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LOMBOK

Lombok is an island in the West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. It is 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. Lombok in many ways lives up to or exceeds the promotional term, "an unspoiled Bali". With beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani combined with relatively few tourists, Lombok is indeed the paradisiacal tropical island that many people still mistakenly imagine Bali to be now.

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 Wallace 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.

Selong Blanak

Information provided by Wikitravel

UNDERSTAND LOMBOK

Calling Lombok paradise does not mean it is all things for all people. With a few exceptions, the natural landscape and the traditional way of life have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Virtually all small to medium size businesses are run by local families. Many of these businesses sell a wide variety of merchandise, where villagers can find food, hardware, and toys all in a single small store. While it is possible to find five-star hotels run by global corporations this is the exception not the rule. The ubiquitous global fast food franchises are restricted to two outlets in the precincts of Mataram Mall in the main City of Lombok and are well sign-posted.

In the Indigenous language of the Sasak people of Lombok the word Lombok ""(luum-book) which literally translates into Bahasa Indonesian as as lurus (En straight ahead).

A common misunderstanding is that the name of the island Lombok is derived from the Bahasa Indonesian meaning of Lombok which is chili or (cabe in Bahasa Indonesian) as is thought by many visitors and some Indonesians from other parts of the archipelago.

The dominant Sasak culture in Lombok and the very restrained and quiet nature of its people may help explain why Lombok is less popular in terms of shopping, cuisine, and nightlife than Bali. Lombok is however becoming increasingly popular with tourists and honeymooners who want to relax in an inexpensive, tropical, un-crowded atmosphere, with many natural treasures and majestic scenery. Nothing happens quickly in Lombok and visitors who are stressed from their daily lives find Lombok a delightful place to unwind.

The anticipated tourism boom has been halted on several occasions. In 2000, mobs of the ethnic Sasak people, ostensibly provoked by fundamentalist Muslim agitators, diverted from a trip to Maluku, looted and burned churches as well as homes and businesses owned by Hindus and ethnic Chinese. These actions were actively resisted by many of the Sasak people and brought on a swift response from the authorities to protect the tourism precincts of the island. The bombing of nightclubs in Bali in 2002 and the further explosions in 2005 further exacerbated the fears held by foreign tourists. For many years the embassies of several countries have issued stern travel advisory warnings against travel to Indonesia. The ensuing years have remained very peaceful in Lombok. In the years 2010-2011 tourists appear to have regained some confidence that travel to the island is safe. The fears and apprehension amongst many international tourists concerning travel to Lombok appear to be entirely unsupported. Aside from minor and very isolated incidents of petty theft and the normal dangers of traveling on the roads in Indonesia the island remains a quiet, peaceful and safe destination for visitors. Lombok is a relaxing place, the warm tropical sun can normally slowly melt a sense of urgency and a hurried pace off most visitors

A new international airport the Bandar Udara Internasional Lombok and associated infrastructure has been built and came into service on 1 October 2011.


CULTURE

Lombok has a rich and enduring indigenous culture that has withstood the pressures of modernity remarkably well. The strong remnant culture and history of the Sasak people is one of the many unique attractions of the island. The island has of a total population of 3,166,685 (as of 2010 Census), 85% are indigenous Sasak people whose origins are thought to have arisen from Java in the first millennium BC. Other residents include an estimated 10–15% Balinese, with the small remainder being Tionghoa-peranakan, Javanese, Sumbawanese and Arab Indonesians. The Sasak people are culturally and linguistically closely related to the Balinese, but unlike the Hindu Balinese, the majority practice local Muslim faith and traditions.


CLIMATE

While tropical, hot and humid, Lombok is drier than neighboring 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.


LANGUAGE

The main local language is Bahasa Sasak, the language of the indigenous Sasak people of Lombok. Bahasa Sasak is normally spoken throughout Lombok and has dialectal variations across the island. Bahasa Indonesia is also spoken or at least understood by many local people and will normally be used in government offices, larger shops and businesses. In the more remote and undeveloped areas of Lombok however, Bahasa Indonesia is not frequently used and often cannot be understood by the local people, especially the elderly and those who have missed out on formal schooling.

English is reasonably common in the resort areas and occasionally some other European languages are spoken by people involved in the tourism sector.


HOW TO GET THERE

By plane

Bali (IATA: DPS) is only a short distance by air (flight time 25 min) with several daily flights by both turboprop and jet powered aircraft. Tickets usually cost Rp 250,000-450,000 for a single journey unless very heavily booked. Other daily domestic connection are available from Jakarta, Surabaya and Jogjakarta. Flights are offered by Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Wings Air, Batik Air and Citilink

International flights are currently offered by Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur and SilkAir from Singapore.

Please note: Domestic flights operating to and from Lombok are often delayed and occasionally canceled without notice. Allow generous time in transit between flights most especially those with international connections.

Visitors arriving in Lombok from a point of origin outside Indonesia and clearing customs and immigration at Lombok's international airport may require the purchase of a visa on arrival (VOA). Currently the only type of visa on arrival available is US$35.00 for 30 days.

Indonesian airports normally levy departure taxes upon departing passengers. If you are departing for Lombok from another Indonesian airport you may have to pay a departure tax at that airport. When flying out of Lombok, you are subject to the airports departure tax which can be paid in cash, Indonesian Rupiah only, so save some Rupiah currency for the trip out. The airport departure tax is Rp 200,000 for international departures while the domestic departure tax of Rp. 50,000 is already included in your airline ticket.

By boat

Slow ferries from Padang Bai on Bali leave approximately every hour (24 hr) for the 4-5 hr trip to Lembar Rp 40,000(Adults) and Rp 25,000(Children) (as of 01/AUG/2013). The ferries are large, well worn, have minimal onboard facilities (restrooms, snack booths). Operational safety standards and the condition and suitability of the craft used may concern some travelers - but, considering the ferry's large size and operating frequency, any accidents are far less likely than with tourist speedboats. If you're going to the Gili Islands, there are many speedboat services directly from Bali. A range of connecting services continue on towards mainland Lombok.


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