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Lombok

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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.

Regions

West Lombok (Mataram, Bangsal, Lembar, Senggigi, Tanjung.)
The administrative centre, well known beaches and the vast majority of the developed tourism infrastructure on the island
North Lombok (Mount Rinjani, Senaru)
Mighty Mount Rinjani, waterfalls, glorious scenery and home to the Waktu Telu traditions
Central and East Lombok (Praya, Labuhan Lombok, Tetebatu)
Quiet rural villages and beaches and ferry departures eastward to Sumbawa and onward to Flores.
South Lombok (Kuta, Sekotong, Tanjung Aan)
Magnificent remote beaches and surfing heaven
Gili Islands (Gili Air, Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan)
Tiny islands of the west coast, popular with divers and a vital cog in the Asian backpacker circuit







Cities

Other destinations

Understand

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 biogeographical boundary between the fauna of Indo-Malaysia and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The boundary is known as the Wallacean Line, after Alfred Russel 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 sign-posted.

In the Indigenous language of the Sasak people of Lombok the word lombok means straight ahead or lurus in Bahasa Indonesian. The name of the island Lombok is not derived from the Bahasa Indonesian meaning of lombok which is chilli or cabe as is thought by many visitors.

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, uncrowded 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 to unwind.

The anticipated tourism boom has been halted on several occasions. In 2000, mobs of the ethnic Sasak people, ostensibly provoked by fundamentalist Muslim agitators from 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, but tourists have yet to entirely regain confidence that travel to the island is safe. The fears of many international tourists 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 of Lombok remains quiet, peaceful and safe for visitors. Lombok is a relaxing place where a sense of urgency and a hurried pace can slowly melt off most visitors backs under the warm tropical sun.

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.

Culture

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. Lombok's people are 85% Sasak: around 2.6 million of a total population 2.95 million in 2005. They are culturally and linguistically closely related to the Balinese, but unlike the Hindu Balinese, the majority are Muslim. 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 which contains the history of Lombok 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 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 three times daily, instead of the five 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 practised in Lombok alongside the majority Muslim religion. Hinduism is followed by the many ethnic Balinese who have travelled across the Lombok Straight from Bali as well as some people of indigenous Sasak origin. 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 1890's 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 practised 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.

Due to the siting of an UNHCR refugee centre in Lombok some refugees from middle eastern countries have intermarried with Lombok people adding a further subtle middle eastern cultural influence to Lombok. Recently people of Iraqi origin have arrived in Lombok and many remain in Lombok in a state of limbo for an extended time whilst trying to seek immigration to nearby Australia or elsewhere.

There is also a small number of people predominantly from Europe, Australia and New Zealand who are resident or semi permanent residents of Lombok. Some are retirees. Some have business activities in Lombok or nearby or work in the mining industries of Nusa Tenggara Barat. 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 culture remains that of the Sasak people.

Many influences of animist belief still prevail within the Sasak community. Traditional magic is widely practised 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 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.


Climate

While tropical, hot and humid, Lombok is drier than neighboring Bali, which makes it a particularly attractive option during the October-December rainy season (it rains on Lombok too, but rarely for more than an hour or two). The peak of the tourist season, though, is May through August.

Talk

The main local language is Bahasa Sasak, the language of the indigenous Sasak people of Lombok. Bahasa Sasak is spoken throughout Lombok and has dialectal variations across the island. Bahasa Indonesia is also spoken or at least understood by many local people and will normally be used in government offices, larger shops and businesses. In the more remote and undeveloped areas of Lombok however, Bahasa Indonesia is not frequently used and often cannot be understood by the local people, especially the elderly and those who have missed out on formal schooling.

English is common in the resort areas and occasionally some other European languages are spoken by people involved in the tourism sector.

Get in

By plane

Lombok's Selaparang Airport (IATA): AMI is on the west coast of the island at Ampenan not far from the city centre of Mataram.

