To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on our Distribution List or visit www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you’ll be enchanted!
LOMBOK WINS IN 2018
TRAVELERS CHOICE AWARDS!
Love it or loathe it, TripAdvisor® is one of the world’s most influential travel sites.
The site announced the winners of its “2018 Travelers’ Choice™ Awards” for hotels on 23 January 2018 and we are delighted to see so many Lombok businesses being recognised internationally.
The 16th annual awards has recognized 8,095 properties in 94 countries and eight regions worldwide.
Travelers' Choice Award winners were determined based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travelers worldwide. The hallmarks of Travelers' Choice winners are remarkable service, quality and value.
Congratulations to the following Lombok winners – you are amongst the best in the world!
TOP 25 HOTELS - INDONESIA
4. The Oberoi Lombok, Tanjung, North Lombok (beating the Oberoi Bali, which ranked at No. 12)
14. Hotel Tugu, Tanjung, North Lombok
16. Jeeva Klui Resort, Klui, Lombok
19. Sudamala Suites & Villas, Mangsit, Lombok
TOP 25 SMALL HOTELS - INDONESIA
4. The Lombok Lodge, Tanjung, North Lombok
22. The Puncak, ‘The Hill’, Batu Layar, West Lombok
TOP 25 LUXURY HOTELS - INDONESIA
10. The Oberoi Lombok, Tanjung, North Lombok
22. Hotel Tugu, Tanjung, North Lombok
•Ruby’s Café on Gili Air is well-known for fabulous fresh food created by talented local chef, Ruby Fitzgerald. The Beach Club Gili Air is one of the nicest places to stay on the island, with comfy bungalows just steps away from the best beach on Gili Air.
Put them together and you have Ruby’s @ The Beach Club Gili Air!
The owners have taken the best of both worlds and joined together to create the most exciting new restaurant on Gili Air.
Located roadside at The Beach Club on the southeast coast of the island, the restaurant has a relaxed vibe and beautiful beach views.
The new restaurant serves fresh and delicious food and drinks and is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as all day dining. There’s also a fully licensed bar serving all your favourite drinks and icy cold cider and beers.
Must try menu items include the famous Jalapeno Poppers, the big and juicy home-made burgers and any of Ruby’s seasonal curries! See page 82.
• Don’t forget the 3rd Annual Ayam Taliwang Competition at Qunci Villas in Mangsit on Sunday 25 February.
The exciting competition sees top Lombok chefs competing to create the best versions of Lombok’s iconic dish – Ayam Taliwang (grilled chicken in spicy sauce).
Come along and join in the fun as the chefs create mouth-watering Taliwang on the grills set up in the garden. The competition starts at 10am and will be adjudicated by special guests – Master Chef Indonesia judge, Matteo Guerinoni and Jed from Foodie Magazine Jakarta, together with Resident Chef, Gianluca. Winners will be announced at 12 noon.
After the Taliwang Competition, enjoy a fabulous Sparkling Brunch from 12.30 – 3.30pm featuring a feast of tempting appetisers, Arabic Mezze, home-made pastas, grilled meats and seafood, cheeses, and delicious desserts (including a chocolate fountain and Qunci’s famous gelato). Buffet only price is Rp 320,000++ and well-priced beverage packages are available. See page 25 for details.
• If you love to dance, put your dancing shoes on and head out to Salsa Nights at Palate Café in Kuta.
The newly opened café, next to Pipedream Villas, hosts Salsa Nights with informal Salsa lessons every Monday night at 7pm.
There’s music and Latin-inspired cocktails all night long plus “buy 1 get 1 free” Happy Hours from 6 - 8 pm.
• Don’t miss the next Cellar Party at Square Restaurant in Senggigi on Friday, 2 March.
Held on the first Friday of every month the Cellar Party features three and a half hours of free-flow imported red and white wines, together with a delicious buffet including sushi, tapas, pasta, roast meats, salads and desserts.
