LOMBOK

LOMBOK

Lombok (a four hour ferry ride from Bali) is a quiet, conservative Muslim island with rice terraces, stunning beaches, clear waters, bamboo groves, wonderful reefs, monkey-filled jungles, volcanos, fog-covered mountains, straw-hatted farmers, painted donkey carts, cashew plantations and tiny fishing villages. Lombok Strait is a famous diving spot.

Located immediately east of Bali, Lombok is 112 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide at its widest point and covers about 4,690 square kilometers (1,826 square miles) . It has a mountain ranges in the north and southeast and fertile central plains, where most of the people live. Lombok is dryer than Bali. The rainy season is between November and March; the dry season between May and August. The greatest rainfall is in the west. The south can get particularly dry and experience prolonged droughts. The 30 rivers found on the island are vital for agriculture.

The local Sasaks make up 90 percent of 3.2 million people on Lombok. They are regarded as friendly and hospitable and both devout Muslims and practicing animists. Much of the island is very conservative. Outside the popular beach areas, visitors are advised dress to modestly and refrain from public displays of affection. Western women have been harassed for wearing shorts. In 2000 there were some attacks directed at Chinese and Christians.

Lombok is separated by a deep trench that divides the Asian continental shelf from the Australian shelf. Biologist Alfred Wallace was the first to notice in the 19th century that Lombok’s flora and fauna differed from those on the western islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Since then the Wallace Line was drawn from the Lombok Straits northwards up the Makassar Straits — separating Kalimantan from Sulawesi — and on to the South China Sea, demarcating the Asian and the Australian ecozones.

Eric Weiner wrote in the New York Times: Lombok is “ where the roads are rough and the tourists few. This enchanted Indonesian island is, after all, a place that seems to be perpetually arriving, yet has never quite arrived. Proximity to Bali is Lombok's blessing, and its curse. Many residents bristle at the idea of basking in Bali's reflected glory and point out that while only 25 miles separate the two islands, they are in fact worlds apart...Culturally, Lombok is typically more Indonesian than Bali... Unlike mostly Hindu Bali, Lombok is 86 percent Muslim. It's an island of Sukarno hats, mosques (many built with Saudi funds) and hardscrabble farmers. Indeed, overzealous tourism officials notwithstanding, Lombok is not "an unspoiled Bali," or "Bali's sister island." Lombok is not Bali at all, and that is precisely its charm.” [Source: Eric Weiner, New York Times, September 24, 2008]

“To be honest, though, Lombok's undeniable appeal remains something of a mystery. Yes, the beaches are lovely, but there are lovely beaches elsewhere. Yes, Mount Rinjani is spectacular, but other volcanoes are more spectacular. Maybe it's that Lombok, unlike Bali, retains an endearing frumpiness. Lombok may be paradise but it is an ordinary paradise, if such a thing is possible. Indeed, even those banking on Lombok's rise hope it doesn't happen too quickly or recklessly. "In 30 years, you won't like Lombok," said Scott Coffey, an American hotelier who owns Qunci Villas. Perhaps, but for now Lombok seems just right.

NUSA TENGGARA

Nusa Tenggara is a string of islands that extend to the east of Bali and continues in a southeast curve towards Australia. The main islands are (from west to east) Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, Flores, Sumba, and Timor. Also known as the Lesser Sundas or Lesser Sunda Islands, Nusa Tengarra is the driest part of Indonesia. Parts of the islands have been denuded by slash and burn agriculture and brush fires. As one travels eastwards the climate get drier and drier and some land areas are covered by open savannah. The 300-meter-deep channel that runs between Bali and Lombok extends northwards and divides Kalimantan and Sulawesi and marks the Wallace Line, with different species of animals living on each side.

The largest islands in Nusa Tengarra are Sumba, Flores and Timor. Bali and Nus Tenggara account for 4.6 percent of Indonesia’s land and 5.3 percent of its population. The region is poorer than other parts of Indonesia. Corn and taro are grown in the dryer areas rather than rice. Many ethic groups live in the region, particularly on Flores and Alor. Many of the people are Christians.

