the surfing paradise island of Lombok, Indonesia, I didn’t know what to expect. Alex and I were down at Echo Beach in Canggu and I was deep in a romance novel, slurping on my coconut through a bamboo straw.
The beach was crowded that day. It was late afternoon so the beach bars were pulling out their rainbow bean bag chairs and setting up little plastic tables for the swarms of people about to take over the beach for sunset.
Lombok, we had heard from surfing friends and fellow travelers, is very different from Bali. Bali is known and loved by many for good reasons. But the global obsession with the island means it’s crowded. In the five-month gap between my two trips to Bali, three new resort developments were built in Canggu alone.
Lombok is less known and less visited. There are no night clubs, no jammed highways, no trendy coworking spaces. The landscape is different too. While Bali is a lush jungle, Lombok looks a little more like Jurassic Komodo.
We loved Bali, we really did, but thoughts of an exotic, quieter experience made us pull out our phones to book a last-minute $30 flight to Lombok.
Where is Lombok?
Lombok is the island located right next to Bali in the islands of Indonesia. Known for its surf, natural beauty, and laid-back vibe, Lombok is an awesome place to add to your travel itinerary.
We had planned to explore all of Lombok during our two weeks there, but ended up loving Kuta Lombok so much we stayed put.
For that reason, this Lombok Itinerary focuses only on the south part of the island around Kuta Lombok.
Getting to Kuta Lombok from Bali
With so many travel options, planning your own Bali Lombok Itinerary is a breeze!
Getting to Lombok from Bali is pretty straightforward. You have three options for how to island-hop.
1. Fly. Garuda Airline runs several flights a day between Denpasar and the Lombok international airport. The flights are cheap and surfboard bags are included. When you land, you’ll take a taxi from the Airport to Kuta Lombok. The taxi takes about half an hour and should cost 150K IDR.
2. Take a Speedboat. Speedboats run daily from three different ports around Bali. The speedboat is slightly less expensive than flying and it takes about two hours. The speed boat is weather dependent so take that into consideration if rain is on the forecast.
The downside of the speedboat is that it arrives in the northern part of Lombok up near the Gilis. This means you’ll have about a two-hour taxi ride down to Kuta Lombok, which will get pricy very fast. This option makes the most sense if you plan to explore the Gilis or hike Mount Rinjani before making your way to Kuta.
3. Take the Public Ferry. The public ferry or “slow boat” runs every hour from Padang Bai harbor. It is very inexpensive, less than $5 USD, and takes about four hours to get between the islands.
Like the speed boat, the Public Ferry is weather dependent and better for travelers who plan to explore the north of Lombok before heading to Kuta.
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Best Kuta Lombok Accommodation
To make the most of your Kuta Lombok Itinerary, you’ll probably want to stay close to Kuta town. The quality of accommodation in Kuta Lombok is quite high and the costs are generally easy on the budget.
You can find so many hostels, guest houses, and hotels to fit your needs close to Kuta town. If you’re wondering where to stay in Kuta Lombok, you won’t go wrong with these options:
Alabama House – I enjoyed this place so much I extended my stay by five days! The Alabama house was a little off the beaten path but that made it very peaceful as a home base in Lombok.
With a delicious breakfast, clean rooms, and friendly staff, this was one of the most comfortable spots I stayed in all of Indonesia. Alabama House also handled our Lombok scooter rental for the duration of our trip.
The Living Room Hostel Lombok – If you’re traveling solo or just prefer the community of a hostel, look no further than the Living Room Hostel. This hostel is also attached to my favorite bar called the Treehouse Kuta Lombok.
The atmosphere is very chilled out and peaceful – no wild parties or music late at night. It’s a little more expensive than other hostels in the area but you get to stay in a premium location and it’s always full of travelers.
Maharani Homestay – Located right on the main street just an easy walk from downtown, this beautiful homestay is comfortable and modern. Our room was absolutely massive and the booking included a big complimentary breakfast. They offered motorbike rental as well.
How to Get Around In Kuta Lombok Throughout Your Lombok Itinerary
The best way to get around in Kuta Lombok is by renting a scooter from your accommodation. There are horror stories of bike rental scams from places on the street so renting a bike from your reputable homestay or hotel is a better option.
Expect to pay about 70K IDR (USD) per day for a short term rental and 60K/day for a week or longer rental. Petrol costs 10k/liter.
Where to Eat in Kuta Lombok
Even though downtown is small, Kuta Lombok has some delicious spots to eat. With almost everything within close walking distance to each other, you won’t have to go far to find the perfect meal.
Frida’s Buritto – The best Mexican restaurant in Kuta Lombok! Frida serves delicious tacos and burgers long into the evening. Every now and then they have a happy hour special with 15K (About $1 USD) Bintangs but I never got a solid schedule for this, so just make sure to check the sign outside in the evening to see if the deal is on.
Krnk – My favorite pizza in Kuta Lombok! Krnk is a cool, open-air restaurant with a fully open kitchen. You can watch the chefs whip up burgers and pizzas while you wait for your meal and they have competitively priced cocktails at happy hour. I really enjoyed the options for toppings available for pizza and of course, there are vegetarian options here too.
