Senggigi Beach – Lombok Best Resort Area and Surfing Spots
Senggigi is the main tourist destination on mainland Lombok. It is traversed by a single two lane road that follows the west coast of the island from south of Ampenan and continues northward to circumnavigate the north of Lombok.
Senggigi is is on the West Coast of Lombok about 15-20 minutes north of the island’s capital Mataram and nearby airport. Airport Taxis (by fixed price coupon) charge Rp 83,500 (Jan 2010) for the trip Mangsit and Rp 57,500 to central Senggigi. In daylight hours the bemos will cover the distance for around Rp 2,500 from near the airport entrance gate to Pasar Ampenan and then Rp 5,000 for a second Bemo up the coast to Senggigi plus extra charges for any larger items of luggage carried.
Some of the larger Hotels offer pick up transfers to and from the Airport. You will need to book ahead for this.
Some visitors travelling from nearby Bali prefer the option of taking a fast boat across from Bali direct to the Gili Islands and Senggigi. Travel agents or the operators can normally assist with any necessary transfers.
If you are frugal or intrepid and take the slow ferry from Bali, it’s best to arrange transport in advance from the ferry dock to Senggigi, since the Lembar port on the Lombok side is in a remote spot several kilometers well south of Mataram. Travel agents on Bali offer transport from any point in southern Bali to Senggigi, including the ferry ticket, for about Rp 140,000.
Bemos, a small, covered pick-up truck with narrow but padded seating benches in the rear are the main means of short and medium distance transport in rural and coastal Lombok. They can be hailed down on all larger streets and will happily take you even short hops around Senggigi. Fares are inexpensive.
An approximate fare (January 2010) from Senggigi to the produce markets in Ampenan is Rp 4,500-5,500/person. Prices for set distances vary at times but if the price of fuel has risen or it is in short supply causing roadside price fluctuations then the Bemo prices will often follow. Try and watch what local customers are paying for a similar distance to your own and if really in doubt just include Rp 1,000-2,000 extra. If ‘chartering’ an empty Bemo to a particular destination be careful to clarify the exact amount of payment required prior to getting into the vehicle.
Many Bemo drivers are reluctant to venture further up the West Coast than the northern end of Mangsit Village as the passenger densities drop dramatically from there on. The driver may want to turn back at this point if he does not have sufficient passengers.
Bemos have normally stopped running by dusk on the West Coast of Lombok.
Travel agents can also get you on semi-regular shuttle services, which connect Senggigi, the airport, and the harbours of Lembar (for Bali) and Bangsal (for the Gilis).
The largest taxi operator is Blue Bird  (light blue in colour) and the second operator is Express Taksi (white). Flag fall is approximately Rp 4,250 and the meter ticks up a few hundred rupiah for every hundred meters past 2 km. Figure on Rp 10,000-rp 15,000 for short hops and about Rp 60,000 from Senggigi to Mataram/Cakranegara. Both operators have a radio linked fleet and can be booked in advance either by calling them yourself or by booking through your hotel.
Renting a car is also an option and there are many places to rent from in the Senggigi area. Expect to pay Rp.150,000-175,000 (low end mid-late 1980?s Suzuki mini jeep-Jimmy (2×4) to Rp.400,000 for a Toyota Kijang (2×4) or Izuzu Panther (2×4).
To hire a motrobike, expect to pay around Rp 50,000 (October 2009) for most models and possibly more in peak season when demand for rentals can be very high.
Prices are negotiable but a rule of thumb is Rp 5,000 Rupiah if the destination is nearby.
By horse cart
Horse-pulled carts, known as Cidomo, are very common arond Senggigi and all across Lombok. They are a good method of transportation for short distances e.g, from your hotel to a restaurant. Make sure to agree on the price before the journey – Rp10,000 is the maximum price to pay for a short journey.
Traditional fishing boats known as perahu ply the waters around Lombok, and are instantly recognizable due to their outriggers, two lengths of extra large Bamboo sealed at either end and attached by bars on both sides like a catamaran affording greater stability in heavy swells. They can also be chartered on the Senggigi beaches, either directly from owners (in which case some knowledge of Bahasa Indonesian or Bahasa Sasak will come in handy) or via any travel agent, who will of course take an often generous commission.
Traffic is relatively light throughout the island so travel by bicycle is quite possible and provides a very different cultural experience to other means of transport.
What to See
* Pura Batu Bolong, 2 km south of Senggigi. Small Hindu temple located in a scenic spot at a cape overlooking Senggigi beach, named after a rock (batu) with a hole (bolong). At the tip is an empty chair representing Brahma, the god of creation. Free entry, but you’ll have to ‘borrow’ a sash (Rp5,000 a throw) from one of the urchins if you don’t have one already. Sunsets seen from here can be very impressive.