Merpati airlines normally has several flights daily but has a reputation for cancelling flights when the flights are not full.
Garuda airlines reintroduced services between Bali and Lombok in 2009.
Wings (code share with Lion Air) recommenced Bali to Lombok flights on 6 September 2010 after an extended absence from the route.
Passengers bags may be offloaded without notice by Trigana airlines if the aircraft is over capacity.
The Singapore service is operated by Silk Air. These flights are code shared with Garuda Airlines, (flight time 2 hrs 40 mins) arriving in Lombok Friday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. The flights arrive and depart at the International terminal.
Garuda and Merpati offer one-stop connections from Kuala Lumpur KUL, the Garuda Airlines service is code shared with Malaysian Airlines. These flights arrive and depart at the domestic terminal.
A new International airport is currently being built in the south of Lombok near Praya. The projected opening date is sometime in 2011


Airlines Destinations Terminal Aircraft type
Batavia Air Jakarta, Surabaya
Domestic
737-200, 737-300, 737-400, A319-100,A320
Garuda Indonesia Jakarta, Denpasar
Domestic
737-300, 737-400, 737-500
Garuda Indonesia Kuala Lumpur (via CGK)
Domestic
737-300, 737-400, 737-500, 737 800/NG
Garuda Indonesia Singapore operated by Silk Air MI 128/GA 9938
International
A319-100 Silk Air
Indonesian Air Transport Denpasar
Domestic
F27-500/600, F50
Lion Air Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar
(SUB, DPS-code share Wings Air)
Domestic
737-400, 737-900ER, MD90
Malaysian Airlines Kuala Lumpur operated by Garuda Indonesia GA 0821/MH 9081
Domestic
737-300, 737-400, 737-500, 737 800/NG Garuda Indonesia
Merpati Nusantara Airlines Denpasar, Surabaya, Jakarta
Domestic
F100, 737-200, 737-300 ATR 72-212, M60
Merpati Nusantara Airlines Kuala Lumpur (via SUB)
Domestic
737-300, 737-400
Silk Air Singapore
International
A319-100
Singapore Airlines Singapore operated by Silk Air MI 128/SQ 5220]
International
A319-100 Silk Air
Trans Nusa Denpasar, Bima, Sumbawa,
Ende via DPS-TMC
Labuanbajo, Tambolaka via DPS
Domestic
F50, ATR-42 300
BAe146-100 (DPS-TMC)
Trigana Air Denpasar
Domestic
ATR-42
Wings Air Surabaya, Denpasar (code share Lion AIr)
Domestic
ATR72-500, DHC-8-301, MD 83, MD90 Lion Air

Visa and departure tax

If you are flying internationally into Indonesia, most nationalities are required to purchase a visa on arrival (VOA). As of January 2010, the only type of visa on arrival available is US$25.00 for 30 days, extendable once to up to 60 days. (The previous US$10.00 / 7 day visa is no longer available). Exact change in dollars is recommended, although a selection of other major currencies including rupiah are accepted, and any change will usually be given in rupiah. See the main Indonesia article for details. VOA facilities are available at Lombok AMI for incoming International passengers arriving in at the Lombok international terminal.

Indonesian airports normally levy departure taxes upon departing passengers. If you are departing for Lombok from another Indonesian airport you may have to pay a departure tax at that airport. When flying out of Lombok, you are subject to the airports departure tax which can be paid in cash Indonesian Rupiah only, so save some Rupiah currency for the trip out. The airport departure tax is Rp 150,000 for international departures and Rp 20.000 for domestic departures.

For domestic flights, it may assist to work with a reputable travel agent to ensure accurate information regarding which airlines are flying to which locations and the price. Different airlines frequently change both their schedule and their routes depending upon consumer demand and aircraft availability. Do not depend on information from the airlines either by telephone or provided on the Internet by tourism information and internet booking sites as it is frequently outdated.

Get from the airport

Prepaid Airport Taxi Fares from Lombok Airport to Selected Destinations


  • Airport Precinct:: Rp 20,000 (Bandara)
  • Mataram/Cakranegara/Ampenan:: Rp 29,000 (Zone-1)
  • Sweta/Gunung Sari: Rp 29,000 (Zone-1)
  • Sandik/Montong: Rp 38,500 (Zone-2)
  • Batu Layar/Batu Bolong: Rp 57,500 (Zone-4)
  • Senggigi Central: Rp 57,500 (Zone-4)
  • Senggigi-Kerangdangan: Rp 72,000 (Zone-6)
  • Senggigi-Mangsit: Rp 83,500 (Zone-7)
  • Kelui/Gerung: Rp 86,500 (Zone-8)
  • Setangi/Malimbu/Nipah Rp 105,000 (Zone 9)
  • Bangsal/Pemenang: Rp 115,000 (Zone-10)
  • Praya/Lembar: Rp 115,000 (Zone-10)
  • Teluk Nara/Teluk Kodek: Rp 125,000 (Zone 10a)
  • Sire/Medana/Tangung: Rp 144,000 (Zone 12)
  • Kuta/Tanjung A'an/Sekotong: Rp 225,000 (Zone 17)
  • Sekotong Barat: Rp 240,000 (Zone 18)
  • Bayan/Bola Bola: Rp 270,000 (Zone 20)
  • Senaru/Obel Obel/Ekas Rp 360,000 (Zone 21)

