Kuta Lombok (Kute) is a fairly small village situated on a lovely bay in the south of the island. The town and surrounding beaches have a backdrop of soaring hills which makes for a scenic location.
Kuta is a holiday place for surfers and travellers, plus a fishing/agriculture service town. It has a lazy relaxed atmosphere and the locals were the most honest and friendly of any in my 9-location whistlestop tour of Bali-Lombok.
There is plenty of accommodation, restaurants, bars, bike hire joints, surf board hire/repairs/lessons, clothing stalls etc. Plus 2 dive outfits.
Accommodation ranges from bottom budget thru flashpacker into midrange. Plus the 4 star Novotel Coralia Lombok, (now called Novotel Lombok) is on its own attractive beach about 2km east of town.
Mimpimanis Homestay is an oft-praised budget/flash-packer place, on the main road as it descends into town. On this latest 2011 trip I noticed a few similar homestays in this vicinity and further out of town.
The town beach is nothing to get excited about, but some within a few km each side are far better than anything you will find in the Gilis or Bali.
Tanjun Aan would fit into my top dozen scenic beaches - a 4km long strip of white sand divided into twin crescents by a central promontory. I think there were two couples on this beach when I called in. It’s about 4km east of Kuta along a flat fairly good road - there are several other beaches you can reach by short tracks along this section.
Mawun is around 7km west of town. The road here is in parts steep and has some bad washaways - take care if you are a novice motorcyclists. The single crescent of white sand is "only" 1400m long, and like Tanjung Aan, the water is deep off the sand at all tide levels. There were about 6 western couples on the whole beach when I called in.
Kuta Lombok used to be a magnet to the backpacking crowd. I was surprised that they seemed to represent only about 20% of visitors early Sept 2011. About 5% were domestic tourists and the rest mainly surfers with their girls or families, plus a few western non-budget traveller couples.
Sade and Rambitan are two traditional Sasak villages on the main road from the north within 10km of Kuta village. Both are open to tourist visits and and locals will take people on guided displays of traditional architecture and communal lifestyle for a small fee.
Made from Mimpimanis Homestay runs a pick up service from the airport and ferries, plus daytrips - we used him to come from Bangsal, the mainland “pier” from the Gilis, and to go to Lembar where the big vehicle ferries leave for Bali. Prices are very competitive. Made and associates speak good English and are careful drivers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Made direct on 081 836 9950.
A bonus for guests at Made's and his English wife Gemma's homestay is a free Kuta orientation tour on arrival. Note we didn’t stay at Mimpimanis on account Lady Tezza wanted a pool. Hell, I don’t mind a pool.
A new international airport opened only 15 minutes north of Kuta in October. Even before opening this had sparked a real estate boom in/around Kuta. The place could be a fair bit changed when I next visit.