Travel in the region is much easier than it used be. There are numerous flights to many cities; the ferries are frequent and regular; and the roads and bus links are good. You can visit Nusa Tenggara by air. From Darwin, Australia, you can go to Kupang twice a week, joinly operated by Air North and Merpati Nusantara Airlines. Silk Air operates from Singapore and Merpati offers flights from Kuala Lumpur to Mataram. You can also visit Bali first, from this island it's easier to reach Nusa Tenggara. What about traveling by sea? Awu, Dobonsolo, Dorolonda, Kelimutu, Sirimau, Tatamailau, Pangrango and Tilongkabila ferries serve Nusa Tenggara. Slow ferries also connect the small islands.

Sea food is abundant and western style food can be found in many places. West Nusa Tenggara dishes, Lombok (Sasak) especially, can be spicy so you need to ask around if you can't stand it. Freshwater fish is also a favorite, try gurami asam manis (sweet and sour gouramy fish) while you're around. Ayam taliwang (roasted chicken with special sauce made of shallot, garlic, fish paste etc.) is a must, eaten with steamed rice and plecing kangkung (boiled greens, bean sprouts, peanuts coated with chili sauce) and sambal beberuk. They are very spicy though, especially sambal beberuk, made with lots of chili, tomatoes and eggplants. Tourism Office: Jl. Singosari 2, Mataram 83127, Tel. (62-370) 631730, 633886, 6358474, 6387828-9, fax: (62-370) 637233, 635274, Website: http://entebe.com, E mail: disbudpar@wasantara.net.id

Wallace Line and the History and People of Nusa Tenggara

Flores in Nusa Tengarra is the home of Homo floresiernsis, the Hobbit-like hominids that lived between 95,000 and 12,000 years ago. Otherwise, the history of Nusa Tenggara has not been has not been carefully studied. During 17th century, Dutch began to colonize this region. Many people these days stil live like their ancestors, fishing or farming. This area began to gain popularity when Komodo Island and surroundings became famous.Today this area is known mainly for the tourist spots of and Komodo island.

On Lombok island, the Sasak kingdom dominated this area until Balinese and Makasarrese attacked it. In the middle of 18th century, Balinese kingdom reigned over the island. Dutch occupied Lombok in the 19th century. After Indonesian independence, Lombok was dominated by Sasak elite, most are Muslim, and Balinese, most of whom are Hindus.

Sasak people and Balinese dominate Lombok, but Javanese also can be found in West Nusa Tenggara. Arab, Bugis and Chinese also live in this area. Most of Sasak people are Muslim and they value modesty, meaning visitors should respect their belief. You should cover yourself appropriately, meaning going nude or topless is deemed inappropriate. Public display of affection should be limited and consumption of alcohol must be done moderately.

The Wallace Line, named after 19th century naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, marks a point of transition between the flora and fauna of Western and Eastern Indonesia and acts as the western boundary of West Nusa Tenggara, which includes the island of Lombok and Sumbawa. The northern part of the island is mountainous and lush with tall trees and shrubs. The south, on the other hand is arid and covered by savannas. Large Asian mammals are absent and replaced instead by marsupials, lizards, cockatoos and parrots. The difference becomes more pronounced as one moves further east, where dry seasons are more prolonged and corn and sago are staple food, instead of rice.

History of Lombok

In the 16th century Lombok came to be ruled by the kingdom of Karangasem of east Bali and the town of Cakranegara became the home of the crown prince of Karangasem. Because of the Balinese conquest over the indigenous Sasak people, a large part of Lombok has marked Balinese historic and cultural heritage, especially around the city of Mataram.

But, even before the arrival of the Balinese, an Islamic priest from Java, known as Sunan Giri had already proselyted a large part of the local Sasak population to Islam, and who until now adhere to what is called the Wektu Telu — or the three times for daily prayers, differing from the 5 times obligatory prayers in Islam. Wektu Telu is a religion unique to the Sasak on Lombok that blends Islam with old traditions and beliefs. Today Lombok is also home to a minority of Hindu Balinese, as well as smaller numbers of Chinese, Javanese, Bugis and Arabs.

