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Lombok Poised to Become a World Class Resort Island

Lombok is developing fast to be a world class resort island

Gili Air, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by from 500 meters up. (c) Shutterstock
Gili Air, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by from 500 meters up. (c) Shutterstock

Some tourists say that Lombok is the unspoiled Bali, nature-wise. This two neighboring islands has similar landscape, from white sandy beaches, top notch surfing spots, intimidating volcanoes, and many more. Unspoiled here, unfortunately, also means that the tourism infrastructure in Lombok isn’t as accommodating as in Bali. That’s why they have been accelerating the tourism development in Lombok in the last few years.

Baca juga : Amatoa Resort, Luxury Santorini of South Sulawesi

Gili Air, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by from 500 meters up. (c) Shutterstock
Gili Air, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia by from 500 meters up. (c) Shutterstock

Lombok is also culturally different from Bali. While Balinese are predominantly Hindu people, Majority residents of Lombok are Muslims from Sasak Tribe. Hindu communities do make up the second biggest major group in this island.

Apart from offering great beaches, Lombok also has challenging hiking site at Mount Rinjani. The Gilis on northwest of Lombok is also very popular for foreign tourists. The cultural side of Lombok is no less captivating.

The charming traditional Sasak Sade Village is definitely worth visiting. In the south coast of the island, there is also a tradition to catch sea worms that is believed to be the manifestation of a princess.

West Lombok

Surfing a Wave. Lombok Island. Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock
Surfing a Wave. Lombok Island. Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock

This Regency is the administrative center of the whole West Nusa Tenggara province. With infrastructure being built earlier than many other places in the island, it’s understandable that tourism here flourished first. Senggigi beach was the first Lombok’s beach to be known internationally for its beauty.

Mataram, the capital of the province has developed into a big city that cater to most of international travelers’ needs. Tanjung is a beach town, currently undergoing a development effort to increase its appeal.

South Lombok

Tropical resort on Kuta sand beach, Lombok, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock
Tropical resort on Kuta sand beach, Lombok, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock

South Lombok is probably the biggest untapped tourism potential in the island. With so many beautiful beaches, this regency’s natural beauty is comparable even with Bali. Today, South Lombok is being developed intensively to maximize its full potential. The ambitious Mandalika Project is located here. A stretch of beaches from Kuta to Tanjung Aan will be integrated in one world class resort.

dalika Project is located here. A stretch of beaches from Kuta to Tanjung Aan will be integrated in one world class resort.

East and Central Lombok

Beautiful aerial landscape of rice terraces at Tetebatu near foothills Rinjani volcano in Lombok, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock
Beautiful aerial landscape of rice terraces at Tetebatu near foothills Rinjani volcano in Lombok, Indonesia (c) Shutterstock

The main airport of the island is located here. Tetebatu is popular for its Sasak handicrafts like terracotta and basketry as well as panoramic vista of Mount Rinjani. In Kotaraja, you can witness the traditional stick fighting of Sasak people. Labuhan Lombok is the seaport that connect this island with Sumbawa and eventually Flores Island. This area is also popular for its many waterfalls.

North Lombok

Gunung Rinjani via shutterstock.com

The northern part of the island is dominated by Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia. This volcano has huge caldera that hold a crater lake named Segara Anak, a natural hot spring.

Rinjani is an active volcano and its constant activity has formed a small cone peak called Gunung Baru. Rinjani is an extremely popular hiking destination while the volcanic activity permits. There is also a Hindu ceremony done in Segara Anak.

The Three Gilis

Gili Trawangan via shutterstock.com

Gili means island. For international tourist thou, Gili Islands means the three tiny island at the northwest coast of Lombok. Gili Air, Gili Meno, and Gili Trawangan. Each of the island has small resorts to accommodate tourists. Gili Air is the closest to the mainland Lombok and popular with honeymoon couple and also watersports.