Koperasi Taxi Mataram (Airport Taksi) 2009. Last updated 26 Jan 2010

Airport Taxis are provided for arriving passengers at Lombok Airport. Payment is by fixed price dockets or coupons purchased at the Airport Taxi Counter adjacent to the exit from the arrivals area. Payment is in cash only in Indonesian Rupiah.

Some taxi drivers may well be happy to drive you around and help you to find somewhere to stay when you first arrive. Some may do this at no additional price above that of the purchased coupon for your destinations zone, sometimes they may discreetly gain a small commission from the hotel you choose.

Metered taxis operated by BlueBird (Lombok Taksi) [1] and Express Taksi can only drop off at the airport terminal in Lombok and cannot pickup passengers inside the airport grounds.

Some of the larger hotels offer pick up transfers to and from the airport. You will need to book ahead for this. Private operators often offer transport services at the airport and any such transactions should be approached with caution to ensure that their fees and vehicle are appropriate. It should also be understood that many of the private transport operators are very likely to discreetly seek a commission from the hotel they take you to. These payments are sometimes sought even if you have already made a prior booking at the destination hotel. Often these operators offer a sincere and valuable service and work hard using their local knowledge to assist in finding their guest suitable accommodation to their needs. Some however are just touts and opportunists, accordingly discretion and common sense should be used in becoming involved with one of these guides or private transport operators.

No parking fee is payable on exit from the Lombok Airport. The passenger is responsible for paying the airport parking fee if the taksi is entering the airport.

Private vehicle access

Private vehicles including cars, shuttle buses, buses and motorbikes may access the airport's public parking area and terminal drop off zones by entering through the main terminal gate. A parking fee or entrance fee is payable at the entrance gate. This fee is payable by all vehicles entering the airport including taxi and motorbikes.

For further information on Selaparang Airport see the Wikipedia article on that airport.

By boat

Bali

Slow ferries from Padang Bai on Bali leave about every hour (24 hours) for the four to five hour trip to Lembar Rp 35,000. The ferries are well worn, with minimal restroom facilities. Operational safety standards and the condition and suitability of the craft used may concern some travellers. The mixed use vehicular and passenger ferries are used mostly by the local people and for transportation of goods in the vehicles riding on the vehicle deck. Generally there are few international tourists on board but these ferries remain the traditional means of inter-island transport for the majority of the local people. These ferries are subject to delays and breakdowns and are best avoided in heavy seas. Access to the passenger deck is usually from the vehicle deck via steep and narrow stairs, so manoeuvring heavy luggage can be a challenge. Would-be porters wait by the docks, and will happily carry your luggage for Rp 10,000 per item. Sometimes they insist on doing so even when you don't ask. They can be a bit intimidating, and sometimes try to overcharge. Foreigners may be particularly hassled by hawkers peddling food and drink. Lots of Kuta travel agents offer end-to-end transport, including a van ride from your Bali hotel to Padang Bai, the ferry ticket, and a ride from the dock on Lombok to your ultimate destination for Rp 130,000 and up depending on where you are going in Lombok.

If you're going to the Gili Islands, there are many speedboat services directly from Bali; see Gilli islands [[Gili Islands}article]] for details. A range of connecting services continue on towards mainland Lombok. At the moment, direct fast ferries from Benoa to Lembar have stopped running, but only searching on the Internet can give you the latest information on which companies are providing service to Lombok.

Flores and Sumbawa

Ferries run from Labuhan Lombok on the east coast to Poto Tano on Sumbawa. Since arranging your own transport on both sides can be fiddly and expensive, it's cheaper to arrange this through any travel agent, many of whom offer fares across Sumbawa and onward to Flores. Perama Tour [2] is the largest operator, with offices in Senggigi and various points around Bali.

