Six Things You Probably Don’t Know About Lombok
Lombok Island is the rising star in Indonesian tourism. While it’s true that it is growing in popularity, it’s still nowhere near as popular as its neighbor – Bali. Lombok has a lot to offer to visitors. In fact, in some ways, Lombok is a better holiday destination than Bali. Less traffic and nicer beaches are a few quick examples.
We are proud to share some facts you probably don’t know about Lombok!
#1 The indigenous Sasak people of Lombok: Spicy & Proud
Geography and history define the Sasaks – the indigenous people of Lombok who make up 85% of Lombok’s 3 million people. Shaped by Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, the Sasak religion and culture are an intriguing blend, unique in the Indonesian archipelago.
Family’s income mainly comes from fishing, weaving or farming. But don’t imagine that Lombok’s Sasaks are all about fishing, weaving and farming: dance and drama are intricately woven into the Sasak identity. Their language, religion, architecture, dances and music are the marriages of sailors, conquerors, artists, political outcastes and religious missionaries who have given the Sasak people their unique, spicy flavour.
Lombok island is to the immediate east of the Lombok Strait which marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia; this distinction is known as the ‘Wallace Line’. The British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) was the first person to comment on the division between the two regions, as well as on the abrupt boundary between the two biomes. The Wallace Line runs through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok. The distance between Bali and Lombok is small, about 35 kilometres.
#3 Sasak versus Hindu
While the Balinese Hindu people are soft-spoken, gentle and always up for a joke, their Sasak cousins are more reserved and conservative. Always be polite on Lombok, and smile first. A smile goes a long way.
Lombok, and the Sasaks, are a multi-coloured mix of history, culture and religion. Pura Lingsar in West Lombok – this large temple compound is the holiest in Lombok – is the proof! It’s the world’s only Hindu temple where Sasak Muslims and Hindus come to worship together.
#4 The Meaning of the Island’s name
The word Lombok is a word that comes from the local Sasak language. Translated into Indonesian it means ‘straight’. Lombok is also a lesser-used word for chilli in Bahasa Indonesian, which has led many people to believe the island is named for its spicy cuisine.
Lombok is famous for the 3 Gilis (Trawangan, Meno and Air) to the northwest of the island. But did you know the word Gili actually just means small island? Trawangan is the largest of the 3 ‘Gilis’ and is furthest from The Lombok Lodge, but still only around 20 minutes by boat.
#5 Lombok’s Mouth-watering Cuisine
To discover the true taste of Lombok culture, the best way is to eat and explore the mouth-watering local cuisine!
Top of the list is Ayam Taliwang. This popular dish is a flavoursome spicy grilled chicken. Originally introduced by the people of Karang Taliwang Village, it has become a culinary icon of the island of Lombok. Ayam Taliwang is made of chicken which is preferably free-range. It is half-cooked on the grill, then removed and dipped in a marinade of cooking oil and spicy sauce made of garlic, chilli and shrimp paste. Once the marinade sets, it is then grilled again until perfection.
Ayam Taliwang – the most the iconic dish from Lombok – is usually served with Plecing (boiled spinach) or Sambal Beberuk. Every week Chef Jiwa creates a typical Sasak Dinner Menu with Ayam Taliwang as Main Course. See The Lombok Lodge Sasak Menu >
#6 Lombok Etiquette & Manners
– Like anywhere in Indonesia, using your left hand to give or receive anything is extremely bad manners in Asia, the left hand is used to wash oneself after the lavatory. Consciously use your right hand in all interactions with people.
– If you are lucky enough to be invited into one of the local people’s home during your stay in Lombok, be sure to take your shoes off first!
– Be respectful in sacred places. Remove shoes and dress modestly when visiting temples and mosques.
– Indonesians take a lot of pride in keeping a cool head when things heat up. Showing anger or shouting is considered very rude and a poor showing of self-control, so even when a situation gets frustrating, just smile and go with the flow.
– Shaking hands, as in the West, is a sign of friendship and respect.
After you have shaken hands, raise your hand and touch your heart to show your sincerity.
More than four years after a massive earthquake stuck north Lombok in 2018 and now that the Pandemic seems to have hit a turning point, Lombok is back! Bigger and better than ever!
The best thing anyone can do for the island is visit. The best time to visit is now as you can experience the beauty of Lombok without all the crowds.
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Founder of The Lombok Lodge Hospitality ®