Gili Meno is a turtle sanctuary, offer a quieter destination with swimming beaches. Gili Trawangan is by far the most popular of the three. Known as the party island, Gili Trawangan is also popular diving spot as well as snorkeling.

Sasak Sade Weaving Village

Lombok, Indonesia - July 20 2018 Gendang beleq of sasak performance at Dusun Sasak, Sade, Rembitan in Island Lombok. (c) Shutterstock
Gendang beleq of sasak performance at Dusun Sasak, Sade, Rembitan in Island Lombok. (c) Shutterstock

Entering the lovely Sade Village is like going back in time. Peaceful atmosphere, friendly villagers, traditional houses and huts is the perfect setting for a refreshing retreat.

While at first this village look monotone with its wooden and bamboo huts with reed roof, it will explode with colors when the weaving activity begins. Sade Village is the best place to buy traditional woven cloth.

Bau Nyale Festival

Before starting the Pasola festival, Sumba People gather together to catch sea worms called NYALE. (c) Shutterstock
Before starting the Pasola festival, Sumba People gather together to catch sea worms called NYALE. (c) Shutterstock

Princess Mandalika was beautiful and kind, so much so that many princes risked war to marry her. The Princess couldn’t chose one of the many suitors that come after her and she then disappeared into the sea. From the spot where the Princess disappeared, green and brown sea worm that is called Nyale magically appeared.

To commemorate the Princess, Sasak people catch the nyale every 20th of tenth month of their calendar. Thus Bau Nyale (catching Nyale) festival begins.

Ayam Taliwang

Asian cuisine of roasted taliwang chicken. (c) Shutterstock
Asian cuisine of roasted taliwang chicken. (c) Shutterstock

Ayam Taliwang (Taliwang Chicken) is a spicy grilled or fried chicken. Only young free-ranged chicken (three to five moth old) is being used in this dish. Young chicken is preferred because it gives a more tender texture and it absorbs the seasoning better. The seasoning is smeared all over the chicken during the grilling or frying process.

Best Place to Enjoy Ayam Taliwang:

  • Ayam Taliwang Dua-EM Bersaudara – Jalan Transmigrasi No.99, Karang Taliwang, Cakranegara, Karang Taliwang, Cakranegara, Kota Mataram
  • Ayam Taliwang H. Moerad – Jl. Pelikan, Pejanggik, Kec. Mataram, Kota Mataram
  • Ayam Taliwang Irama 2 – Jalan Ade Irma Suryani No. 49, Monjok, Selaparang, Kota Mataram.

Plecing Kangkung

Indonesian dish kankung plecing (spicy water spinach dish) typical for Lombok island close up. (c) Shutterstock
Indonesian dish kankung plecing (spicy water spinach dish) typical for Lombok island close up. (c) Shutterstock

Plecing Kangkung is actually a side dish, often served to complete Ayam Taliwang. Kangkung (water spinach) is boiled in a mixture of several spices, making it spicy and savory. After being cooked, kangkung is ten blended with sambal, usually  sambal terasi (chili sauce with shrimp paste).

Best place to enjoy Plecing Kangkung:

  • Ayam Taliwang Dua-EM Bersaudara – Jalan Transmigrasi No.99, Karang Taliwang, Cakranegara, Karang Taliwang, Cakranegara, Kota Mataram
  • Ayam Taliwang H. Moerad – Jl. Pelikan, Pejanggik, Kec. Mataram, Kota Mataram
  • Ayam Taliwang Irama 2 – Jalan Ade Irma Suryani No. 49, Monjok, Selaparang, Monjok Tim., Selaparang, Kota Mataram.

Sate Bulayak

Sate or Satay Bulayak in Lombok, Indonesia. Serve with spicy coconut milk sauce and compressed rice cake, wrapped in palm leaves. (c) Shutterstock
Sate or Satay Bulayak in Lombok, Indonesia. Serve with spicy coconut milk sauce and compressed rice cake, wrapped in palm leaves. (c) Shutterstock

Sate Bulayak is a typical satay from Indonesia. Chicken/lamb skewered and the grilled with peanut sauce and soybean sauce. While the satay part is mostly similar to other places, the unique part of Sate Bulayak lies in its rice cake. Most places using lontong (rice cake) wrapped in banana leaf, while lontong in Sate Bulayak is wrapped in sugar palm leaf.

