Lombok, the beautiful Indonesian island, is famous for its brilliant beaches that attract tourists from all over the world. The south coast is pretty much covered in them, and they all have something unique to offer to the potential tourists. Tanjung Aan is one of the finest spots in Lombok, and it deserves a visit from you.
According to ancient legends, it used to belong to Princess Mandalika. It’s facing the majestic Indian Ocean, and the views from this beach are off-the-chain if you know what I mean. The coastline is approximately two kilometers long, enough for you to have nice morning walks when the sun is about the rise.
Now, one of the “trademarks” of Tanjung Aan – Nyale Ritual Beach is the magical sand that looks like pepper. Just take a minute to feel it with your feet. It might hurt a bit, but the experience is definitely amazing. The waves are smooth out here, which makes this place perfect for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and doing all kinds of other water activities.
For surfing, wait until late afternoon. Some tourists like to arrive at the island with their own equipment because they don’t trust the locals. Well, they do have their reasons for that (like ridiculous prices and bad service), but usually, the companies that serve the customers at this beach are quite alright.
Enchanting Views And Cheap Food
Near the Tanjung Aan Beach, you’ll find several hills that make the entire place look like a perfect getaway spot. Furthermore, I highly encourage you to climb one of these mighty hills, because the view from up there is even more breath-taking and jaw-dropping. While walking around on the beach, you’ll find these cute wooden umbrellas with roofs made of braided straw.
They are like the unofficial symbol of the entire island and allow you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty around you. Grab a nice drink and get a tan while reading through your latest messages. Ok, what about the food? Is it any good?
Of course, it is, especially given the fact that the locals fish day and night and the seafood is super fresh and cheap. The restaurants and cafes serve various cuisines, including Thai, Italian, and more. The beverages in Tanjung Aan are pretty much the same as anywhere else around the world, but the magical scenery makes them taste better!
As I just said, the prices over there are more than competitive, and you’ll fill your stomach for just a couple of bucks. Don’t be a guzzler, though, because then you won’t be able to swim, hike, or do anything else without stopping to catch your breath.
The People And The Rituals Of Tanjung Aan
In comparison to Gili Trawangan, one of the craziest and busiest Indonesian islands, this beach is not really that exciting. But when February kicks in, it turns into a magical place. The so-called Bau Nyale ritual is considered to be sacred, and both the locals and the tourists gather at the beach to participate in this special event.
Remember the legend about Mandalika, the gorgeous princess? Well, she jumped into the sea to stop the princes that loved her from starting a war and killing each other. Now, if you believe the native citizens of Lombok, the princess is the incarnation of worms called Nyale. And the local men and women make foods from these worms.
No, I’m not kidding! The term “Nyale” is used to describe a number of sea worms that come to surface right about this time of the year. Nobody will force you to eat these creatures, but if you’re looking for that full experience of Tanjung Aan – Nyale Ritual Beach, then I suggest you try at least a bite.
The locals treat this ritual as a festival, a huge celebration, and are very friendly to the foreigners that don’t really know the first thing about their traditions or customs. So, don’t worry: they’ll tell you everything you need to know. By the way, do you know about the “rice wars” in Lombok, Perang Topat? Check it out on our website!
More About The Local Traditions
The people of Lombok – more than three million people – believe that the number of the worms I just mentioned, as well as their “behavior”, have a huge effect on the rice fields and the harvest that year. The Nyale are believed to be born out of the Mandalika’s hair; so, they should be treated with respect.
Ok, when is the best time to arrive at Tanjung Aan to see it all with your own two eyes? Watch out for the huge crowd: once it appears on the beach, it will be the time to join the action. When the worms come out, the leader of the “tribe” (the “Mangku” in Indonesian) officially starts the festival. Lombok is a very conservative island and the fellas have to work a lot to “get the girl”.
However, during this celebration, the moms and dads are less protective of their daughters and the young men and women are allowed to interact with each other while in groups. No, they can’t find a quiet place to enjoy each other’s company, but in public, they are free to hold hands and do so much more.
During this celebration, the locals put their best clothes on and flirt with each other by using songs and special word games. Yep, it’s a bit weird when you’re reading about it, but when you’re standing on the warm sand in Tanjung Aan, this ritual is all kinds of fun! The atmosphere is magical and you feel like you’re a part of a video game or a fairytale.
Catching Worms And Praising Nature In Tanjung Aan – Nyale Ritual Beach
At sunrise, the boys and girls hop on boats together and head into the ocean to collect the worms. But how do they eat them, you might ask? Well, the choice is big: people are free to consume them raw, grilled, mixed with coconut, and all kinds of other ways. The elders say that eating Nyale worms encourages sexual activity.
The government of Lombok takes the rituals in Tanjung Aan very seriously and does everything in its power to make them more interesting for the foreigners. For example, they’ve been hiring actors/actresses for many years, but since the whole thing is already quite exciting, they’re not really why tourists are excited about this festival.
The “island vibes” are very strong in Tanjung, even with all those cafes on the coastline and the luxurious hotels with top-notch service. And the Nyale ritual is one of those things that make a visit to a foreign country worth it. Come on, you’ll have a lot to brag about once you go back home! The sand is white, the ocean is clean, and there’s green grass on top of the hills.
Yes, this is a very attractive tourist spot, one that’s almost never empty. Just climb on top of one of these hills with your girlfriend and enjoy the sunset. I guarantee that will be one of those moments that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
The Tanjung Aan Beach is located approximately 75 kilometers away from Mataram, the big, beautiful city, and just 3 kilometers from the Kuta beach, another fine tourist spot in Lombok. Personally, I rented a bike and had a blast riding through the picturesque villages. It took me about 1, 5 hours – might be a bit different for you depending on the traffic and your riding skills.
You are free to pick between renting a car/bike and public transportation. Now, since GPS might be lagging a bit, memorize the route in advance: from Mataram, go to Cakranegara; then, Kediri, Praya, Sengkol, Sade, and you’ll reach your destination right after Kuta.
Again, check the map for a more detailed route with all the stops and turns. For public transportation, got to Sengkol first and hop on the race to Kuta. A single ticket usually costs around 10K IDR (that’s less than one US dollar). While in Kuta, rent a bike and drive all the way to Tanjung Aan. So, at the end of the day, you’ll still need to drive for yourself, which is why I recommend taking a bike/car in Mataram and following through with the map on your own. If you’re on this trip with your friends, the ride will be more fun.