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Lombok Gods favorite Island

Posted By on 2016-08-12 in Blogs
Lombok Gods favorite Island
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People say that the beautiful Lombok has been created by God, and when God was creating this astonishing island, he kept smiling all the time. When we see this island, we can easily understand why God smiles upon this island!

Recently, I took a pleasure trip to this less-popular Indonesian enclave with some of my friends. My trip was absolutely amazing and I could discover several hidden wonders during my trip. Such wonders make it an interesting destination.

Lombok is situated next to Bali along the “Lesser Sunda chain of islands.” Lombok is a great destination for tourists but in comparison to its well-known western neighbor, it has always been treated as insignificant. When we consider the wide range of attractions that the island offers, we feel this island should become more popular now. Many of the attractions represent this island’s unique traditions and glorious past. However, this island is also great for a tourist who is looking for a destination to relax on the beach and have some fun. There are many spectacular sights for those who love sightseeing. The pristine beaches of this island offer breathtaking views of crystal clear waters and golden sand.

Lombok is a Muslim dominated island and it takes pride in promoting halal tourism. From architecture and customs to lifestyle and local cuisines, you can notice strong Islamic influence on everything. Most of the local delicacies are halal and this island was offered the “Best Halal Tourist Destination” and the “Best Halal Honeymoon Destination” awards at the “World Halal Travel Awards” in Abu Dhabi last year.

Lombok’s culture is conservative; however, foreign tourists are allowed to wear swimwear and other skimpy costumes and take sunbath on the beach. They can also enjoy their favorite alcoholic beverages. Locals do not stare at the foreigners or stop them from indulging in the alcoholic beverages.

A wedding scene in Lombok

All kinds of explorers get satisfied in Lombok since this island caters to every tourist. However, what you are going to get, that will totally depend on the section of the island you plan to explore.

We decided to begin our trip from “Dusun Sade” which is the oldest village in Lombok’s south direction. Dusun Sade is home to the native Sasak community. A traditional house in this village is called Rumah Bale Tani. Such houses are typically constructed with low ceilings and doorways. Because of this architecture, when guests enter a house, they need to bow their heads, so, the owner of the house and the hosts are automatically offered respect by the guests.

700 inhabitants reside in Dusun Sade. Farming is the main occupation of most of the residents. Other residents make their living by going places to places to sell souvenirs and handicraft to the tourists.

As we entered the village, we were offered “kuih cerorot”, a coconut leaf cone that was filled with a sweet filling of rice flour and coconut. We liked the taste of this welcome dish.

When we proceeded further to reach our hotel, we noticed a wedding procession that was making its dignified way down the middle of the road. We were absolutely amazed and kept looking at the procession; we thoroughly enjoyed these moments.

Is it possible for you to see such an amazing wedding procession when you are surrounded by the crazy traffic in KL or George Town? If that would happen in KL or George Town, furious drivers would react in a very bad way. Be happy…that does not happen here! A traffic jam was caused due to the wedding procession, vehicles waited patiently in the following traffic jam. Some people got out of their cars and became a part of the procession. We also did not miss the opportunity and joined in the fun.

The Sasak community has interesting marriage traditions. Their rituals are equally interesting. Cousin marriages are quite common. We got to know about a unique tradition. Two or three days prior to the wedding day, the groom kidnaps his bride-to-be. After this kidnapping, groom’s family and bride’s family negotiate a dowry amount in an amicable manner. Another unique tradition is that Sasak people think that when they organize a “kenduri (feast)”, then good fortunes may come to them if they wash their homes with buffalo dung mixed with normal water.

Another very interesting tradition is “Nyongkolan.” According to this tradition, a large group of attendants pampers the newly wedded couple with a musical composition and dances for their entertainment. While singing song and performing dance, traditional instruments are also played that are centered on 2 big drums. These drums are called “gendang beleq.”

Triplet of tiny islands

We think the most memorable part of this trip was our visit to the “Gili Islands” off Lombok’s north-west coast. Three tiny islands Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan look like three animal footprints on the map. The trio of tiny islands is truly a tourist’s paradise.

Gili Trawangan island is the most popular of this triplet. In comparison to the locals, there are more foreigners on this island, so, the island appears to be a completely different country. We got to know that children in Lombok come here to learn English and boost their English-speaking skills.

A special attraction of this tiny island is its traditional horse cart which is called “cidomo.” Here streets are too narrow for vehicles, so, these horse carts are utilized to carry and move goods and travelers around the island. It is a comfortable way to capture the picturesque surroundings of the island on a camera if you use a horse cart.

If you are looking for an alternative of the horse carts, you can rent a bicycle or motorcycle that enables you to travel around the entire island within one hour.