Some companies also offer direct cruises via Komodo/Rinca to Flores. The trip takes around 4 days, much of it across open water, costs around US$100, and the companies usually use boats with no navigation or safety equipment other than some lifejackets (i.e. possibly no radio, flares or life rafts).

Exercise some caution if booking package tours. Apart from the journey itself being tortuously slow, hotels and agents will happily sell you tickets without even checking whether the ferries are running (they are sometimes suspended for days at a time for bad weather, especially if one has sunk recently), and the bus companies will happily drive you to the ferry terminal knowing that there are no ferries departing for the next 20+ hours. At this point, your travel company may suggest either a very expensive private boat or a suddenly very expensive ride back to the nearest town to get a hotel.

They also often have a surprise extra charge - levied after you've paid for the original ticket and the original ticket seller is long gone - for baggage over 10kg, with the actual amount being random within the same company depending on who is demanding it (Rp 125,000 is not unknown). This information is printed on the bus ticket you receive when you hand in the original sales receipt, so there's no way to know about it prior to purchase.

Private boat

On the north western coast of Lombok the newly established Medana Bay Marina has twenty five mooring buoys in more than 5m of water for 35ft to 45ft vessels and anchorage space for another twenty vessels. The marina facilities were newly established in 2009 and hosted over 90 yachts during the Sail Indonesia event in September 2009.

See the Tanjung article for further details on the Marina facilities at Medana.

The mooring basin is centred on 08°21.833’S and 116°07.750’E with an approach transit point almost due north at 08°20.432’S and 116°07.685’E. A Sea Chart is available on the Marina's website [3].

In late July 2010 participants of Sail Indonesia – Sail Banda 2010 will set sail from Darwin Sailing Club in northern Australia. After congregating in Labuhan Bajo on the western tip of Flores in early September 2010 they will move on to Medana Bay on the north-western coast of Lombok prior to moving on to Bali and Kalimantan. Medana Bay is an official stop-over on the itinerary. [4]

Moorings and informal anchorage's are available in some bays along the coastline of Lombok. Please ensure all proper formalities concerning Customs, Immigration and transit approvals have been issued when entering Indonesian waters including those surrounding Lombok. If tying up at anything appearing to be a public mooring buoy please ensure you have prior permission to do so and that the arrangements are being made with a properly authorised person.

Get around

By bemo

Bemos (converted passenger-carrying minivans) are the main means of short and medium distance transport on Lombok. They can be hailed down on all larger streets and will happily take you even short hops down the road. Fares are inexpensive. An approximate fare (mid 2009) from Ampenan to Senggigi is Rp 4,500-5,500/person. Sometimes tourists get charged extra and drivers of empty bemos may try to get you to charter them for a higher price, often more than an equivalent taxi ride over the same distance. If you are chartering be careful that the price and expectations are clear, if unresolved just seek a different Bemo.

Prices for set distances vary at times and if the price of fuel has risen or it is in short supply causing roadside price fluctuations then the Bemo prices will often follow. Try and watch what local customers are paying for a similar distance to your own and if really in doubt just include Rp 1,000-2,000 extra. It is prudent to have enough small notes to be able to pay the correct fare without needing change.

If you are carrying large bags of shopping or other items more than a day pack or small hand items then expect to pay a little more. For a large amount of shopping or a really large single item such as a bicycle, luggage or similar maybe double the charge for a single person or a bit more if the driver is missing out on business from other people because you have taken a lot of space in the vehicle or if the driver needs to assist with the loading and unloading.

Senggigi to Mataram will require a change at the Pasar Ampenan from the more utilitarian Suzuki Carry 'box back' style of bemo popular used in the rural areas across to a yellow Suzuki bemo of the enclosed van body style that runs about in the city areas, unless of course you have chartered the vehicle to your required destination.

Foreign travellers should be wary of pick pockets and cell phone thieves especially when alighting from bemo in the city. They sometimes travel on city bemo in the Cakranegara area and elsewhere around Mataram.

Bemo are often used to carry produce either on charter or with passengers on board and occasionally a small cow, or some goats might be moved in one, normally not when there are people in there but nothing is out of the question with a bemo in the rural areas, even if it does not fit inside.

