The Week Business magazine ( USA ) wrote, “Indonesia will be the greatest tourism destination in the world”. It is a new paradise island called Lombok, which means “chili pepper” in Indonesia. But in the local language the native say, it also means “straight as a road” and, therefore, ”honest”.
It is 1.774 square miles and 2.3 million lie some 50 miles east of the Indonesian archipelago’s most famous island, supremely beautiful yet sadly overdeveloped bali.
The island was first described in English by Alfred Russel Wallace, the great naturalist who shaped the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin. On Lombok you know how it was in the old days-not just the early 20th Century, but the 19th. The beauty of the landscape is relatively unspoilt – ideal countryside for trekking and those with an adventurous spirit.
Lombok has Mt. Rinjani, an awe inspiring volcano which soars to the height of 3.726 meters . Rice, is the main commodity on Lombok instead of coconut, Coffee, kapok, tobacco , cotton and any other plantations.There are many temples, royal park, traditional sasak villages ,beautiful white sandy beaches ,as well as many wonderful small islands around Lombok that suitable for having fun of scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming or just relaxing on the beautiful shiny beach.
The island has thankfully not yet leapt into our present day reality of traffic jams and smog. Traditional carts pulled by small ponies still seem to be the preferred method of transport. Even in streams beside the main street of Mataram, the provincial capital, you can find drivers washing their steeds in sparkling mountain streams.
To get there
Today it’s possible to fly to the Island . At least 14 flights a day make the trip from Bali to Lombok and there are daily flights from Jakarta , Yogyakarta and Surabaya by Garuda, while Silk Air files direct from Singapore and Merpati from Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia .
The climate of the region has a perfect climate with annual temperatures ranging between 21 and 33 degrees. It has only two seasons, the dry from May to October and the wet from November to April.
People, Religion, Arts & Culture
Two thirds of the 2.6 million population live of Lombok which is home to sasak people a group of indigenous people who inhabit various parts of the islands, some of who still live a traditional lifestyle. In western Lombok, descendants of Balinese who sailed over the Lombok strait centuries ago, still reside. They retain their Hindu beliefs and intricate ceremonies, while their Sasak neighbors are predominantly Moslem.
The diversity of people provide the region with a rich tapestry of dialect and divers range languages, traditional dance, music and ritual. In addition, beautiful pottery making, cloth weaving, and painting are done using skill passed down through the generations.
On Lombok the influence of Javanese, Hindu and Islamic cultures can clearly be noted in a traditions of the society.
As a province, the autonomous region of West Nusa Tenggara is governed by a governor who has first been elected by the regional parliament and then appointed by the president for a five years term, Mataram is the capital of the provincial government.
Places of interest: Mataram
City Museum West Nusa Tenggara
This museum shaped to resemble a Sasak dwelling is located in Ampenan. As well as housing many historical artifacts from Lombok and it’s surrounding area, the museum also possesses a 1239 manuscript in which the ancient history of the area was written using a native language which is no longer used. Due to the lack of paper in those days, the text was written onto lontar (dried palm leaves ) bark and bamboo.
Grave of General Van Ham
Van Ham was a well-known Dutch General who was killed in 1894 during a war between the king of Mataram Lombok and the Dutch colonizers.
This is beautiful park was built in 1744 by Lombok’s king – Anak Agung Ngurah Karangasem. The centerpiece of the garden is a delightful pool, in the middle of which is a Bale Kambang, a building called Floating Hall. This hall is used for judicial lawsuits or equally important meetings. Influences from both Hindu and Islamic cultures can be seen in the architecture and choice of statues that are housed in the park.
Places of interest: West Lombok
This magnificent park is situated ten kilometers east of Cakranegara Mataram on the main east to West Lombok highway.
The small hills and lake within this park replicate the land and crater lake at the top of Mt.Rinjani, Lombok ’s highest and most sacred mountain.
The beautiful tample of Narmada Park is dedicated to Shiva and named “ Pura Kalasa “ after a sacred river in India.
Lingsar is situated in the north of Narmada and has a Hindu temple which is widely regarded as the most sacred Hindu shrine in Lombok .This temple, built in 1714, is situated next to worshipping area , belonging to a sect practicing indigenous Animistic Belief or Animism.