We decided to do some adventure activities in water since the atoll is also very famous as a base for snorkeling and diving. Thus, to enjoy snorkeling and have fun in deep water, we ventured out several hundred meters into the sea. This was the first time I tried diving and snorkeling. I was little bit disappointed because I could not see a wide variety of sea creatures as I expected, however, that experience is a memorable one.

Lombok’s beaches are well-maintained and a large number of tourists come to these beaches to see their pristine beauty. However, Lombok’s beaches are never overcrowded and that is the main reason why these beaches are well-preserved. Some of the bays off this tiny island’s southern tip are very clean and quiet. In addition, they offer picturesque views of the encircling hills. We also explored Pantai Selong Belanak and Pantai Mawun bays that are just 10 minutes apart.

The first one is a very popular destination for the non-experienced surfers. You have to spend 200,000 rupiah (RM60) and you will get the basic surfing lessons. The duration for this basic course could be a few hours to an entire day.

Do you want a mind-blowing view of Lombok’s lush greenery? We have a tip for you. If you plan to reach the Selong Belanak using a car, then instruct your driver to stop the car at a hill spot 10 minutes prior to reaching the beach. You will get a great view of lush greenery 300m above the sea level.

Pantai Mawun is located in an isolated spot. This spot is ideal for the people who prefer a quieter spot. Just a few tourists come to this spot. You can do some leisurely activities at the place such as sipping some fresh coconut water, taking sunbath, reading a book, or clicking some photos. You can do any activity of your choice and experience great peace and serenity at this spot.

Inland gems

Had we not ascended the very famous Mount Rinjani, an active volcano, our trip to Lombok would not be complete. But, everyone can’t do such adventures; so, as a good alternative, one can take a trip half as long to the most stunning waterfalls on the island.

The “Rinjani National Park” is a geopark. A geopark means a large area that has been declared to be a conservation area of geological significance. The “Sendang Gile” and “Tiu Kelep” waterfalls are the hidden treasures for nature enthusiasts. These waterfalls are located within the Rinjani National Geopark along the main trail that leads to the active volcano.

We hired a guide to instruct and guide us and started our trek from the neighboring “Senaru” village. We reached the first waterfall, the Sendang Gile, in 30 minutes. Here, water flows off from a height of 30m. Here we clicked many photos and enjoyed some other fun activities such as feet dipping. From this spot, we ventured on to the next spot. We trekked for additional 30 to 40 minutes to reach the next waterfall.

This time trekking was a lot more challenging. To reach Tiu Kelep, we had no option than crossing two streams on the way. These streams were full of rocks. If you have kids with you, you might not want to cross this stream.

As we reached this waterfall, we took a moment to enjoy the sight of the flowing water that drops from a height of 60m. After this we dipped ourselves in the crystal clear, extremely cold waters to treat and refresh our tired bodies and minds.

The beautiful Crafts

You might think that Lombok is just about sightseeing, but the truth is you can enjoy shopping as well as sightseeing in Lombok. The island is quite famous for its songket and traditional pottery craft.

You can get to see a wide range of pottery in the “Desa Banyumulek” village which is only 15 minutes from downtown Mataram. Pottery is available at very reasonable rates. A popular art piece is the “kendi”, a water pot, which is available in different shapes and sizes.

The local pottery artists are polite and they don’t hesitate to demonstrate the development process of their art pieces. You can expect to closely see their meticulous efforts. You also get to notice the level of detail that goes into every art piece. Lombok’s pottery is developed in different stages. These art pieces are repeatedly set on fire, dried, and then rubbed with volcanic clay, so they have a unique shine.

After this, we proceeded in the east direction to reach “Desa Sukarara.” It took us additional 30 minutes to see how handwoven fabric “songket” and “tenun ikat” is made. Songket is a fabric for women and tenun ikat is used by men. According to a local custom, all women residents of this island need to learn how to weave before they get married. So, this island’s women residents dominate the Hand weaving craft.

Lombok has got an interesting nickname. Lombok is known as “the island of 1000 mosques.” So, we decided to complete our trip by visiting Lombok’s newest and oldest mosques.

Masjid Kuno which is known to be over 1000 years old mosque, is situated in a village called Bayan Beleq on the way to Mount Rinjani Geopark. This mosque is mainly utilized for religious events. We got to know that daily prayers are not performed in this mosque now.

We proceeded further in the south-west direction, and as we completed 80km distance, we discovered the Islamic Centre in central Mataram. This mosque is expected to be completed soon. On completion, it will become the largest mosque on the island. Its minarets will be 99m high and they will represent the 99 names of the supreme power.

People of Lombok are very serious about religion. We stayed for a week in Lombok and at the end we realized that Lombok is not only concerned about religion and religious practices, but the island is also serious about tourism and offers a memorable experience to the tourists.


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