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Lombok is an Indonesian island in the province of West Nusa Tenggara, part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is separated from Bali by the Lombok Strait to the west, and from Sumbawa by the Alas Strait to the east.
Lombok's highest point is the Rinjani, at 3,726 metres above sea level. Lombok and Bali are separated by the Lombok Strait. It is also part of the bio-geographical boundary between the fauna of Indo-Malaysia and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The boundary is known as the Wallacean Line, after Alfred Russell 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.
While tropical, hot and humid, Lombok is drier than neighbouring Bali, which makes it a particularly attractive option during the Oct-Apr 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-August.
|Avg Max||32.3 °C||32.2 °C||31.6 °C||31.5 °C||30.2 °C||29.4 °C||28.5 °C||28.9 °C||29.9 °C||31.4 °C||32.5 °C||33.1 °C|
|Avg Min||22.1 °C||21.8 °C||22.9 °C||22.8 °C||22.8 °C||22.2 °C||22.3 °C||22.4 °C||21.9 °C||22.3 °C||22.6 °C||24 °C|
|Rainfall||280 mm||223 mm||162 mm||108 mm||94 mm||44 mm||29 mm||19 mm||33 mm||110 mm||165 mm||247 mm|
There's a car and passenger ferry between Bali (Padangbai) and Lombok (Lembar), crossing takes about 4 hours.
There are now also some direct services from Bali as well, all of them either via Lombok, or continuing to Lombok after the Gili Islands:
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 1980-90s Suzuki mini jeep-Jimmy (2x4) 4 seats, Rp 250,000-300,000 for a Toyota Azanza/Daihastsu Xenia (2x4) 6-8 seats, Rp 300,000-450,000 for a Toyota Kijang or later model Kijang-Innova (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.
A good alternative to renting a car is to rent a car with a local driver. The price range is normally Rp 350,000-700,000/day and will vary upward with the destinations required. Rp 350,000 will normally only cover a very basic trip with a limited distance. This type of 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 2-3 day trip around the island, the driver will accompany you, eat low priced meals, and find low price places to stay at night. Normally the renter is responsible for the drivers meals and the costs of accommodation if an overnight stay is required at a location distant from their home.
Metered taxis are 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.
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 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.
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.
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 and red 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.
To get to the Gili Islands you can travel there from Senggigi or Bangsal. It is 15 minutes to Air, 30 to Meno and 45 to Trawangan.
The word lombok means "chili pepper" (cabe) in Bahasa Indonesia and although the local cuisine is quite spicy, it might not always be as hot as the island's name suggests. The local word describing chilli is sebie in Bahasa Sasak, and the name of the island of Lombok is actually derived from the word lomboq, meaning straight in the local Sasak language and not from any connection at all with the local chili 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. Pelecing is a spicy sauce used in many dishes made with chilli, shrimp paste, and tomato. A local shrimp paste called lengkare is used on the island of Lombok. Sares is made from chilli, coconut juice and banana palm pith and is sometimes mixed with meat. Non meat dishes include kelor (hot soup with vegetables), serebuk (vegetables mixed with coconut), and timun urap (cucumber with coconut, onion and garlic).
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.
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.
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 4 resort style hotels. The main city of Mataram, on the other hand, has very little tourist oriented accommodation with a couple of larger full service hotels on offer. There a many smaller and lower priced hotels situated in the Cakranegara/Sweta area and others throughout the city.
One accommodation option which is becoming more popular, emulating what 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 US$30/ night, but realistically you will be looking at upwards of US$200/night for anything with a decent location and a private pool. At the top of the price range rents can easily go to US$1,000/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.
|Pesona Bulan Baru Hotel||Jalan Raya Senggigi-Setangi No 11 P O Box 777, Senggigi, 83355, Lombok, NTB||HOTEL||-|
|Villa Karang Hotel||Gili Air Pemenang Mataram||Hotel||-|
|Losmen Tjabe Merah||Jalan Saleh Sungkar - Gang Sawah Ampenan - lombok - N.T.B||Hostel||-|
|Villa Sayang Boutique Hotel & Spa Lombok||Jakan Sonokeling West Lombok||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Vila Ombak||Gili Trawangan Lombok||HOTEL||-|
as well as Sander (2%)
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