Not to be confused with its namesake on Bali, Kuta in the south of neighbouring island Lombok, is a laidback surfer town reminiscent of Bali 20 or 30 years ago. It has developed into the main traveller hub on Lombok, favoured by backpackers looking for a calmer, more local side of Indonesia and surfers seeking the glassy waves provided by the area’s numerous reef breaks.
Kuta, Lombok, is developing fast, with new eateries and accommodations opening all the time. For now, Kuta retains its chilled-out vibes, soft sandy beaches, undeveloped landscape and wonderful waves. However, it’s set to become increasingly popular as Bali continues to be plagued by overtourism. Enjoy it now while it is at its best!
Kuta, Lombok Map & Resources
Kuta, Lombok – Backpacking Guide
Best Time to Visit Kuta
Kuta’s dry season runs from April until around October/November, which is the best time to enjoy its sunny days and beautiful beaches. Bear in mind that July and August are high season – accommodation gets booked up quickly and the small town becomes very busy during these months.
Unlike Bali where the surf is best in dry season, Lombok’s best surf is during the wetter months, so October to April is the time to come to catch the best swells.
Where to Stay in Kuta
Kuta is a small town so everything is close by. There is a main road running north to south and most accommodation options are close to the centre of town; certainly no more than a 15-minute walk or five-minute scooter ride away.
Best Hostels in Kuta
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Kaniu Hostel is an ever-popular choice with clean, capsule-style dorms. The hot and powerful showers are a treat after a day surfing and the pool and onsite café are good social spaces.
Botchan Hostel, situated just off the main street, is a social spot with a pool set in a green garden. The dorms are comfortable and spacious and there are also options for private rooms. Breakfast is included and there is a small shared kitchen.
Mad Monkey has an outpost in Kuta offering a social atmosphere with activities every evening. There is also a swimming pool and onsite bar and restaurant. Mad Monkey offers private rooms, 4 or 6-bed mixed dorms and female-only dorms.
Pipes is a popular choice that has mixed dorms, some fan-only and some with AC. There are plenty of social spaces, including a skate bowl! The hostel hosts movie night on Thursdays with free popcorn included.
LoTide is in a great location near the centre of town. The 8-bed mixed dorms are clean and comfortable with ensuite bathrooms. Social activities are hosted each night so making friends is easy.
Mellow Hostel has private rooms and one mixed dorm. The location and value for money are highly rated by guests and breakfast is included in the room rate!
Mana Eco Retreat provides a haven away from the bustling town. The pool and onsite vegan café set in beautiful surroundings make for a peaceful place to relax and the spa is worth a visit too. The resort’s dorm rooms mean that even those on a budget can enjoy a little luxury – as well as a free movie screening every evening!
Things to Do in Kuta, Lombok
1. Take to the Waves
Surfing is the number one activity in Kuta, Lombok. Many travellers head here for some relative quiet as Bali’s beaches become busier and the line ups more crowded. The many reef breaks along Lombok’s south coast offer something for everyone, from mellow glassy waves for longboard sessions, small swells for learners and punchy barrels for advanced surfers.
2. Catch a Movie
Both Pipes and Mana Eco Retreat host regular movie nights. Pipes screens a movie every Thursday evening and is open and free to all, including non-residents. They even provide free popcorn! Mana has a nightly cinema and shows a surf-themed movie once a week. Everyone is welcome, and non-residents just need to purchase 50,000IDR ($3.35USD) worth of food or drinks to enjoy the show.
3. Explore an Underwater World
Kuta also offers good diving opportunities for beginner and more advanced divers. There are plenty of dive spots to choose from along Lombok’s south coast and reef sharks, manta rays and turtles are just a few of the sea creatures you may encounter.
Also read: Diving in Indonesia.
4. Practice Yoga
Whether you want to stretch your muscles post-surf, relax on a Sunday evening with some yin yoga or enjoy daily practice as part of a retreat, there are endless choices of yoga sessions in Kuta.
Mana offers daily drop-in sessions, including a weekly ‘surfer’s stretch’ class and Ashtari run three daily sessions, available for drop-in, to book as a block, or as part of a retreat. Perched on a hill, the shala at Ashtari offers spectacular views of Kuta and the Indian Ocean.