The Cellar Party starts at 7pm and costs just Rp 450,000 per person (inclusive) for a night of wining and dining.
Or you can choose the ‘buffet only’ option for just Rp 200,000 net per person... excellent value for a delicious meal and a great night out at one of Senggigi’s best dining venues!
See advert onpage 3.
AirAsia has added an additional direct flight between Lombok and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, taking the number of flights operating on the route to three flights daily – a total of 21 flights per week!
From 5 March 2018, flights from Kila2 (Kuala Lumpur Airport) to Lombok International Airport will operate at 6.50, 8.35 and 15.40 daily.
Flights from Lombok to KL will operate at 10.25, 12.15 and 19.15 daily.
The airline uses an Airbus 330 for the flights with a seating capacity for 257 passengers. Flight time is 3 hours and 10 minutes. One way flights from Lombok to KL start at Rp 919,000 per person.
The growth of the Lombok - KL route has been remarkable over the past 6 years.
AirAsia commenced flights between Lombok and Kuala Lumpur on 12 October 2012 with just three flights per week, primarily to test the market. The flights were initially dominated by migrant workers travelling from Lombok to Malaysia for employment.
However, as market demand grew, the airline quickly increased its frequency to four flights weekly and then introduced daily flights in June 2013.
Between 2014 and 2015 the number of Malaysian tourists visiting Lombok grew rapidly and AirAsia increased the route from 10 flights per week to two flights daily (14 flights per week) in January 2015.
The transition from two to three flights daily was introduced on 22 January this year, with three flights operating from KL to Lombok (and the normal two flights operating from Lombok to KL during this transition period).
Passenger numbers on the inaugural third flight indicate success, with the additional flight from KL on 22 January carrying 131 passengers of which 91 were foreign tourists. Arrivals data recorded the nationalities of passengers from China, Finland, Chile, Spain, Maldives, New Zealand and Malaysia.
The AirAsia flights are seen as a significant asset to the tourism industry in Lombok and the airline hopes for an increase of 30% in passenger loading with the additional flights.
Kuala Lumpur is the hub for AirAsia and offers easy connectivity throughout the world, with routes linking KL to other major destinations in Southeast Asia as well as Europe, the Middle East, China and Australia.
NAM Air has made aviation history by being the first airline to use large-bodied jet aircraft on flights between Lombok and Sumbawa.
NAM Air introduced its new service between Lombok International Airport and Sultan Salahuddin Airport in Bima (on Sumbawa, the neighbouring island to the east of Lombok) on 7 February 2018.
The airline uses Boeing 737-500 aircraft on the route with a capacity of 120 seats, comprising 8 Executive Class seats and 112 Economy Class seats.
Until now, flights between Lombok and Sumbawa have always been served by a small planes or ATR propeller aircraft.
By using Boeing 737-500 planes, flight time is cut in half, with Nam Air boasting a 30 minute flight between the two islands; compared to the usual flight time with a small plane of around an hour.
NAM Air is a subsidiary of Sriwijaya Air. The airline is listed as a Category 1 airline by Indonesia’s Civil Aviation Authority: the highest status that can be achieved for operational safety.
The inaugural NAM Air flight landed smoothly at Lombok International Airport at 12.40pm on 7 February to applause from the waiting crowd.
Management of Angkasa Pura I, the airport authority, and NTB Tourism Office officials greeted the flight by arranging for two water cannons to spray water over the fuselage of the plane to celebrate its first arrival in Lombok.
Passenger numbers on the first flight indicate success for the new route, with NAM Air carrying 119 passengers from Bima, and 113 passengers on the return flight from Lombok.
The new service will operate daily departing from Bima at 11.20 (arriving in Lombok 11.50) and departing from Lombok at 12.30 (arriving in Bima at 13.00).
Fares on the route start from Rp 294,000 per person one way (economy) and average Rp 329,000 one way.
The route between Lombok and Bima is also served by Garuda Indonesia and Wings Air.
