LOMBOK INTEREST PLACE
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Lombok is an island
in the West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. It is part of
the chain of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with the Lombok Strait
separating it from Bali to the west and the Alas Strait between
it and Sumbawa to the east.
(Bangsal, Lembar, Mataram, Tanjung, Senggigi.)
The administrative centre, well known beaches and the vast
majority of the developed tourism infrastructure on the
island and gateway to the famous Gili islands
(Mount Rinjani, Senaru)
Mighty Mount Rinjani, waterfalls, glorious scenery and home
to the Waktu Telu traditions.
East Lombok (Praya, Labuhan Lombok, Selong, Tetebatu)
Quiet rural villages and beaches and ferry departures
eastward to Sumbawa and onward to Flores.
(Kuta, Sekotong, Tanjung Aan)
Magnificent remote beaches and surfing heaven
— the capital city of West Nusa Tenggara province and the
island's largest city
Kuta — a
surfing mecca like its Bali namesake, but that's where the
Lombok's second city and nearby to the site of the islands
replacement international airport (BIL), planned to opened
sometime in late 2011.
the capital city of the East Lombok Regency.
— the islands principal tourist strip with a wide range of
hotel, resort and villa destinations. Includes the Senggigi
township and the coastline from Senggigi beach to Mangsit
beach in the immediate north and Batu Layar to the immediate
— small city in the northwest, administrative capital of
North Lombok Regency, lies at the foot of Mount Rinjai's
slopes, the two nearby peninsulas of Medana and Sire are
home to some of the best resort and luxury villa
destinations on the island.
— three islands off the west coast, popular with backpackers
Bangsal — a
small beach landing site serving the public ferries to the
the islands principal commercial port, serves the larger
passenger carrying vehicular ferries to Bali.
Rinjani — large, active volcano looming over the island
and the 3rd highest peak in Indonesia; the Mount Rinjani
National Park is a hugely dominant feature of the island
gateway village area to Mount Rinjani, with some great
waterfalls and other spectacular natural scenery.
— off the beaten path in West Lombok, this area is fast
becoming a tourist destination.
— almost impossibly beautiful isolated bay in the southeast
which is earmarked for high end resort development.
— village on the southern edge of the Mount Rinjani National
Park with wonderful scenery.
Located just east of Bali, Lombok in many ways lives up to or
exceeds the promotional term, "an unspoiled Bali". With
beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, the large, looming
volcano of Mount Rinjani combined with relatively few tourists,
Lombok is indeed the paradisaical tropical island that many
people still mistakenly imagine Bali to be now.
Lombok and Bali are separated by the Lombok Strait. It is also
part of the bio-geographical boundary between the fauna of
Indo-Malaysia and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia.
The boundary is known as the Wallacean Line, after Alfred
Russell Wallace who first remarked upon the striking difference
between animals of Indo-Malaysia and those of Australasia and
how abrupt the boundary was between the two biomes.
Calling Lombok paradise does not mean it is all things for all
people. With a few exceptions, the natural landscape and the
traditional way of life have remained unchanged for hundreds of
years. Virtually all small to medium size businesses are run by
local families. Many of these businesses sell a wide variety of
merchandise, where villagers can find food, hardware, and toys
all in a single small store. While it is possible to find
five-star hotels run by global corporations this is the
exception not the rule. The ubiquitous global fast food
franchises are restricted to two outlets in the precincts of
Mataram Mall in the main City of Lombok and are well
In the Indigenous language of the Sasak people of Lombok the
word lombok ""(luum-book) which literally translates into Bahasa
Indonesian as as lurus (Enstraight ahead).
A common misunderstanding is that the name of the island Lombok
is derived from the Bahasa Indonesian meaning of lombok which is
chilli or (cabe in Bahasa Indonesian) as is thought by many
visitors and some Indonesians from other parts of the
History of tourism.
The dominant Sasak culture in Lombok and the very restrained and
quiet nature of its people may help explain why Lombok is less
popular in terms of shopping, cuisine, and nightlife than Bali.
Lombok is however becoming increasingly popular with tourists
and honeymooners who want to relax in an inexpensive, tropical,
un-crowded atmosphere, with many natural treasures and majestic
scenery. Nothing happens quickly in Lombok and visitors who are
stressed from their daily lives find Lombok a delightful place
The anticipated tourism boom has been halted on several
occasions. In 2000, mobs of the ethnic Sasak people, ostensibly
provoked by fundamentalist Muslim agitators, diverted from a
trip to Maluku, looted and burned churches as well as homes and
businesses owned by Hindus and ethnic Chinese. These actions
were actively resisted by many of the Sasak people and brought
on a swift response from the authorities to protect the tourism
precincts of the island. The bombing of nightclubs in Bali in
2002 and the further explosions in 2005 further exacerbated the
fears held by foreign tourists. For many years the embassies of
several countries have issued stern travel advisory warnings
against travel to Indonesia. The ensuing years have remained
very peaceful in Lombok. In the years 2010-2011 tourists appear
to have regained some confidence that travel to the island is
safe. The fears and apprehension amongst many international
tourists concerning travel to Lombok appear to be entirely
unsupported. Aside from minor and very isolated incidents of
petty theft and the normal dangers of travelling on the roads in
Indonesia the island remains a quiet, peaceful and safe
destination for visitors. Lombok is a relaxing place, the warm
tropical sun can normally slowly melt a sense of urgency and a
hurried pace off most visitors. A new international airport the
Bandara Udara Internasional Lombok and associated infrastructure
is currently being built in central southern Lombok. The new
airport is expected to be in operation sometime in 2011.
