Lombok is an island located in the east side of Bali. It is part of the Nusa Tenggara Barat/West (NTB) province with the capital city of Mataram. Even if its popularity still can’t beat Bali, but Lombok has its own attractive charm. Literally less tourist with the natural beauty that, personally for me, more than Bali could offer. Here we go, Travel Guide Lombok.
1. Getting here
Even if the capital city of Lombok is Mataram, getting here by plane will land you ± 35 km away from the capital. Lombok international airport (LOP) is now located in Praya.
From the airport, you can choose the airport bus (DAMRI) to go to Senggigi, Mandalika Terminal of Mataram and Terminal Pancor, Selong in east Lombok.
The trip from airport to Senggigi will take 1.5 hours with the bus ticket price of IDR 35,000 and operational hours from 3 am to 8 pm local time. While for trip the to Mandalika Terminal takes 1 hour with the price of IDR 25,000 and operational hours from 4 am to 7 pm local time. At last, the trip to Terminal Pancor takes 1 hour with price of IDR 30,000.
If you are not going to stay around senggigi, mandalika and east lombok or if you are not comfortable to go by bus, there are some other options of transportation from Airport, such as an official taxy managed by blue bird with the price-meter or if you are confident, you can negotiate with the local drivers who wait for you outside the arrival gates. The price range around IDR 200,000 up to IDR 600,000 per car depends on the destination.
By Public Ferry Boat
This option is available when you travel from Bali (Padang Bai harbor) to Lombok (Lembar harbor). The trip by public ferry boat takes ± 4 hours with price IDR 44,000 for adults and IDR 33,000 for children.
2. Attractions and Activities
The attractions and activities in this article are limited to those which are located inside the main island and exclude the Gili’s islands. I provide specific article for the Gili’s here.
Senggigi beach is a bluish long coast at the west side of Lombok. It provides various range of hotels, entertainments and activities so that it may be considered as the heart of the island. Unlike Kuta Bali, the beach has relatively calm wave so that snorkelling and diving become an ideal activities. You will find a numerous of beautiful reefs and distinctive sea biota. Still at the same coast, just a motorbike ride to the north, you will find Malimbu Cliff to enjoy with the nice view of Mount Agung of Bali. Best time to reach Malimbu Cliff is during sunset, but well, be prepared for the crowd.
During the night, there are many restaurants and pubs open.
From the heart of Lombok, let’s move to the almost-untouchable southern part.
The local ethnic living in Lombok is called Sasak. The village that is still maintaining the Sasak culture is Desa Sade. In Desa Sade you will find Sasak people living their everyday life in a unique architecture house called Bale. They also have a kind of unique habit, which is cleaning their floor with a buffalo dung. It is believed that the house will be warmer and protected from the mosquitoes. This practice is somehow not leaving any trace or smell of the buffalo dung itself.
Sasak people support their lives by farming (for man) and producing some homemade arts (for woman) e.g. woven fabrics and clay arts.
Around ± 6 km south of Desa Sade, there is Kuta beach of Lombok. Yes I know the name could confuse you with the one in Bali, but Lombok has its own Kuta beach which is more quite and, I would say, virgin. Despite its virginity, Kuta Lombok provides you some hotels, guesthouses and resorts. Snorkelling, surfing or just swimming are the favorite activities in Kuta beach. All the way to the west of this coast, there is Mandalika Peak. According to the local legend, Mandalika Peak was the place where the beautiful Princess named Mandalika suicide to avoid the set-up engagement. Tragic.
Two kilometers to the east side of Kuta beach, there is another beach called Seger beach (seger = fresh) which is also a proper spot for snorkeling and surfing.
Further to the east of Kuta beach (± 7 km), there is another unbelievably gorgeous spot called Tanjung Aan (Aan cape). Remember about Princess Mandalika? If you come to Lombok in February, you have an opportunity to witness the local ritual of Bau Nyale. In local language it means hunting/catching the sea worms. The myth is that Princess Mandalika promised to reincarnate to be a sea worms every year in order to maintain the prosperity of her people. Still don’t get it? Yes, the local will catch the sea worms for meals.
Mount Rinjani administratively lies from West, Central and East Lombok. The distance from the airport is more than 100 km with the traveling time of 3.5 hours. Mount Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia after Mount Kerinci in Sumatera.
It is advisable to have a local guide for trekking in Rinjani. The packages and durations are vary. Ideally, the price starting from IDR 2,500,000 per person for the 4D3N package for beginner up to the top of the mountain (Puncak Rinjani, +3.726 m above sea level). Shorter duration package is also available with 2D1N package to Puncak for IDR 1,950,000 and with the same duration, if you only take the package up to Plawangan (+ 2.641 above sea level), just enough to see Danau Segara Anak (Segara Anak Lake); it will cost IDR 1,750,000.
Getting around Lombok by public could be confusing but it is possible. There are some Bemo (local public car) available for some routes. The traffic in Lombok is relatively quite, I would suggest to rent motor bike for going around with the distance less than 30 km and negotiate with the local drivers for the distance above 30 km.
Famous local cuisines in Lombok are Ayam Taliwang (Taliwang chicken) and Plecing Kangkung (veggie) and both of them are spicy, even for me as an Indonesian. So in case you want to feed your curiosity to try local food but you are not used to eat spicy food, just don’t take too much to avoid the problem with your stomach.
Lombok is known for its production of pearl. Some bad people may take a benefit by offering you so-called high quality pearl with the slightly low price than normal. I, personally, don’t understand much about pearl but if you are into pearl, do not buy pearl from the street sellers no matter how tempting it could be. Few years ago, some friends were buying set of pearl jewelry (bracelet, necklace and earrings) for IDR 1,200,000 and it was all fake.
If you want to pearl-shopping, make sure you go to the trusted store.
Second, take a good care of your belongings (as always) as well as your rented motor bike/scooter as there are more thieves in Lombok than Bali.
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