Compared to Bali, Lombok is far behind in term of tourism. Bali focused on their tourism effort since the early days of independence and the result is apparent. All infrastructure needed to support tourism are already in place in Bali. Meanwhile, Lombok started to chase its neighbor just recently and now they accelerate their efforts and the results are apparent.
Lombok’s first popular destination is Senggigi, a stretch of beaches in its western coast. It was popular mainly because of its proximity to Mataram and quite possibly, Bali. It was so popular that there was a building frenzy in Senggigi.
But then things get rough in the early 2000’s. Senggigi hasn’t managed to bounce back to its former glory yet even though other tourist destinations in Lombok flourish exponentially. Here are some of the things you can expect in Senggigi.
Senggigi Central Beach
This area was intended to be the center of tourist resort in Senggigi. Hotels and restaurants that focus on the tourist are scattered along the coast, making the town feels a bit charmless. However, the beaches here are perfect for lazing around, enjoying the day on a white sandy beach with turquoise waters.
Some of the beachfront area are managed by luxury hotels and resorts, but there are many other spots available for public. Bars and pool tables are also available here.
Mangsit is a located a bit north of Senggigi Central and has a lovely tranquil atmosphere even with many hotels and restaurants. Many tourists consider the accommodation in Mangsit is the best in the area although not necessarily the most luxurious. Nightlife here is relatively lively. Mangsit is also the gateway from Senggigi to the Gilis in the north.
Batu Bolong in Canggu feels like the satellite beach of Senggigi. It has beautiful white sandy beach with a calmer atmosphere compared to the central. Batu Bolong is also the location of a large residential area, both for long term stay or tourist visits.
Batu Bolong got its name from the temple there, meaning ‘a rock with holes’. This temple face directly to the sea. This beach is also very popular among local travelers for its relatively cheap accommodation.
Kerandangan Nature Reserve
Kerandangan was established as a nature reserve in 1992, and it offers something entirely different to what the beaches nearby can offer. Kerandangan has beautiful beaches, yes, but that’s just the beginning. You can also hike on a light trail here.
If you like, you can even camp to the natural rainforest on its hills. If you explore it more, you will find waterfalls, lovely rivers, and wild animals too.
Senggigi is the first popular holiday resort in Lombok even thou in the recent years it has been usurped by the Gilis and Kuta in the south. Most people only know about the amazing beaches in this strip, but the nearby Kerandangan completes this are entirely.
However, when visiting Senggigi and the surrounding area, be prepared for the overzealous touts and hawkers. Touts will annoy tourists even after being told that nobody is interested in their service.