Lombok has a rich and enduring indigenous culture that has
withstood the pressures of modernity remarkably well. The strong
remnant culture and history of the Sasak people is one of the
many unique attractions of the island. The island has of a total
population of 3,166,685 (as of 2010 Census), 85% are indigenous
Sasak people whose origins are thought to have arisen from Java
in the first millennium BC. Other residents include an estimated
10–15% Balinese, with the small remainder being
Tionghoa-peranakan, Javanese, Sumbawanese and Arab Indonesians.
The Sasak people are culturally and linguistically closely
related to the Balinese, but unlike the Hindu Balinese, the
majority practice local Muslim faith and traditions.
Some have described Islam as being first brought to Lombok by
traders arriving from Sumbawa in the 17th century who then
established a following in eastern Lombok. Other accounts
describe the first influences arriving in the first half of the
16th century. The palm leaf manuscript Babad Lombok contains the
history of Lombok and describes how Sunan Prapen was sent by his
father, The Susuhunan Ratu of Giri, on a military expedition to
Lombok and Sumbawa in order to convert the population and
propagate the new religion. However the new religion took on a
highly syncretistic character, frequently mixing animist and
Hindu-Buddhist beliefs and practices with Islam. This remained
so until a more orthodox Sunni characterized version of Islam
slowly began to become popular in the beginning of the 20th
century. The Indonesian government agamaization programs
(acquiring of a religion) in Lombok during 1967 and 1968 led to
a period of some considerable confusion in religious allegiances
and practices. These agamaization programs later led to the
emergence of more conformity in religious practices in Lombok.
A notable non-orthodox Islamic group found only on Lombok are
the Wektu Telu ("Three Prayers"), who as the name suggests pray
only 3 times daily, instead of the 5 times stipulated in the
Quran. Many of the Waktu Telu beliefs are entwined with animism.
Waktu Telu has influences not only of Islam, but also Hinduism
and pantheistic beliefs. There are also remnants of Boda (people
without a religion) who maintain Pagan Sasak beliefs.
Before the arrival of Islam Lombok experienced a long period of
Hindu and Buddhist influence that reached the island through
Java. To this day a minority Balinese Hindu culture remains
strong in Lombok.
The Hindu minority religion is still practiced in Lombok
alongside the majority Muslim religion. Hinduism is followed by
the many ethnic Balinese who have travelled across the Lombok
Strait from Bali as well as some people of indigenous Sasak
All the main Hindu religious ceremonies are celebrated in Lombok
and there are many villages throughout Lombok that have a Hindu
majority population. According to local legends two of the
oldest villages on the island, Bayan and Sembalun, were founded
by a prince of Majapahit.
The Nagarakertagama, the 14th century palm leaf poem that was
found on Lombok, places the island as one of the vassals of the
Majapahit empire. This manuscript contained detailed
descriptions of the Majapahit Kingdom and also affirmed the
importance of Hindu-Buddhism in the Majapahit empire by
describing temple, palaces and several ceremonial observances.
Lombok experienced a period of Balinese occupation until the
Dutch colonial government reinstated the Sasak rulers in the
early 1890s following a direct appeal from the deposed Sasak
rulers to the Dutch colonialists asking them to assist in
driving out the Balinese occupiers. After a protracted, costly
and destructive military campaign the Dutch eventually
overwhelmed the Balinese with a bloody battle fought around
Ampernan and Mataram. The Dutch took the Nagarakretagama
manuscript as part of the valuable Lombok treasure taken as
war-booty from the destroyed palace of Mataram-Cakranagara in
Lombok in 1894. Following the defeat of the Balinese occupiers
the people of Lombok remained under Dutch colonial control of
the Netherlands East Indies until the Japanese occupied Lombok
in the 1940s.
The Christian minority religion is actively practiced in Lombok
by some of Chinese ethnicity and other Indonesians especially
those from East Nusa Tenggara.
There is also a small Arab community in Lombok whose history
dates back to early settlement by traders from Yemen. The small
community is still evident mainly in Ampenan, the old port of
Mataram and retain many of their own traditions.
A UNHCR refugee centre was established some years ago in Lombok.
Recently people of Iraqi origin have arrived in Lombok under the
provisions of this UNHCR program. Many of the displaced have
remained in a state of limbo in Lombok whilst trying to seek
immigration to nearby Australia or elsewhere. Some of these
refugees have intermarried with Lombok residents, this adding
adding their own subtle cultural influence to Lombok.
There are also a small number of people predominantly of
European, Australian and New Zealand origins who are resident or
semi-permanent residents of Lombok. Some are retirees, others
have business activities in Lombok or nearby or they are
employed in the mining industries of Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB').
Most are living in the coastal areas of West Lombok.
Lombok has individual settlers and small communities of
Indonesian people from other areas including Bali,Jawa, Sumbawa,
and Timor as well as other areas of Indonesia but the prevailing
and dominant culture remains that of the Sasak people.
Many influences of animist belief still prevail within the Sasak
community. Traditional magic is widely practiced to ward off
evil and illness, to seek good fortune or to assist with the
resolution of disputations and personal antipathy. There are a
range of outcomes sought from local Dukun (traditional healer
and magician) ranging from love spells to death. Thieves will
often have magic used upon them so that their bodies will become
'hot' leading to a confession, a frequent trespasser may become
disoriented and become 'lost' or a boy may fall under a girls
spell of desire and fall in love with her. Magic may be
practised by an individual alone but normally a person
experienced in such things is sought out to render a service.
Normally money or gifts are made to this person in return for
their services and the most powerful practitioners are treated
with considerable respect.