Nusa Tenggara:: Central Lombok

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Mataram. The Pura Lingsar temple with the entrance to the Wektu Telu temple. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Mataram. The Pura Lingsar temple with the entrance to the Wektu Telu temple. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The fertile area south of the mighty Rinjani mountain has several interesting villages, beautiful landscapes and green rice fields. Most of the villages here are populated by Sasak, one often visited village is Tetebatu at the foot of Gunung Rinjani, from here the view to this mountain and the southern part of the island is great.

A few km from Tetebatu you will find the Taman Wisata Tetebatu monkey forest with it’s black monkeys and waterfalls, among them the popular Air Terjun Jukut waterfall. According to the locals the water from Air Terjun Jukut will give increased hair growth.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Lombok

Nusa Tenggara, West Lombok. The west coast of Lombok looking south towards Senggigi (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, West Lombok. The west coast of Lombok looking south towards Senggigi (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Lombok is known for it’s natural beauty and a large variety of landscapes, from tropical beaches to high mountains, dry plains and deep forests. The island is considered to be more “unspoiled” than Bali, tourism is still limited to just a few areas. The size of the island is 5.435 square km, which is relatively small, about 80 times 70 kilometer. Lombok has one of the highest mountains in Indonesia, Gunung Rinjani at 3.726 meters.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Gili islands, northwest Lombok

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Gili Trawangan. It is easy to get transport to and from the Gili islands with these local boats. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Gili Trawangan. It is easy to get transport to and from the Gili islands with these local boats. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The three Gili islands are located just outside the north west coast of Lombok, and is a great place for snorkeling and diving. Gili Air is closest to Lombok, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan further out. Boats are leaving Lombok regularly for the different islands from the Bangsal village or Senggigi, it is also possible to rent your own boat to take you to the island you like. Also from Bali you can go by boat to the Gili islands.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Sade, a Sasak village on South Lombok

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Sade. Village life, Sasak style. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Sade. Village life, Sasak style. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

A visit to a traditional Sasak village is a necessary part of your trip to Lombok. There are two villages like this a few kilometers north of Kuta, called Rembitan and Sade. Even if some of these traditional villages today may have become tourist traps a visit can be an interesting experience.

All the guides, souvenir sellers and donations to the village is something you will have to tolerate, this is an important income and maybe you help preserve a culture which otherwise would have disappeared?

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Nusa Tenggara:: North Lombok

Nusa Tenggara, North Lombok. View from northwest Lombok just south of the Gili islands. Gili Trawangan in the background to the right. (Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, North Lombok. View from northwest Lombok just south of the Gili islands. Gili Trawangan in the background to the right. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

North Lombok is dominated by the massive Gunung Rinjani volcano, and most of the villages here sits on the slopes of the mountain or along the narrow coastline. Many travelers come here on their way to the Gili islands or to climb Gunung Rinjani, and will therefore miss the rest of the beautiful landscape with waterfalls, the great view over the ocean and the mountain and the traditional villages.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Gunung Rinjani

The best view from Plawangan, Gunung Rinjani with Danau Segara Anak. The little mountain on the left is Gunung Baru Jari (2296-2376m) which erupted in 1994.

The best view from Plawangan, Gunung Rinjani with Danau Segara Anak. The little mountain on the left is Gunung Baru Jari (2296-2376m) which erupted in 1994. Photo © Tina Rahmawati

Gunung Rinjani is one of the highest mountains in Indonesia with an altitude of 3.726 m. At the bottom of the crater there is a large lake called Segara Anakan, about 8 km long and 6 km wide. The lake is surrounded by steep walls and is located about 600 meter below the rim of the crater. Between the lake and Rinjani sits the new crater of Gunung Baru which is only a couple of hundred years old. Rinjani’s latest eruption took place in 1994, when the shape of the crater changed and ash was spread all over Lombok.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Fish and surf on Kuta, South Lombok

A -Hello Mister!- attack from these happy little salesmen on the Tanjung Aan beach, who in no way will take a no for a no

A -Hello Mister!- attack from these happy little salesmen on the Tanjung Aan beach, who in no way will take a no for a no

Driving far south on Lombok you will eventually reach the small village of Kuta, about 54 km south of Mataram. This is the only area on the south coast which has some tourism of any significance, but must not be compared to Kuta on Bali. This place is much more quiet with only a fraction of the tourists and facilities, but there are some plans to continue to develop the southern coast with some large luxury hotels.

Kuta is great as a base for exploration of the southern parts of Lombok, here you find traditional Sasak villages (like Sade), remote and beautiful beaches, mountains and cliffs.

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Nusa Tenggara:: Sun and sand on Senggigi Beach

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Senggigi. The sun sets in the ocean, in the backgrund you can see Gunung Agung on Bali. (Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok, Senggigi. The sun sets in the ocean, in the backgrund you can see Gunung Agung on Bali. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Senggigi is maybe Lombok’s equivalent to Bali’s Kuta Beach, but is in many ways totally different. It’s far more quiet and peaceful, the nightlife here is also much more limited. The place is located north of Mataram and not far from the airport, many tourists prefer to stay here the first days before they explore the rest of the island, but you can also use Senggigi as your permanent base. Senggigi is clearly the most developed tourist area on Lombok, but stretches over a wide area and is still not overdeveloped.

There are some large, expensive hotels here, but you can also find accommodation of a more simple standard. The number of restaurants have increased in the last few years, but there is still some time before Lombok can compete with Bali. It is recommended to enjoy the sunset from a restaurant by the beach, the nightlife is not as varied as on Bali, but there are some pubs and nightclubs with live music.

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Nusa Tenggara:: South Lombok

Nusa Tenggara, South Lombok. The southern coast of Lombok is not easily accessible with its high cliffs and lack of roads. This is south on the soutwestern peninsula (from helicopter). (Bjorn Grotting)

Nusa Tenggara, South Lombok. The southern coast of Lombok is not easily accessible with its high cliffs and lack of roads. This is south on the soutwestern peninsula (from helicopter). (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

South Lombok is the least populated and maybe the least accessible part of the island, except for the Kuta area which is more developed. The roads are often in a bad condition, especially in the wet season. There is not much public transportation here, it is best to have your own car with or without a driver. But if you like a challenge the southern coast can offer some of the best and whitest beaches on Lombok, located between high cliffs and mountains.

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