5. Relax on the Beach
Even if you’re not into surfing, Kuta’s coastline has beach appeal with some beautiful spots perfect for relaxing and enjoying the slow island life. Tanjung Aan Beach is one of the best and boasts white powdery sands and clear blue waters. The waves break someway offshore, meaning the waters that lap the beach are relatively calm and make a peaceful spot for swimming.
6. Explore the Island
Rent a scooter for the day and explore the island of Lombok. Discover some of the many waterfalls in the north of the island, just a couple of hours’ drive from Kuta, experience a traditional way of life at Sade Village or get up close with some primates at Monkey Forest.
7. Party at Surfers Bar
Head to Surfers Bar on a Friday night for some drinks and live music. It’s a good way to meet other travellers and potential new surf buddies and a great place to unwind after a hard week of riding the waves!
8. Enjoy the Sunset at Bukit Merese
Take a trip up to Bukit Merese at sunset. Enjoy the atmosphere along with the locals and other travellers while sipping on a coconut or Bintang and watch the sky and ocean turn all shades of red and orange as the sun sinks below the hills.
Food and Drink in Kuta
Kuta has plenty to offer on the food scene and has a huge range of options to suit all tastes and budgets, from cheap but tasty local eats to more pricey Western options for those seeking a taste of home. Many Indonesian dishes are vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
Local eateries in Indonesia are called Warungs and there are plenty in Kuta to choose from. Some of the best are Warung Bude, which serves up cheap and tasty local meals and juices; Warung Flora, a popular choice with some of the best local food in town; and Warung Rezeki, a buffet-style affair where you can load up a plate for less than $2USD. Gula’s Garden is a cute, local-run restaurant with tables in a garden setting. It specialises in local food but also has some Western options.
Check out French bakery, The Breakery, for delicious pastries and other French treats. Bara also offers tasty pastries – look out for their coffee and pastry breakfast deal for just 40,000IDR. If you’re craving some Italian delights, head for Mama Pizza where you’ll find the best pizza and pasta in town (given the nod of approval by Italians!).
The Mexican in Town serves up great Mexican food in a nice setting. Tapas Fridays are the best day to visit – their spicy mango margarita is worth a try too! Rocksalt serves Western food, including yummy burgers at decent prices, while Bush Radio is one of the best spots in town for breakfast (try the hummus and roasted tomato open sandwich). Terra is an entirely plant-based restaurant that offers smoothie bowls, main meals and sweet treats.
For a relaxed drink try Lemongrass, where you may even be treated to some live singing accompanied by violin! The Treehouse is a cool spot for a cocktail or two, or head to The Rasta Bar for a few beers, some dancing and a fire show.
Getting Around Kuta
Kuta is a small town, which means it is possible to get around on foot. Most restaurants and amenities are within walking distance of the majority of accommodation options. There is also a decent beach just off the main road which is favoured by locals.
To venture further afield and to reach any of the surf spots, a scooter is the best option for getting around. There are plenty of places to rent one from in town, or you can check with your hostel where you’ll get the best daily rate. Expect to pay around 70,000-80,000IDR (approx. $4.50-5USD) per day if you hire one in town.
How to Get to Kuta
Kuta is situated in the south of Lombok, the large island west of Bali. The island has its own international airport so it’s possible to fly from neighbouring countries, a popular route is from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, flights from Bali are just 40 minutes and Kuta is a 25-minute taxi ride from the airport.
Travelling by boat from Bali is another popular option. Boats run from both Bali’s east coast to the north of Lombok, from which it is a two-hour drive south to Kuta. The best way to get from the port to Kuta is either by tourist bus or a shared taxi.
Where to Go Next:
The Gili Islands: Whether you want to party on Gili T or relax for a few days on the tiny but beautiful Gili Air, the Gilis are perfect for an island getaway just off the coast of north Lombok.
Nusa Penida: Enjoy the stunning beaches on Nusa Penida, a small island that sits between Bali and Lombok, and take the ultimate travel photo at the iconic Kelingking Beach – also known as T-Rex Beach.
Flores: Take to the high seas on a nautical adventure bound for Flores. Boats depart from Lombok and take four days to sail to Labuan Bajo on the island, with plenty of stops and awe-inspiring sights along the way, including the world-famous Komodo Island.