Lombok is one of the two main islands of province of West Nusa Tenggara(NTB), about halfway along the Indonesian archipelago. Sumbawa is the other main island of West Nusa Tenggara.
Lombok is dominated by one of the highest mountains in Indonesian, Gunung Rinjani, which soar to 3726 meters. A dormant volcano, Rinjani last erupted 1901. It has a large caldera with a crater lake, Segara Anak, 600 meters bellow the rim and new volcanic cone which has formed in the center.
Lombok is divided into four Kabupaten(districts): Lombok Barat(West Lombok), Lombok Timur (East Lombok), Lombok Tengah(Central Lombok) and Lombok Utara(North Lombok). Mataram is also the administrative capital of the west Nusa Tenggara Province.
In lombok’s dry season – from June to September-the heat can be scorching. At night particularly at higher elevations, the temperature can drop so much that a jumper(sweater) and light jacket are necessary. Wet season extends from October to may, with December and January the wettest months.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Apart from banana and coconut palms, which grow in profusion over most of Lombok, the forests are confined largely to the mountain regions where they are extensive and dense, tough logging is taking its toll. Teak and Mahogany are among the forest timbers. Other native trees include Bintangur, Kesambi, Bungur and fig, all of which are used widely for building houses. Several species of deer, including Barking Deer, as well as wild Pigs, porcupines, snakes, numerous kinds of lizards, frogs, turtles, long-tailed monkeys, civets and feral cattle are found here.
POPULATION AND PEOPLE
Lombok has a population 4,2 million(1998 cencus), the majority living in and around the main center of Ampenan, Cakaranegara, Mataram, Praya and Selong. Almost 90% of the people are Sasak, about 10% are Balinese and the minority population of Chinese, Javanese and Arabs.
CULTURE AND CUSTOMS
Traditional law(adat) is still fundamental to the way of life on Lombok today, particularly customs relating to courting and marriage ritual, and circumcision ceremonies. In western lombok you can see Balinese dances, temple ceremonies, and colorful processions with decorative offerings of flower, fruits and food. Sasak ceremonies area often less visible though you may see colorful procession. Ask around and you can probably find when and where festivals and celebrations are being held.
This unique religion originated in the village of Bayan, in northern Lombok. Officially only a very small proportion of the population belong this faith, which is not one of Indonesian’s official religions. More and more young people turn to Islam. The word wektu telu means ’result’ in the Sasak language, while telu meanss three and signifies the complex mixture of the three religions which comprise Wektu Telu: Balinese Hinduism, Islam and Animism.
Unlike the Muslim, the Wektu Telu have a caste system. There are four castes, the highest being Datoe, the second Raden, the third Buling and the fourth Jajar Karang.
The great majority of Lombok’s population are Muslims. Islam reached Indonesian in the 13th century trough peaceful Gujarati merchants arriving on the eastern coast of Lombok via Sulawesi (the Celebes). Today it is the professed religion of 90% of the Indonesian people and its traditions and ritual affect all aspects of their daily life.
Most of people on Lombok are bilingual, speaking their own ethnic language, sasak as well as the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, which they are taught at school and use as their formal and official mode of communication.
POST AND TELECOMMUNICATION
The main post office is in Mataram, if you stay in Hotel around Senggigi, you can find the post office in front of Indonesia National Bank. There are other post office on Lombok, but post restate mail is always redirected to Mataram.
Telephone services have improved greatly on Lombok. You can make international calls from private or Telkom wartels in most larger town, like in Ampenan. For the cheaper you can use mobile phone and buy the number here.
In most towns the electricity supply is 220 volt. Electricity supply may be erratic or nonexistent. Small generator are sometimes used too. Outside the main town and Senggigi you should check before you plug in.
The general hospital in Mataram is the biggest. Let them known you can pay cash for private doctor and any drugs you need. The Catholic hospital in Ampenan might be better for visitor. For anything really serious, get to Denpasar or even Singapore.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are fewer tourist restaurants on Lombok, which means you will be eating Indonesian or Chinese dishes in most places, trough simple sasak food and Padang food is also available. You can may Café and restaurants in main street of Senggigi, like Square Restaurant, Tajuk Café, Papaya Café, etc. Bottled water is widely available. Tea is commonly served with meals. Alcohol is not common on Lombok. You can buy water in Market, Café, Restaurant and small Restaurant(Warong)
THING TO BUY
Handicrafts on Lombok are traditional, practical articles like boxes, basketware and pottery, hand –made from natural materials like palm leaf, bamboos, grass, fibers and rattan. Lombok is popular in it’s south sea and freshwater pearl jewelries. Hand women sarongs and fabrics are especially interesting and attractive. You can find more for hand waving in Sukarara, Pottery in Banyumulek and at art shops in Senggigi.