Located in the south of Lombok Island, Mandalika is a very special region where green savannah hills meet marvelous beaches. The plan to develop this area into an integrated great resort has been made since decades ago. However, it’s just been realized in the last few years.
Mandalika is a special tourism economic zone. Extensive development is happening right now with several luxury hotels being built. Mandalika will also have a world class racing circuit that will host MotoGP race.
Beautiful beaches in the southern part of Lombok will be integrated within this resort. When the development finish, this resort will be one of the most comprehensive one in Indonesia.
Kuta Beach is just as beautiful as the one in Bali
Just like the ultra-popular its namesake Kuta Beach in Bali, Lombok’s Kuta is also a heaven for surfers but with much less people. The landscape is much more diverse, though, with cliffs and hills. As of now, the area in Kuta Beach is literally unspoiled with little to no improvement.
If you love untouched natural beach with excellent waves for surfing, this is the most ideal place for you. If you love beaches with luxurious hotels, you need to wait several years to enjoy that in Kuta Lombok.
Seger Beach, a refreshing landscape
Only 2km away from Kuta, Seger Beach is a rustic seaside with an exotic landscape. With its white sand beach and some green hills plus rocky landscape, Seger has an idyllic view. Apart from enjoying the view from the beach itself, you can also hike the hill to get an even a better view of the whole place.
Serenting beach and the sea worm
The next beach in the vicinity is Serenting Beach. This is an ideal place for family picnic and also a great spot for sunbathing since there are not many people around yet. It has longer coastline than Seger Beach. Serenting is also the place where Sasak People hold their Bau Nyale Festival.
Gerupuk Beach, the heaven for surfers
This is the best place to surf in Mandalika. Gerupuk beach offers the most challenging waves, which might reach up to 3 meters in height. There are five zones for surfing in this lovely bay; Prigi, batu Teong, Batulawang, Giligoleng, and Terasag. Apart from its tempting waves, Gerupuk also produce a natural seaweed. In the Gerupuk Village, you can see local people pack seaweed and send them to big cities in Bali and Java.
Tanjung Aan Beach
Tanjung Aan Beach is a typical white sandy beach. Within its crescent shaped beach, you can see the ocean and several green hills around you. Many people prefer this beach over Kuta for the sole reason that there are less people here. The atmosphere is serene and let you enjoy the panorama comfortably.
Merese Hills, a vantage point on a grassy field
Merese Hill is the best spot if you want to enjoy the view of Mandalika from a higher point. There are no white sand or lovely wave to play here, but the hill offers a different sensation to enjoy the sea. The relatively level field on the top of this hill is also an ideal place for camping, provided that you have a strong tent because the wind can be really strong.
The Rocky Batu Payung Beach
Batu Payung literally means the Stone Umbrella. The name is inspired by one particular rock that is naturally shaped a bit like a mushroom. This rocky beach provide many unique shape as the rocks are eroded by wind and waves. In a way, this place is remarkably photogenic even though the coast is not as beautiful as the nearby beaches.
Sade Village, where Sasak People live traditionally
There are actually several traditional villages in Mandalika, but the most popular one is Sade. Aside from the proximity from the beaches, Sade is also highly popular because tourists can actually live the daily lives of Sasak People. This village is clean with distinctive traditional houses. You can also buy souvenirs here, the best seller one is the songket, a traditionally woven cloth.
Bau Nyale Festival, eating Princess Mandalika
Princess Mandalika was beautiful and kind, so much so that many princes risked war to marry her. The Princess couldn’t chose one of the many suitors that come after her and she then disappeared into the sea. From the spot where the Princess disappeared, green and brown sea worm that is called Nyale magically appeared.
To commemorate the Princess, Sasak people catch the nyale every 20th of tenth month of their calendar. Thus Bau Nyale (catching Nyale) festival begins.
Ayam Taliwang (Taliwang Chicken) is a spicy grilled or fried chicken. Only young free-ranged chicken (three to five moth old) is being used in this dish. Young chicken is preferred because it gives a more tender texture and it absorbs the seasoning better. The seasoning is smeared all over the chicken during the grilling or frying process.
Best Place to Enjoy Ayam Taliwang:
- Warung Bule – Jl. Raya Pantai Kuta, Pujut, Kuta, Lombok Tengah, Kabupaten Lombok Tengah
- Ashtari – Jl. Mawun Prabu, Kuta, Pujut, Kuta Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat.
- Kemangi Bar & Kitchen – Kuta, Pujut, Central Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara.
Plecing Kangkung is actually a side dish, often served to complete Ayam Taliwang. Kangkung (water spinach) is boiled in a mixture of several spices, making it spicy and savory. After being cooked, kangkung is ten blended with sambal, usually sambal terasi (chili sauce with shrimp paste).
Best place to enjoy Plecing Kangkung:
- Warung Flora Kuta Lombok 1 – l. Raya Kuta, Kuta, Lombok, Kabupaten Lombok Tengah, Nusa Tenggara Barat.
- Aura Lounge & Bar Lombok – Jl. Batu Jangkih Sepi, Mangkung, Praya Bar., Kabupaten Lombok Tengah, Nusa Tenggara Barat.
- Drifters Warung – Kuta, Pujut, Central Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara.
How to get to Mandalika
Lombok is accessible via air, sea and in a way, overland too from Java and other neighboring islands.
By Air. The new Lombok International Airport is located at the city of Praya, Central Lombok. This airport is served with domestic flight to many big cities in Indonesia (Surabaya, Jakarta, Denpasar, and Makassar). It is also connected with many cities in neighboring countries like Perth, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and sometimes all the way to Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo in Russia (seasonal).
By Sea. Lombok has several seaports that make sea travel easy. The biggest and busiest ports are Lembar (that connect with Bali) and Labuhan Lombok that connect with Sumbawa. There are also smaller harbors like Teluk Nara Harbor, Marina Srikandi, Gili Transfers, and many others.
By Bus. Lombok is connected by road to Java. There are bus routes from several cities in Java to Mandalika Bus Terminal in Mataram City. The buses, of course, had to be ferried twice from Banyuwangi to Bali and from Bali to Lombok.
What to do in Mandalika
Mandalika is basically a complex of several beaches and lovely hills. There is no the actual rule where do you want to start your journey here. Many people just hopping from one beach to another in the strip, from Kuta to Tanjung Aan.
The choice is best suited with your mood. If you want to surf, for example, you can go to Gerupuk or Kuta beach. If you want to enjoy your day relaxing on a lovely beach, you can go to Tanjung Aan. Batu Payung Beach is an instagenic location with its rock formations.
Best Hotels in Mandalika:
- Harmony Villas Lombok – Jl. Raya Kuta, Kuta, Pujut, Kabupaten Lombok Tengah – Starts from IDR1,089,648.
- Rascals Kuta Lombok – Jl. Kuta Lombok, Kuta, Pujut, Kabupaten Lombok Tengah – Starts from IDR950,822.
- Segara Anak Hotel, Kuta – Jl. Pariwisata Pantai Kuta, Kuta, Praya Bar., Kabupaten Lombok Tengah – Starts from IDR615,000.
- Novotel Lombok Resort and Villas – Pantai Putri Nyale, Kuta, Pujut, Kabupaten Lombok Tengah – Starts from IDR1,429,812.
- Sikara Lombok Hotel – Jl. Mawun, Kuta, Pujut, Kabupaten Lombok Tengah – Starts from IDR619,407.