Why Lombok should be our final destination?

Lombok literally means ‘chilli pepper’. It is an Indonesian island  situated near Bali. It is said that Lombok resembles Bali as it used to be 20 years ago, and that is true. It’s a completely different place, not so commercial and touristic, so busy and overcrowded, so noisy and booming. However, having in mind location and a rate at which civilization spreads all over the world, not much longer can it be so quiet and natural. So far, it has still been the best option for those who aim at seeing a real Indonesia without moving away from big cities and all facilities they offer a modern tourist.

Religion in Lombok

Lombok is Islamic, however people here are open to every culture, religion and nationality. Those who have visited this place could not only experience the religion of Islam, but also had the chance to learn about Balinese Hinduism and Buddhism. The perfect example of it are Sasak people, Lombok native tribes. As they took over some elements of Hinduism we can admire their temples being rich ornamented. The ornaments shows plants and animals, what represents religious syncretism. Another name for the place is ‘ the Island of Thousand Mosques’, as there are plenty of them all around. Kids gather in front of temples just to collect money for building another one or just for renovation of the old.

The Natives

Sasak people are very interesting ethnic group not just because of syncretism that can be observed in the area. They have many unique holidays that can be faced only here and that are really fascinating.  Sasak celebrate the age-old tradition of Bau Nyale, a folk festival that celebrates the annual appearance of the Nyale sea worms when hordes of people flock to the sea to catch these rare creatures. It takes place annually at the turn of February and March. It is a time for meeting family and friends, sitting on a beach at bonfires and relaxing. Best known Sasak villages are Sade and Sukarare. The fact, that people living in that small island differs is also quite unusual. Those from the south are more insolent and those in the north more kind and opened.

Nature on Lombok

Lombok is green with a lush, tropical vegetation. Mountains and hills are covered with dense forests and rice terraces, huge trees can be seen from a long distance and green colour dominates on the island. In Sambelia region you can find ‘Giant Trees Forest’ that covers eastern part of the area. Around 200 years ago the Dutch planted some mahogany trees that grew up to 50 meters. With some luck you can meet monitor lizards here, but you mustn’t approach them as they are extremely dangerous. Those who are keen on sport can climb Rijani volcano ( 3726m ), the Sasak’s holy mount. There are a few options of the trek, longer and more difficult one or shorter and easier. On the top of Rijani there is a spectacular post- volcanic lake Segara Anak. Lombok boasts about beautiful beaches of various colours. The tint depends on location, it can be pinkish or as black as pitch, it is sand that’s crucial here.  Moreover, beautiful waterfalls are all over the island. They are picturesque, with different colours of water. You can sit and relax by all of them admiring their beauty. Tiu Kalep is the most magnificent one.  Apart from the outstanding waterfalls, in the eastern part of the island, you can find breathtaking bays. Diving there can be unforgettable experience as the underwater world is extremely abundant and vibrant.

What to see in Lombok

Tiny, traditional fishing villages, as for instance Gerupuk; local markets and most of all fish markets, pasar ikar, or as natives call it, pasar ikar, where you can face a variety of undersea creatures of shapes and colours that are even hard to imagine; sharks, marlins or stingrays are those more common here. One can stay here until cows come home unless they are resistant to omnipresent odor emitted by dead fish. Tanjung Aan or Bangko Bangko are awesome bays, the paradise for surfers. Perfect weather and big waves make these places ideal.

The Wallace Line

If you are still not sure whether go on Lombok or not, may the Wallace Line convince you. It is a kind of a border, an invisible wall, that separates zoogeographical regions of Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, mostly organisms related to Australian species. The line is named after British Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed the apparent dividing line during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century. The differences are not only visible on the land, but also under the water. There are other fish living in the area of Lombok and Bali. Moreover, the climate of both adjoining  islands differs as well. The division can be clearly seen. Lombok is hot and dry whereas Bali is hot and humid. It is really fantastic phenomena that is worth experiencing. It is as unusual as ‘Meeting of Waters’ in Amazon region.

Pearl farms

Lombok is famous for its pearl farms that can catch not only women’s eye. There are two types of pearls: natural and cultured, and obviously the natural ones are more expensive. They can live both in fresh and saltwater, the point is it has to be warm. Therefore, in Indonesia there are perfect conditions for growing them. Visiting a pearl farm you can learn their development process, and a guide can answer all questions. Pearl breeding is a hard work that requires a lot of attention and carefulness. Being lucky you can take part in Pearl Festival that takes place annually. Apart from buying special pearl a visitor can witness various performances  led by local artists and admire the handcraft of Sasak people.

Lombok is worth seeing, learning its culture and tradition. Tourists can relax here, have a leisure time, but also there is plenty of possibilities to pass their free time in an active way. Comparing both islands, it can be easily said that Bali means fun and Lombok –adventure, adventure as hot as chilli pepper. Moreover, you can visit Lombok all the yearlong.

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Information technology architect, loving expeditions in the wilderness of Indonesia.

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