With divine beaches, the majestic Mt Rinjani and spectacular marine life to discover, the island of Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara has no shortage of attractions both in and out of the water. It’s little wonder then that Lombok is the most popular destination in West Nusa Tenggara.
Come here to surf the massive breaks on the south coast. Challenge yourself with a trek up steep volcanic peaks. Hire a bike and cycle through lush evergreen rice paddies. Whichever way you choose to spend your time you won’t be disappointed with the spectacular natural beauty on offer here.
Best known resort area on the island is Senggigi, a township positioned on a sweeping bay that provides magnificent views of a blood red sunset over neighboring Bali. The view of this spectacular sunset is best enjoyed relaxing with a drink at one of the seafront restaurants or on a hill overlooking the bay.
Other visitors to Lombok choose to spend their time on one of the three Gili islands, - Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air - secluded tropical islands of stunning beaches, a short 20 minutes boat ride from Senggigi.
Located immediately east of Bali, the island of 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.
Capital of Lombok and the West Nusa Tenggara province is the city of Mataram, which, in fact merges the towns of Ampenan, Mataram, Cakranegara and Bertais, that were once individual kingdoms and townships. As from 1st. October 2011, the new Lombok International Airport has started operations located in the south of Lombok, 40 km. south-east of Mataram, replacing the former Selaparang airport at Ampenan.
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.
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.
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