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Hey Travelers, You’re Overlooking the Beautiful Island of Lombok!

If I have to ask 70% of my readers who are mostly Filipinos if they know where Lombok is I’m sure that most of them would have no idea. If I ask my friends where will they go if, given a chance to fly to Indonesia, I think the majority of them will answer, Bali.

I, myself didn’t know that there’s a beautiful island called Lombok a few hundred miles away from Bali. Lombok has been overshadowed by its more popular neighboring island, Bali. In my few days stay there, I instantly fell in love with its laid-back ambiance, fine, white sand beaches, and colorful underwater world.

Lombok is an island in West Nusa Tenggara province and east of Bali. Its capital (and largest city on the island) is Mataram. The island is surrounded by a number of smaller islands locally called, Gili. While every year, million of tourists visit Bali, many islands of Lombok are still untouched. In this part of Indonesia, tourism is just starting to grow.

 

Lombok

 

If you’ve had enough partying, surfing, and temple hopping in Bali, there are 2 ways to move to Lombok. First is to take a short flight (30 minutes) from Ngurah Rai International Airport to Lombok International Airport, second is to take a public ferry that departs from Padang Bai (Southeast Bali) and Lembar (Southwest Lombok) every hour. Travel time is approximately 4-5 hours.

Coming from Bali, we took a short domestic flight to Lombok and reached a more peaceful paradise of Indonesia. I would like to let you know that Lombok has a lot to offer aside from diving spots and pristine beaches. It also has a rich and colorful tribe that is home to approximately 3 million residents.

 

gendang beleq

gendang beleq

A visit to Sasak Sade Village, home of Sasak Tribe, the largest tribe in the province was our first stop in Lombok. Our team was warmly welcomed by its people through their vibrant and lively cultural dances.

 

petuk dance

petuk dance

 

It started with a loud sound from a dance and musical performance called Gendang beleq. Gendang beleq is a Sasak language, which means “big drum.” It was followed by a group of young charming boys who did the Petuk dance, a dance that is performed during circumcision. Surely, amak tempengus will entertain you, wherein a clown/jester made a fool of himself, which drew laughter from the audience. This dance was originally performed to entertain the Sultan. The show ended with a mock warrior duel but with convincing hard blows of the stick on their shield. It’s called peresaian, a traditional Lombok stick fighting performance.

 

amak tempengus

amak tempengus

 

But what more fascinating about the tour in their village was to see the warm smile of its people, its quality and colorful weaved sarong, a visit to their traditional houses made of wood, nipa fronds, bamboo, and their floor comes from a mixture of soil with cow dung.

 

sarong

Yes! You read it right, their floors are made of animal feces and you’re probably imagining that their house is stinky, full of flies, and that people have diseases. You’re totally wrong. After applying cow dung, the odor dissipates when it’s dried. It’s because they use an organic chemical that contains antibacterial properties that repel flies and mosquitoes.

 

cow dung

 

The next day, the highlight of our Lombok tour has come, a visit to Gili Trawangan, the largest of three islands near Lombok (others are Gili Menor and Air). From the northwest mainland of Lombok, it took us less than 30 minutes to reach Gili Trawangan. Out of all the Gilis, this is the most visited one probably because of its complete facilities. The island is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, bar and it’s a short distance to the diving sites.

 

gili trawangan

 

On our way to Gili Trawangan, I can feel that I’m somewhere in Camiguin in the Philippines. Basically, because of the view of white sand, the water is clear and blue with a volcano in the background. Lately, I discover that Lombok is the home of Indonesia’s second highest volcano – Mount Rinjani.

 

gili trawangan

 

If the beach of Gili Trawangan is stunning, the underwater world was also impressive. The freedom of swimming here was intoxicating as if I’m diving with my favorite alcohol – Vodka. I can move in any direction freely or just stop and float for a while. I find it one of the best places to do snorkeling or diving because the water is calmer allowing me to move more easily.

