Climate and Geography
Lombok island is located east of Bali. Lombok geographically is almost the same size as Bali and, just as there are popular tourist areas on Bali, so Lombok offers a variety of destinations to suit different holidaymakers’ tastes.
Tropical climate with warm and humid weather all year round. Temperature range from 21 Celsius to 32 Celsius. Wet season starts from November to May and dry season start from May-October.
The best time to come is in the month of May when the weather is just perfect with bright daylight and green scenery.
Population is about 2,5 million. The local inhabitants of Lombok are called Sasaks who make up 70% of the population are the predominant group with Balinese, Chinese, Arabian, and Javanese and other ethnics groups making up the rest. Bahasa Indonesia is the National Language, but English is widely spoken.
Lombok has three main districts with three capital cities: Mataram in the west, Praya in central and Selong in east Lombok. The majority of commerce is in the capital city of Mataram in west Lombok.
Islam is the majority religion, but all other religions are practiced freely. Every Friday around 12.30 noon, Muslims go to the mosques just like Christians go to church on Sunday.
If you are planning on traveling around the island and visiting small villages it is more respectable to wear slacks or knee length shorts, a shirt with sleeves or a sarong. If you happened to be here during Ramadan, which is the Muslim month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, please do not to eat, drink or smoke out in the open public during this month long fast. Even though the people don’t seem bothered in the common tourist areas like, Senggigi and the Gili islands, it is better to respect the people and not eat or smoke openly.
Wetu Telu is a unique religion that blends Islam – Animism and is only found in north Lombok. It roots stem from the village of Bayan in the north. The people who practice this still consider themselves Muslims but they have their own rituals in addition to the normal Muslim ones.
One such ceremony is Nyiu, that takes place 1000 days after someone dies. The relatives of the deceased offer material things like clothing, toothbrushes, food, dishes, mattresses, etc. so the deceased will be pleased in heaven.
When changing money there are many money changers in Lombok. The best rates are usually in Senggigi. Money changers prefer new, clean large bills and will accept smaller denominations at a lower rate.
If you have traveler’s checks the rate will be less than bank notes.
You can also check local banks but the rate is slightly lower than outside. Re-count the money in front of the money changer reception is a must, as usually there’s a quick tricky way how they can steal your money. A suggestion when changing money. If you plan on making small purchases be sure to carry small denominations with you because many sellers do not have change. The Rupiah come in denominations of 100,000, 50,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, and 500, 100 in coin.
Don’t miss Lombok’s beautiful scenery. If you choose to rent a car or motorcycles and drive yourself, you must have an International Driving License.
Renting a car is a good alternative to get around Lombok, either self driving or with driver so you can relax and enjoy the view. (Tip driver pocket money for meals if you stop for lunch or dinner). If you are pleased with service, tip ( Rp. 20,000 minimum). If you collide with anything, or it collides with you, you are responsible for all cost.
Motorcycles are a convenient and inexpensive way to get around the Island, but Tourists are frequently injured in motorbike accident. If you rent a bike, drive slowly and very defensively. Helmets are required by law but those provided by rental agencies offer little protection.
Indonesian work in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. If you need to visit a government office, arrive between 08 AM and 11:30 AM. This also apply to banks and private businesses. Government offices close early on Fridays and Saturdays. Generally offices are open 07:30AM – 3 PM Monday – Thursday, 07:00AM – noon on Friday. Banks and Government Offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Cellular phone in Indonesia is GSM. If you have brought your cellular hand phone, you can purchase prepaid calling cards to make outgoing calls at lower cost than calling on your home SIM. Shops which sell these cards are prolific. Major service providers are: Telkomsel, Satelindo and XL Ritel. Look for signs and banners with those markings.
Health and Medical Info
Most hotels have on call doctors. For what it is known by Australian as “Bali Belly”, Iomotil and Imodium eliminate Symptoms, but not infections. A fever along with the symptoms requires doctor prescribed antibiotics. Drink as much as liquid as possible. For discomfort, diarrhea, and cramping, drink strong, hot tea; avoid fruits and spicy food. Drink only bottled water or boiled water (air putih).
Peel the fruit before eating; avoid raw vegetables except at reputable restaurants. Ice in restaurants is safe. Protect yourself from the intense equatorial sun. Use sun block and hat. Sexually transmitted diseases are increasing in Indonesia. Local sex workers have multiple partners from all over the world. Act responsibly and use condoms, available over the counter at pharmacies.
Wanting to take back something from Lombok? Lombok has great woven textiles like songkets and ikats that can be used as a sarong, wall hanging, table cloth and more. The design woven is special to each weaver and it is passed down through the generations before. There is a traditional hand weaving village in Puyung, central Lombok. You can even try on a traditional Sasak costume.
Banyumulek (West Lombok), Penujak (Central Lombok) and Masbagik (East Lombok) are famous villages in Lombok for making pottery. Lombok pottery has gained popularity and is shipped throughout the world. There is a wide range of selections and it can custom made to your liking. We hope to develop the economy of the area by directly meet them with serious buyer from all over the world.
There are many traditional handicrafts you could take back as a souvenir i.e. wooden masks, baskets made out of ketak grass, wooden boxes designed with bits of shells, or other things made from bamboo or rattan.