The Wings flight, using ATR-42 aircraft, takes 50 minutes to one hour (but delays are common) and one way fares average Rp 373,000 per person.
The Garuda flight is onboard an ATR-72 aircraft with a flight time of one hour. Fares average Rp 967,500 pp one way.
Connectivity between Lombok and Sumbawa is in high demand and the route has been rapidly growing over the past 5 years.
Garuda Indonesia has already requested permission to increase the frequency of its Lombok - Sumbawa flights to two times a day and the airline reports seat occupancy rates average 80% per flight from Lombok, with seats from Sumbawa often sold out.
One of Lombok’s most important and popular festivals is “Bau Nyale” – a unique event that attracts thousands of visitors to the south coast every year. Many visitors to Lombok plan their trip to coincide with Bau Nyale.
Bau Nyale, or the Nyale Festival, is a cultural tradition said to date back to at least the 16th century and takes place every year on the 20th day of the tenth month of the lunar Sasak calendar. It is celebrated in either February or March each year.
This year the festival will be held on Tuesday, 6 and Wednesday, 7 March at beautiful Seger Beach, around 5kms to the east of Kuta.
Bau Nyale (Bau meaning “to catch” in the local Sasak languageand Nyale being a type of marine worm) is centred on the seasonal appearance of Nyale (a variety of Palolo worm found in tropical waters in certain parts of the world, including Lombok).
Once a year – when seasonal, marine and lunar conditions combine – the Nyale come to certain beaches around Lombok to spawn and, for a few days, the seas are filled with wriggling sea worms in a variety of colours, ranging from simple brown to red, blue and green.
The appearance of the sea worms has special cultural significance for the Sasak people of Lombok and is celebrated every year. These days the celebration has become a national event and a highlight on the Lombok calendar.
During the festival guests will be entertained by performances such as traditional dancing and music, the election of this year’s “Princess Mandalika”, live theatrical performances, as well as Peresean (traditional stick fighting competitions), live bands, surfing competitions, and more.
During the lead up to the main festival (or Core Event), the government has planned a number of events including:
* Peresean (stick fighting) competitions every day from 1 - 5 March on the Kuta beachfront, starting at 4pm.
* Mandalika Etno Performances (ethnic performances from around the region), on the beachfront at Kuta on 4 March, starting at 7pm.
* Surfing Competition at Seger Beach on 4 March, starting at 8am.
* Mandalika World Music Festival with live music on the beachfront at Kuta on 5 March, starting at 7pm.
* Parade Budaya – a wonderful parade representing Lombok culture and arts with music, dance and colourful costumes. Held along the main street of Praya on 6 March, starting at 4pm.
The ‘Core Event’ takes place on 6 March at Seger Beach and continues all night long, culminating with the catching of the nyale in the early morning hours.
Festival Kulinar with a variety of stalls selling traditional foods will start at Seger Beach from 4pm. It’s best to get there early!
The night is filled with music and performances including traditional theatre and Gendang Beleq (the big drums for which Lombok is famous). The big night officially opens at 7.30pm and the crowning of Putri Mandalika 2018 (Princess Mandalika contest) takes place at 8pm.
Bau Nyale attracts tens of thousands of people every year to beautiful Seger Beach. Crowds of people will begin arriving in Kuta during the day and by the late afternoon, the road leading to the beach will be jammed with traffic; typical waits for entrance can stretch to two hours. This doesn’t, however, deter the crowds and the overall festive atmosphere.
On the land surrounding the beach, tents and stalls are set up selling food and drinks, and thousands of spectators sit around the main stage where the different performances are held.
The highlight of the festival is the theatrical dance and music drama which re-enacts the legend of Putri (Princess) Mandalika and is the basis for the magic surrounding the Bau Nyale festival.
According to the legend, Putri Mandalika was the daughter of the King of Tonjang Beru – a large and prosperous kingdom in South Lombok – and was known throughout the land for her beauty, wisdom and kindness.
