Surfing in Lombok happens in the town of Kuta. Three short rides away by bus and minivan from the main city of Mataram, Kuta offers great waves that attract many surfers from around the world. This is truly a surfer’s paradise in Southeast Asia. The main beach in the area is Kuta Beach, but there is also the stunning and unspoiled Tanjung A’an Beach.
Tanjung A’an is about 8 km from the center of Kuta. It is nestled in a rocky coast and getting there is not possible by any form of transport, which is why many consider this a secret beach since it seems to be hiding its stunning beauty from the public. There is no straight, easy road leading to Tanjung A’an. Visitors and surfers need to take a 5-15-minute walk from the closest area to park a car. As a whole, beaches in Lombok have far fewer people than the leading beaches in nearby Bali. Lombok beaches are much less crowded, virtually unspoiled and with very few hawkers.
Lombok and Bali are considered sister islands because of their proximity and many similarities. Separated only by the 45-km wide Lombok Strait, Lombok and Bali have the best beaches, reefs, hills, and waterfalls in Indonesia. Although very close to each other, Bali is considered part of Central Java while Lombok is in West Nusa Tenggara; Bali is much more urbanized since Central Java has a much more stable economy and policy. On the other hand, the province of West Nusa Tenggara has had a tumultuous history that includes domestic fighting and natural calamities. History also proves that the Balinese migrated to Lombok so that the island is now littered with ancient Hindu structures, and its people, the Sasaks, have been influenced greatly by the Balinese.
These two islands have two distinct differences: one is religion – Lombok is Muslim just like the entire country, while Bali has remained Hindu. Furthermor, there is a difference in the number of tourists coming in. Lombok is obviously less developed and so the number of visitors is far lower. Fewer people may have negative implications on the economic tourism program of the island, but this is also what sets Lombok apart from Bali and other Southeast Asian beach destinations. The beaches are not crowded with tourists and hawkers, and so they are much more serene and relaxing. Lombok, as a whole, is a very laid-back island; perfect for a peaceful time in paradise.
Expats love Tanjung A’an, which they and the locals refer to simply as “Taj”. Surfers and backpackers are also the usual visitors to Taj, and expert surfers know that the waves here are very dangerous. They should also worry about the coral reef since there are live corals everywhere. Although the waves are good for surfing throughout the year, it is very shallow during low and middle tide. When it is in its finest, however, surfers expect to see a tube anytime. The best time to surf at Taj is in windy summer and during the morning high tide.