Mia Mias Kitchen – A super cheap spot for any meal! The portions are small but for prices around $1-$2, you can’t beat it for a quick food break. The traditional Indonesian meals are served Indonesian spicy, so be prepared by ordering water too.
Bush Radio – Another cafe favorite in Kuta Lombok, Bush radio has an excellent assortment of brunch dishes and smoothie bowls. You can also order entire loves of bread but they must be picked up in advance. The ambiance looks like an abandoned building but that has been turned into a super cool modern workspace. Digital nomads, this is the spot for you.
Gangster Wrap – My Lombok Food Guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Gangster Wrap. This food truck is right downtown outside my favorite happy hour spot, so naturally it was a regular in the Kuta Lombok dinner rotation.
Their delicious Mexican and Asian style wraps made fresh by two amazing women won’t leave you hungry. They’re open from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm and also do takeaway.
Best Nightlife Kuta Lombok
Kuta Lombok isn’t known for its wild party scene. If you’re coming from Bali, Lombok will seem very quiet by comparison.
Still, there are a handful of nice places to enjoy a beer or happy hour cocktail with friends after a long day in the sun. Don’t miss these top Kuta Lombok nightlife spots!
TreeHouse Juice and Booze – By far my favorite spot to spend the evening in Kuta Lombok. This bar has a competitive happy hour every evening from 5-8 and just an overall cool vibe. It’s attached to the living room hostel so there are always a lot of travelers around to mingle with.
Oh and did I mention the bar is up in an actual tree? That’s right, you’ll enjoy your drinks and friends in a bean bag chair high up in a real tree with amazing staff.
Shu – Shu is top of the list for its view. Located up on a hill about five minutes outside of Kuta Lombok, this bar and restaurant is the perfect place to watch the sunset, share an appetizer, and have a beer. They have reasonably-priced dinner options but if you do nothing else, make sure to come here for the amazing view of the town and the sea.
A note about Happy Hour Specials. When I was in Kuta Lombok, I was amazed by how often restaurants had happy hour specials. Usually, these ran from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm and could be anything from discounted beers to two-for-one cocktails.
At least one restaurant was having a special every night so most nights we walked to downtown, looked at all the signs outside the restaurants, and picked the best happy hour deal.
Surfing in Kuta Lombok
Surfing is one of the main reasons people visit Kuta Lombok. As a very new surfer, I only attempted a few of the beginner spots. Alex is more advanced and he explored more advanced Kuta Lombok surf spots.
This Kuta Lombok travel blog will cover the basics, but you can Click here read more detailed surf reports for Kuta Lombok.
Selong Belanak Beach – Best Beginner Surfing Lombok
If you’re a beginner surfer like me, Selong Belanak Beach surf is where you’ll want to be. This is the only beach break in the south part of Lombok so it’s perfect for people who still wipe out instantly after awkwardly scrambling to their feet.
Renting a beginner board here costs 50k ($3.50 USD) for two hours and I recommend renting from Andi boards. The guys there know what they’re doing and they will watch your bag if you have belongings with you.
If you’re not surfing, there are plenty of beach chairs here where you can relax with a beer or meal and take in the surroundings.
Surfing Mawi Lombok
Mawi is one of the more advanced Lombok surf beaches, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you head down the treacherous mountain road to get here.
Mawi is hard to get to since the road is pretty much destroyed. Having a dirtbike is ideal to get here. It’s possible to get here on a regular scooter, just a lot more dangerous and a lot less comfortable. We attempted to do it once on a regular scooter and it was sketchy at best.
When you see the handwritten signs for the Mawi surf spot off the main road, you’ll drive up a mostly destroyed gravel road. At the top, you’ll pay the attendant for parking, then begin the 2-kilometer drive down rocky broken roads to the beach.
So why do people risk life and limb to get to this tricky surf spot? Mawi is absolutely stunning. Tucked away in a little cove, the beach and surf break will take your breath away.
Once you see Mawi, you’ll likely forget about the crazy drive you took to get there. There are nice waves at high tide and a delicious local restaurant right on the water. There are shaded tables and places to relax if you don’t surf, making this a dreamy spot to spend the day no matter your level.
There is no board rental at Mawi so make sure to bring your own if you plan to surf here.
Gerupuk Lombok Surf Breaks
Gerupuk Beach, Lombok is its own little surf town about half an hour from Kuta Lombok. This is a popular spot for surfers and you can easily rent a board here. Gerupuk is a bay with 5 surf spots of different ability levels.
To surf here, you have to rent a boat and boat driver to take you out to the breaks. The boat costs 150k for two hours. You can split the cost of the boat with your friends but only if you arrive in the port together. You’ll have trouble splitting a boat with people you meet there so try to link up with people before you arrive.
After you’ve paid, the boat driver will take you and your boards out to the bay to the surf spots you want.