Many bemo drivers are reluctant to venture further up the west coast of Lombok than the northern end of Mangsit village as the passenger densities drop dramatically from there on. The driver may want to turn back at this point if he does not have sufficient passengers or seek to enter into a charter agreement. If this happens when wanting to travel further up the west coast of Lombok using Bemo transport It is best to await a northbound Bemo near the front gate of Windy Beach Cottages or Bellindo (school). If stranded at this location often an Ojek (Motorbike Taxi) rider can be found here and a late model motor bike can usually be rented from the nearby Handfone shop. A Bluebird taxi driver rest area is situated in an open parking area in front of the Holiday Resort Lombok near their security post and is only a short walk away towards the south.

Bemos have normally stopped running by dusk on the west coast of Lombok and most other rural locations unless under charter. A taxi or other means of transport may need to be called to your location to pick you up if you leave your return to a time approaching dusk.

Travel agents can also get you on semi-regular shuttle services, which connect Senggigi, the airport, and the harbors of Lembar for Bali and Bangsal for the Gilis.

By taxi

Metered taxis are a fairly new development on Lombok, but they have become quite common in Mataram, Cakranegara and Ampenan and readily operate to the Bangsal, Sira and Medana area and along the West Coast Tourism strip including Senggigi as well as to Lembar.

Both the more prolific Bluebird Taksi and also the white coloured Express Taksi have a radio despatch system and both companies cars are equiped with meters which should be used by their drivers at all times. Flag fall is approximately Rp 4,250 and the meter ticks up a few hundred rupiah for every hundred meters past 2 km. Taxis may be hailed down on the roadside with the exception of the dark blue Airport Taksi the use of which is limited to arriving airport passengers only. Taxis can be booked in advance either by calling them yourself or by booking through your hotel.

BlueBird Taksi are light blue in colour and they use late model Toyota Limo (Vios) sedans. Express Taksi cars are late model Hyundai sedans and are painted all over white.

Flag fall is approximately Rp 4,250 and the meter ticks up a few hundred rupiah for every hundred meters past 2 km. As a rough guide figure on Rp 10,000 for hops around town and around Rp 65,000 from Senggigi to Mataram/Cakranegara.

By car

Renting a car is also an option and there are several places in Senggigi, Mangsit and Mataram to rent from. Expect to pay Rp.150,000-175,000 (low end mid-late 1980-90 's Suzuki mini jeep-Jimmy (2x4) 4 seats, Rp 250,000-Rp 300,000 for a Toyota Azanza/Daihastsu Xenia (2x4) 6-8 seats, Rp 300,000- Rp 450,000 for a Toyota Kijang (2x4) or Izuzu Panther (2x4) 7-8 seats. Age and condition of car will effect price as will high rental demand in the peak tourism period around the June-August and local holidays.

Petrol (gasoline) (benzine) is currently set at a fixed price of Rp.4,500 per liter from official outlets (August 2010). Petrol is available both through official Pertamina outlets and also in roadside stalls where a 1 litre bottle will sell for 5,500-6,500 Rupiah (January 2010)

Diesel fuel (Solar) is normally only available at Pertamina outlets throughout Lombok.

Driving yourself around Lombok is not for the uninitiated. The chances of having an accident are much higher than when driving in your home country. Driving in Lombok requires an International Driver's License plus your own country of residence Drivers Licence. Insurance is not provided by the car rental places, so you are responsible for any damage. If you do hit a local person, either on foot, on motorcycle, or in a car, you can expect to pay a very large sum of money to make restitution. Finally, street signs are infrequent and ambiguous. If you are not familiar with the road system you may spend more time looking for an attraction than actually spending time enjoying it.

Great care must be exercised at all times when driving a car anywhere in Lombok as the roads are sometimes in very bad repair and large potholes and other road damage can cause serious accidents and injury. The greater majority of drivers in Lombok have either no knowledge or no regard for common road rules. Road users are normally seriously undisciplined and engage in highly dangerous and erratic behaviour on the road. The roads in Lombok have horse carts (cidomo), free roaming cattle, goats, cats, dogs, chickens and other assorted hazards moving about at all hours. Roadworks or hazards are rarely sign-posted by other than a pile of branches or a rock placed on the road as a warning, most often no cautionary signal is given at all. Travelling by car after the onset of dusk should be avoided in the southern areas of Lombok and undertaken with great caution elsewhere especially in the rural areas. There are numerous extra road hazards at night throughout the island including cows walking around and vehicles travelling without working lights. In the kampungs and rural areas villagers will often be found sitting in the middle or on the edges of the road at night socialising.

