We pinch ourselves. Can this be real?
We’re sipping fresh mint-and-ginger mojitos by a stunning seaside infinity pool in Lombok, waiters flitting between deck chairs – and our chic Qunci Villas resort is very reasonably priced.
To top it off, the beaches in Lombok are drop-dead gorgeous! And you can swim with sea turtles in the nearby Gili Islands.
Is tropical Lombok a new Indonesian island idyll, where luxury is affordable?
Why visit Lombok, Indonesia? For beaches, baby, beaches!
Lombok is often described as “like Bali 30 years ago.”
Sitting to the east of Bali, Lombok is quieter and more subdued than tourist-thronged Bali with its colorful Hindu-based celebrations.
(This isn’t meant to take anything away from Bali, by the way. Its vivacious culture is one of the best things about it.)
Accessible by ferry, fast boat or plane, Lombok is just a stone’s throw away from Bali – when the sun sets on Lombok Island, you can clearly see Bali in the distance.
But it’s a world apart in culture and vibe. With a predominantly Muslim culture, it offers its own distinct island experience.
Also, unlike Bali, there aren’t tons of hotels lining Lombok’s unspoiled white-fringed bays – some of the prettiest beaches in the world!
For now, there aren’t crowds of people shaking out their towels on Lombok’s beaches.
To top it off, the boutique hotels that have sprung up offer terrific value for a beach vacation.
So let’s talk some more about those Lombok beaches – as they’re a great reason to visit the island!
10 Best beaches in Lombok, Indonesia
1) Senggigi Beach
One of the best beaches in Lombok is Senggigi Beach on the western side of the island.
It’s an expansive bay, lapped by turquoise water, dotted with coral. Blindingly white sand is wedged between the tropical sea and a backdrop of lush trees.
It’s possible to swim here, although the water’s quite shallow. (It’s ideal for a quick splash!) Bring a snorkel, because there’s usually something to see under the water.
Its ease of access and beauty make it one of our favorite beaches on the island.
Senggigi Beach is the closest to the tourist area of Senggigi.
Some upscale hotels like Qunci Villas and Puri Mas (where we stayed in Senggigi; reviewed below) front the sand beach. If you’re staying elsewhere in Senggigi, it’s only a short walk to reach the sands.
You can catch boats from this Lombok beach to the Gili Islands.
Snorkeling tours also depart Senggigi for lesser-visited Gili islands, including Gili Nanggu and Gili Sudak.
This private snorkeling tour from Lombok includes snorkel gear, stops at some of the Gilis’ most beautiful marine life spots and lunch.
2) Selong Belanak Beach
Most of the best beaches on Lombok are concentrated on the southern part of the island. And the south coast is where you’ll find beautiful Selong Belanak Beach.
Indeed, with powdery white sand contrasting with colorful fishing boats and gentle green hills rolling in the background, could this be Lombok’s best-kept secret?
This beach in Lombok has several little cafés (called warungs) and lounge chair rentals – making Selong Belanak Beach ideal for sunbathing and swimming.
But the real attraction?
With gentle rolling waves, Selong Belanak Beach is a great place for beginners to learn to surf. (Yes, Lombok in general has as good a surf scene as Bali!)
Selong Belanak Beach is known among the surfing community as a beach with fantastic swell, and you’ll often spot people riding the waves.
It’s about a 30- to 40-minute drive west from Kuta, accessible by scooter or by hiring a local driver. (Kuta, Lombok – not to be confused with Kuta, Bali – is the main hub for tourism on the island).
If you visit, you’ll probably want to spend a few hours here. (After all, it is a bit of a drive to get to if you’re staying in Kuta.)
The bay is large, so even though there are plenty of amenities (food, beach chair rentals, surf shacks, etc.), it still feels quiet and wonderfully secluded.
Stay a while and enjoy the seclusion, or rent a board at the beach and practice your surf skills. Selong Belanak Beach is one of the best south Lombok beaches.
3) Sire Beach
On the north coast, Sire Beach is typically only visited by local fishermen – and just the occasional tourist!
It doesn’t see many day-trippers, primarily because of its secluded location further away from the island’s main tourist hubs.
This only adds to the allure. The fine sand beckons you to kick back and enjoy the ocean views, and plenty of trees provide shade if the Indonesian sun gets a little too toasty.
