Lombok Island in southern Indonesia has the best beaches in the world. Lombok is less well known compared to Bali only because Bali was exposed to international tourism many years ahead. Swimming and other water sports in Lombok are as amazing and unforgettable.
The most important Lombok beaches are those found in the Gili Islands (or Gilis, for short), three exotic and unspoiled islands off the northern coast of Lombok. They are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, although there are many other Gili Islands at the other side of Lombok. (“Gili” means “tiny islands”.) The main attraction is unspoiled and extremely laid back Gili Trawangan. Local and foreign travelers and backpackers come here for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. Since the Gilis are gaining much popularity on their own apart from the main island of Lombok, a number of ferry companies and chartered planes take tourists from Bali directly to Gili Trawangan.
Also popular in Lombok for its amazing beaches is the town of Kuta. Kuta is called the surfer’s mecca in Lombok, and it is regularly drawing in hordes of surfers from around the world, most especially from nearby Australia. The most popular beach in the area is Kuta Beach (also spelled Kute), not to be confused with Bali’s own Kuta Beach. The latter, however, is not known to have world-class swells, waves and tubes. Kuta Lombok is also perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Tourists also come here for the picturesque hillside views, amazing sunsets and annual Bau Nyale Festival in February or March. Other beaches in Kuta are Novotel Beach, Tanjung A’an Beach, Mawun Beach, Selong Blanak, and Seger Beach, also known for their white-sandy shores and challenging waves, except for Mawun Beach.
The crescent-shaped Mawun Beach is best known for its very calm waters and a completely laid-back environment. Tourists come here to swim, snorkel, sunbathe, picnic or just bum around waiting for that beautiful golden sunset. All Kuta beaches are facing west. Tanjung A’an, on the other hand, is enjoyed only by surfers since the currents are too strong and dangerous for swimming. Tanjung A’an gets especially crowded in the morning with expats, locals and foreigners trying to get that perfect surf during the morning high tides.
Other than the Gilis and Kuta beaches, a top draw is the 10-kilometer long Senggigi Beach. What’s unique about this beach is not just its white sands but also the area of Senggigi itself. This is considered the island’s pulse and heart of tourism. Although not the capital city, Senggigi is clearly the most important place to visit for its upscale and affordable hotels, beachfront restaurants, and a number of bars and cafés that make for a truly unforgettable nightlife. Also found in Senggigi is the peaceful Kerangdangan Beach and the mystical Batu Bolong. Senggigi is not very far the capital city of Mataram and Selaparang Airport, the only airport in the island.
After spending enough time in swimming and other water sports in Lombok, tourists and vacationers might also want to try local attractions that do not involve water, namely the majestic Mount Rinjani, relaxing Sindang Gila waterfall, cheap batik shops, and authentic traditional villages.