A good alternative to renting a car is to rent a car with a local driver. The price starts at about Rp.300,000 per day and will vary with the destinations required. This service is normally offered as an all inclusive package of rental car, driver and fuel. The driver can take you effortlessly to all the local attractions, plus some places that are never shown in the guide books. A suitable driver will take responsibility for whatever happens during the trip and will be happy to accommodate your travelling schedule. If you want to take a two or three day trip around the island, the driver will accompany you, eat low priced meals, and find low price places to stay at night so he is prepared to continue the trip in the morning. (You must pay the modest cost for his room and board.) It is sometimes worthwhile enquiring at the hotel where you are staying as some of them offer their own car and driver at a very good price. Sometimes though they may just add to the cost of the rental and driver fees with high service fees or commission payments to themselves.

Rental vehicles in Lombok will normally be delivered with minimal fuel in the tank. Be aware that the car or motor bike may need fuel immediately before use. This can be obtained at a roadside fuel stall (Warung) if the Pertamina outlet is too distant. Diesel fuel (Solar) is almost never available at roadside warung outlets. If you return the rental vehicle with more fuel in the tank than when you first received it hold absolutely no expectation of a credit against the hire charges. The owner or agent will most likely just syphon the excess fuel out of the tank after you have gone and use it themselves or resell it.

Always check the car for previous damage, working order of the brakes and tyre condition (including tyre inflation) prior to accepting the vehicle. It is best to try driving the car on the road before finalising the agreement, especially if renting an older model Suzuki Jimmy, Kijang (Toyota) or Panther (Izuzu) car. Ensure the current STNK – Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan (Certificate of Car Registration) is with the vehicle.

By motorbike

Renting a motorbike is also an option and there are many places in Senggigi, Mangsit, Mataram, Cakranegara and elsewhere to rent from. Expect to pay around Rp 50,000 (September 2010) for most models and possibly more in peak season or local holidays when demand for motorbike rentals can be very high. Late model full-automatic and semi-automatic motorbikes are available in Lombok and they normally have engine size in the range 100-125cc.

Driving of either cars or motorbikes in Lombok requires an International Driver's License plus your own country of residence Drivers Licence. This requirement is actively enforced by the police throughout Lombok. Insurance is not provided by the motorbike rental places, so you are responsible for any damage. If you do hit a local person, either on foot, on motorcycle, or in a car, you can expect to pay a very large sum of money to make restitution. Street signs are infrequent and ambiguous. If you are not familiar with the road system and comfortable riding a motorbike at home then this may be ill advised and dangerous to learn. Check your Travel Insurance policy to ensure your cover is still in place whilst operating or riding upon a motor bike or scooter.

Riding a motorbike without a helmet is illegal in Indonesia and that requirement is frequently enforced by the local police throughout Lombok. Reasonably priced helmets can be purchased in Mataram and Cakranegara but a renter should supply a suitable helmet with the motorbike. Care should be exercised to always lock a motorbike and to secure your possessions. The road traffic regulations have recently been amended (2009) to require the illumination of head lamp and rear lamp on a motorbike during daylight hours. Police in Lombok have initiated an information campaign to road users informing them of the requirement. Signs have been placed upon roadways advising of the regulations and the intention to enforce them. These signs are only provided in Bahasa Indonesian. This is a safety initiative and means that lights must be on at all times when riding a motorbike on any roadway in Lombok. Despite the apparent disregard by local road users the use of turn signals is also required.

Great care must be exercised at all times when riding a motorbike anywhere in Lombok as the roads are sometimes in very bad repair. Loose sand, rocks and gravel may be found upon the road. Large potholes and other road damage can cause serious accidents and injury to motorbike riders. Riding after the onset of dusk should be avoided in the southern or remote areas of Lombok and undertaken with great caution elsewhere. Travelling at night in the rural areas is ill advised and most local people are wary of doing it. After dusk there are numerous road hazards on the roads including cows walking around and vehicles often travel without working lights. In the kampungs and rural areas villagers will often be found sitting in the middle or on the edges of the road at night socialising.

