Visitors to Bali, as well as expats sometimes look for an close alternative, to the Bali beach scene. One option is Senggigi Lombok.
An old copy of the Indonesia Handbook, from 1991 has this description:
The coral and snorkeling at this popular beach area, 6km north of Ampenan, is fantastic-4 straight kms of pure white sand, blue-green sea, and no crowds.
From Ampenan, take a bemo direct to Senggigi Beach Hotel area. Four losmen are near the beach, Pondok Senggigi is run by Australian woman married to a Sasak. Only 30 meters from the beach, is has 10 bungalows renting for 15,000rp each. Other possibilities are the Holiday Inn (35,000rp), the Mascot (15,000rp), and the much higher priced Senggigi Beach Hotel. The hotel has combined modern day comforts with traditional bungalow-style Lombok materials (thatch roofs, bamboo mat walls, wooden floors); there’s a restaurant open 24 hours. Various warung near the beach sell bananas, snacks, ikan laut and other meals. Drink cocnuts to your heart’s content. Lots of good walks in the area through coconut groves and unfrequented villages. Travel up and down this coast by just walking out to the road and flagging down a dokar (horse drawn cart), motorcyclist, minibus, bemo, or anything else that comes along.
The corner of Lombok that Senggigi is located in, the NW, is particularly scenic, and from the airport the quickest route to Senggigi, is north up the coast.
Fifteen years later, some things have changed in Senggigi, including the number of hotels. People have said that Senggigi has been changed dramitically and is a raucous resort, in the same was people have described Gili Trawangan. The truth is a somewhat toned down version of that description. Gili Trawangan and Senggigi both have their hotels and bars, but are basically quiet places.
Why would you want to go to Senggigi?
Senggigi is the most developed part of Lombok, as far as tourism is concerned. You can find budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation, get online, have a selection of nightlife activities, visit sweeping bays with no people, hike in the forest and get some R&R. Senggigi is a great place to use as a homebase for exploring Lombok.
Getting to Senggigi:
There are 3 main ways most people get to Senggigi. The first is by flying into the airport at Mataram, and taking a taxi, which should be around 30,000rp. You can catch a local bemo (the small minivans), if you feel up the task. Bemo’s run to Senggigi from Jl. Saleh Sungkar in Ampenan quite frequently. You can also rent a car at the airport.
The second way people get to Senggigi is by taking the ferrry from Bali, arriving at the port of Lember, and driving up the coast. Cars and motorbikes are allowed on the ferry and Perama bus does serve Senggigi. From Senggigi, •Perama will get you to:
•Air Sanih in Bali (this is a daily service and an overnight stoppover is required),
•Bangsal (port to Gili’s) daily (45 minutes)
•Bedugal (daily, overnight stoppover is required)
•Candi Dasa (twice daily, around 6 hours)
•Kintamani (daily, overnight stoppover is required)
•Kuta, Denpasar airport (twice daily, 9 hours, Kuta Lombok (daily, 3 hours)
•Lovina (daily, around 8 hours)
•Mataram (daily, 30 minutes)
•Padangbai (twice daily, around 5 hours)
•Sanur (twice daily, 8 hours)
•Tetebatu (daily, around 3 hours)
•Tirtaganga (daily, around 7 hours)
•Tulamben (daily, 8-9 hour)
•Ubud (daily, around 8 hours)
The third way to get to Senggigi from Bali is by boat from Benoa Harbor,via the port at Teluk Nara, to the north of Senggigi. Bounty catamaran (4 times a week, 3 hours). You can also catch a boat from Senggigi to Gili Trawangan (twice daily, 1 hour 30 minutes) and to Nusa Lembongan (4 times a week, 3 hours).
Where to stay in Senggigi:
Senggigi has developed the all the other places have (Lovina, Amed etc.) The area known as Senggigi sprawls up the coast and includes the villages of Batu Layar, Batu Bolong, Senggigi proper, Karrangdangan, Mangsit, Klui.
I have previously stayed in cheap guest house in Central Senggigi, for around 50,000rp per night. Nothing special to write home about, apart from the fact that access to the main street, shops, restaurants and nightlife, plus price, are the main benefits.
