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A paradise of sheltered beaches, turquoise waves, and incredible views awaits you between the mountains of southern Lombok and the open waters of the Indian Ocean. A destination for surfers, divers, and backpackers that still has the mood of a quiet fishing village, this town offers a look at the more peaceful side of Indonesia's natural beauty. If you're in the mood to relax on gleaming white beaches, take a swim with colorful marine life, or explore the little communities that lie amid the highlands, you can find enough things to do in Kuta to ensure a terrific stay.
Kuta is connected to the rest of the island by a main road that runs in from the north, a smaller route that winds through the jungle to the west, and the small flotilla of boats that frequent the bay. The townspeople live in little close-knit neighborhoods, or known as kampungs, while a couple mid-sized hotels join the hostels and bungalows clustered along the roads. Thatched-roofed shops get plenty of shade from the trees hanging overhead, and a few earthen paths mark the way to the shore.
Beaches are the most obvious draw in town, and there's plenty to choose from: Kuta Beach runs along the crescent-shaped bay that frames the center of town, while Mandalika Beach to the east offers shallow waters and resort villas, while nearby Seger Beach has the strong currents and high waves that make a surfer's paradise.
If you want to get a bit farther from town, head west to the half-moon bay that holds the pristine sands of Mawun Beach. And if you're in the mood to venture inland, you can check out the ancient, thatched-roofed mosque of Mesjid Kuno and visit the tiny hilltop villages that dot the island's interior.
Since Kuta has managed to keep so much of its rural character, you might have an easier time getting around with some help from a guide. A tour of Lombok's traditional villages can help you appreciate the island's charm before you stretch out and relax on the beach, or you can head inland for a look at the waterfalls that run through the misty jungle. Go snorkeling off the Pink beach to see the thriving corals in the Alas Strait, or join a private guide to visit the Three Gilis, tiny islets that became favorite destinations for their spectacular views both above and below the sea.