The south coast of Lombok is simply gorgeous. Every hilltop view reveals bay after bay of sweeping white sandy beaches, rolling surf and cute islets framed between dramatic headlands and quiet rural villages nestled among coconuts plantations. Noticeably absent of upscale resorts, at least for the time being, and a proliferation of affordable lodges and homestay accommodation tends to attract an easy going, low maintenance kind of tourist that has imbued the south coast area with a sleepy, laid back ambience.
The area has long been a favourite with surfers. The swell rolling up from the Indian Ocean combined with consistent trade winds and clear warm water make Lombok a year round surfing destination. But even during peak season, you’re more likely to be sharing a beach with village goats or buffalo than anyone else.
Centrally located along the south coast and only a 20 minute drive south of the airport, Kuta is the perfect place to base yourself whilst exploring the south coast. Rest assured the name is about the only thing Lombok’s Kuta has in common with its favourite namesake over in Bali but it does have a good range of budget to mid-range accommodation, restaurants, warungs, surfboard and scooter hire, other basic tourist infrastructure and a superb, powdery soft beach.
Just a handful of kilometres east of Kuta lies Putri Nyale Beach and the gorgeous Segara Beach. A little further on the rocky cape of Tanjung A’an has the picture postcard perfect sandy bays of A’an on the west and Pedau to the east. The snorkelling at both is worthwhile but mindful of the strong currents that occur in Pedau from time to time. Further along is the magnificent Gerupuk Bay which has no less than five surf breaks and a bounty of beautiful beaches. It’s the same story right across to the massive Ekas Bay just before you hit Tanjung Ringgit.
West of Kuta lies another series of dreamy islets and bays, each seemingly more secluded than the last. Nestled in a sheltered bay, the clear calm waters of Mawun beach are perfect for kids and snorkelling. Further along lie Mawi Beach and Selong Belanak, both of which have a reputation for producing some fine barrelling waves that bring the surfers flocking. Basically, the coast is loaded with beautiful beaches and coves all the way across to Bangko-Bangko (Desert Point), another notable surfing hotspot way over of the south-west tip of Lombok.
Ideally, the south coast is best explored over a few days using Kuta as a base. This will give you time to swim, laze on the beach and get into the laid back, chilled out ambience of the place. But if your itinerary is tight, you can easily take in the best of the nearby beaches around Kuta in a day trip from Senggigi which is about 1-1.5 hours drive away.