Sire Beach’s calm waters also make it a great beach for swimming, and there’s decent snorkeling just offshore.
However, there are limited facilities on the beach itself, so if you want to take a peek at the underwater world, pack your own snorkel and mask.
Want to stay on this paradise beach for longer?
The fabulous Tugu Lombok Hotel – another hotel we stayed at on Lombok (covered below) – is located here. (We barely saw another soul on Sire Beach during our stay, so this beach is definitely one for privacy seekers!)
4) Tanjung Aan Beach
If you’re looking for crystal clear aqua waters and an almost endless stretch of oh-so-soft white sand, Tanjung Aan Beach is for you.
Many visitors think this is the best beach in Lombok.
The water is typically lovely and calm – perfect for swimming! And when hunger strikes, you’ll find little warungs selling fresh grilled fish and coconuts.
Tanjung Aan Beach is on the south coast, about a 15-minute drive from the main tourist area of Kuta.
5) Kuta Beach
Just like Bali, Lombok has a town (and also a beach) called Kuta. But, as we’ve mentioned, they’re very, very different!
Bali’s Kuta mainly brims with bars selling cheap Bintangs and nightclubs that keep the beat going until the sun pops up.
Kuta Beach, Lombok, on the other hand, has more of a “fresh coconuts as you watch the sunset” kind of vibe.
In fact, Kuta Beach in southern Lombok swaps the high-rises and hordes of tourists for swaying palm trees and just the right amount of visitors.
Plus, it’s within striking distance of Kuta town’s many hotels, restaurants and bars. Along with Senggigi, Kuta is one of the most popular places to stay on the island.
Admittedly, Kuta is busier than other beaches on this list, but it still sees a fraction of the number of tourists than, say, Seminyak Beach in Bali.
If you’re looking for a sandy shore that’s easy to access from Lombok’s main vacation hub, Kuta Beach could be the one.
But for those almost-deserted, powdery white beaches Lombok is becoming famous for, you’ll need to venture a tad farther.
6) Pink Beach (Tangsi Beach)
Head to the far southeast of the island for a completely unique phenomenon – a pink beach!
There are a smattering of pink beaches and lakes in the world, all with varying degrees of pinkness.
There are also a few pink beaches on Lombok. And these beaches are actually pink!
Do be aware, though, that many of the photos that you see of Lombok’s pink beaches may have had their colors enhanced ever so slightly.
Still, the pink sands, caused by a type of broken-down coral (called Foraminifera) mixing with the natural white sand of the coastline around Lombok, are well worth seeing.
At high tide, the sand contrasts with the bright aqua of the sea and the earthy headlands in the background. (It almost looks like it could feature in the Barbie movie!)
The “famous” Pink Beach (or Tangsi Beach) is quite a long drive from Kuta or Senggigi. But if you want to see another side of the island and encounter a totally unique landscape, add this one to your list of must-visit beaches in Lombok!
(Pssst! An easy way to see Pink Beach is on this full-day private tour that we mentioned earlier. You’ll get to snorkel at Gili Petelu too.)
7) Mawun Beach
Nestled in the southern part of Lombok, Mawun Beach is a serene escape, only about a 15- to 20-minute hop from Kuta, Lombok.
Enclosed in a bay, it’s very sheltered and one of the best places on the island to go swimming, free from choppy waves.
Mawun Beach is beautiful from the sand level, but the epic viewpoint of the bay from Jalan Pantai Mawun (which literally means Mawun Beach Road) is just as celebrated.
Mawun Beach is hailed by some as the most beautiful beach on Lombok – certainly, it’s one of the best beaches in south Lombok. But, surprisingly, it remains a secret to many.
So go. Because beach walks, swimming and a small warung that serves lunch make this one of the island’s best spots for a beach day.
8) Semeti Beach
Well-sheltered among cliffs, Semeti Beach is a patch of golden sand lapped by the Indian Ocean’s gentle waves, just around the corner from the more famous Mawi Beach (covered in #9).
This Lombok Island beach is around a 45- to 60-minute drive from Kuta, which means that it sees a fraction of the tourists the busier areas of the island have. In fact, there’s often nobody here!
Semeti Beach is most impressive for its striking rock formations.