Riots erupted on Lombok in 2000 that left dozens dead. Muslim mobs attacked Chinese-owned businesses The Guardian reported in January 2000: “Muslim youths began attacking churches in Mataram, the main town on Lombok, after being whipped into a frenzy of religious fanaticism at a rally in which protesters demanded speedier government action to end sectarian fighting in the Moluccas, often known as the Spice islands. About 1,000 people have been killed in the Moluccas in the last three weeks, with unbalanced local media reports reinforcing the perception that Muslims have been for the most part innocent victims of Christian brutality. On Saturday the influential Indonesian Council of Ulemas backed calls for a jihad, or holy war, to defend Muslim interests. [Source: John Aglionby, The Guardian, January 18, 2000]

“After the attacks in Mataram, the Lombok mob grew to several thousand people. They moved to the nearby town of Ampenan in search of more churches and threw stones at police and soldiers deployed to restore order. They in turn fired on the rioters.More than a dozen people were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds...he clashes continued until well after dark, with many areas blocked off as the police and army struggled to gain control. Residents blamed outside agitators for the violence. "Lombok has been very quiet for the last two years," said a lecturer at the Mataram university. "Yes, there are fanatical Muslims here but there's no way this would have happened without outside intervention."”

In July 2018, Lombok was struck by 6.4-magnitude earthquake that killed 17 people and stranded nearly 700 hikers on Mount Rinjani volcano. Rescuers were called in after the earthquake caused landslides that cut off key trails off the peak.

Sasak

The Sasak are the dominant group living on Lombok. They were Hindus before they converted to Islam beginning in the 16th century. Feuding between Sasak princedoms allowed the Balinese to dominate the island and reduce the Sasak to vassals and servants until the Dutch drove the Balinese out in 1894 and the Balinese ruling family committed ritual suicide. The Sasak language is similar to Balinese and Javanese. [Source: Encyclopedia of World Cultures, East and Southeast Asia edited by Paul Hockings (G.K. Hall & Company, 1993) ~]

The Sasak are divided into two groups: 1) the Wetu Telu, the more traditionalist Sasak, and the 2) Waktu Lima, the more conservatively Islamic and market-oriented Sasak. There has traditionally been some friction between the two groups over their beliefs and power. The Waktu Lima held higher positions under the Dutch and some have accused the Wetu Tela of being infidels. ~

The Wetu Tela regard themselves as Muslims but have many radical beliefs. They do not build mosques, pray five times, go on pilgrimages to Mecca and have no objection to eating pork. In the Sasak language Wetu means “result” and telu means “three.” The number “three” looms large in their belief system. They fast for only three days during Ramadan and recognize the trilogy of the sun, moon and stars and the head, body and limbs The Wetu Tela have been declining in numbers and now mostly persist in remote areas. Their number are believed to be less than 30,000. ~

Traditional Sasak beliefs embrace ancestor cults, life-crisis ceremonies, beliefs in local spirits and local holy places. Some traditional animist and Hindu beliefs have been incorporated into their version of Islam even though they regard themselves as devoutly Islamic. Some Balinese-Hindu concepts of caste also remain in the existence of two classes of nobles and one of commoners. Nobles and commoners often live in separate neighborhoods and high rank men are allowed to marry lower rank women but high rank women are allowed to marry lower rank men. ~

Sasak Life

Sasak villages range in size from several hundred people to more than 10,000. They are often set up around a mosque or mosques, or along a road. Traditional houses are barn-like structures with bamboo frames, and thatched roofs, and are built on platforms of packed earth. These have largely been replaced by concrete or wood houses with metal roofs. [Source: Encyclopedia of World Cultures, East and Southeast Asia edited by Paul Hockings (G.K. Hall & Company, 1993) ~]

The Sasak are primarily farmers who raise wet rice with water-buffalo-pulled plows in fields outside their villages. A lot of work is put into maintaining irrigation systems and their dikes and canals. Other crops are also produced. Men have traditionally done the plowing, field clearing and dike repair while women pounded the rice, fetched water and took care of the households. Sasaks sometimes eat ferns. ~

Many marriages have traditionally taken place through elopement, which the Sasak refer to as “bride capture.” Marriages between cousins are common and often preferred. Within the limitations of caste there is considerable freedom in choosing spouses. ~

Sasak arts include shadow puppet plays, dances, dramas, Islamic songs and gamelan-style music. Traditionally large wooden horses were made to carry celebrants during festivals. Sasak men value physical strength. Pereseban is a form of recreational fighting in which combatants use rattan staves and small rectangular shields. Lanca, a form of combat that originated in Sumbawa, and features men who strike each other with their knees, is also practiced. ~

Tourism in Lombok

As Bali has become overrun, may tourists have made their way to Lombok to escape. In 1994, Bali had 1 million visitors compared 200,000 in Lombok. In 2017 Bali welcomed 5.7 million tourists, compared to around 3 million in Lombok. In October 2011, the new Lombok International Airport opened in the south of Lombok, 40 kilometers. south-east of Mataram, replacing the former Selaparang airport at Ampenan. The new airport has runways capable of handling 747s.