South and Central Senggigi seem to have a good selection of middle and budget places, north Senggigi having more boutique type places and large hotels like the Sheraton.
Times change and prices change. The economy in Bali and Lombok means some places puit thep rices up, others down, and others go out of business altogther. keeping track of this is hard, if one isn’t living there.
Here is a list of places you might consider staying at in Senggigi, with a number rating for price comparison:
•Asri – (0370) 693075 – (2)
•Atithi Sanggraha – (0370) 693070 – (1-2)
•Batu Bolong Cottages – (0370) 693065 – (2-4)
•Jayakarta – (0370) 693048 – (7-9)
•Siti Hawa Homestay – (0370) 693414 – (1)
When you pull up outside a budget place in Central Senggigi, its highly likely a tout will call you to look at ‘his place’ afterwards. This is all bullshit and he’s trying to act as a middleman. You can do just fine without these characters, as they add no value to anything. Senggigi does have a bit of a reputation as place where ‘scavengers’ hang out.
•Bumi Aditha Bungalows – (0370) 693781 – (2-5)
•Dharmarie – (0370) 693050 – (5)
•Graha Senggigi Beach – (0370) 693101 – (7-8)
•Kebun Rohani – (0370) 693018 – (1-2)
•Lina – (0370) 693237 – (2-4)
•Lombok Intan Laguna – (0370) 693090 – (7-9)
•Maskot – (0370) 693365 – (6)
•Melati Dua – (0370) 693288 – (2-4)
•Pondok Senggigi - (0370) 693277 – (2-4)
•Ray – (0370) 693439 – (1-2)
•Senggigi Beach Hotel & Pool Villa Club – (0370) 693210 – (8-9)
•Alang Alang Beach Resort – (0370) 693518 (8)
•Bulan Baru – (0370) 6932785 – (3-4)
•Holiday Inn – (0370) 693444 (8-9)
•Lombok Coconut – (0370) 693195 – (2-4)
•Nusa Bunga – (0370) 693034 – (7)
•Pacific Beach – (0370) 693006 – (7)
•Panorama Senggigi – (0370) 693673 – (7-8)
•Pondok Damai – (0370) 693019 – (3)
•Puri Mas – (0370) 693831 – (5-7)
•Puri Saron – (0370) 693424 – (7)
•Santai Beach Inn – (0370) 693038 – (2-4)
•Windy Beach Cottages – (0370) 693191 – (2-3)
For a honeymoon or romantic trip you will probably enjoy north Senggigi the most. For backpackers, Central seems to be where the deals are. South is good for other people including families.
By the way, Bulan Baru is the guest house owned by Barbara Hicks, the Australian lady just released from jail on marijuana charges. Her place is located on the far north end of Senggigi resort, past Klui at Lendang Luar, 7km north of Central Senggigi. Bulan Baru is well recommended and my guidebook says “There are 12 spotless bungalows, with AC and hot water, situated in a lovely garden with pool.” The attached restaurant is also supposed to be good. So if you are looking to be out of the downtown action and seek peace and quiet, you might give Bulan Baru a go, and chat to Mrs Hicks about life in the Big House over a latte.
Where to eat in Senggigi:
Downtown Senggigi has a row of cheap restaurants along both sides of the wide main road. You can get a cheap breakfast as well as all the usual backpacker / budget tourist stuff. You can take your pick of these. The mid-range and up places offer good food. Closing time is usually 10-11pm.
Medium range places include:
Lombok Coconut (0370) 693195
Pizza, pasta, seafood, Indonesian
2km north of Senggigi
Sandwiches, burgers, salad, soups.
Just north of Central Senggigi.
Lombok and Indonesian food, seafood and western options.
Located in Art Market, in Central Senggigi.
Bayan Bar & Restaurant
Pizza, steak, seafood, Indonesian food. Live music.
Bawang Putih (0370) 693333
Seafood, pizza, sandwiches, Indonesian. Best restaurant in Senggigi, great location.
Locatede at the Sheraton, in North Central Senggigi.
Cafe Wayan & Bakery
Seafood, salad, pasta, pizza, Indonesian.