Plus, it looks out to the west, which means sunsets here are idyllic.
9) Mawi Beach
Ready to get your surf on?
If you’re keen to ride the waves while in Indonesia, Mawi Beach is probably the best of all the beaches of Lombok!
Throughout the dry season, Mawi boasts Lombok’s most consistent waves.
High-tide waves are mellow and mid-tide means excellent barrels. It’s the perfect place for intermediates, but beginner surfing is also possible here.
Rent a board and take it to Mawi, or organize a surf lesson to catch the waves!
There’s also a small resto where you can get something to eat while gazing out across the water (the mie goreng or fried noodles are always a treat). If you don’t want to surf yourself, it’s the ideal spot to be a surf spectator.
The beach leads up to headlands on either side, so you might also want to clamber up one to see the beach in all its glory.
Mawi Beach is rarely busy. But if you want a really deserted beach, head to Semeti (#8 above), which is just around the corner.
10) Gili Island beaches
Lombok has many draws. Stunning beaches, a relaxed atmosphere and fresh tasty food are just some!
But if you’re looking for somewhere smaller – with an even more relaxed tropical feel, along with snorkeling and scuba diving – the Gili Islands are just a short boat ride away. (We took an outrigger boat from Lombok for the short ride to one of the Gilis.)
Just north of Lombok island, the Gili Islands are generally considered “part” of Lombok.
They’re often visited by tourists on vacation in Bali (as well as Lombok vacationers), as passenger ferry boats connect the islands.
There are three main Gili Islands:
- Gili Trawangan
- Gili Air
- Gili Meno
Gili Trawangan is the biggest and most popular, while Gili Air and Gili Meno are more chilled-out islands.
The Gilis are proudly vehicle-free.
Besides walking and bicycling, horse carriages are the only mode of transportation. It was quite interesting for us to watch the horses on Gili Trawangan serving as pony taxis!
You can visit all three Gili Islands to see the difference between them, or head straight to Gili Air or Gili Meno if you want a more relaxed trip.
Gili Trawangan is also affectionately known as “Gili T.”
It’s a small place with swaying palm trees, roads lined with street food vendors and an intricate but compact labyrinth of streets, with guesthouses in the interior.
The beach wraps around the whole island.
It’s not as bucket-list-worthy as other Lombok beaches.
But it gets honorable mention because it’s only a five-minute walk away from many of the island’s other attractions, and there are zillions of cool beach bars and restaurants to enjoy. (Gili T is very buzzy and known for its all-night parties.)
Fancy heading out into the water?
You can see some tropical fish and coral just off Gili T’s beach. But organized snorkeling and diving trips also depart from the shore.
The Gilis are also famous for their sea turtles – check out Turtle Point on Gili T’s northeast coast.
Like in Gili Trawangan, the beaches in Gili Air wrap around the island.
If you’re looking for beaches with facilities like restaurants, bars and even accommodation, head to the north of the island, where most of the tourist activity is centered.
Dreaming of a deserted beach?
Walk around to the western side of the island – it’s not too far! The further you get from the main tourist area, the fewer other tourists you’ll see.
Like with the other beaches in Lombok, you can expect powdery sand and bright blue water, with some snorkeling possible from shore.
Excursions are also available, although there aren’t as many tour providers offering snorkeling and diving trips from Gili Air as there are from Gili T.
If you’d like to book your Gili Air snorkeling trip in advance, this half-day tour offers pick-ups from Gili Air, as well as Gili T. It visits Turtle Point, the Bongkas Reef on Gili T and Gili Meno.
Gili Meno is the smallest of the three Gili Islands.
While Gili T is mostly popular with backpackers, Gili Meno targets honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic vacation – so it’s unsurprising that it has some of the best beaches in the area.
For the prettiest, most unspoiled stretches of sand, head to the north of Gili Meno.
One of the most beautiful beaches on Gili Meno is near the adults-only Seri Resort (the best place to stay on Gili Meno).
It’s adjacent to Gili Meno’s “Turtle Point” – where you can see sea turtles. (There are several “Turtle Point” spots on the Gilis.) While this spot attracts day-trippers staying on other islands, the beach is usually quite quiet.
On the west side, the Bask Nest Underwater Sculptures sit underneath the bright blue sea.