Lombok is also known for its magnificent South Sea cultured pearls grown in pristine waters around the island. Lombok’s woven cloths are second to none as are its pottery. Visit the village of Banyumulek where some of the best pottery is produced, and the village of Sukarare for kain ikat or hand-woven textiles. For seafood lovers, enjoy succulent grilled fish and crabs freshly caught from the sea

On the 20th day of the 10th month on the traditional Sasak Calendar, the Sasak people celebrate the traditional ceremony of Bau Nyale. Bau in the Lombok language means “to-catch” and Nyale is a type of sea worm that surfaces only around this time of the year. Therefore, Bau Nyale is a unique festive ceremony when large crowds catch the Nyale along a number of Lombok’s finest beaches. Other religious festivals take place at the beginning of the rainy season (October to December) or at harvest time (April to May) with celebrations in villages all over the island.

Dubai, Qatar, the Indonesian government and various developers have spent a ton of money erecting luxury hotels, golf courses and a marina along Lombok's beautiful, and largely untouched, southern coast. Although rioting in 2000 and the earthquake in 2018 caused some damage to the tourist industry, the island quickly bounced back. For more detailed information please check the following:; Website: visitlomboksumbawa.net

Sights in Lombok

Attractions on Lombok include hiking up the volcano Mt Rinjani and climbing down to its crater lake; hitting the beaches at the resorts in Senggigi; surfing on south coast; and visiting the backpacker and snorkeling havens on the three Gilis — Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air — secluded tropical islands a short 20 minutes boat ride from Senggigi.

Soak up some sun and surf with a visit to the gorgeous Batu Bolong Beach. The beach takes its name from an enormous rock with a hole in it. Make sure you stay for sunset to see a stunning view as the sun lowers behind Mount Agung on Bali with incredible flaming colors. Explore the near deserted coves on the beaches north of Senggigi where your only company will be the odd fisherman.

Learn about the local history and visit the Maruya Water Palace in Mataram, capital city of Lombok. The palace was built in 1744 and was the site of bloody battles between the Dutch and Balinese in the late 19th century. Appreciate the serenity at the largest temple in Lombok, Pura Meru, located opposite the water palace. This centuries old temple is dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Visit the unique Pura Lingsar, a temple compound that combines the Bali Hindu and Wektu Telu religions in one complex.

Stroll around and shop in the charming market town of Surandi. There are some scenic picnic spots to stop and take a break. Or you can cool down with a swim in the river. The water here is considered sacred as it comes straight from Gunung Rinjani. Absorb local Sasak culture with a visit to Batu Kumbung village, northeast of Mataram. At this traditional village you’ll find women weaving fabrics as their ancestors did centuries ago. This village is famous for its music. Try your hand at learning a local dance or musical instrument.

Test your luck and take in the sights of horse racing or pacuan kuda at the Salakalas field. Races are held every Sunday. Watch the young jockeys in tough competition battle it out till the finish line where the winner will give a triumphant smile. The race is taken seriously and the night before competition villagers massage their horse, sometimes playing traditional gamelan music to relax them.

Shopping on Lombok

Lombok is famous for it’s pearls, woven baskets, pottery and hand crafted textiles like songkets and ikats. Pick up some local handicrafts at the many stores on Jl Raya Sengiggi in Matram. See weavers in action at Rinjani Handwoven or spoil yourself and buy some beautiful crafted furniture at Galeria Nao.

For pottery, visit Banyumulek village, a pottery center close to Mataram. Here you will see finely decorated pots as well as traditional urns and water flasks. Penujak (Central Lombok) and Masbagik (East Lombok) are also famous for making pottery. Lombok pottery has gained popularity and is shipped throughout the world.

Buy some beautiful locally produced textiles and watch the weavers at work. These unique textiles can be used as anything from sarongs, wall hangings and tablecloths. Each design is special to each weaver and passed down through generations. There is a traditional hand weaving village in Puyung (Central Lombok).

