Plenty to choose from
While Kuta has its own grand beach, the real attractions here are the surrounding beaches — both to the east and west of Kuta town. There is no public transport to speak of to get to any of the outlying beaches, so you’ll need your own transport — all the following beaches are reachable by car or motorbike. The most commonly visited beaches are reached by all-weather sealed roads. All of those to the east of Kuta have mostly good sealed roads (patchy in places). To the west, however, the road quality drops off badly after Selong Blanak, with the coastal “road” from there west to Torok Air being particularly awful (and hair raising!) as of January 2015. The roads to the west though are developing quickly as increasing levels of land speculation are driving a number of villa developments here — hopefully beach access will remain open to all.
If your time is limited, you could conceivably fit in most of the beaches around Kuta in a day, but you’d be far better off to either allow more time or be more selective in what you try to fit in. One day for the beaches to the east and one for those to the west works, or better still a day (or two) per beach. Bear in mind, all beaches charge a parking fee — generally 5,000 rupiah for a motorbike and 10,000 for a car. In some cases you can park outside the parking lot and walk in, but if you choose to do this be sure to leave no valuables whatsoever in the vehicle.
If you’ve only got time for a single beach, Selong Blanak or Mawan should be your choice, with Selong Blanak well worth the extra miles to reach.
West of Kuta Lombok
The first beach you’ll reach heading west from Kuta is Are Goling (also spelt Are Guling), one of the only beaches out this way that has accommodation near it (the aptly named Are Goling Beach Bungalows). With two reef breaks — a long righthand point break and a shorter lefthand reef break — this is a more popular spot with surfers than sunbakers and swimmers, though the offshore reef keeps the waters in close nice and calm. You can drive or ride right up to the beach where there is a parking area, though you may need to wade through a small pond to reach the sand. The beach is also home to an active fishing village.
This is one of Kuta’s most beautiful bays. A broad round bay closes tight to the ocean with large headlands to the east and west and a beautiful crescent of sand in between. The shaded parking area is right by the beach and you should expect to encounter a few vendors here flogging snacks and perhaps some souvenirs. Despite being one of the most attractive beaches around Kuta, Mawan never seems all that crowded — we’ve never seen more than a dozen people here. The beach is long, ideal for fossicking walks, but the water gets deep quick, so watch yourself when swimming. This is an ideal spot for a lazy half-day spent doing not much at all.
If you thought Mawan was quiet, it’s a hive of activity compared to the exposed but still impressive Lancing Beach. There are a couple of access points here and we went for the more central one, where you walk down a trail between the crops to the beach. (The shop across the road, though you’re parking on a public road, will still demand parking money.) Lancing is protected by an offshore reef, so the waters are quite calm in close, and the drop off is comfortably shallow, making it a good spot for just floating around. There can be a significant current, so keep an eye on where you’ve left your gear. Lancing lacks the beauty of Mawan or Selong Blanak, but it’s still a great beach. We didn’t see a single vendor here, so bring supplies with you.
Mawi is well regarded for a fast and powerful reef break that can hold eight- to ten-foot waves — it’s not for the faint hearted. Also not for the faint hearted is the amount of trash on the beach. Yes, there was an onshore breeze the day we visited, but going on the tide markers and the trash back up above the high tide mark and surrounding the warungs, this beach was absolutely filthy — and all the worse for the bunch of louts charging 20,000 rupiah at the entrance gate — perhaps they should get off their butts and clean the beach now and then. Unless you’re a skilled surfer, we’d look elsewhere.
This is a terrific beach, with crystal waters and a very long, white sand beach. There are two places to stay here, one for flashpackers, the other for the more luxury minded, but even if you’re not staying here, it is worth making the trip out from Kuta to enjoy the scene. Unlike most of Kuta’s beaches the central part of the beach here is lined with warungs and board rental outlets and there’s also the more upmarket Laut Biru Bar & Restaurant at the western end of the warung strip ,where you can enjoy an impressive array of Western and Asian fare at not unreasonable prices — they even have pavlova. The beach break here is suitable for novices, but many just come to enjoy the beach with some cold drinks and a bite to eat. This was our favourite beach around Kuta. Note that with an onshore breeze you get a fair amount of refuse washing in. The parking area is well signposted.
Torok Air was as far west as we got from Kuta. It can be reached via a hair-raising dirt road along the coast from Selong Blanak (we’d expect it to be impassable in wet season) or via a far longer inland road, the first half of which is a great road and the second half of which is awful. The beach is long and broad, but sees close to no visitors — expect pretty much all the kids to come and say hello when you arrive.
East of Kuta Lombok
Heading east from Kuta, the first easy to reach beach of note is the one the Novotel is plonked onto. You can either access it through the resort or there is a carpark to the east where you can park and get down onto the beach. This isn’t one of Kuta’s most beautiful beaches but at the eastern end there is a small bridge over a river (keep an eye out for the statues) and from there you can walk over the headland to reach Seger Beach — a far more beautiful strip of sand.
There are two parts to Seger — a short strip below the headland, immediately to the east of the Novotel beach, and a far longer, extremely impressive beach that runs out to the east. The two strips have separate parking areas (and parking fees) so we’d suggest picking one or the other — in this case, bigger is most certainly better. An easy-to-climb headland between the two offers spectacular views both down the beach and out to sea — brilliant at sunset. A clutch of warungs on the beach serves coconuts, beer and other snacks.
This broad double bay is split by a squat headland about two thirds of the way down its length. The longer western stretch is a brilliant white sand affair, while the eastern stretch is more yellow and grainier. We loved the far western corner, where you can clamber over a small headland to reach another smaller beach, home to a cool little beach bar and great floating straight offshore. If you can’t make it that far, more warungs are more centrally located and also clustered around the headland way down the beach. Note that there are multiple parking areas along the beach and each one will charge you to enter — one ticket on Tanjung Aan doesn’t get you access to the others, so park and walk.
Last call on the eastern Kuta beaches, Gerepuk isn’t so much a beach locale as much as a spot to hire boats to head across the bay to a selection of surf spots. Homestay accommodation is available in Gerepuk village should you want to stay here, but we’d recommend staying in Kuta proper unless you were solely here to surf.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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