When she was of suitable age to marry, princes and suitors from all over the island travelled to the kingdom to ask for her hand. So many men wanted to marry her that it began to cause trouble between the different kingdoms and the princess felt unable to choose between them without her decision causing further strife.
For days the princes competed for the princess, leading to tensions and threats of war between the rival kingdoms. Finally the princess’ father gathered all the rivals together and instructed Princess Mandalika to choose her husband before sunrise the next morning.
Thousands of people gathered on what is now Seger Beach to see the princess choose her husband but, fearful of causing a war, Princess Mandalika declared that – even if she loved one of the suitors – she loved her parents and her kingdom too much to cause strife.
Declaring that, rather than choose one person she would give herself to everyone, she threw herself into the sea from the promontory overlooking Seger Beach and disappeared into the waves.
Everyone searched the sea for the princess, but instead they found masses of colourful sea-worms, called Nyale.
According to a local priest, or Dukun, the princess’s body had been transformed into these sea worms, and thus they became a traditional symbol for the Sasak people.
Other legends say that the long strands of the Nyale worms are the princess’s hair, floating in the water where she drowned.
Whether or not the stories are true, the legend continues to be celebrated and has become a parable of sacrifice for the sake of the greater good; re-enacted each year at the Bau Nyale festival as a reminder to the community.
Performed on the main stage during the Core Event, the Putri Mandalika drama is one of the most unique and enchanting cultural performances to be found in Lombok.
The spell-binding and well-acted spectacle features beautiful and authentic Sasak costumes, traditional music, drumming, peresean (stick fighting) and gamelan.
It is a fascinating insight into the life and history of our island during the times when Lombok was ruled by kingdoms and Sasak royalty.
At the end of the drama, thousands of people make their way down to the beachfront to see if the Nyale have started to appear. Excited crowds splash into the water carrying small nets, buckets and torches, hoping to be the first to catch a Nyale worm.
No one really knows for sure when the Nyale will appear, so anticipation is high prior to the first sighting. The first catches start around 2am and by sunrise the beachfront is an awesome sight, swarming with thousands of wet, happy people scooping up the worms with nets, buckets, shirts and anything else they can use to catch them!
The highlight of the ceremony occurs when the Dukun (local priest) wades into the sea to observe the spawning Nyale and predict the future rice harvest, based on the number of sea worms.
A good catch is a sign that this year’s rice harvest will also be good. Nyale are traditionally associated with fertility and the sea worms are often ground up and placed in irrigation channels and fields to help ensure a good harvest.
Considered a rare delicacy, the people collect the worms and eat them as a special annual feast. Nyale are sometimes eaten raw when they are caught, but more often are steamed, fried, or made into Pepes Nyale – a popular local specialty with the Nyale mixed with coconut and spices, then wrapped in a banana leaf and roasted over the fire.
The sea worms are rich in protein and are also believed to have aphrodisiac properties, so the feasting takes place with much gusto!
Although it’s possible to drive to the south coast for the event, staying in nearby Kuta is the best way to experience Bau Nyale. For upmarket accommodation, we recommend Novotel Lombok Resort (see page 67) which has a good variety of rooms to suit all pockets; for budget travellers, Mimpi Manis Homestay is a good choice.
Fast boat operator, Marina Srikandi, has started a new fast boat service linking Bali and Banyuwangi in East Java.
The boat departs Bali from the Kedonganan Pier in Jimbaran and docks at the Pantai Boom Pier in Banyuwangi just two hours later.
The same journey by road and ferry between Gilimanuk and Ketapang in East Java would require a traveling time of 5 - 6 hours.
In welcoming the new service, the Regent of Banyuwangi, Abdullah Anas, welcomed the new boat transfer connecting Bali and Banyuwangi as certain to become a popular alternative means of travel between the two points and open Banyuwangi to new tourist visitors.
Mulyono Sugito, a Director of Marina Srikandi who operates the fast boats, explained that his company would initially operate one trip per day each way. As the market develops, two trips will eventually operate each day between the two ports.
