Kuta is a town in the south of the island of Lombok in Indonesia. The scenery is spectacular, with cliffs and mountains reaching the coast creating jugged and awe inspiring landscapes and views. The beaches are also some of the best in Indonesia, with pristine white sand and transparent blue greens in the water. Kuta has some of the best surfing in the world, so naturally many of the tourists are surfers.
But Kuta also has a wide variety of accommodations and restaurants for back packers to wealthy travelers. So many travelers come to Kuta just to unwind, relax on the beach, rent a motorcycle, read a book or take a nap in the afternoon.
Most of Kuta retains its natural character as a typical fishing village. The local people live in housing clusters (called kampungs) and are largely unaffected by tourist activity. Travelers can walk along dirt roads and see the normal day's activities by the villagers. Food is cooked over a wood fire; the children live a carefree life of playing on the beach, climbing trees, etc. The people are exceptionally friendly to foreigners. Although most do not speak English, they will often welcome you onto their baruga (porch) for a glass of local Lombok coffee.
Around Kuta there are some tremendous beautiful beaches. Kuta offers you the private white beaches you have seen on travel posters and always dreamed of experiencing. There are six main beaches in and around Kuta: Kuta Beach, Pantai Segar, Putri Nyale, Tanjung A'an, Mawun and Selong Belanak.
Kuta is a surfers Mecca, with world class shore, reef and point breaks along the coast. Personal transport is the best way (if only way) to access the surfing spots. Since there have been reports of thefts in Southern Lombok, you should expect to pay a few thousand Rupiah to a local to guard your bike during your time in the water. Board can be hired in Kuta town or at the Gerupuk village.
There are many shuttle bus companies which have scheduled transport from Bali. Expect to pay around Rp 150,000 per person (one way) from main Bali departure centers such as Kuta or Ubud. The price will include the ferry and connecting shuttles. The popular Perama bus company will charge only an additional Rp 10,000 per surfboard. The one-way trip by bus and ferry usually requires more than 12 hours of travel to reach Kuta. It is a slow, but inexpensive and comfortable way to travel if that fits your style. Scheduled air services operate several times a day to and from Bali arriving at the domestic terminal of Lombok's airport.
From Lembar the price to Kuta must be negotiated in advance, or you may insist the taxi driver uses a meter. Competition is fierce and porters will often place your luggage in a taxi prior to settling the price. Assertive behavior can ensure you choose the taxi and the price that suits your needs.The taxi fare from Lembar to Kuta should be around Rp 200,000. Perama will also run this route if there are enough passengers booked beforehand.
A special desk at the airport has been established to purchase a taxi voucher to set locations throughout Lombok. The fixed taxi fare from the airport to Kuta or Tanjung A'an is Rp 225,000. The travel time is a little more than an hour.
An extensive, but complex public transport system runs throughout all of Lombok. The standard mode of public transportation is the bemo, a small, covered pick-up truck with narrow benches. The bemo is designed to transport local people; tourists may find them confusing and difficult to use. Public transport is not recommended for the uninitiated traveler, especially if traveling with luggage (ie, surfboards) and unable to speak Bahasa Indonesia.
To reach almost any destination, expect numerous stops en route, bemo changes, and sometimes very crowded conditions. True backpackers wishing to save money by conquering the bemo system should carefully get advise about the route in advance and write down the name of the destination to show the driver. Traveling on a bemo is certainly one way to experience local culture.
If you wish to explore the area surrounding Kuta (ie, South Lombok), the preferred way is by motorcycle. Motorcycles can be rented at rates of about Rp 50,000 per day, without petrol. Insist the bike be in new condition, then carefully inspect and make note of the bike for scratches, dings, etc. (ask for a surfboard rack if desired). Never give your passport or drivers licence as security to rent the bike.