One of the most popular areas to shop for all sorts of antiques is on Jl Yos Sudarso where you’ll see everything from traditional bamboo containers to bone jewels and wooden statues. Bertais Market is the biggest daily market in Lombok with everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to herbs and spices and local artifacts on sale.

For those who love jewelry Lombok is famous for producing some of the world’s finest pearls. The annual Lombok-Sumbawa Pearl Festival is the perfect time to visit and pick up some beautiful pearls. Gem Pearls, Jl. Raya Meninting 69, Senggigi, Lombok, E mail: dewi_gempearls@yahoo.com, Tel. 0370 647300

Accommodation and Restaurants in Lombok

There are a range of accommodation options on Lombok ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts. The majority of hotels are located in Senggigi. There are lots of cheap guest houses in the Gilis. Peak season is June — August so if you plan to travel then, make sure you book ahead.

Some of the most popular spots to eat out are located in Senggigi. Here you can get everything from authentic Indonesian street food to conventional Western dishes. If you’re not afraid of fiery hot chili, try some of the special Lombok dishes. Ayam Taliwang is a spicy dish of fried or grilled chicken with a hot chili sauce and side dishes of vegetables. Sasak cuisine like freshwater gourami fish and sate are also popular.

Eric Weiner wrote in the New York Times: “Lombok means "chili," and the cuisine definitely had a kick. I opted for the more humane sarobi, a dish of rice flour, palm sugar, coconut milk, chili and tapioca — all rolled into a banana leaf. It's delicious and sets me back 1,000 rupiah, or 10 cents, at 9,577 rupiahs to the dollar.” [Source: Eric Weiner, New York Times, September 24, 2008]

Here are some of the restaurant you can try, while you're in Lombok: 1) Warung Menega grilled seafood, Jalan Raya Senggigi 6, West Lombok, Website: menega.com; 2) Warung Anda, Pantai Kuta, Jalan Pariwisata, Central Lombok,, Tel. 0370 655049

Getting Around and To Lombok

Public transport on the island comes in the form of buses and bemos (small minibus). The main bus terminal is Mandalika at Bertais. Hiring a car or motorcycle is a convenient way to explore the island. It is easiest to do this in Senggigi. Hotels and travel agencies offer the most competitive rates for car and motorcycle hire. If you have rented a motorcycle in Bali you can bring this with you on the ferry to Lombok.

For a local experience, take a leisurely ride in a cidomo or horse cart. This traditional mode of transport may not be the quickest way to get around but it’s certainly a great way to soak up the scenery. The Bluebird Group operate taxi’s on Lombok. Lombok Taksi & Golden Bird, Jl. Koperasi No. 102 Ampenan, Lombok Barat NTB., Tel. +62 (370) 627000, 645000, fax: +62 (370) 623972 E-mail : lomboktaksi@mataram.wasantara.net.id

In October 2011, Lombok moved its airport from the Selaparang Airport to the larger and better facilitated Lombok International Airport at Tanak Awu, in the Central Lombok District, some 30 kilometers or an hour’s drive south east of Mataram. The Airport is served domestically by Garuda Indonesia, Merpati, Lion Air, Batavia Air, Wings Air, and Trigana. Garuda Indonesia, Merpati, Lion Air and Batavia. Lion Air and Batavia Air make a transit stop in Surabaya. Internationally, Silk Air serves the Singapore to Lombok route.

From the airport passengers can get to Mataram by public bus. The special buses serving the route have a capacity of 40 passengers and its visual designs are also aimed to promote tourism in Lombok and West Nusa Tenggara. The fare from/to Mataram’s Mandalika Bus Terminal in Mataram is around IDR 15,000 to 20,000 and from/to Senggigi around IDR 20,000 to 25,000. Taxis will also be available to take passengers around the fabled island of Lombok.

By Boat: The port of Lembar is situated 22 kilometers south of Mataram. There are ferries every 90 minutes or so, 24 hours a day, between Lombok and Padang Bai on Bali, the trip taking between 4-5 hours. Any volunteer "porters" who carry your bags will expect at least IDR 10,000. A hotel pick-up should always be arranged well in advance and preferably confirmed by email. An alternative is to negotiate a trip with a private car operator upon arrival. You can take a bemo from Lembar Harbour to Mataram during daylight hours. The fare should be about IDR 5,000-8,000 to the Ampenan-Mataram-Cakranegara-Sweta area, but you may pay more if you have a lot of luggage. The high-speed boat from Bali to Lombok takes about two hours. Gili Cat (62-361-271-680) and Mahi Mahi (62-361-753-241) are two well-known ferry companies. They charge $65 a person each way.