* Senggigi Beach. A spit of sand stretching out from central Senggigi, this is Senggigi’s raison d’etre but, by Indonesian standards, it’s not all that spectacular. The beach is a little dirty, the hawkers are a nuisance and the Senggigi Beach Resort has grabbed most of the land. Some local surfers brave the smallish waves. The sunsets can be very beautiful.
* Senggigi is a popular launch point for other activities on Lombok. Without the hassle of Mataram, you can visit several other locations and come back to the same hotel each night. Tour operators can arrange these trips for you at around Rp. 350,000 for the day for a private car and driver or cheaper if you go with a group.
* Kerangdangan Beach. On Sunday afternoons Kerangdangan beach is a popular destination for Lombok residents. They go there to wander about and socialise or sit on the sandy beach or grassy area behind the warungs. People often take a swim in the sea and later eat satay and other snacks made by Kerandangan villagers and sold in the beachfront warungs. There are also two small and more expensive venues with informal outdoor dining in a cluster of small baruga’s with big cushions and relaxed service. They are set a little back from the beach and are open most days and nights. Full menus are available at these two venues and they offer an interesting alternative to the Senggigi township offerings.
* Popular excursions that can be done in a day trip include:
* Village visits, including weaving villages and other handicraft-producers
* Waterfall visits
What to Do
Most activities around Senggigi revolve around diving, snorkelling, and hiking. There are some surf shops in town, but there are reportedly better areas on Lombok for surfing. Traditional therapeutic massages are provide by local Sasak women both on the beaches, including Mangsit beach and in the Hotels. At Windy Beach Cottages at the far north end of Mangsit Beach local village women have an arrangement to use a comfortable screened baruga in the Hotel grounds. Enquiries can be made at reception or by yourself on the beach if not perturbed by interested beach traders. If arriving by road bookings can be made at the Cellphone shop opposite the entrance to Windy Beach Cottages or contact Mangsit Beach Massage 081917429081. Santai Beach Cottages at the southern end of Mangsit beach is also a good place to enquire. Again just ask at the reception desk and they will summon one of the local traditional masseurs for you. They will provide a nice beachside massage and fresh juices and tea can ordered from the hotel. Beach Spa treatments are also available around Senggigi and within some of the hotels. Fishing charters are available and some of the hotels rent bicycles for riding around the Senggigi precinct.
What to Buy
Lombok-style woodenware, decorated with local creatures and geometrical patterns in shades of black, brown and red, is sold in several shops in town. The tall masks are quite distinctive, though potentially difficult to get on the plane home. Boxes and bowls are also numerous. It’s not as intricate and refined as Balinese arts, but it has a distinctive look and charm, and is quite inexpensive. Make sure you are aware of your home countries import and quarantine restrictions as some require wood to be fumigated and inspected for ‘pests’. Australia for example has very strict regulations and failing to declare many items including those made of timber, seeds and some shell items may lead to heavy penalties and confiscation. Check your countries import regulations and do not forget to declare the goods on the way in when you get back home or in ‘transit’ countries if you are clearing customs.
Persistent hawkers push Komodo freshwater pearls on tourists, and will follow you for the length of the town. The pearls are quite pretty as costume jewelry, and make nice gifts or souvenirs, but the hawkers play on a misunderstanding of their market value. They will often quote a starting price of around Rp 300,000 (more than US$30) for a strand, though they can be had for as little as Rp 35,000. Pearls for sale on the street tend to be the left-overs of the industry, with more flaws and variations in shape. Longer strands cost more. Better quality strands (rounder, more uniform pearls with fewer flaws) ought to cost more, though the hawkers seem not very sensitive regarding quality and will let you pretty much pick the one you want. There are also many handycraft items available as well as sometimes very good copies of antique artefacts such as Kris and many small traditional Sasak, Hindu and Buddhist items from Lombok’s past as well as from nearby Sumbawa, Bima and Bali
If you lose your watch or sunglasses, never fear. Street vendors are always at hand to provide a replacement.
* Senggigi Square.
* Senggigi Plaza.
There are plenty of eating options in Senggigi, with a surprising array of Western-style dishes on the menu. Alas, local chefs are often better with the names than the recipes for Western favorites, and seem to follow a philosophy of “when in doubt, add more butter.” Promotors will follow you along the street offering business cards, 10% discounts, and free “cocktails” to draw you in. Beware of discount offers, and before you bite, ask if VAT and service will be added to the bill. A promised 10% discount can quickly become a 10% surcharge after they hit you with tax and service.