Best place to enjoy Sate Bulayak:

  • Sate Bulayak Suranadi – Suranadi, Narmada.
  • Sate Bulayak Narmada – Jl. Wirabhakti, Lembuak, Narmada.
  • Kerandangan – Jl. Raya Senggigi No.16, Senggigi, Batu Layar.

How to get to Lombok

Senggigi Road with Blue sky and Blue ocean view. Sunset Malaka view in Lombok. (c) Shutterstock
Senggigi Road with Blue sky and Blue ocean view. Sunset Malaka view in Lombok. (c) Shutterstock

Lombok is accessible via air, sea and in a way, overland too from Java and other neighboring islands.

By Air. The new Lombok International Airport is located at the city of Praya, Central Lombok. This airport is served with domestic flight to many big cities in Indonesia (Surabaya, Jakarta, Denpasar, and Makassar). It is also connected with many cities in neighboring countries like Perth, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and sometimes all the way to Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo in Russia (seasonal).

By Sea. Lombok has several seaports that make sea travel easy. The biggest and busiest ports are Lembar (that connect with Bali) and Labuhan Lombok that connect with Sumbawa. There are also smaller harbors like Teluk Nara Harbor, Marina Srikandi, Gili Transfers, and many others.

By Bus. The island is connected by road to Java. There are bus routes from several cities in Java to Mandalika Bus Terminal in Mataram City. The buses, of course, had to be ferried twice from Banyuwangi and from Bali.

Getting Around Lombok

Camping site on crater rim of Mount Rinjani at sunset. Lombok Island, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock
Camping site on crater rim of Mount Rinjani at sunset. Lombok Island, Indonesia. (c) Shutterstock

In the urban part of the island, traveling should not be problematic. There are bemos and taxis that can take you practically anywhere in the city. Ojek is also dependable in most urban area. Getting from one city to another can be quite problematic if you want a fast and comfortable travel. Exploring Lombok’s attractions that require long travel usually done with rented car or motorcycle.

You can start your journey from Praya, where the airport is located. You can ride a DAMRI public bus to go from the airport to Mataram or Senggigi. From Mataram or Senggigi, you can travel south along the coast. If you want to go to Mandalika, you need to go through Central Lombok again.

Going to a bit north, you will find the cultural centers of Sasak People in the east part of Central Lombok. This is where you will find the weaving village and the stick fight attraction. Central Lombok, especially near Mount Rinjani, has several lovely waterfalls.

Mount Rinjani itself, a national park, is accessible via Senaru Village on the northern slope of the volcano. Sometimes people also enter the mountain via Sembalun Lawang village. Both villages are accessible via main road. If you are unsure about hiking alone, you can hire a porter that will bring your supplies and guides you through the mountain.

From the top of the mountain, you can then go west to the Gilis. These three islands are the most popular destination in Lombok so far. The islands are accessible by boat from mainland Lombok or Bali with special boats. Hopping from one island to the other in the Gilis are easy as there are lots of charter boats here. Next

Best Hotels in Lombok

Sheraton Senggigi Lombok. via Instagram/
Sheraton Senggigi Lombok. via Instagram/sheratonsenggigilombok
  • Holiday Resort – Jl. Raya Senggigi, Senggigi, Batu Layar – Starts from IDR914,000.
  • Sheraton Senggigi Beach Hotel – Jl. Raya Senggigi No.Km. 8, Senggigi, Batu Layar, – Starts from IDR1,065,386.
  • Gili Air Lagoon Resort – Gili Air Island, Gili Air – Starts from IDR704,000.
  • Novotel Lombok Resort and Villas – Pantai Putri Nyale, Kuta, Pujut .– Starts from IDR1,429,812.
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