Mataram

Mataram (west side of Lombok) is the largest city in Lombok, home to around 400,000 people. Most visitors to Lombok skip the town or stay briefly before heading straight to the Gilis or Senggigi. Sights in the town include the Museum Nusa Tenggar, with fine collection of kris dagger and gold-theaded cloth, and the Maura Water Palace, with some pavilions and a large artificial lake, and Pura Meru, the largest temple in Lombok. Nerany Matara, or Pura Lingsar, the holiest temeple in Lombok, with a Weku Telu shrine.

Capital of Lombok and the West Nusa Tenggara province, Mataram merges the towns of Ampenan, Mataram, Cakranegara and Bertais, that were once individual kingdoms and townships. In addition to serving as the provincial capital, Mataram is the center of the provincial government, education, commerce, industry and services. Public buildings, banks, post office, general hospitals, shopping malls, and hotels are found here, making it a perfect staging point before travelers explore the undiscovered splendors of Lombok Island and neighboring Sumbawa Island.

Ampenan, Mataram, Cakranegara and Bertaishave become the city’s sub-districts with their own distinct features. Broadly, Ampenan is an aging port city, Mataram is the governmental and office center for the province, Cakranegara is the major commercial center on the island, and Bertais is the overland center for public transportation. The four sub-districts are connected through a main road that stretches from Ampenan Street in Ampenan to the Selaparang Street at Bertais.

The Sasak people are the indigenous people of Lombok and form the majority of Mataram's residents. Mataram is also home to Balinese, Chinese, Chinese-peranakan (people of mixed Indonesian and Chinese descent) and a small number of Arab Indonesians, mainly of Yemeni descent who settled in the early port city of Ampenan. Although urban dwellers, the Sasak of Mataram still identify themselves strongly with their origins and the indigenous Sasak culture. The diversity of ethnic groups living in Mataram is a result of the city’s long history since the time of the ancient Laeq and Suwung Kingdom who once ruled part of the island, the arrival of the Javanese Majapahit Kingdom, traders from mainland Asia and the Middle East, the subsequent invasion of the Balinese Karangasem Kingdom, all the way to the Dutch and Japanese occupations in more modern times. For health care services, Risa Sentra Media Hospital is located at Jalan Pejanggik No. 115, Cakranegara, Mataram Tel: +62 370 62556.

Sights in Mataram

The legacy of the Balinese Karangasem rule over the Island can be found at the Pura Meru Temple at Cakranegara. Built in 1720 by AA Ngurah Gede Karang Asem, the temple is the largest and one of the oldest Hindu temples on the Island. The temple consists of three main buildings, with the center having an 11 tiered roof and a 9 tiered roof on the side building. As in all Hindu temples, the Pura Meru Temple is dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Across the Pura Meru Temple lies the Mayura Garden that was also built by AA Ngurah Gede Karang Asem in 1744. The garden is highlighted with an enchanting moat surrounding the magnificent palace island in the center. The garden was initially called ‘Klepug’ which was taken from the echoing sounds of ‘klepug-klepug’ coming from the spring in the pond. After its renovation in 1886, the garden was called Mayura, from the Sanskrit language meaning Peacock. It is said that, around the pond there used to be many peacocks thathunt and kill the snakes in the area. The influence of both Hindu and Islam are depicted in its buildings and statues.

The complete history of Mataram, Lombok and the West Nusa Tenggara Province can be discovered through the many valuable collections within the West Nusa Tenggara Museum. Among some of the exceptional collections are the golden handled Keris (dagger), 1.239 ancient scriptures written on palm leaves, hundred years’ old hand written holy writings, currencies from the time of the ancient kingdoms, and some of the traditional Sasak handicrafts. Other places of interest in the city are the tomb of Loang Baloq, the tomb of General Van Ham, the Rungkang Handicrafts Center, and the gold and pearl center in Sekarbela and Kamasan.

