Lombok: The island of breathtaking beaches
If Bali is the island of the Gods, then Lombok, its neighbor to the east, is the island of breathtaking beaches.
A 2-hour flight from Jakarta, Lombok is blessed with deserted beaches, quiet hillside towns populated mostly by roosters and fruit vendors, and a fascinating blend of cultures. Home to more than 2.4 million Indonesians, Lombok is 80% Sasak Muslim and 20% Balinese Hindu, making for a vibrant mix of majestic mosques and ancient temples.
Here are my favorite beaches in Lombok. Luckily, most of them are located not far from the Lombok International Airport.
Tanjung A’an Beach
Down in southeast Lombok sits sleepy Tanjung A’an Beach. The isolated stretch of white sand is comprised of two sweeping bays.
Tanjung A’an is perfect for those looking to take a relaxing dip or for a snorkeling spot. The smooth turquoise waters and the white powdery sand make the beach a Lombok must. Nowadays, there are a number of food vendors serving up tasty local snacks you can enjoy while sunbathing on this gorgeous beach!
Located just 2 kilometers east of Kuta Beach on the southern coast of Lombok, Seger is the perfect spot to sunbathe the day away, or for snorkeling and swimming, while feeling sorry for your colleagues stuck back in the office. If you come in the morning, you’re likely to have the beach all to yourself. Imagine sunbathing on the white sand beach with no one else around!
Beyond this, Seger Beach is a special place for the local Sasak people. Usually in February or March each year, an all-day ceremony called Bau Nyale is held, where thousands of locals come searching for sea worms during the low tide.
Bau Nyale is an ancient tradition related to the legend of Princess Mandalika. According to the legend, her father, King Seg, held a contest for men to fight over his daughter’s hand in marriage. The princess didn’t like the idea and instead committed suicide by diving into the sea, but not before advising the locals to live in peace.
The locals believe that she would return on the 20th day of the 10th month of the Sasak calendar. Legend has it that at a certain date and time, during the low tide, Princess Mandalika would reincarnate as sea worms. This is why locals try to catch the glowing sea worms that can only be seen during this time. They believe the worms will bring good luck to the people who catch them.
This beach located on the south coast of Lombok may be named exactly like the famous beach party district in Bali, but that is where the similarities end. This quiet beach in Lombok far from being busy and crowded, unlike its namesake.
What I love from this beach is… the sand! Yes, the sand. The beach is famous for its special sand that looks like pepper. The locals call it pasir merica, which means pepper sand. Local boys will even try to sell you a bottle of sand for IDR5,000 ($0.40).
This beach is definitely the hidden gem of Lombok! It’s located on a beautiful bay or lagoon that is protected by two rocky outcrops. The turquoise and blue water is so calm, making it perfect for swimming with that special someone. The whole area is very peaceful as there are hardly any people on this beach. A little slice of heaven in the middle of nowhere.
If you’re curious about this beach, rent a car or a motorbike and drive and ask locals for directions. It's about 20 to 25 minutes from the famous Kuta Beach.
Selong Belanak Beach
One of the most celebrated beaches in Lombok, Selong Belanak offers tourists beautiful panoramic scenery. Its endless white sand-covered beach, with picturesque hills to the right, make for memorable beach holidays.
Selong Belanak is also famous among those looking to learn how to surf. The waves aren’t too big and the current just right for those looking to hone their surfing skills.
If you just want to hang out on the beach, doing nothing else but reading and sunbathing, you can also order some fresh coconuts from a small warung on the beach. Try the grilled corn, too, a local favorite!
After getting your tan, you should also taste some local culture. Head to Sade Village in Central Lombok where you can see how the Sasak – the indigenous people of Lombok – live.
In Sade Village, you can marvel at the traditional houses built in rows. The houses have a lumbung or rice barn on top, where rice is stored through a raised window. The roof is in the shape of a bonnet and is made of alang-alang or elephant grass. The door to enter the house is low, shorter than the average height of adults. You have to bow down when entering the house, which symbolizes that guests should honor the host.
The Sasak people cover their houses’ floors with buffalo droppings to strengthen it. All houses have 2 two floors and are divided into 3 sections: the kitchen, sleeping quarters, and the living room. You will find that all houses have the exact same style. That’s how they keep their tradition.
In Sade Village, you can also see the local women weaving beautiful sarongs to support their families. Some houses also sell souvenirs, such as necklaces, bracelets and colorful traditional cloths. Don’t forget to bargain!
Where to eat? My favorite restaurant is Ashtari Restaurant & Lounge. It is a vegetarian restaurant with a breathtaking view overlooking the sea and tranquil hills of Lombok Island. Simply beautiful, and the food is tasty, too! – Rappler.com
Being an archipelago, Indonesia hosts some of the most breathtaking beaches and shorelines around the world. Travel, have fun, and enjoy life, even when you are on a budget! Click here to know how you can save up on your air fare and overall travel expense!