Lombok it is a natural collection of contrasts and diversity, there are mountains, stunning coastline, traditional villages, charming people, and the incredible underwater world. As a tourist destination, Lombok is different from Bali, and is unique in itself. In Lombok one can find aspects of Balinese life but not vice-versa in the case of Bali. In the western part of Lombok, Hinduism and Islam co-exist. The natives of Lombok, the Sasaks, are Muslim, and their art and religious life are quite different from those of their Hindu neighbours. The name "Lombok" is said to come from a fiery red chilli pepper, used as condiment in Indonesia. The Sasaks call their island Bumi Gora, which means "The Dry Farmland", or Selaparang, which is the name of an old East Lombok kingdom. The island measures about 80 km north to south and about 70 km east to west. There are several cluster of small islands off Lombok's coast, all called "Gili" from the Sasak word for island. Some are inhabited by fisherman and stray cattle, and the best-known - Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan, off the northwest coast - host hordes of tourists. The Gilis have a lot of coral, that's why they have so much fish, and their blue coral is famous in its own right. Lombok is dominated by 3,726-metre Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's highest volcano and one of the highest points in the archipelago. Rinjani crowns a group of mountains that dominate the north-central section of the island. Lombok has a large array of beautiful beaches. Kuta Beach ( also known as Putri Nyale Beach ), is on the south cost of Central Lombok, it is one of the most scenic and unspoilt beaches on the island, and the sea is safe for bathing and swimming. Each year, on the 19th day of the tenth month of the Sasak lunar calendar, when the Nyale fish come to the sea surface, Kuta Beach hosts the famous Nyale Festival. But Lombok's chief resort is Senggigi beach, offering a range of accommodation, with the best hotels on the island situated here. Lombok is where the transition towards Eastern Indonesia begins, both naturally and culturally. The northern part of Lombok is mountainous and verdant with tall trees and shrubs covering the land. One finds none of large Asian mammals. The western part of the island is the greenest and most humid. As one moves east, the dry season becomes more pronounced, and in many areas corn and sogo, instead of rice, are the staple foods.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Ampenan - Cakranegara - Mataram
The population centre of Lombok is an urban sprawl in the west made up of three nearby cities spreading from the shore the old port town of Ampenan blends into the administrative city of Mataram, which blends into the trade town of Cakranegara. Each city has a very different character. Ampenan, with its network of small streets, aged buildings, Chinese and Arab lodgings and decaying port, has the most character and life. Mataram, the administrative capital, has modern government buildings and Nusa Tenggara Barat museum ( with cloth, kris knives, tools and craftwork displays ). Cakranegara has craft shops, weaving, and points of interest from the days of Balinese power, as for example Pura Meru, the central temple for Lombok's Hindus, built in 1720 to unite the various existing groups; or Puri Mayura royal garden once served as court of justice and meeting hall for local nobles.
Sengkol - Pujut - Rambitan
Sengkol, Pujut, Rambitan are traditional Sasak villages located at the southern part of Lombok. The traditional houses enclose an centre raised area about a metre off the ground, and made of a mix of clay, dung and straw, that has been polished to a high gloss. The roof is thatch, and the walls are bamboo or palm leaf ribs. Traditional rice barns - called lumbungs become unofficial symbol of Lombok.
The structure and the pool supposedly built in 1805 as a replica of Gunung Rinjani and Segara Anak, the lake within Rinjani's caldera. When the king Anak Gede Karangasem of Mataram after he became too old to trek to Rinjani to deposit offerings in the sacred crater lake, he built Pura Narmada. The annual pilgrimage and offering at Rinjani's crater lake continues today.
Gunung Rinjani and Segara Anak Lake
Mount Rinjani at 3,726 above sea level forms the second highest volcanic peak in Indonesia. The view from the tip of caldera on Mount Rinjani is definitely the highlight of Lombok and perhaps of all Indonesia. Its huge crater contains the crescent-shaped Segara Anak Lake, 6 km across at its widest point. The lake is 600 metres below the crater rim, and in the centre of its curve is another cone, Gunung Baru, which is only 200 years old. For Sasak and Balinese the volcano is a sacred place and the adobe of deities. Segara Anak Lake is the destination of annual pilgrimage to place offerings in the water and bathe away disease in the hot springs. There are many routes up the mountain, but the main access is from Senaru in the north and Sembalun Lawang to the east.
Gili Air - Gili Meno - Gili Trawangan
All three islands, off the north-western coast of Lombok, offer white sand beaches and clear water for best in Lombok diving and snorkelling. The mixture and great quantity of marine life that finds its home in these waters is among the richest in the world.