One of the benefits of going out on the boat, besides getting to enjoy the natural beauty of the bay, is that you don’t have to worry about leaving your belongings on the beach for long. At some of the other beaches, we never brought cameras or phones since we were worried about leaving them unattended, but the Gerupuk boat fixed this.
If you don’t surf, I’m sure you could find a group of surfers to split the ride with if you wanted to just relax on the boat. Most boats are shaded, making this a relaxing place to read a book, take some pictures, or watch your surfing friends.
Gerupuk Lombok Accommodation
If you don’t want to commute to Gerupuk from Kuta Lombok, book a night at the Gerupuk Lombok Bungalow and stay close to the action!
Tanjung Ann Beach
Tanjung Ann Beach is halfway between Kuta Lombok and Gerupuk. It’s a long crescent of perfect white sand with a surf break far out in the bay.
When you arrive at Tanjung Ann Beach, park at a restaurant, not the main parking lot. If you buy water or beer at the restaurant, your parking will be free and you can use the beach chairs after your surf.
From Tanjung Ann, you can charter a boat out to the break. In theory, you could paddle out there but I never saw anyone do this since it’s so far. You can see a little bit of the action from the beach but your best bet is to hire the boat out to this intermediate spot.
Unlike at Gerupuk, the boat you hire at Tanjung Ann doesn’t stay with you. When you want to go back in, you’ll flag down a boat at the surf break and ride back that way. The boat costs 50K ($3.50 USD) each way.
What to do in Kuta Lombok other than Surfing
Even though I’m traveling with a surfer, I definitely can’t call myself one. For me, surfing is more of a “watch me fall and break my face a little bit but look I’m still having fun” thing.
But even though Lombok is known for surfing and I’m far from a surfer, I never ran out of things to do. Here are the things to do in Kuta Lombok besides surfing.
Spend the day at Tanjung Ann Beach
Tanjung Ann Beach was one of the best beaches in Kuta Lombok for relaxing with a book and doing other beach activities. I spent many an afternoon here with my Kindle, coconut in hand, friendly beach dogs licking my toes.
One nice part about this beach compared to some of the other ones is that you don’t have to pay for parking and beach chairs if you order food or drinks at one of the beach warungs.
On other beaches like Salong Belanak, you will have to pay 10k parking and anywhere from 25k to 50k for a beach chair, even if you order food.
Spending the day at Tanjung Ann Beach is a great way to experience one of the best beaches Kuta Lombok has to offer!
Relax at Selong Belanak Beach
Selong Belanak Beach should be on every Lombok travel itinerary. This is a great beach for swimming and relaxing with a good book. Local kids and visiting kids play here in the waves. Once while I was out attempting to surf, a herd of buffalo appeared out of nowhere and ran down the beach.
Even though you’ll have to pay for parking and beach chairs, Selong Belanak is still a great spot to spend the day. With 25K ($1.78 USD) beers and plenty of restaurants, you can happily spend a day enjoying the beach scenery at Selong Belanak.
Go for a drive
One of the best Kuta Lombok things to do is just going for a drive. Rent a bike (a heavy-duty one if you can swing it since the roads are not that great) and go exploring.
The coast is full of amazing mountain views, coastline, and hidden little beaches to explore. We went out one day with the GoPro and had to stop every three minutes because each lookout point was better than the next.
Head in the direction of Selong Belanak for the best views. Bring your camera and wear sunscreen because the wind from the bike makes it easy to burn without realizing it.
Volcano Hike Excursion
From Kuta Lombok, it’s easy to organize a short trip to the northern part of the Island to hike the Rinjani volcano. There are tourist stands all over downtown offering packages that include transportation, accommodation, and all the gear you need to hike this impressive volcano.
Lombok is closer to Komodo than Bali is, so if you were interested in doing a Komodo excursion (which, yes you totally should be), this is a great place to do it.
You can even plan tours that leave from Lombok via boat and you’ll get to see lots of the natural beauty as you sail to Komodo and explore the parks.
Need a place to stay before or after your Komodo trip? This post has some awesome suggestions.
Tips for this Lombok Itinerary
- Get a local sim card in the airport. It’s cheap and there is 4G coverage all over Kuta Lombok. I was even able to teach a few VIPKID classes from my 4G hotspot.
- How to get to Kuta Lombok from the Lombok Airport: the best option is to take a taxi from the airport to Kuta Lombok. It takes about half an hour. You can also use Go-Jek to get around Lombok.
- Almost all beaches charge a parking fee. Make sure to keep a few smaller bills handy when you go to the beaches. when I was there the fee was 10K rupia, or just under a dollar.
- Kuta Lombok is home to several beautiful mosques. The calls to prayer can be heard all around town. Keep this in mind when booking homestays near the mosque since some of them are right next door.
Planning a Trip to Indonesia?
Head to Booking.com or Agoda.com for the best deals on places to stay in Indonesia. Check out this post to decide where to go in Bali. You can also click the links to read about my favorite places to stay in Canggu and Labuan Bajo.
If you’re traveling around Indonesia, this post has some helpful tips!
Check out these Indonesia travel blog posts for travel inspiration and tips!
You can also see the full list of things to do in Indonesia here!