It must be understood that the greater majority of drivers in Lombok have either no knowledge or no regard for common road rules. Road users are normally seriously undisciplined and engage in highly dangerous and erratic behaviour on the road and will frequently cross onto, or travel on the wrong side of the road without warning. Overtaking manoeuvres and turns are also often executed in a highly dangerous manner.

Rental motorbikes in Lombok will normally be delivered with minimal fuel in the tank. Be aware that you may need to purchase fuel immediately before use. This can be obtained at a roadside fuel stall (Warung) if the Pertamina outlet is too distant. If you return the motorbike with more fuel in the tank than when you first received it hold absolutely no expectation of a credit against the hire charges. The owner or agent will most likely just syphon the excess fuel out of the tank after you have gone and use it themselves or resell it.

Always thoroughly check the motorbike you are renting for any previous damage. Check especially for correct brake function and tyre condition (including tyre inflation). It is normally best to try the motorbike before finalising the agreement. Ensure the current STNK – Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan (Certificate of Registration) is with the motorbike.

By ojek

An ojek is a motorbike taxi service. Prices are negotiable but a rule of thumb is Rp 5,000 if the destination is nearby, Rp 10,000 for a few kilometres, Rp 20,000 for a longer trip like a run from Senggigi to Ampenan to pick up an airline ticket or go to the market and Rp 35,000-Rp 40,000 for a full day. If considerable distances are involved the hirer should offer to buy some fuel. Traditionally an ojek rider will wait for the hirer to complete their business at their destination/s and take them back home again. If you are out for the day you should consider providing modest food and refreshments. Make sure you have your own helmet or that one is supplied. If you forget to do this you may find that a local policeman needs to reminds you of this and payment of a 'fine' to him may be required to continue on your way.

By horse cart

Horse-pulled carts, known as cidomo, are very common on Lombok. They are a good method of transportation for short distances e.g, from your hotel to a restaurant. Make sure to agree on the price before the journey - Rp 10,000 is the maximum price to pay for a short journey. In the Gilis there are no cars, so horse carts or a bicycle are the best way to get around.

By boat

Traditional fishing boats known as perahu ply the waters around Lombok, and are instantly recognizable due to their outriggers, two lengths of extra large bamboo sealed at either end and attached by timber outrigger bars on both sides creating a configuration similar to a catamaran and affording greater stability in heavy swells. They can also be chartered, either directly from owners (in which case some knowledge of Bahasa Indonesian or Bahasa Sasak will come in handy) or via any travel agent, who will of course take an often generous commission. English speaking guides on the beaches will be eager to assist with this if you wish. You will most likely be expected to pay for this service if the negotiation is successful either by 'hiring' the guide or by a commission paid to him by the boat operator.

Fishing charters and speedboat trips can be arranged in Lombok and professional operators will be able to supply suitable services including on-board safety equipment.

By bicycle

Traffic is relatively light throughout the island so travel by bicycle is quite possible and provides a very different cultural experience to other means of transport. You may wish to bring your own touring bike, as most local bikes are of a very basic quality. There is one biking tour operator (Lombok Biking) that has decent bikes and guides. Bicycles of reasonable quality may be purchased in Indonesia and may offer an alternative to the costs and complexities of shipping your own bike in from overseas. The Polygon [5] brand bicycle is manufactured in Indonesia and is of export quality. Lightweight alloy and carbon fibre frames are available. Stocks of more expensive models may not be readily available in Lombok without ordering ahead and resale at a reasonable price may be difficult Bicycle sales outlets are situated in Cakranegara with several shops on Jalan Jl. Umarmaya near the rear of the Cakranegara markets and at the Tiara Department Store in Mataram Mall.

The ride up the recently upgraded West Coast road from Senggigi heading northward is a very scenic trip but has many steep climbs over the headlands of the numerous bays before reaching Pemenang near Bangsal. The road northward to Tanjung from there is of reasonably level grades.

The Lombok International Triathlon [6] was launched in 2007 and uses this road for part of its race.

Great care must be exercised at all times when riding a bike anywhere in Lombok as the roads are sometimes in very bad repair and large potholes, loose sand, gravel and other road damage can cause serious accidents and injury. The greater majority of drivers in Lombok have either no knowledge or no regard for common road rules, are normally seriously undisciplined and engage in highly dangerous and erratic road behaviour. Riding a bicycle after dusk should most certainly be avoided throughout Lombok due to the hazardous road conditions.

