Lombok is the laid-back island directly East of Bali in Indonesia and is much less crowded and less touristic than Bali. Many travelers say Lombok is their favorite part of Indonesia. Kuta Lombok (not to be confused with Kuta Bali) is a resort town in Southern Lombok known for surfing. I found a flight from Bali to Lombok for only $18; which is less expensive than taking the fast boat to Lombok from Padang Bai. Among the many activities available on the island, I traveled to Lombok to go surfing, and above all, to trek Mt. Rinjani.
- Easy to get in (fly in or take a fast boat from Padang Bai)
- Laid back
- Locals are super friendly
- Many excellent surfing spots
- Trek Mt. Rinjani
- Scenic drives in the mountains and near the coast on a motor bike, and the roads aren’t busy
- The kids selling bracelets are cute but they never give up
- The super early morning Mosque prayer (Azan) time is inconvenient when you’re sleeping – don’t forget your ear plugs
- You can’t buy alcohol in convenience stores, but you can get a takeaway from a restaurant or bar
- Nightlife is a bit lacking – not as good for solo travelers looking to meet others
Kuta Lombok is a hot spot for surfing. There are several good surfing spots in South Lombok near Kuta including Mawi, Mawun, Tanjung Ann Break, Selong Belanak, and Gerupuk. As a beginner I was considering Gerupuk or Selong Belanak. Since Gerupuk requires a boat ride from locals to the surf point, I chose to surf at Selong Belanak. It’s a nice beach and it’s only 50,000 IDR to rent a board for 2 or 3 hours of surfing. Make sure to drive a scooter to Selong Belanak from Kuta, the twists, turns, and hills provide stunning views… you won’t regret it!
I’ve heard from countless other travelers that the Mt. Rinjani trek was their favorite part of their vacation. Mt. Rinjani is an active volcano, and on September 27 the sub volcano Mt. Barujari which is inside the Rinjani Caldera erupted and has been on fire for several days afterwards. I emailed the folks at the Mt. Rinjani National Park asking if it was safe to trek Mt. Rinjani and they replied on October 3 the following, which didn’t convince me to go.
The baby volcano still on fire and we are not officially open but if you want to trek, trek with the company that has insurance as we don’t cover evacuation if the baby volcano erupted again,
During the eruption of Baby volcano of Mt. Barujari on Sept 27, 2016, there is over 100 trekker on the mountain during the eruption and stuck at the park and many of them don’t have insurance while only rinjanimountain.com has cover their trekker with evacuation insurance and 5 people was evacuate by Helicopter while others don’t have was evacuate by foot.
Kids Selling Bracelets
The kids selling bracelets in Kuta Lombok are among the most cunning I’ve witnessed anywhere in SE Asia. They love to play games with you and if they win you have to buy a bracelet. The two games they played most with me are guessing where I’m from and country capitals.
It goes like this – the kids will approach you, greet you, and will guess where you’re from. For me they always guess Germany or Switzerland for some reason. When I tell them I’m from USA they love to tell me how President Obama lived in Jakarta.
Following the guessing game, they love to see if you can stump them by having you ask them the capital of any country. No matter how obscure the country, they always know the answer. One kid knew the capital of Azerbaijan (I didn’t know), but he was right. After being schooled so many times by 7-year-old memorization masters, I had to school them for once, so I asked them to name any country with a population over 100 Million. They couldn’t name one.
I really wish I had a picture of the kids. When I asked them for one they said it’ll cost me a bracelet 😂
If you’re looking for a place to stay on a budget, I can recommend Imelda Homestay in Kuta Lombok if it’s available. It’s central, directly near the Alfa Mart, and the staff is super friendly.