The island of Lombok in Indonesia may not be as popular as its sister island, the island of Bali, but those who have been to Lombok has learned two things: it is easy to fall in love with Lombok and the best place in the island is Senggigi. A very relaxing beach town on the western coast, Senggigi is the oldest resort and most commonly visited area in the island. Simply put, it is Lombok’s main tourist destination.
One of the top draws here, of course, is Senggigi Beach. This white-sand beach is perfect for swimming, surfing and snorkeling. The reef is very colorful and teeming with all sorts of marine life and exotic corals. This beautiful white-sand beach stretches for 10 kilometers all the way to Bangsal, which is the port gateway to the exotic Gili Islands.
In addition to Senggigi’s magnificent beach, the area is very popular among tourists for its affordable hotels and resorts, upscale restaurants, amazing shopping, and rocking nightlife. Along the beach is the Mangsit hotel strip. Surfers, tourists, and backpackers find the accommodations here perfect since it is very near the beach as it also leads to Mount Rinjani and Gili Islands, the two most important natural treasures in Lombok.
Other major attractions in the area are Batu Bolong to the south and Kerangdangan to the north. Unlike Mangsit, Kerangdangan is a large, quiet area by the bay. This place offers scenic villas in a valley by the beach. Batu Bolong, on the other hand, has a number of scattered hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars. The area also offers a residential area for both locals and expats. However, the real attraction in Batu Bolong is Pura Batu Bolong, a temple that is majestically built on top of a black volcanic rock formation jutting out of the sea. The rock is unique for its hole in the middle. Batu Bolong literally means “a rock with a hole”.
And then there’s central Senggigi, where most of the action happens. Although the island of Bali is much more popular and commercialized than Lombok, central Senggigi is much busier and more happening than the major tourist hubs in Bali. There are just so many exciting hotels, shops, restaurants, bars, sports bars, karaoke bars, lounges, and beachfront restaurants here to keep everyone happy and occupied. Also, most travelers going to Gili Islands and the surrounding forests, temples and traditional villages come to the center of Senggigi to book in one of the hotels here. Nightlife in central Senggigi is definitely alive and very interesting. The central street does not sleep; there is music, dancing, drinking and partying until the wee hours of the morning.
In the past, Lombok has gone through many years of difficult times, marred with political instability, religious conflicts, and natural disasters. These definitely affected international tourism, which is why foreign tourists only began arriving after 2000. Through those years, Senggigi played an important role in keeping the tourism alive. Today, the shops and resorts are almost always full and alive.
As Senggigi is located about 15-20 minutes from the capital city of Mataram, bemos drive all the way to Senggigi and all its attractions including Senggigi Beach from different parts of the island. While in Senggigi, bemos and taxis move around bringing and taking people from central Senggigi to the beach, Batu Bolong, Mangsit and Kerangdangan.