The boat departs Banyuwangi at 9.00 am and the return voyage departs Bali at 1.00 pm. The fare for the 2-hour trip is Rp 375,000 per person, one way.
Marina Srikandi also offers a drop off service to points around Banyuwangi for an additional Rp 50,000 pp.
The fast boat has a length of 21.84 metres and a breadth of 6.3 metres, with capacity for 70 passengers. The boat is powered by five Suzuki 250HP outboard engines and can travel at speeds of up to 40 knots.
The new service opens up options other than flying for travellers moving between Lombok, Bali and Java.
Marina Srikandi also operates fast boat services between Serangan Harbour in Bali to Nusa Lembongan (Bali) and Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Bangsal Harbour and Senggigi in Lombok.
Recently two candidates in the upcoming gubernatorial elections erected a huge sign across the main street of Senggigi announcing “Indahnya Senggigi” (“beautiful Senggigi”) – prompting some of us to ask when these politicians last stepped foot on Senggigi Beach.
The once-beautiful beach of Senggigi, which is the centrepiece of the west coast resort area, has suffered badly from neglect and misguided government ‘development’ over the past few years.
The recent storms and heavy rains in early February has done further damage – leaving the beach in a very sorry state.
We publish these photos in the hope that the “powers that be” don’t just erect signs but come and have a look at the true state of Senggigi for themselves.
The main Sengiggi Jetty was extensively damaged by a storm on 19 December 2017. The pontoon moorings broke away from the main jetty and several sections were submerged.
The jetty cannot be used because of the damage and boats – including fast boats from Bali – are forced to land on the beach. When the waves are too large, boat services to Senggigi are cancelled.
Two months later, the jetty still hasn’t been repaired and no attempt has been made to retrieve the salvageable pontoons. Bad weather has now broken up the sections further and carried them out to sea.
The beach is littered with broken sections of the pontoons being buried by the sand, some left over from when the jetty was built several years ago.
Due to the recent heavy rains, the small river that flows into the sea behind the Santosa Resort has overflowed and broken the embankment. The concrete retaining wall has now collapsed allowing the river to further erode the beachfront.
Fishermen have erected what now appear to be permanent structures on the beachfront. While a year ago, some small tents housed temporary shops on the beach, the structures are now much bigger and people have taken up permanent residence on the beach.
Although this is clearly illegal, no one from the government appears to want to police the beachfront.
As happens every year during the monsoon season, the bad weather and high seas has forced more of the fishermen from Ampenan to moor their boats on the beach.
Unfortunately, some of these fishermen refuse to return to their own harbour and have taken up residence on the beach, where they carry out boat repairs and repair nets, as well as sort and clean fish ready for market.
This means the beach is littered with sections of boats, broken wood and nails from the repairs, as well as smelly fish guts and general rubbish created from living on the beach (with no access to toilets!)
The fishing boat problem is particularly bad in the section of beach near the Art Markets, where boats are parked so closely together they block access to the beach.
Back in August 2017, the NTB Tourism Department built some large and extremely ugly concrete tables and chairs on the Senggigi beachfront.
High tides have washed away the beachfront, exposing the foundations of these heavy concrete tables and causing them to slide into the sand.
In some areas, the tables are now unusable – just more unsightly debris adding to the atmosphere of neglect.
Qunci Villas hosted another “Chefs in the Wild” dinner on Saturday, 3 February – featuring renowned Indonesian Chef Juna Rorimpandey of MasterChef Indonesia and Hell’s Kitchen Indonesia fame.
Guests enjoyed an exclusive 5-course degustation dinner prepared by Chef Juna in collaboration with Qunci Executive Chef, Gianluca Viscaglia.
The dinner also coincided with the opening of an art exhibition by Indonesian artist, Diyah Yulianti who is one of the artists-in-residence at Qunci Villas during the resort’s “Month of Love” programme.