* Cafe Tenda is on Jl. Senggigi Raya opposite Senggigi Abadi supermarket and the BNI bank and ATM. Cafe Tenda offers traditional local dining at very reasonable prices and has an interesting menu. The BBQ fish and their Nasi Goreng Seafood is good. The BBQ chicken dishes are a little small but tasty. Local sambal is served with meals and a tomato salad can be ordered. They have many juice drinks and cold beer. It is dining “tenda” (under a tent) sitting at rough plywood tables set back a little from the road. Closed Sundays opens at dusk often until very late and is very popular with locals and visitors alike.
* Windy Beach Cottages Restaurant. in Mangsit at the far northern end of the beach has a varied menu with many Indonesian dishes and a full bar. Dining is in the restaurant dining area or at Barugas doted about the hotel grounds overlooking the beach. Lovely beach with great sunsets viewed from the gardens
* Santai Beach Inn  at Mangsit Beach at the far southern end. Was in established in Mangsit before the road even reached that far. Has a book exchange and dining in a large traditional Baruga seated at a long communal table. Bookings in advance are essential as they have a set daily menu and cater to a set number of diners. Vegetarian and seafood based Indonesian food, fresh juices and cold beer available. 2010 prices Lunch Rp 30,000 Dinner Rp 45,000, 2009 prices Lunch Rp 25,000 Dinner Rp 55,000.
* Pak Ismail’s eating house. On Jl. Raya Montong south of Hotel Jayakarta but before the turn off Gunung Sari and on the opposite side to the beach. Pak Ismail is from Bandung in Jawa and he has a Sundanese influence to his food. It is a traditional Indonesian eating house or restaurant and has a very good menu of traditional Indonesian food. No prices on the menu, you have to ask.
* Bale Tajuk, Jl. Senggigi Raya. Small but popular eatery offering a range of local and Western dishes, including a fairly decent Lombok-style ayam taliwang (Rp20,000).
* The Office is a tourist-oriented restaurant on the water behind the market near the Sheraton. Its barn-style building is attractive, but the food is hit-and-miss and rather expensive. The soto ayam and chicken sandwich are pretty good though. They have a pool table a nice view of the beach and cold beer.
* Papaya Cafe on Jl.Senggigi Raya not far from the Perama Office is worth it for decent Chinese or Italian food. Rp 35,000 to 50,000 will get a good main course. The atmosphere is rustic and clean. live music plays every night after 20:00. The sound level can be a bit excessive for dinnertime conversation.
* Cafe Bumbu on Jl. Senggigi Raya, just in front of Papaya Cafe is worth for decent Thai style food. Rp 3,000 to 50,000 will get a good main course. During the night it provides candle light tables.
* Taman is on Jl. Senggigi Raya near the Senggigi Beach Hotel. It has nice Indonesian, Western and Indian food for a decent price. Expect Rp, 30,000 for lunch for a main dish.
* Yessy Cafe is on Jl. Senggigi Raya near the Sheraton Hotel. It has nice Indonesian, Western and Thai food for a decent price. Expect Rp, 30,000 for a main dish. Friendly staffs with free transport from / to hotel.
* Coco Beach Hidden away on near the beach at the far end of Kerangdangan Beach just north of the Senggigi township. Mixed menu with Indonesian and European style food. Cold beer and other refreshments available.
Splurge / Luxury Restaurant
* Asmara. On Jl. Raya Senggigi has a very good reputation amongst the expat community and European vistors. They also bake bread to take out.
* Ye Jeon, Senggigi Plaza 2F. Korean restaurant, especially given that it’s probably the only one in all Lombok. Single dishes are reasonable (try the bibimbap, Rp35,000) but sets with a full spread of banchan appetizers are pricier at Rp80,000 and up, with 21% service/tax slapped on top. It may disappoint some people familiar with Korean food. There is an eclectic range of souvenir items available on their ground floor level.
* De Quake, Pasar Senggigi, Modern, minimalistic, lounge style interior on the beach with beautiful sunset view. Upstairs food, downstairs reserved for drinks and luxurious sunbeds.
* The Square, on the Senggigi Square. The most expensive restaurant in town with a Chef from Bali and excellent service. Dinner sets are good value and offer good mixtures. The upstairs terraces is lounge style and food & drinks are served. Vegetarians may have to get creative to find something other than pasta noodles and tomato sauce, but adaptions to standard dishes are possible. Prices start from around Rp.30,000++.
* Cafe Alberto, Italian and Indonesian cuisine on the beach side with a romantic atmosphere. Pizza and swimming pool, Free WiFi + Free Shuttle available in Senggigi are from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm