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Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok (population 2,950,105 in 2005) is an island in West Nusa Tenggara province, 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. It is roughly circular, with a "tail" to the southwest, about 70 km across and a total area of about 4,725 km² (1,825 sq mi). The administrative capital and largest city on the island is Mataram.

The island's topography is dominated by the centrally-located stratovolcano Mount Rinjani, which rises to 3,726 m (12,224 ft), making it the third-highest in Indonesia. The most recent eruption of Rinjani was in June-July, 1994.The southern part of the island is a fertile plain where corn, rice, coffee, tobacco, and cotton are grown.

The main local language is Bahasa Sasak, the language of the indigenous Sasak people of Lombok. 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.
English is reasonably common in the resort areas and occasionally some other European languages are spoken by people involved in the tourism sector.

Lombok has much in common with nearby Bali, but is less well-known and less-visited by foreigners. It has been working to increase its visibility to tourists in recent years, promoting itself as an "unspoiled Bali". The most-developed center of tourism is Senggigi, spread in a 10-kilometer strip along the coastal road north of Mataram, while backpackers congregate in the Gili Islands off the west coast. Other popular tourist destinations include Kuta (distinctly different from Kuta, Bali) where surfing is considered some of the best in the world by leading surfing magazines. The Kuta area is also famous for its beautiful, untouched beaches.

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

Lombok International Airport (Bandara Internasional Lombok) is south west of the small regional city of Praya in South central Lombok. It commenced operations on 1 October 2011. It replaced Selaparang airport near Ampenan.It is the only operational international airport within the province of West Nusa Tenggara (Nusa Tenggara Barat).

Lembar Harbour seaport in the southwest has shipping facilities and a ferry for road vehicles and passenger services. Labuhan Lombok ferry port on the east coast provides a ferry for road vehicles and passenger services to Poto Tano on Sumbawa.
Pelni Shipping Line provide a national network of passenger ship services throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
Fastboat services are available between Bali and the Gili Islands, with some traffic to the Lombok mainland.

Places to visit:

    Tanjung A'an, a beautiful area near the Kuta Beach. The sand is very unique that it looks like pepper.

Sukarare: See the local handicraft and weaving process in Desa (village) Sukarana.    
Narmada water park (Taman Narmada): Located 10 km east of Mataram, this park was the relaxation place for the king during the time of feudalism. This park has a Hindu temple and swimming pool.

Air Terjun Sindang gila (En. Slightly crazy waterfalls): Located near Senaru on the slopes of Mount Rinjani.

Air Terjun Tiu Kelep: Senaru’s “2nd waterfall” Tiu Kelep is a further 1 hr walk, you might prefer to seek a reputable local guide if you don't already have a driver willing to show you the way.

Air Terjun Betara Lenjang. Senaru’s “3rd waterfall” Betara Lenjang requires some advance planning and is strictly for rock climbers with a suitable local guide and equipment.

Other activities to enjoy: Massage/Spa treatments, snorkelling, surfing, scuba diving, hiking, fishing charters and bike tours.

Be aware that malaria and dengue fever are present in the Indonesian islands, and use mosquito nets and repellants to protect yourself.

There have been cases of grain alcohol being cut with methyl alcohol, causing poisoning in Bali and Lombok, so if you are consuming alcohol,
learn to recognize the symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, lack of co-ordination and confusion. If methyl alcohol poisoning is suspected seek medical assistance immediately.

A few notes on etiquette:

    Footwear must always be removed when entering a person's home and occasionally even some business premises. This is the case in even the most primitive and basic living structures.

    In Lombok it is normally considered to be quite rude or disrespectful to offer or hand something to someone with your left hand unless they are a very close and intimate friend or family member, and even then it is best avoided if possible.

Dress modestly in rural villages, religious sites and government buildings; long pants for men and a shirt, a modest skirt, full or calf length pants, dress or sarongs are suggested and a conservative blouse is recommended for women. This may save you or onlookers from embarrassment. If more revealing clothing is worn it is good to have a sarong handy. They are a good all purpose item that can be used to keep off the sun or wind and can be called into service to avoid any awkward moments. 

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Overview of Lombok

Overview of Lombok

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