 

gili trawangan

 

The scenery under the deep blue water was lovely, once again, I felt like I’m entering a different dimension. The water was very clear, there are  schools of bright-hued fish and there are different colorful corals decorating the sand floor.

Some of my friends had the chance to swim with turtles, too bad our boatmen didn’t bring us there but on our way back to Gili Trawangan we easily spotted some turtles. No doubt, because this place is known to be the turtle capital of the world.

diving

Photo Credit to Lakad Pilipinas

 

We spent most of our afternoon roaming around and feeling fascinated to the totality of Gili Trawangan. Did you know that all motorized transports are not allowed here? Meaning you won’t hear any irritating machine on your entire stay. Instead, the only way to get around is by foot, by bicycle or by pony carts known as Cidomos.

There were line of bars and restaurant at the long stretch of the beach. I can imagine how fun to party on this island while on the other side are hotels, luxury villas, and bungalows. The street was calm since you won’t hear any raging machine and at the same time you will feel relax because of the view and less noise.

 

gili trawangan

 

For me, this is how we should balance a piece of paradise with a touch of modernization. I only hope that the local government and other concern bodies can keep the good vibes of Gili Trawangan forever.

Looking for a place to stay in Lombok? Book via Traveloka to get a big discount!

Note: This is a sponsored FAM Tour by Ministry of Tourism – Indonesia to promote the Island of Lombok. All views, posts, and opinions shared here are my own.

 

15 comments

  • […] was the end of my almost-a-month stay in Indonesia, which started in Bandung, Yogyakarta, Lombok and Labuan Bajo. If you want to check my travel stories, kindly click on those links. I hope to […]

  • What a beautiful hidden gem! I had never heard of Lombok either – wow so many undiscovered places in the world this one looks breath taking!

  • Lombok looks like a beautiful destination – the colour of the water is the stuff dreams are made of, and it’s nice to have a less touristy alternative to Bali which I found to be full of Aussies last time I was there!

  • I do regret not visiting Lombok and Gili in my last trip to Bali! These crystal clear waters and this serenity are difficult to find. Especially the fact that motorbikes are not allowed (which thrive in Bali) makes Gili even more special!

  • We have the same custom in rural areas in India where they apply cow dung on the floors. Loved the place, the water is so crystal clear.

  • The water and snorkelling look amazing. I knew that Lombok is in Indonesia, but I’ve yet to visit. Us Aussies love a bit of winter sun and Lombok is a close destination.

  • I have never been to Indonesia and Bali – while I am sure it is beautiful – just seems so full of tourists. Friends who have been to Gili islands and Lombok have raved about it so I think it might be my first stop when I head that way. I really like the idea of no cars or motorbikes. Thanks for sharing your advice.

  • Wondering how long Lombok can continue to be overlooked. The pace with which traveller population is growing, every inch of this fascinating planet is being explored.

  • I like this post of yours Cai! Truly indonesia has a lot more to offer, just like PH where other islands are not being promoted. At least now we know that there are other beaches and islands in Indonesia without having to research a lot. PS: Your website looks good! Congrats!

    http://www.thejerny.com

  • I have wanted to go to Lombok for some time. I need to go. I love that the show and the water…and I’m sure the food. Love it.

  • I keep on telling myself before that when I will visit Indonesia, I’ll just go to Bali, but I was wrong. I should also go to other places. Yes, I never heard about that place before. But guess what? It’s now in my bucket list! The beach & the sea looks so clean, clear & amazing. It’s really a must visit place!

  • Oh gosh I have to say I envy you the trip . I have heard s much about Lombok and yes, it is on my bucket list as well…
    Thanks for the beautiful pictures .. I wish I had your photography skills… it just enhances my desire to get to the fascinating island of Lombok… time to check for air fares….

  • This is a great way to look at Indonesia! I’ve only been to Jakarta and there’s not much cultural views there. It looks a lot like Manila. Indonesia has the same good-problem with PH — we’re an archipelago so it’s a lot harder to travel within the country!

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