Accommodation in Mataram

Mataram offers a wide selection of accommodation options from star-rated hotels to modest inns: Granada Hotel Jl.Bung Karno No.8 Mataram Tel. 26015 2.
Hotel Handika Jl.Panca Usaha No.3 Mataram Tel. 33578
Hotel Kamboja Jl.W.R.Supratman no.10Mataram Tel. 22211
Hotel Kertayoga Jl.Pejanggik no.64 Mataram Tel 21775
Hotel Rinjani Jl.Catur Warga No.18 Mataram Tel. 31633
Hotel Tenang Jl.Catur Warga No.2 Mataram Tel. 23345
Hotel Chandra Jl.Panca Warga No.55 Mataram Tel. 23979
Mareja Sari Guna I Jl.Pariwisata No,26 Mataram, Tel. 21074
Mareja Sari Guna II Jl.Pariwisata no.9 Mataram, Tel. 21074
Giri Putri Jl.Catur Warga No.29 Mataram Tel. 23222
Wisma Nusantara I Jl.R.Suprapto no.28 Mataram, Tel. 23492
Wisma Paradiso Jl.Angkasa no. 3 Mataram Tel. 22074
Graha Ayu Jl.Ismail Marzuki Mataram, Tel. 35697
Pondok Wisata Griya Arsy Jl.Pendidikan no.56 B Mataram, Tel. 33098
Arum Jaya Jl.Pura Pancaka No.27 Mataram, Tel. 33098

Getting Around Mataram

Blue Bird Lombok Taksi (+62 370 627000) is the most common taxi available in Mataram. Both the Bluebird and white colored Express Taksi have a radio dispatch system and both companies cars are equipped with meters which should be used by their drivers at all times. Taxis can be booked in advance either by calling them yourself or by booking through your hotel. Taxis may be hailed down on the street anywhere around Mataram with the exception of the dark blue Airport Taksi the use of which is limited to arriving or departing airport passengers only. Bemos are the name for minivan public transportation that run many set routes in and around Mataram, Ampenan and Cakranegara. They may be flagged down anywhere on the streets of Mataram. Bemos can sometimes be crowded and may stop and start frequently to pick up and set down passengers.

Ojek (Motorbike taxis): Prices are negotiable but a rule of thumb is IDR 10,000-20,000 for a short trip with a local motorbike rider if the destination is nearby, longer distances will require some informed negotiation.

Horse carts known as cidomo remain a common means of transport in Mataram and they are often found operating throughout the congested streets near a produce market. Public bemos and metered taxis are more commonly used for transport in and around Mataram.

Getting to Mataram

By Plane: As from October 1st 2011, the Island of Lombok moved its airport from the Selaparang Airport to the larger and better facilitated Lombok International Airport at Tanak Awu, in the Central Lombok District, some 30 kilometers or an hour’s drive south east of Mataram. The Airport is served domestically by Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Batavia Air, Wings Air, and Trigana, while internationally, SilkAir serves the Singapore to Lombok route. From the airport passengers can get to Mataram by public bus. The special buses serving the route have a capacity of 40 passengers and its visual designs are also aimed to promote tourism in Lombok and West Nusa Tenggara. The fare from/to Mataram’s Mandalika Bus Terminal in Mataram is around IDR 15,000 to 20,000 and from/to Senggigi around IDR 20,000 to 25,000. Taxis will also be available to take passengers around the fabled island of Lombok.

By Boat: The port of Lembar is situated 22 kilometers south of Mataram. There are ferries every 90 minutes or so, 24 hours a day, between Lombok and Padang Bai on Bali, the trip taking between 4-5 hours. Any volunteer "porters" who carry your bags will expect at least IDR 10,000. A hotel pick-up should always be arranged well in advance and preferably confirmed by email. An alternative is to negotiate a trip with a private car operator upon arrival. You can take a bemo from Lembar Harbour to Mataram during daylight hours. The fare should be about IDR 5,000-8,000 to the Ampenan-Mataram-Cakranegara-Sweta area, but you may pay more if you have a lot of luggage.

Senggigi Resort Area of Lombok

Senggigi (10 kilometers north of Mataram) is beach resort that extends along a 10-kilometer stretch of beach in western Lombok. Located on a series of bays, it is the most developed tourist area in Lombok and has a reputation for catering to well healed travelers but also has cheap guesthouses and lively nightlife. It went very quickly from being a quiet place to a trendy place to an overdeveloped a place with creature comforts for a good value. It soon may be eclipsed when the Mandalika resort area opens on the southern coast of Lombok

Oeroi Lombok is a fancy resort with gardens, massages and health spa and evening barbecues. Senggigi Beach has decent snorkeling. Most of the diving trips are done around the Gilis. In the dry season, there is an interesting variety of boats moored in the bay. The town of Senggigi spreads out along nearly 10 kilometers of coastal road. This road continues north to Bangsal, the port for the Gilis.

