Kuta in Lombok

I was eager to visit Kuta on my last sojourn to Lombok mainly out of curiosity. That, and the fact so many people had told me of its pristine appeal to travellers as well as being a good surf break. This tiny village on the sweeping bay of white sand and coconut palms was refreshing and the total opposite to that of its counterpart on the sister island of Bali.

We travelled the 54 kilometres south of the capital, Mataram, on a hot day and upon arriving at Kuta the sea breeze was delightful. At first sight Kuta Beach reminded me of the Kuta in Bali decades earlier when tourism had yet to have such a dramatic impact on the area. The backdrop to the white sand beaches is a series of rugged, rocky headlands and spectacular to see.

The stretch of road leading through Kuta Beach is a mishmash of ramshackle huts, warungs, surfshops and stalls selling a variety of goods. When one first sees this potpourri of coconut-palm roof-topped huts it is interesting and the whole section is worth walking along to get the feel of what Bali was once like.

The wide open areas of palm tree studded space is like a virtual paradise but, with the pending opening of the new airport not far from there, I imagined this beautiful place chock-a-block full with hotels and restaurants in the not too near distant future. One upmarket hotel chain has already opened there; Novotel, and no doubt, many more will follow.

Kuta Beach is itself a great place to visit and one worth visiting before it becomes tourism-tacky and is drenched in the mania of its counterpart in Bali. I sincerely hope this does not occur, at least not too quickly so that travellers can appreciate the beauty of this pristine area. Already there is a massive two-way road system leading down to this piece of utopia in Lombok. Makes one wonder what price tourism.