ISLAND ESCAPE | “We are going to Kuta.”
“Oh, that’s crazy and busy, and so touristy,” they reply.
“No, Kuta in Lombok. I think it will be a bit different. People say it reminds them of Bali 10 years ago.”
“Oh, I’ve never heard of it. Where is that?”
This Kuta is a small village on the southern coastline of the Indonesian island of Lombok – and it turns out to be just what we hoped for.
Each morning, we wake and do yoga. A purpose-built deck on the beach means we look out to a calm bay, complete with bobbing fishing boats and lone stand-up paddler heading out to the break out the back.
Yoga At The Beach
The beach is quiet (all except one morning, when conference delegates think it’s appropriate to blast loud dance music out of speakers at 7am); there’s just the thunder of waves crashing beyond the bay. Swell is big.
I’ve never been able to do yoga for more than 45 minutes, but these one-and-a-half-hour sessions are easy.
We hire a moped for $10 a day and go scootering. I wouldn’t dream of doing this in Bali, but the roads look calm and safe here – as long as you keep an eye out for potholes. A tour down the main street takes about one minute. We slow down for buffalo, dogs sniffing and wandering old men.
Exploring the island by moped.
There are a few surfers chatting and locals laze in the shade. Children play in the puddles while one old man has a quick wash roadside.
The restaurants and shops are deserted. And there is no “Lady, come here, see this” or “Psst, you want? Just look”. Shop owners may smile or throw something your way, but don’t persist if you decline.
There are a couple of side roads – most leading out of town. They are lined with stores, surf schools, guest houses and more restaurants. But all are empty on our visit out of season.
And that’s how it stays for the rest of the trip. Near-deserted. Each night the restaurants and beachside pop-up bars take it in turns to entertain the tourists staying around Kuta. One bar per night is “the place”.
Out of season, the town is quiet.
Near-deserted white sand beaches line the southern coast around Kuta. They look like the beaches I dream of – lush vegetation bordering the white sand that leads to water which is clear and turquoise in colour. Sometimes we find a little rubbish floating about, but nowhere near the amount we swam through in Bali.
After discovering beaches for two days by moped, we decide to hire a guide, boat and boards, and head out for a surf at Gerupuk. The break we go to is called Insides – in the middle of a bay, this break comes from seemingly nowhere.
It must be one of the easiest surf sessions I have had in my life. I catch a long wave, and then instead of an arm-breaking battle to get out the back again, I have a quick and gentle paddle just outside the reef break. I’m back in the line-up minutes later.
I catch waves that reform with no concern for the hard paddle that normally goes with it. The locals have fun with us, showing us tricks that keep them entertained on these smaller waves.
Local hawker are happy to sit and chat.
Back at the Novotel, for now the only resort on the beachfront, we are met with hawkers. But instead of sell, sell, sell, they try the sell, then sit and chat. Their children are playful and muck around with us. I try to teach them sand-angels. We book our driver to Senggigi through one of the ladies; he’s her husband. It’s a nice end to the day after adventuring, chatting with our new “friends”.
It’s just 25-minute flight to Lombok from Bali. Is it worth it? You bet.
If you want to see somewhere different, less touristy (but not too off the beaten track), stunning white sand beaches and good surf – head to Kuta in Lombok. Nearly Bali – but better.
Lombok’s peak tourist season is July and August, which are also its driest months. The rainy season runs from around late October to April, when there are a number of local festivals.
There are daily flights between Denpasar in Bali and Lombok, as well as a ferry service from Bali’s Padang Bai Harbour.
Source : Indaily Australia
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