Along the south coast of the beautiful island of Lombok lies a long and wide stretch of white sand beach facing the pristine aquamarine glistening seas of the Indian Ocean. The beach is known by the local people as the Bay of Aan, or Tanjung Aan Bay Lombok located in the Mandalika area in the district of Central Lombok.
“Discovered” by surfers, Tanjung Aan boasts a swathe of a 2 kilometers long white sand beach. Uniquely, the beach has two different types of sand, more eastward the sand is like little round white pepper grains whereas further west it is as soft as sugar. Under the hot noonday sun the beach is quite empty visited only by villagers waiting under the trees for the few tourists who pass by.
But this tranquil rural scene is soon to change as the government has earmarked the Mandalika area to become an integrated international resort complete with luxury hotels, roads, and modern facilities.
In fact, this is believed to be the abode of the Lombok princess called Mandalika, who tragically threw herself into the sea when she was forced to wed a man she refused to marry. She ran up the hill by the Aan beach, now called Mandalika hill, then plunged herself into the deep sea to disappear, only to reappear every year as sea worms that surface in the millions providing nutrition to her people. Every year around February, for as yet some unknown reason, millions of sea worms appear along the southern coasts of Lombok, Sumbawa and Sumba. In Lombok this season is called Bau Nyale, which is celebrated to commemorate Princess Mandalika, while highlight of the Bau Nyale Festival is of course held at Tanjung Aan.
Today, from the top of the Mandalika hill you can overlook the huge and still unfathomable Indian Ocean, where the sea changes color from transparent turquoise to bright blue then to dark blue where the ocean floor drops into a deep valley. This part of Lombok is ideal for the cultivation of pearls, and indeed it is along this coast where Lombok’s famous varied colored pearls are being farmed.
In the morning hours the sea along Tanjung Aan Beach is smooth and tranquil, but towards afternoon the tide comes in in large waves and amazing surf. This is the time when surfers come out to ride the waves and dance over and among the surf until sunset. Therefore, beginner divers are advised to go snorkeling or swim in the morning, before the really large waves roll in.
There are a number of dive shops along the beach where you can rent your gear and surf boards and of course trainers and professional dive guides to assist.
If you donot go surfing, rent a boat to sail along the coast. In the evening climb up the hill to watch the sun slowly spectacularly set in bright orange, reds and purple colors then disappear beyond the horizon over the Indian Ocean.
Some 3 km before reaching Aan Bay, is another beach known as Kuta Lombok (not to be confused with Kuta beach on Bali). This part of the beach is more developed and here you will find the 5 star Novotel Lombok Hotel and other smaller hotels.
Not far from Tanjung Aan are also the Seger beach, located 2 km from here and the Selong Belanak Beach. Pantai Seger is known by professional surfers as having some of the best surf in the world. .
In 2014 the Indonesian government made the 1,175 hectares Mandalika Resort a Special Economic Zone (KEK) providing incentives and facilities for investors. But for now life around here is laid back and activities cease at sunset, And since there is as yet little street lighting here it is advisable to avoid these roads at night.
Tanjung Aan and Mandalika are located just south of the new Bali International Airport which was moved from the old airport at Selaparang on the West side of Lombok. Taxis are available at the airport. Kuta Beach Lombok is around 11 km from the airport
From Mataram, the beach of Tanjung Aan is 75 km. from the capital city of Lombok, travelling east then south east. On the way, take time to visit the traditional Lombok village of Sade, which lies conveniently on the way. Surfers prefer to hire a motorbike while carrying their surfboard. Rental costs around Rp.70,000 for 12 hours.