Boat loads of tourists head out to see this sculpture of a circle of people standing on the sea bed. But depending on conditions (check before you head out), strong swimmers can reach the sculptures from the shore.
For an idyllic honeymoon experience, how about this private 2-hour snorkeling tour of Gili Meno and Gili T?
It includes exclusive use of a boat (with a guide), as well as complimentary use of a GoPro underwater camera (all photos will be sent to you digitally).
Best time to visit Lombok and its beaches
Unlike most of Southeast Asia, which is wettest in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, Lombok’s dry season is between April and September.
That said, it can still rain in Lombok in the dry season. (And totally rain-free days are possible in the wet season too.)
When it does rain, it’s usually just for an hour or two per day – which means it’s feasible to visit year-round.
Prices rise in the dry season. And the island is particularly busy in July and August, when those in the Northern Hemisphere are on summer vacation and Australians are looking to escape their cooler winter.
So, if you’re looking for a quiet and more budget-friendly trip, avoid the peak summer season.
Visiting during the shoulder season (March and April or September and October) is just the sweet spot between great rates, not too many crowds and excellent weather – ideal for enjoying Lombok’s beaches.
Tips for visiting Lombok’s beaches
Whether you’re hopping around the island in search of the best Lombok beaches or just looking for somewhere to spend a day on the sands, here are some good-to-know tips for visiting:
- Most beaches in Lombok have a small entrance fee – usually around 10,000 IDR ($0.66 USD). Be sure to have cash for this.
- All of these Lombok beaches are accessible by scooter, the preferred mode of transport in Indonesia for many visitors. But it’s best to only drive one if you have experience.
- If you do decide to drive a scooter, double-check your travel insurance to make sure it covers scooter accidents.
- It’s easy to find a driver/guide to take you around the island to all of the best beaches. If you’re traveling with a group, this can be a cost-effective way to explore Lombok with a local!
- Guided tours are another stress-free way to check out the island’s beaches.
Where to stay in Lombok: Beach hotels
We stayed at the following top three beach hotels in Lombok and can highly recommend them all!
The 4-star Qunci Villas is located on Senggigi Beach.
It offers stylish garden- and ocean-view rooms with outdoor showers, pool rooms (with their own private pools) and 1- to 3-bedroom luxury villas.
You’ll find three infinity pools for guests and reasonably-priced restaurants serving excellent food.
Water sports excursions and tours around the island can all be arranged from the hotel itself.
Qunci Villas: Check rates and availability
Right beside Qunci Villas is this beautiful resort, with a very tropical feel.
Its 45 rooms range from character-loaded bungalows in the lush gardens to villas with private pools.
You’ll love lounging around by the infinity pool and watching young students of the Puri Mas-sponsored Lombok International Dance School put on a weekly ballroom dancing show.
See more about this Lombok hotel in our review of Puri Mas.
Puri Mas: Check rates and availability
Other great beachfront places to stay in Lombok
- Oberoi Beach Resort, Lombok: Set on Medana Beach on the island’s northwest coast, the superb 5-star Oberoi resort offers spacious rooms and villas, nestled among gorgeous gardens. It’s very secluded, but you may feel no need to leave the resort.
- Royal Avila Boutique Resort: Perched atop cliffs overlooking Malimbu Beach near Senggigi, this new 54-suite hotel (all white and blue) has a Santorini vibe.
- Segara Lombok Beach Resort: This top-rated, 3-star hotel has 10 air-conditioned bungalows (with indoor/outdoor bathrooms) on Selong Belanak Beach.
Now you know about the best beaches in Lombok, Indonesia!
Whether you’re looking for a Lombok, Indonesia, beach for surfing, getting away from the hordes of tourists or simply finding somewhere to soak in the country’s beauty, this list of the most popular beaches in Lombok has something for all.
The paradise island of Lombok caters to couples, solo travelers looking for affordable luxury and even advanced surfers. It doesn’t quite have the buzz of Bali, but that’s part of the charm.
Our top recommendation? Do them both.
Visit Bali for a week or two for its culture and chaos, and then retreat to Lombok for white sand beaches and a slower pace of life!
Photo credits: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 21 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Hotel photos courtesy the respective Lombok hotels