Eric Weiner wrote in the New York Times: Senggigi Beach is “the site of Lombok's first hotels, built in the mid-1980s, and the closest thing to a resort town on Lombok. Senggigi's main strip consists of crafts shops, featuring weavings and wood carvings, as well as a string of restaurants and bars. I found myself at a place called, inexplicably, the Office. It's an open-air design, with pool tables and a projection TV showing black-and-white films. One guidebook describes the Office as a place "popular with middle-aged expats," mostly from Australia and Europe. “When the Australian owner of the bar, Howard Singleton, first read that description, he fumed. "But then I realized that it's basically true," he said. [Source: Eric Weiner, New York Times, September 24, 2008]

“From where I sat at the Office, drinking a Bintang beer, the only threat I faced was from the hawkers who circle mercilessly, offering "Rolex" watches, sunglasses, T-shirts, a massage, a manicure and the services of tour guides. Still, there's plenty of peace of mind to be found on Lombok. I spent a few nights at Qunci Villas, a minimalist, oh-so-Zen boutique resort that heralds the possible Bali-fication of Lombok. In the evenings, I nibbled on shrimp bruschetta while sipping a mojito and listening to electronica, which wafts through the air, fresh and inviting.

Getting There: There are few alternatives to get Senggigi Beach: Coming from Lembar harbour, you can go straight to Senggigi by Perama Shuttle bus, or any other Shuttle service available. Lombok taxi available on call for 24 hours of service. If you are coming by plane, there is a taxi service at the airport that will take you to your hotel destination for Rp35,000 (US$4.00) Public transportation or " Bemos " are available from 06.00 AM - 06.30 PM for about Rp. 1,500 (Ampenan-Senggigi, or Senggigi-Ampenan) one way Ojek (mopeds) service are available at night

Accommodation, Activities and Restaurants at Senggigi

There a lot of diverse range of hotel accommodations that you can choose to stay in Senggigi, from deluxe four-star resort properties to simple home-stays, Such as Holiday Inn, the Oberoi, Sheraton Senggigi, Melati Dua Cottage, Pool Villa Club, Panorama Cottage, and many more.

Qunci Villas (Jalan Raya Mangsit Senggigi; 62-370-693-800; quncivillas.com) Dubbed Lombok's hippest hotel and for good reason. The theme is minimalist serenity. The 20 rooms go for $70 to 90, private villas for $300 and up. [Source: Eric Weiner, New York Times, September 24, 2008]

Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort (62-370-693-333; sheraton.com). One of the first major hotel chains to plant a flag on Lombok. The Sheraton is relatively low-key, and with an ideal beachfront location. Rooms start at $178 per night, with bargains to be had in the off season.

Senggigi nightlife is low key when there are few tourists in town. It's busier on Friday and Saturday, when young locals come up from the Mataram area There are various foreign and local restaurants that offering international and local foods, cafes and entertainment venues. These all are available along the main Senggigi road and on certain areas along the beach. For inexpensive eating, try the food stalls along the beach, especially at the end of the road past the Senggigi Beach Hotel. For dining alternative you can try : Warung Menega grilled seafood, Jalan Raya Senggigi 6

There's good snorkeling off the point and in the sheltered bay around the headland. Several places rent mask-snorkel-fin sets, such as the beach near the Art Market or the Senggigi Beach Hotel. You can also do some canoeing here in Senggigi. Visit Pura Batu Bolong on a rocky point south of Senggigi. There are many souvenir shops along the main Senggigi road that offering you many kind of Lombok souvenir, starting from clothes, paintings, handicrafts, wooden crafts, etc.

Batu Blong Beach (south of Senggigi) has a Hindu temple by a big rock with a hole on it. The temple extended into the sea. There is cliff with fine views. According to legend a virgin was thrown off the cliff and locals claim the has event has attracted expectant sharks ever since.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Indonesia Tourism website ( indonesia.travel ), Indonesia government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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