Kuta is a surfers paradise filled with dedicated surfers who just surf, no funny business. The waves roll in, azure blue and powerful strong walls of water thunder and crash down onto the shore. The surf spots are aplenty, all dotted around the coasts in various hidden beaches and the empty coves are seemingly endless. Kuta is a small village filled with the essential tourist shops having bikes and boards for hire, a clutter of western style restaurants, and cheap restaurants serving local grub.
On this island, Lombok, there are a few nice waterfalls and of course, the volcano Rinjani can be hiked. But in Kuta, you can rent a motorbike for 50 thousand a day and explore more of the surrounding area on your own accord, zipping up and down mountains, bending around corners, flitting past local village life and whizzing past rice terraces. If biking for the first time (I finally had the guts to bike myself here after spending 5 years being a back seat passenger). Do not worry, the roads here are the best in Lombok and are moderately quiet, in comparison to busy and bustling Bali, or relating Lombok to other areas of motorbike riding Asia, much better than Vietnam or Thailand, making Lombok the perfect location to learn how to drive.
Just a few pointers for someone who hasn’t ridden before: drive slow- there is no point in injuring yourself and the scooter causing a costly turn out to show off to your mates, bend your body with the bike around corners- don’t turn, and use your feet to balance the bike when stopping or if the road is in poor condition. Also, something which I always do, is take pictures of the bike before renting, so first off, who ever you are renting off knows that you are street smart and safe, as well as this, if they try to scam you about lying saying you made some damage when you didn’t, you have proof.
Having a bike is a large advantage as public transport around Kuta is non existent and ojeks (motorbike taxis) are expensive. Kuta beach, although the beach is on the doorstop of the town hub, is dirty and filled with 6 year old hawkers selling bracelets. Head to Manuan Beach and Tanue for beautiful surroundings and peace to swim and sunbathe. Beginner surfers should head to Selong Blanok for waves that are easy to access and continuously roll onto the beach. (I say easy access but after not surfing for 4 years, I did have a few washing machine collisions with the waves. A drink of sea water later and a tumble in the waves, I carried on- the atmosphere here inspires you to keep going, searching for that one wave you know you can achieve). Intermediate surfers should head to Gerapuk, where you must take a boat out for 10 thousand rupiah to catch a wave. Although annoying, the surf is phenomenal and the view is astoundingly beautiful. Advanced surfers should head to Mawi Beach, beautiful and quiet apart from the one shack with the local who serves fresh pineapples with a smile, this place is serene and the view of the rocky landscape is perfect whilst taking in the warm sunny rays. Here, you must swim over the reef to catch a wave, similar to Gerapuk bay, but the waves here are bigger and badder.
I was told that Kuta is Bali 30 years ago and I can see why. Less tourists, no commercialism and a lovely harmony of local surfers and western surfers come together here, bringing people from different areas of the world and different cultures together over a shared passion. You can feel this embracing atmosphere in the area of Kuta, and the surrounding beaches, everyone is warm and welcoming.
Great local restaurants that serve cheap and delicious food are Warung Jawa 2 and Warung Mario, both serving Indonesian food with fresh ingredients combining to create a flavoursome mouthful. My favourite meal in Indonesia was from Warung Jawa 2 which was mouthwatering juicy Chicken Satay with a thick peanut sauce and rice, as well as the luscious vegetable dish of Gado Gado (layers of vegetable seemingly endless covered, once again, in that thick creamy peanut sauce you just CAN’T get enough of!) Bars that carry on the laid back chilled surfer vibes and are nice to visit are Surfers Bar and Barrel Bar.
There are a number of options accommodation wise in Kuta ranging from cheap bed sit basic rooms to plush hotels. I stayed in Lamancha Homestay, where furnished bungalow style rooms stand in a quiet lovely garden just off the main road (and you don’t hear the traffic). Double poster beds with hanging mosquito nets is a plus, as well as the free breakfast included (and of course WIFI but I had no phone so that wasn’t an interest for me), all for 150 thousand rupiah a night.
Getting here is more of a difficulty, as there is no public transport, there is fierce competition in coming from any direction. I went to the bus station looking for a bus in Mataram, however as it was not a major location, like I said before, there is no public transport. Hired Jeeps, vans or sharing a bemo is your only option. I paid 150 thousand rupiah for a space in a car with a driver and a few other passengers.