Ive been dying to find a time for writing my latest travel  experience visiting Lombok Island, because this destination is amazing!! .  A neighboring island to Bali, it shares similar cultural heritage with a spin-off.  Home to more than 3 million people, the island inhabitants are 85% of “Sasak” people, whose origins might had migrated from Java Island over thousands year ago. Though culturally and linguistically Lombok is quite close to Bali, the majority of its population is a moslem and the landscape are dotted with mosque and minarets, making it infamously called “Island of 1000 mosques”.

Once arrived at the airport, we were welcomed with mountainous view and breezing winds. Then, we went for a lunch at one of the famous local restaurant, which served amazing grilled squid and plecing kangkung – stir-fried vegetables with fish-based and peanuts sauce. The finishing touch itself was also superb. A fresh-sliced of mixed fruits, including star-fruit, papaya, and pineapple.

  Grilled squid and plecing kangkung – a traditional food of Lombok

After that, we continue our journey to visiting Banyumulek, a traditional pottery village. Here we can buy some pottery made by local people, as well as trying to create one. One of the must-buy product was the “Thief’s tea pot”. Only made in Lombok Island, this tea pot is none like other. If most of the tea pot will have a hole on top to fill up with water, this tea-pot is not. We can only fill it from its bottom hole. Surprisingly though, once we turn around the tea pot, although it has hole in the bottom, none of the water will come out.

The thief’s tea pot

A painted-wooden mask

We also went to Sukarere weaving village. Lombok, as well as other area in indonesia, always had its own weaving product, called “songket”. Requires hundred hours of weaving, this hand-made product has a very sophisticated design and difficult technique – which indeed is true, since it needs patience and detail-oriented.  The pattern itself was taught from generation to generation, often started when the girl at an early age. Often made from silk, with various colors and sometimes gold thread, a 3×1 metres square fabric sold at about IDR 800K (~ 90 USD), which i felt quite an understatement – taken into account 3 weeks of weaving and the highly decorated design.

The girl had started to learn weaving technique since 7 years old

Hand-made weaving technique

One of Lombok’s songket

Finish exploring Sukarere village, we went back to Senggigi beach area, where we stayed overnight. On our way back, we were amazed by the richness color of sunset and Lombok’s traditional lifestyle that were quite different than what we used to see in  Jakarta city.  Birds are easily spotted. An elderly chewing piper betle leaves that give their lips and teeths reddish color are common to be seen. This piper betle leaves called daun sirih in bahasa, believed to be anti-bronchitis and can also strengthen teeths.  Lombok also dotted by beautiful paddy rice fields, similar to the one in Ubud village, Bali.

Beautiful sunset frame

paddy field

An elderly with Lombok’s traditional clothes

The second day was started with a visit to a traditional market, where we can buy fresh veggies and fish. Here, we encounter many women who able to lift heavy basket on top of their head. Quite fascinating as it was heavy and balancing act will be a challenge.

A Lady carrying basket on her head

Lombok in Bahasa language means red hot chili, a key spice on Lombok’s cuisine

From there, we continue to  Pusuk Pass forest, where we can see Lombok’s coasts from above and observed as well as interact with a pack of wild grey long-tail monkeys which quite civilized as they were not afraid with human. You can give them a mineral water bottle, of which they will drink directly.

We then embarked on a boat visited Pulau Giri Trawangan, which a famous spot for snorkeling and diving due to its crystal clear water and richness of coral reefs. Notes that Lombok itself was surrounded by many smaller island similar to Giri Trawangan, so.. our options for snorkeling and surfing is quite abundant. Amongst them are Giri Nanggu, Giri Air, etc.

Giri Trawangan’s white sand beach

Cidomo – a traditional horse carriage

At Giri Trawangan, i tried snorkeling there and did like 3 turns to enjoy the undersea beauty. The fishes are so colorful and we can feed them with a piece of bread.  Also, we can spot a huge sea turtle underneath. Quite breathtaking…  The coral reefs are so divine to look at.  Its good to know that the local people also tried to plant new coral reefs to protect this valuable ecosystem.  Biking around the island also quite nice, or.. if we prefer a much more relaxing way to do it, “Cidomo” – a horse-carriage –  is always an option.

We wrapped up the days by watching sunset at Senggigi beach while enjoying numerous bays along the way.

We wrapped up our visit to Lombok with exploring temples. First, it was Puri Narmada temple. Built by the King Anak Agung – the famous king of Karangasem Kingdom – , it was served as a miniature of Mount Rinjani for praying purpose. Due to his aging, the king is no longer able to hike mount rinjani,  where he used to pray and deliver golds or other valuable items as a tribute to Hindunese Gods on his former ages.  Therefore, this Narmada temple resembles a striking similarities to Mt. Rinjani and its Segara Anak.

Last, we visit Pura Lingsar temple. Standing side by side with one of mosque nearby, indicating a peaceful and harmonious relationship amongst diverse religion, this temple is a home for everyone. Whether its Hindunese, Moslem or others.  We can see different believers giving hands to clean up the temple and help each others.  In this temple, there are couple of big fish called “Ikan Tuna” who are believed to be sacred and bring lucks to everyone who able to see them. To call the fish out, we give boiled eggs as a bait – quite a weird diet for any fish, dont you think? . We were able to see them during our visit and the fish itself looks very similar to eels. Very long with a cylindrical body and a fin on both side of its face, with a color pattern similar to a leopard.

And.. thats wrapped our visit to Lombok, at least for now. There were still numerous beautiful places to visit in this island, such as Mount Rinjani and Sekotong Bay.

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