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East Lombok
Mountain villages and empty plains

With exception of the art center around Kotoraja, the eastern part of Lombok is still a white spot on the tourist maps. The area is not very adapted to visitors from abroad. Besides a center of art there are several more interesting places: the area around Selong and the coastal area between Labuhan Lombok and Kali Putih. Attractions are, besides the very nice view on Gunung Rinjani, the quiet beaches and the dry, empty rural area which is a brand to this region.

Tetebatu

The main road from Mataram to Labuhan Lombok passes the border with the district East-Lombok shortly after Kopang. Just past the city of Sikut (markets on Fridays) a paved road runs to the north, to Kotaraja. This area is mainly known for it's many decorated cidomo, handycraft and brick factories. Kotaraja has a market on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The environment of Kotaraja is conservative. The children are on Islamic schools and most men wear sarung. Boys wear sarung and the black peci; girls wear long skirts and the kerudung, a cloth which covers the head and upper part of the body and only leaves open the face.

Traditional iron workers in Kotaraja make a diversity of agricultural tools. The nearby village of Loyok is specialized in art products which are made from bamboo and palm leaves.

Tetebatu, a few kilometers north of Kotaraja, is a mountain village with several losmen and home-stays. The best and oldest of the bunch, wisma Soedjono, is a left-over from a pension that was built by the Dutch in the early 1920's. The restaurant with open walls offers a view over sawah's and forest and early in the morning a nice view over Gunung Rinjani (Mount Rinjani volcano).

In the neighborhood you can find a 'monkey forest', just pas the settlement or Orang Gerisak. A shor trip brings you to the small Joben fall. A big 50-meter-high fall Jeruk Manis or Air Temer, is 12 km ahead. In the settlement of Kemban Sari you can organise traditional dance and music. Soedjono rents vans, motorcycles and English speaking guides. At night it's cool around here, so don't forget to bring a sweater of jacket.

Selong

Back on the main road you turn right towards Selong near Masbagik. On Mondays this route is home to the biggest cattle-market of the island. A big distance ahead is Selong, the center of the area where the conservative Wetu Telu supporters life together uneasily with the just as conservative orthodox Muslims of the Nahdatul Wahtan sect. The good road continues to Labuhan Haji, named this way because this is the place where the pilgrims used to leave for Mecca.
The small city is home to many Buginese; their colorful canoes color up the black beach, where there is a natural barrier 100 meters off the beach. Until 1965, the town knew a booming Chinese community, but during the bloodbath that followed on the failed coup, about 40 Chinese were killed and their houses were burned. Survivors fled to West-Lombok. The Chinese exodus meant the end of Labuhan Haji as trade seaport.

The arid rural areas west of Selong has several Islamic graveyards, marked by the characteristic, West-Indian Jasmin trees. The area produces long, hot red chili's (Lomboks) and sweet potatoes, which are grown on riased rectangular fields. The edible leaves are mixed into gado-gado.

Lenek

About two kilometers east of Masbagik is a pottery-center, founded by the New Zealand government. More to the east is the village of Lenek, which has a very good music- and dance ensemble. The company performs on local events. The group can perform if you want, but they need to know several days in advance, and you have to pay them off course. You can contact the group leader.

This old man is said to have had more women than he can remember. He fell in love with his own granddaughter, but was completely healed when she told who she really was. His daughters and granddaughters are of the most beautiful of Lombok.

Pak Rahil, an expert in the history of Lombok like it's written inn the lontars, is seen as the most powerful mystical person of Lombok. This is even recognized by the Wetu Telu supporters, which are not the least on this subject themselves. He is the chairman of the local Kebatinan-movement, a kind of mystical sect which originates from Java.

Aikmel

Aikmel (markets on Wednesdays) is located northeast of Masbagik along the main road to Labuhan Lombok. The rice terraces form a picturesque image with in the background Gunung Rinjani. From Aikmel a road runs towards the north to Pesugulan, where you can find the starting point of a 16 km trip on foot to Sembalun Bumbung through a beautiful landscape. Before you see the Runjani, you will first enjoy the hilly meadows. Past Aikmel the main road continues through a beautiful tunnel of big trees and high bamboo. Past Pringgabaya the landscape changes: wet rice fields are replaced by dry, abandoned plains with only a few trees and steep mountains on the background.

Labuhan Lombok

From Mataram you can reach Labuhan Lombok in about 1,5 hours (74 km). The city is built around the start of a two kilometer road which connects the market with the pier of the ferry Sumbawa - Lombok. The road which runs from Labuhan Lombok to the north follows the coast through a dry and rough landscape, with every once in a while an oasis. On the dry places are some kapok-trees, of which the fruits. They are used to fill matrasses and pillows. From Labuhan Pandan, where the road turns to the left, a short path leads to the sea. Fishing boats float in a carpet of green leaves which covers the hot, black sand. You can rent a canoe for a nice price for a visit to the islands off the coast. The islands have white beaches. You have to bring your own drinking water.


Last revised on December 14, 2009
    
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