Geography & Climate
Lombok Island is an island in the Lesser Sunda Islands or Nusa Tenggara, which are separated by the Lombok Strait from Bali in West Sebelat and the Alas Strait ito the east of Sumbawa. The island is roughly spherical with a kind of “tail” on the southwest side, its length is less than 70 km and its width is 5435 km ². Lombok is ranked as the 108th biggest island based on its breadth. The main town on the island is Mataram.
In Lombok, there are also many small islands called Gili, among others, Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, Gili Air (North Lombok), Gili Gede, Tangkong Gili, Gili Nanggu (the best place for snorkeling), Gili kedis (the western part of South Lombok), Gili Petangan, Island Lights, Dyke Sulat (in East Lombok.)
Tropical climate with warm and humid weather all year round. Temperature range from 21 Celsius to 32 Celsius. Wet season starts from November to May and dry season start from May-October.
The best time to come is in the month of May when the weather is just perfect with bright daylight and green scenery.
According to the text of Babad Lombok, the eldest kingdom in Lombok Island is Laeq Kingdom (in the Sasak language Laeq means ‘a long time ago’). Others believe that Babad Suwung is the eldest kingdom in Lombok. The Suwung kingdom was lead by a king called Batara Indra. From the sixth century to the eleventh century there was conflict between the Sasak kingdom of Suwung and another ancient kingdom in Bali. Some of the ancient kingdoms of Lombok were known as Pejanggik, Langko, Bayan, Sokong Samarkaton dan Selaparang.
Selaparang Kingdom was founded in the thirteenth century, and existed until the sixteenth century. The first Selaparang King reigned over a majority Hindu kingdom, and his power finished in 1357 when he and the Majapahit Kingdom entered into conflict. The second Selaparang King reigned over the Kingdom of Islam, and his power finished in 1744 after he lost the conflict between the federation of the armies from Karang Asem-Bali Kindom and Arya Bajar Getas. The family from Selaparang Kingdom did not commit treason even though there were problems with the Selaparang King. The Balinese settlement from long ago have resulted in strong Balinese culture in West Lombok, such as traditional Balinese dances and the style of buildings (such as Castle Cakranegara). In 1894 Lombok was granted independence from the Kingdom of Karangasem. The Hindia Belanda (the Dutch colonists) were invited to commit treason from the Sasak people, but eventually Lombok sought independence from Hindia Belanda directly.
In 1942 the Japanese occupied Indonesia during the Second World War. After the Second World War Lombok joined with the Republic of Indonesia in 1950.
People & Religion
Population is about 2,5 million. The local inhabitants of Lombok are called Sasaks who make up 70% of the population are the predominant group with Balinese, Chinese, Arabian, and Javanese and other ethnics groups making up the rest. Bahasa Indonesia is the National Language, but English is widely spoken.
Lombok has three main districts with three capital cities: Mataram in the west, Praya in central and Selong in east Lombok. The majority of commerce is in the capital city of Mataram in west Lombok.
Islam is the majority religion, but all other religions are practiced freely. Every Friday around 12.30 noon, Muslims go to the mosques just like Christians go to church on Sunday.
If you are planning on traveling around the island and visiting small villages it is more respectable to wear slacks or knee length shorts, a shirt with sleeves or a sarong. If you happened to be here during Ramadan, which is the Muslim month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, please do not to eat, drink or smoke out in the open public during this month long fast. Even though the people don’t seem bothered in the common tourist areas like, Senggigi and the Gili islands, it is better to respect the people and not eat or smoke openly.
Wetu telu is an unique religion that that blends Islam – Animism and is only found in north Lombok.
It roots stem from the village of Bayan in the north. The people who practice this still consider themselves Muslims but they have their own rituals in addition to the normal Muslim ones. One such ceremony is Nyiu, that takes place 1000 days after someone dies. The relatives of the deceased offer material things like clothing, toothbrushes, food, dishes, mattresses, etc. so the deceased will be pleased in heaven.
On the island of Lombok, Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia, after Mount Kerinci in Sumatra. Mount Kerinci is 3805 metres in altitude, while the height of Mount Rinjani is 3726 metres in altitude.
