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West Lombok
Senggigi, the Gili's and the peninsula

With the three 'big cities', the airport and the biggest concentration of hotels, West-Lombok is the best place to stay for the visitor. Here are the popular Gili Islands, as well as the most important Balinese temples, the center of the Wetu Telu and Gunung Rinjani. Our first route takes you north, from Ampenan to the beach of Senggigi, the Gili's, the Wetu Telu center Bayan and surrounding, and eventually to the foothills of Gunung Rinjani. The second route goes south to quiet beaches and surfing locations of the southern peninsula.

Senggigi

The roads which leaves Ampenan towards the north, passes two small mountains before it reaches a long, bow-shaped beach. On the mornings after moonless nights these hills offer the best view over the sea which is scattered with small fishing boats with colorful sails, which return to the beach north of Ampenan. When the sunsets the fishermen leave the beach in one long line; their lights create a nice play of lights which can be seen from most hotels on the beach of Senggigi.

The first of the two small mountains which are passed from Ampenan, named Batu Layar, contains the dedicated grave of one of the Islamic saints (wali) which spread the Islam on Lombok. The local population prays near a shrine close to the road. It's possible to walk from the summit of the second mountain to the Balinese temple along the beach of Batu Bolong.

The hotel colony grows with the day and slowly crawls towards the north along the coast. The hotels are built along a road which runs to Pemenang, twenty km north of Batu Bolong. The road passes several hills which offer very nice views over the coconut trees along the beach and the sea. The old road to Pemenang is located more inland. It starts in Mataram, passes the villages Rembiga and Gunung Sari, which has a busi day market, and then ascends around the village of Sidemen.

Tuak

Sidemen is famous because of it's red palm sugar, which is by boiling the juice of the sugar-palm tree. The sugar - gula merah - is sold in half circles on the markets. The juice of the palm is, just after it's cut off from the trees, drunken fresh as well. The sweet juice is then named tuak manis. Yeasted into foaming, alcoholic palm wine it's simply called tuak.

Further north is a nice coffee house near the mountain pass of Pusuk. When the weather is clear you have a nice view over the Gili Islands from here. From Pusuk the road descends to Pemenang, which passes groups of monkeys which wait for gifts from passers-by.

The Northwest: Traditional Villages

About two kilometers past Pemenang, an unpaved road runs from the northwestern coast of Lombok to the beach of Sira, where you can find hotels. It's a good place for diving. From Sira until past Tanjung (where there is a Sunday market) the beach is made from black volcanic sand.

Anyar (which also has a Sunday market), capital of the subdistrict Bayan, is located 35 km north of Tanjung. On a number of other locations along the road, pumice is collected. The road runs through a coconut-palm forest, interchanged with sawah (rice fields) and vegetable gardens, which locally are over one km long. Inland the Islamic cemeteries are passed, marked by old, West-Indian red Jasmin trees.

Three traditional villages between Pemenang and Anjar - Jambianon, Krakas en Gondang - are located off the tourist locations and have managed to stay out of the tourist influence for a long time. The residents are friendly and have a quiet, traditional existence.
Picture: Weaving
Jambianon, two km south of Tanjung, is located along a bay with beaches. The water is clear, but a big part of the coral is blown away by dynamite, however there are still a few good snorkeling places left.

For a nice price fishermen will take you there. Local fishermen can slso bring the tourists to the south, to Sira for snorkeling and to take a look at the seaweed farms. You can even ask them if they can bring you to the Gili's. On a hilltop west of the bay is a Balinese Temple, Pura Medana, with a nice view; the sunset above Gunung Agung is very spectacular.

Unusual Fishery Village

Krakas (long name Karang Kates) is located about four km north of Tanjung. It's a fishery village, but not an usual one. About 400 meters off the beach, on a depth of ten meters is a source which exhausts cold, clear drinking water. Fishers get the water for their families there. For a small amount of money they will bring tourists to the source, when they also teach them to use their hand-made harpoon.

Gondang, just past Krakas, is the starting point of a trip on foot to the nice fall of Tui Pupas and the seven caves nearby. The fall and the caves are along the road near the settlement of Keruak. From Gondang a good, 6 km long road runs to the village of Selelo. The road also runs along Gangga, one of the most important centers of Wetu Telu.

Holy Forest of Bebekeq

In the nearby forest of Bebekeq a periodical ritual is held. Just before the village of Anyer, near the village Sukadana, is the settlement of Segenter. The inhabitants have maintained to their traditions due to their relatively strong isolation, this goes for their style of building as well as their Wetu Telu habits. They are friendly and open to visitors, however most don't speak Indonesian. For a good conversation you probably need sign language, unless you can find a Sasak-speaking guide.

Bayan: Center of the Wetu Telu

Bayan is located five km southeast of Anyar. Just before the village a road to the south runs to Batu Koq and Senari, starting points for the ascend of Gunung Rinjani. The area has several losmen. From here it's less than one hour walking to the high fall of Sendang Gile, from which the vast sawah's east of the village get their water from.

Bayan is one of the centers of the Wetu Telu; the local penghulu (religious leader) lives besides a pension north of the main road. The Wetu Telu supporters live along the northern side of the road and the orthodox muslems across the road. It is assumed that islam was introduced on Lombok through Bayan. The 300 year old mosque of the village is said to be the oldest of the island. East of Bayan a road runs across steep hills to Kali Putih in about 10 km. The distance to Mataram is measured at 90 km, or 126 km through Labuhan Lombok along the eastern coast and the road which runs across the island towards the west.

Garlick and Shallot

From Kali Putih a road runs towards the south to the foothills of the Rinjani, which finished in Sembalun Lawang after 18 km. It's possible to climb the Rinjani from Sembalun Lawang, but it's more easy and friendly to do this from Bayan. About five km before the village you can see the steep, bald slopes which ascend from the hills. Access of this village is marked by a big monument of garlick, not a subtile hint to the most important product of export. Sembalun Lawang is located along the northern side of a steel valley which is planted with garlick. The village Sembalun Bumbung is at the southern end of the valley.
Picture: Pottery
The two villages are seen as the most wealthy of Lombok. The rich volcanic soil is producing more than enough garlic and shallots. The residents of the Sembalun area believe that the brother of 'raja Majapahit' is buried in the neighborhood. Whether it's true or not, the area has a remarkable Javanese influence on language, music and dances.

The two Sembalungs are connected by a not so good 2,5 km long road. From Sembalun Bumbung you can walk to Pesugulan in four to five hours. This is the place where public transport leaves for the area of Mataram.


Last revised on December 14, 2009
    
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