Lombok has a bicycle tour operator situated in Senggigi. See the Senggigi article for further information.

Please refer to the "By car" and "By motorbike" sections above for further information on riding conditions.

See


Do

Eat

The word lombok means "chili pepper" in Bahasa Indonesia however the local cuisine isn't quite as spicy as you might expect. The local word for is chilli is sebie in Bahasa Sasak and the name of the island of Lombok is derived from the word meaning straight in the local Sasak language not from any connection with the local chilli's as many people believe.

Probably the best known local dish is ayam taliwang, although nobody seems to be able to agree on the exact recipe: most interpretations involve chicken coated with a rich red sauce flavored with galangal, turmeric and tomato, which can be either mild or searingly hot.

Generally the least expensive and most popular item on the menu is nasi campur or mixed rice. This dish is a complete meal served on a single plate, usually consisting of rice and vegetable ingredients often incorporating either tofu (tahu), tempeh (tempe), chicken (ayam), beef (sapi), fish (ikan), peanuts (kacang), together with a wide variation of cooked vegetables. As the name suggests, the meal can be a mixture of many different items, at times some may be a little difficult to accurately identify and the style and ingredients will vary from place to place. A dab of spicy red paste called sambal (basically stone ground red chilli peppers) is placed somewhere near the side of the plate. Sambal is the universal condiment served on Lombok and is extremely hot to the palate of most tourists, so use with care.

The price of food varies dramatically depending on the location on Lombok. The restaurants in the popular tourist destinations of Senggigi and the Gili Islands command the highest prices but also offer the largest variety of international foods including banana pancakes, pizza, beef steak and other travellers favorites. In most other areas of the island numerous small restaurants, called warung, cater primarily to the local population. The savvy traveller will discover these small restaurants serve a variety of delicious local food at a very low price.


Drink

Alcoholic drinks are generally available throughout the island including all tourist destinations. However, since Lombok is predominantly Muslim, some areas (notably Praya) prohibit the service of alcohol at bars and restaurants. Local supermarkets offer a variety of local as well as international beers. Note that alcohol is heavily taxed in all of Indonesia: a small bottle may be the most expensive item you can order when served a full meal in a "local" eatery.

The island's most touristic township, Senggigi, has numerous bars and clubs with the usual international favourites including the ubiquitous Indonesian seksi dancers often found in nightclubs. A favourite local drink, is tuak, a red or white fermented palm wine with 2-5% alc. volume. Please see the Stay safe section for caution on methyl alcohol adulteration.

Sleep

Most of Lombok's better-quality accommodation can be found within the Senggigi strip to the north of the airport. The Gili Islands have become increasingly popular with the younger crowd and now offer a full range of accommodations. Kuta is popular with surfers and eco-travelers seeking the more serene, traditional village environment. The area around Sira and Medana on the north western coast near Tanjung has four resort style hotels. The main city of Mataram, on the other hand, has very little accommodation with a couple of larger full service hotels on offer. There a several lower priced hotels situated in the Cakranegara area.

Detailed information about accommodations in each of these respective areas can be found by following the destination links listed at the top of this page.

Be aware that if your hotel room is near a mosque your sleep may be interrupted by calls to worship for morning prayers.

Villas

One accommodation option which is becoming more popular, emulating what has has happened on its sister island of Bali, is renting a private villa complete with staff. However not every place sold as a "villa" actually fits the bill. Prices vary widely: some operators claim to go as low as USD$30.00 per night, but realistically you will be looking at upwards of USD$200.00 per night for anything with a decent location and a private pool. At the top of the price range rents can easily go to USD$1,000.00 per night or higher. Villas can be found in Senggigi, at Sire beach near Tanjung and, increasingly, the Gili Islands; see those articles for more detail.

Stay safe

Although Lombok is a safe and stable place, these tips may help you along the way:

Get out

Cope

Hospitals

Medical clinics

Emergency service

The reality is that unless within the confines of Mataram/Ampenan/Cakranegara an ambulance is normally too far away to provide prompt transport in the case of a true emergency. Most often a taxi, police vehicle or a private car is used to get someone requiring urgent medical attention to a hospital. The ambulances in Lombok are more often used in the role of assisted patient transport rather than for first responder/paramedic supported emergency assistance and transport.

Contacts

Related Information




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A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [7].

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