The two differing religious groups combine their Animistic beliefs once a year as they joint together for a ceremony to welcome the beginning of the rainy season. The “ Topat War “ ceremony begins with each party worshipping in their respective temples. They then congregate outside and start throwing small packages of cooked rice wraped in coconut leaves, called “ketupat”, at each other.
Suranadi / Sesaot
Situated to the east of Narmada, Suranadi has one of the most holy Hindu temples in Lombok
The temple’s relaxing surroundings include several springs and a pond full of fish. Suranadi itself boasts a natural park/forest area, which is home to a variety of birds whose tuneful melodies can be heard by visitors.
Situated ten kilometers north of Mataram , Senggigi is Lombok ’s oldest and most famous resort area.
A perfect place to relax, Senggigi boast a series of white sandy beaches and a save swimming area, which also provides some good waves for surfers, as well being home to a colorful reef which provides shelter to a variety of marine life and exquisitely shaped coral – a perfect place to snorkel. Senggigi caters to all wallets. Expensive restaurant and small cafes line the main street; accommodation ranging from luxury hotel to small, comfortable bungalows is available.
Gili Air, Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan
the Gili islands, as they are known collectively, are located some 20 kilometers north of Senggigi and within 30 to 60 minutes of the north west coast. Each island boast excellent beaches and diving tanks to extensive coral reefs that an circle each island. It is these coral reefs that are home to the blue coral-a coral said to grow in only two places in the world-the Caribbean and here, off the coast of Lombok.
Traditional boats (perahu) departing from Bangsal(north of malimbu) ferry passengers out to any of the islands.
Gili Trawangan which takes sixty minutes by boat mainly offers relatively cheap accommodation while Gili Air (only twenty fife minutes) offers the best range of accommodation. Gili Meno (thirty five minutes) is the least developed or crowded of the islands and therefore is perfect for relaxing.
Pusuk – the monkey forrest
Situated in the hills to the east of malimbu, Pusuk has fantastic views as well as fascinating wildlife. The forest here is home to many species of monkey, most of whom are not afraid to come close to visitors.
Places of interest: Central & South Lombok
This traditional village lies 28 Km south – east of Mataram has a bustling weaving industry which still employs the skill handed down from generation to generation. This traditionally trained villagers produce an exquisite array of fine woven cloths, using cotton, silk, or gold and silver to create their original design, for which Lombok is now famous.
Further south from Sukarara, the village of Penujak is still less than an hour by car from Mataram. Villagers here are employ age – old skill in the creation of earthenware, produce in many appealing shapes and design. Experienced female potters pass down their skill to the next generation in a traditional ceremony called “turun temurun”.
Sade and Rambitan
The villages of Rambitan and sade are situated about nineteen kilometers South of Praya , the capital of Central Lombok . Despite catering to many visitors, this traditional Sasak villages still offer a glimpse of life as it must have once been especially the traditional thatched architectural design of the dwellings, with their soaring roofs. In their beautiful settings, surrounded by lush green rice fields, this villages also offer visitors the opportunity of trying their hand at weaving “gedogan” using simple looms.
On the ruggedly beautiful South coast, lies the impressive white sandy expanse of Kuta beach. The beach is a perfect place to wander, at low tide, among a plethora of shells, coral and other marine life. Accomodation with in the mid ring bracket to luxurious is found here, many of which line the main beach.
The people of Lombok call this pristine beach “Putri Nyale”. Every year on tenth month of the Sasak calender. (February or March), the “Bau Nyale” ceremony is held which local people join together at night to catch sea worms by torchlight, while eerily singing “Pantun” ( traditional poetry).
Tanjung A’an Beach
Pantai Tanjung A’an (A’an cape beach) is located on a cape on Lombok ’s South coast. It is a beautiful white shiny beach and is an ideal place to sunbathe, while admiring the surrounding beauty.
Mawun Beach To the West of Kuta, this sheltered beach is located between two hills offering spectacular views and pristine white sand. It is an ideal place to swim or just relax on the beautiful beach.