I try to point out a special feature or advantage of each place reviewed. YUT’s PARADISE? - not only a good all-rounder but also a great CENTRAL POSITION (matched only by adjacent upmarket KOKOMO) near the pier which makes exploring the main villages and the two halves of the island (do them separately) pretty easy.
- NEAR PIER: turn right, walk 100m. Removes transfer costs – some of the more distant resorts charged IDR100K+ per boat - a bit rich if you are the only passengers, Trips can be bumpy, wet.
- EXPLORING THE 2 MAIN VILLAGES: Linear ORONG BUKAI starts just south of the pier – great for village life. Couple of small stores and restaurants with non-tourisy meals. Locals v friendly. No dogs, surprisingly few cats, lotsa free range goats and chickens, no cars, a few motos.
Bigger PEGAMETAN is on the opposite W coast only 500m across the paved track starting just south of the pier.
- EXPLORING THE NTH HALF OF ISLAND: take the path north of YUT’s. After 300m look for the VIEWPOINT sign – 20mins each way, no killer slopes, best views north and west. Back on the track +100m sees a tidal entrance to the NE lake: take the hand-line punt across (easy). Best to continue on the beach past here, work has made tracks discontinuous. 3600M gets you all the way around the north coast and down the west coast as far as PEGAMETAN. A west coast swamp/lagoon entrance with mangroves/scrub a bit hard to pass full tide. Best sand is on the NE corner where new VILLA SELALU’s beach club grooms the beach. The rest is pretty ordinary; thin (almost disappears full tide), coral debris, lotsa rubbish at the storm tide mark. Snorkeling opportunities underwhelming. But if you are looking for a patch of deserted sand – well I saw no-one along the northern half.
- EXPLORING STH HALF: a mostly paved track goes right around except for the western most peninsula and the stretch between the pier village and the neat spit adjacent THAMARIND RESORT and neighbours (for the latter, walk the 200m on the rocks south of the village (will get wet feet full tide + beware slippery sections) – to continue STH TAKE paved path INLAND side of lake behind spit. To avoid the rocks, the southern tracks can be picked up in PEGAMETAN.
Fewer beaches in STH half (but the bit along the spit equal to NE corner and has ok snorkeling), more villages. Southern most new MARINA interesting.
BACK TO YUT’s PARADISE:
About a dozen bungalows set around spacious garden – only 2 of my bottom budget fan, cold water (both fine) jobs ; both in SW corner where WIFI was poor. My bung easily big enough for 2+gear (more exxy bungs progressively bigger – family type huge), comfy bed, good net, spacious bathroom. Demerits – no drying rack, bath mat, inside trash bin, + slight lateral slope (not noticeable in bed). Thought value FAIR for this area (higher than NW GILIS or mainland BALI/LOMBOK).
- restaurant airy open sided, good WIFI and view of ocean and passing parade - prices very reasonable; head lady SAYUTE great cook, salad roll (with fried egg) yummiest and best value meal all trip. Service varied – when SALUTE absent lack of English skills meant some confusion. Lengthy wait for meals but this meant food prepared from scratch, not long simmering pots.
- beach in front groomed but thin, water milky. Sitting platforms overlooked beach and path+sunrise just south of RINJANI.
VERDICT – a good place – I enjoyed my stay.