Grant had been to Lombok with his brother almost 10 years before we visited and he was so enamored by it’s beauty that he said he wanted his ashes spread there (kind of kidding, kind of seriously) so of course we had to revisit so he could show me the exact spot (assuming I outlive him!)
Getting to Kuta from the Gili Islands
For less than $20 each we took a boat and then a car from Gili Air to Kuta, Lombok. We passed a sacred monkey forest on the drive and this is when Grant realized that’s the one he visited on his last trip (not the one in Ubud).
Getting around Kuta
We rented a moped for less than $10 a day and scooted around. This was our favorite way to explore new places when backpacking Southeast Asia.
Weird sad story: I remember one scooter ride in Kuta particularly. I think we were headed back from surfing and we were going through a roundabout. We saw a dead cow on the side of the road and then to our horror a tiny precious black puppy in the middle of the street. It’s two back legs had already been ran over and he looked at me in desperation. As we turned I’m pretty sure he was hit again. The look in that puppy’s eyes still haunts me! Is this what Fitzgerald meant when he wrote, “I hope you see things that startle you.”?
Where to stay in Kuta
If you’ve been reading my other Indonesia posts you know what I’m about to say… “I loved our hotel here!” Seriously Indo has great accommodations for next to nothing! We stayed at Marta’s Windows and we had our own big two story bungalow and a great pool. The downside… it was right next to a mosque. Between the 5am prayer call and the crowing roosters, good luck sleeping in!
Surfing in Kuta
Surfing was a bit part of our Kuta trip and there is a big expat surf culture in Kuta in general. We had surfed in Siargao earlier in our travels but skipped it in Bali so we were excited to get back on the water.
I booked our hotel based on its proximity to town but I didn’t realize the surf spots were just outside downtown Kuta. We rode our moped to Gerupuk where we rented boards and took a boat out to the break. It’s super cheap to get a private boat to take you right out to the break! It was way too big for me and I think I *maybe* caught one wave the entire trip but it was great to be out there.
Beaches in Kuta
Bukit Merese / Pantai Seger
This is a grassy scenic overlook and a great place to hang and watch the sunset. Of course we had to find the scenic overlook where Grant took this picture of his brother Mason nearly 10 years prior and recreate it.
To our dismay the beach below was now covered in plastic and it was a little lackluster than what Grant remembered. You’re never supposed to go back to your best memories right? Needless to say he’s changed his mind on where to deposit his remains.
This beach is known for its beautiful coastal rock formations. If you Google Image it you’ll see a really cool rock structure. We roamed the beach forever looking for it but never found it… then we find out it toppled over and is no longer there! Check out Batu Payung if you want, but be warned the rock structure you seek is no longer there.
Tanjung Ann Beach
This is the closest beach to Kuta and the most beautiful.
This is the self-proclaimed “cleanest beach in Lombok”. While it was cleaner than the others it sadly still had plastic on the beach. But it is still beautiful! A perfect spot to sunbathe and enjoy some Bintangs.
Dining and Drinking in Kuta
We had some great food and drinks in Kuta. The town is super cute and trendy with a fun night life scene.
Don’t miss these spots for dinner and drinks in Kuta:
- Ashtari – This cafe is a scenic spot for drinks and sunset. The vibe was a little off but it was beautiful!
- Shu – We stopped here on a moped ride. It’s another scenic side of the road spot that’s great for sunset and drinks.
- The Bus – This VW van bar was packed and so much fun!
- El Bazar Café & Restaurant – This Mediterranean restaurant is so pretty and great for lunch.
- The Mexican in Town – We’re always looking for good Mexican fare. I think we ate here twice!
- Warung Drifters – You can’t go wrong with falafel!
- Bamba – This is a great spot for rooftop cocktails.
Trash in Kuta
We were so shocked and saddened by the amount of plastic we saw in the water in Kuta. Even the self-proclaimed “clean beach” was dirty. I’m not sure how much of this was from the residents of Kuta and how much was tidal from other parts of the world, but either way it was so gross and sad. No exaggeration, Grant peeled a plastic bag off of his arm while surfing.
Kuta left a strange place in my heart by being one of the dirtiest yet most beautiful places I’ve been. The juxtaposition leaves me feeling glad to have visited to see this corner of the world.
Konfused in Kuta,