Lombok, Indonesia is an island in West Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. It forms 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. It is surrounded by a number of smaller islands locally called Gili. The island is home to some 3+ million. The island’s inhabitants are 85% Sasak whose origins are thought to have migrated from Java about 1000 BC. Other residents include an estimated 10–15% Balinese, with the small remainder being Tionghoa-peranakan, Javanese, Sumbawanese and Arab Indonesians. The island’s indigenous Sasak people are predominantly Muslim. However, before the arrival of Islam, Lombok experienced a long period of Hindu and Buddhist influence that reached the island through Java. A minority Balinese Hindu culture remains in Lombok. Islam may have first been brought to Lombok by traders arriving from Sumbawa in the 17th century who then established a following in eastern Lombok.
The island’s southern low lands are devoted to agriculture, including spice, coconut, coffee, vanilla and clove plantations.
Tourism is an important source of income on Lombok. The most developed tourism area of the island is on the west coast of the island and is centered about the township of Senggigi. Both the local government and many residents recognize that tourism and services related to tourism will continue to be a major source of income for the island. The island’s natural beauty and the customary hospitality of its residents make it an obvious tourist destination.
Lombok retains the allure of an undeveloped and natural environment. Tourism visits to this tropical island are increasing again as both international and local tourists are re-discovering the charms of Lombok. With this new interest comes the development of a number of boutique resorts on the island providing quality accommodation, food and drinks in near proximity to relatively unspoiled countryside.
It is a paradisaical island boasting stunning natural scenery, beautiful temples, ruined palaces, and a robust artistic legacy.
A whole day excursion (local time Oct 29, 2012), we were driven in a circle around the entire island. Highlights of our trip included:
– Local souvenir market.
– The 18th century Lingsar Temple is a Hindu Shrine that also draws Buddhist and Muslim worshipers.
– The Majura Water Palace is an 18th century floating pavilion on an artificial lake.
– Lunch at the naturally blessed, finest five-star Sheraton Hotel by the beach… the most amazing Indonesian buffet!!! (Sorry, I was at the end of the line and not much of a photo could have been taken.
– Craft village renowned for its songket weaving.
Blessed by tropical trees, flowers, and spectacular beaches, I could see how this little island found itself on the list of islands visited by cruise ships. Most residents live in small, hut-like construction, may be poor by our standards, but in nature and not surrounded by concrete. We drove by many schools. Children were dressed in colorful school uniforms, looking well-nourished and happy. I find myself smiling, remembering the smiles and had-waves we were given by adults and children while driving through their little villages.
Lombok offers even the jaded traveler a destination rich in anticipation and discovery.
Terimah Kasih means Thank You. Terimah Kasih, Lombok !