The North coast of the Lombok island has black-sand beaches, and steep green hills that lead up to the majestic volcano of Mount Rinjani that stands 3,726 meters tall. Climbing up the roads leading up to the mountain area you are surrounded by lush tropical rain forest. The west coast is fairly populated, and the capital city of the island, Mataram, is situated pretty much in the middle of the western coast. Senggigi is a very beautiful – yet a little sleepy – tourist destination known for its beautiful nature and amazing beaches, and just off the North West coast, lie the three Gili Islands known for most Western backpackers for the laid-back island vibes, picture-prefect beaches, and world class diving. East coast of Lombok is still quite undeveloped compared to the more touristy areas of West and South, and not many tourists ever find their way to the east-coast. In the East there are many farming and fishing towns, and one can easily spend the whole day exploring the coastal area without bumping into many other fellow tourists. South of the island has the tourism area of Kuta, and is famed for its amazing white sand beaches, great views, and awesome waves for surfing.
The provincial capital, and the largest city on Lombok, Mataram, has a population of 420,000 people, and is a nice combination of older buildings, green recreation areas, brand new shopping centers, hospitals, and hotels. One of the most famous main sights of the city is Mayura Garden, a water palace built in 1744 which also was a location of some battles between Dutch and Balinese in 1894.The Mataram University campus is very centrally located, and easily accessible, thanks to the great town planning of Mataram. If you really like the city, it is possible to rent affordable apartments in Mataram, yet our recommendation would be to find a home-base somewhere closer to the nice beaches, and all the additional facilities and services the tourism industry has created.
The most popular travel destination on the North-West coast of Lombok is called Senggigi. The tourist area of Senggigi is only a 30 minute scooter ride away from Mataram campus, and for the students, choosing to stay in Senggigi may be the most convenient option. There are many monthly rental options available, varying from apartments to nice villas – and everything is within a walking distance from the beach. Beaches of Senggigi are beautiful, and there are various dining options for all budgets. Surfing beaches around Senggigi are beginner-friendly, except sometimes when the waves get so big that only advanced surfers should be in water. There are beautiful forest hikes not far from the town, and for the most daring ones, the three-night hike to the top of Mount Rinjani will be an unforgettable experience! The town itself is actually a combination of small towns, as there are many little bays with headlands in between each other. There is one main road, that follows the coast, and connects all the little beachfront villages.
The Gili Islands
Just another 30 minutes North of Senggigi, and a short boat ride away, lay the world-famous Gili Islands: Trawangan, Meno, and Air. The Gilis have been long time favorites among backpackers, and recently have started attracting the mass-tourism as well. To get to the Gilis from Lombok, you can take a more expensive fast boat, or opt for the local boat that takes 15 minutes, and cost less than 1 euro one-way. Gili islands have world-class diving, great dining options, and especially on the busiest island, Gili Trawangan, also plenty of choices for nightlife and partying. Another great thing about “The Gilis” is that there is really no motorized traffic so the overall experience is a true island getaway with all the amenities you can ever wish for.
A hotspot among surfers and other beach lovers, Kuta has been growing steadily since the early 90s, and there are holiday accommodation options varying from local homestays (starting around $10 US per night) to luxury hotels ($200 US+++ per night). Monthly rates are available as well, although not listed. Lombok international airport of Praya is only 20 minutes away, so Kuta is very easily accessible via air travel and a short taxi ride. Kuta has a cool surfy beach town vibe to it, and there are many different options for eating out or grabbing a nice coffee or a cold drink. For surfers, the South coast around Kuta is a real paradise with surfbreaks such as Gerupuk, Seger, Are Guling, and Mawi, and many more. There are waves suitable for any skill levels from beginner friendly waves to shallow, expert-level reef breaks. Nestled in one of the many bays of South coast of Lombok, Kuta is a great choice for those willing to enjoy simple life close to beautiful beaches.