South of Central Senggigi.
Nightlife in Senggigi:
Many lpaces along the main street in Central Senggigi has some kind of live music. The lively Marina Cafe is popular on Saturday nights.
What to do in Senggigi:
On my last trip to Senggigi, I found that people in town broke down into 4 main categories; Scuba divers getting ready to explore the Gili’s, families visiting Lombok for a few days, surfers taking a break from the south coast surf and backbacker types getting ready to head out and hike Rinjani.
Staying in Senggigi means you’ll have access to creature comforts, in a place that is pretty low key and on the beach. I found that road north of Senggigi passes through some beautiful scenery and sweeps down from headlands, around huge white sand bays, which seem totally deserted. Large fields of palm trees are backed up against these. The fact that most Sasaks (Lombok people) are shy and do not have the Balinese forwardness, together with the apparent lower population, mean a visitor / traveler, can enjoy the peace and space, without a posse of locals in tow. Explore this area with your own transport and enjoy the freedom.
The only real landmark close to town is the Batu Bolong Temple, located 1km south of Senggigi. This spot affords great views of the coastline.
Dive operators in Senggigi run daily trips up to the Gili Islands whih are only a few kms up the coast. Like a pizza menu, they offer the whole shabang of dive courses including Open Water (don’t watch the movie the night before) and Dive Master. An Open Water course might cost you something in the region of $350.
Many operators offers snorkeling in the Gili’s for around $25. Check with any of the following dive operators for the latest prices. Diving in the Gili’s is supposed to be okay, but its far from the best in Indonesia. For more serious divers, Manado in Sulawesi, Komodo, Ambon, Banda and Irian Jaya (West Papua) are highly recommended.
Dive operators in Senggigi:
•Albatross (0370) 693399
•Blue Coral (0370) 693441
•Blue Marlin (0370) 641609
•Dive indonesia (0370) 693367
•Divetastic (0370) 692004
•Dream Divers (0370) 692047
•Lombok Dive (0370) 693002
Sea kayaking is offered at Sea Kayak Adventures, (0370) 692003, located at the Blue Marlin Dive Shop. These are guided kayaking trips along the Lombok coast or in the Gili Islands ($50-$60).
Lombok Inter Rafting (0370) 693202, offers rafting trips on the slope of Mt. Rinjani for around $60.
The largest white sand beach in Lombok is located at Sira, just north of Bangsal. Its about a 10km drive and perfect for a complete getaway. There are no tourist facilties and the area is beautiful. On your way out there you could take the mountain route, via Mataram and Pemenang. Its longer by quite a ways but the scenery is worth it. In Lombok it is easy to drive around a corner and get the feeling you are in a part of Indonesia that does not get any tourism.
Services in Senggigi:
Selaparang airport, Mataram. Can handle some international flights. Check schedule as details (as well as airlines) change.
Bounty catamaran docks at Teluk Nara, north of Senggigi. Bounty’s office is open 8am-5pm, (0370) 693666
Perama does boats to Gili Trawangan, taking 1 hour 30 minutes. (0370) 693007
Local co op for charter boats – (0370) 693435
Both Perama (0370) 693007 and Lombok Mandiri (0370) 693477 operate tourist shuttle buses.
•Car & motorbike rental:
Kotasi (0370) 693435 is the local transport co coperative. You will have to exercise your haggling skills and decide whether you need a car with driver, which might cost an extra 60,000rp. Driving in Lombok is easy as roads are fairly empty.
Expensive hotels often have their own doctor. There is also a clinic (0370) 6932000 near Senggigi Beach Hotel.
Money changers hours are 8.30am-7.30pm daily.
You will find ATMs from the main banks along the street in Central Senggigi.
•Internet / telephone:
Internet cafe and wartels are along the main street in Central Senggigi. Expect the speed to be slow.
Found in Central Senggigi.
West Nusa Tenggara
Open Mon-Thurs 8am-7.30pm, Fri-Sat 8am-7pm.
There are a few small convenience markets in Central Senggigi. The largest is Pacific Supermarket. Open usually 8.30am-9.30pm.