Sunday, May 30, 2010
Lombok The Undiscovered Island
Lombok may not be as well known as Bali, but it has the other great and marvelous taste as Bali have. Deep blue seas, the unique blending of Islamic and Hindu cultures, cool waterfalls in green mountains glens, from them all you can find it all in one island.
Seger Beach, Kuta, it is around 70 km from Mataram. And this beach is the chief venue of the Nyale festival which takes place in February or March each year. Hundreds of local gather on the beach, when night falls, fires are built and the young people sit around competing with each other in rhyming couplets. Theatrical dances, stick fighting and other kind of local cultural shows can be seen here. At dawn the next day, the first Nyale a caught, after which it is time for the Sasak teenagers to have fun. In colorful procession boys and girls sail out to sea in different boats chase one another with lots of noise and laughter.
Seger is a right reef break, with the occasional left off the peak. A good place when the swell drops, on mid tides and offshore winds this can be a great spot, with short tubes and bowly walls ready for any move you can think of.
Tanjung Aan, it is around 5 km from Kuta. The sea displays various shades of green and blue; pure white sands and a cluster of stony outcrops welcome us. One side of Tanjung Aan has fine white sand, and the other side large black grains like peppercorns.
Pantai Senggigi, it is the most popular beach. You can see the sun set, surfing, watching the sun set with the silhouette of Bali’s Gunung Agung in the distance. In the night you can find lively night life here, dozens of cafes and pubs along Jalan Raya Senggigi and Senggigi Plaza.
Traveling further north, you can find three marvelous islands ( Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) with the beautiful beach on it.
Gili Trawangan, the largest and furthest of the three gili, Trawangan has the most complete range of accommodation, restaurants, and pubs. For who tend to prefer a bit more privacy you can visit Gili Meno or Gili Air. Gili Meno is the most serene; you can engage in water sports or simply laze in hammock on the beach, caressed by cool sea breezes, or walk in the fine white sand that surrounds the island.
Gili Air, is full of young foreign couples. You can view the underwater wonders of Gili Air without getting wet by taking a cruise in a glass bottom boat, or you can choose snorkeling. Along the shore at depths from one to six meters you can feast your eyes on blue and yellow kima (clams) of various sizes, blue coral the size of a small table, tiger fish, moon fish, and many other colorful species of tropical fish.
You can also take a Gili Air tour by cidomo, it takes only around 45 minutes to circumnavigate the dry, you can see cattle and goat grazing, and vast expanses of sea in many shades.
Find the sade Hamlet in the Rambitan area, it is the oldest Sasak village in South Lombok. Discover the uniqueness on their houses; the houses are on two levels. The three stairs symbolize the teachings of the local religion, a syncretistic blend of Islam, Hinduism and animism. The floor of the houses is made of a mixture of earth and rice stalks, which is freshened up once a month with ox dung to keep the dust down.
Another traditional Sasak village is Senaru, it around 80 km from Mataram. This village is the last stopover for those who plan to climb Rinjani Mountain from the Senaru route. This village is much more peaceful and natural, the house are different too, the roofs are thatched but without high peaks. The interiors are on only one level, with one wide space divided into sleeping area and kitchen.
Lingsar temple is the largest and oldest in Lombok, built in 1714. It symbolized harmony among the religions, it used as a place of worship both by Hindus and by the Sasak followers of Wektu Telu.
The Perang Topat or Pujawali festival in November or December is the largest festival celebrated here. This festival was first held to venerate the wali who brought Islam to Lombok, but nowadays people from all ethnic and religious groups from throughout take apart.
Although much of island is parched, Lombok is also blessed with dozens of waterfalls in the cool mountain areas. The best known waterfall is Sendang Gile, in north Lombok. Lying at 600 meters above sea level, this waterfall is said to be able to cure many ailments.
Above the Sendang Gile is another waterfrall, Tiu Kelep with natural ponds in which tourist often bathe – a welcome treat after the one hour – hike to get there.