Rinjani is located at latitude 8a º 25 “S and 116Â º 28? T, it is a favorite for hikers and mountain climbers because of the beauty of its landscape. Rinjani is located in the Mount Rinjani National Park, which has an area of approximately 41.330 hectares.
The regional forest on Mount Rinjani includes heterogeneous and homogeneous forest types. Around the height of 1000m to 2000m (above sea level) there can be found species of plants such as Banyan (Ficus superb), Garu (Dysoxylum sp) and Bayur. Around the National Park area residents plant vegetables such as potatoes, peppers, cabbage, and onions. At appproximately 2000m to 3000m there is an abundance of mountain pine trees known as Casuarina Junghuniana. Above 3000m there can be found an abundance of grasses and edelweiss (perennial flowers).
The most scenic area in Rinjani is known as the Lake of Segare Anak (translating directly into the ‘Lake of the son of the sea’). Segare Anak was formed with the volcanic eruption of Mount Rinjani. People immediately call the lake a sea because of the beautiful blue color of its water. The lake is situated at an altitude of 2800m above sea level. There are many fish and other flora and fauna in and around the lake. The common fish is Segare Anak are Carp, Tilapia and Harper. In 2005 a team of climbers speared a Carp fish known as Astacal, which weighed 3.5 kg.
Segara Anak Lake is believed to be surrounded with magic areas that can cure diseases. Near the Lake Segara Anak there is a small volcano called Gunung Baru (which translates directly into ‘New Mountain’). It is seldom possible to trek to the summit of Gunung Baru because it is still active.
Money & Local Currencies
When changing money there are many money changers in Lombok. The best rates are usually in Senggigi. Money changers prefer new, clean large bills and will accept smaller denominations at a lower rate.
If you have traveler’s checks the rate will be less than bank notes.
Be sure to count your money before you leave money changers.
You can also check local banks but the rate is slightly lower than outside. Re-count the money in front of the money changer reception is a must, as usually there’s a quick tricky way how they can steal your money. A suggestion when changing money. If you plan on making small purchases be sure to carry small denominations with you because many sellers do not have change. The Rupiah come in denominations of 100,000, 50,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, and 500, 100 in coin.
Don’t miss Lombok’s beautiful scenery. If you choose to rent a car or motorcycles and drive yourself, you must have an International Driving License.
Renting a car is a good alternative to get around Lombok, either self driving or with driver so you can relax and enjoy the view. (Tip driver pocket money for meals if you stop for lunch or dinner). If you are pleased with service, tip ( Rp. 20,000 minimum). If you collide with anything, or it collides with you, you are responsible for all cost.
Motorcycles are a convenient and inexpensive way to get around the Island, but Tourists are frequently injured in motorbike accident. If you rent a bike, drive slowly and very defensively. Helmets are required by law but those provided by rental agencies offer little protection.
Indonesian work in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. If you need to visit a government office, arrive between 08 AM and 11:30 AM. This also apply to banks and private businesses. Government offices close early on Fridays and Saturdays. Generally offices are open 07:30AM – 3 PM Monday – Thursday, 07:00AM – noon on Friday. Banks and Government Offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Cellular phone in Indonesia is GSM. If you have brought your cellular hand phone, you can purchase prepaid calling cards to make outgoing calls at lower cost than calling on your home SIM. Shops which sell these cards are prolific. Major service providers are: Telkomsel, Satelindo and XL Ritel. Look for signs and banners with those markings.
Things To Take Back Home
Wanting to take back something from Lombok? Lombok has great woven textiles like songkets and ikats that can be used as a sarong, wall hanging, table cloth and more. The design woven is special to each weaver and it is passed down through the generations before. There is a traditional hand weaving village in Puyung, central Lombok. You can even try on a traditional Sasak costume.
Banyumulek (West Lombok), Penujak (Central Lombok) and Masbagik (East Lombok) are famous villages in Lombok for making pottery. Lombok pottery has gained popularity and is shipped throughout the world. There is a wide range of selections and it can custom made to your liking. We hope to develop the economy of the area by directly meet them with serious buyer from all over the world.
There are many traditional handicrafts you could take back as a souvenir i.e. wooden masks, baskets made out of ketak grass, wooden boxes designed with bits of shells, or other things made from bamboo or rattan.