Lombok is separated from Bali in the west about 40 km away by the Lombak Strait. The island is roughly circular in shape measuring about 70 km across. The centrally located, Mount Rinjai at 3726 metres is the second highest volcano in Indonesia and is still active.
The capital of Lombok is Mataram and the populace consists of about 85% sasak and about 15% Balinese. The sasak whilst culturally and linguistically related to the Balinese are mostly muslim.
Lombok is now touted as an unspoilt Bali, retaining a more natural, uncrowded and undeveloped environment. The most developed part of the island is the west coast and is central around the township of Senggigi.
We stayed at the Svarga Resort in Senggigi, a beautiful resort built on the slope of the hills. The restaurant where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served is located on the top level and involves a steep climb up a few flight of stairs. For the elderly or unfit, this proves to be quite an ordeal.
The walk from Svarga Resort to Senggigi town takes about 40 mins. The road winds around the coast and along the way there are stalls for food and drinks. There are also a lot of ideal spots just for watching the sunset.
If you carry on walking after Senggigi town for about another 30 mins or so, you will arrive at another stretch of beach with resorts and restaurants.
On the second day, we took a trip to the Gili islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gile Meno). You have the whole boat to yourselves and the boat depart for the islands at about 8.30am and will return to Lombok about 5.00pm.
On the third day, we booked a car to take us around the island. First, we visited a pottery factory, then on to the Sade Traditional Weaving village, Kuta beach and finally, a sasak village.
Sade Traditional Weaving village – upon entering, you will be asked to write your name in the visitors’ book and make a donation. You then take a look around the shop, try on some traditional clothes. Do not be coaxed into buying anything if you do not wish to.
Someone will then offer to take you around the village at the back of the shop. Another donation is expected after the short tour.
Kuta Beach – This is where the Novetel Resort is and the beach is clean and beautiful. There are a lot of deck chairs and a bar at the beach, owned and operated by the Novetel Resort.
Sasak Village – this traditional sasak village, although authentic in look and feel, is more of a set-up for the benefit of tourist. Again, a small donation is expected from the visitors.
Its hard not to compare Lombok with Bali. Although Lombok is touted as a more natural and unspoilt Bali, for me, Bali still takes the vote. There are many parts of Bali which are also natural and unspoilt. I am also more comfortable with the Balinese demeanour.
All photos shot with the Nikon D610 + Nikkor 24-85 f3.5-4.5g lens