This small circular island on the east side of “Wallace’s Line” is the home of Indonesia’s second highest peak, Gunung Rinjani, which stands at 3726 meters above sea level. Along the middle of the island runs a 30 kilometer wide green belt, transected by hundreds of streams and irrigation ducts. The rest of the island is relatively arid and featureless and the soil is less productive than that of the neighboring Bali.
Vegetation in the area is native forest, agricultural, forests (plantations), cultivated land (gardens and rice fields), coastal shrubs, heaths and grasslands and narrow mangrove communities. Lombok is dominated by Mt.Rinjani (3800m), a towering northern volcanic range at its centre. Another non-volcanic range transverses the relatively barren southern side of the island, and most of Lombok’s arable land and the majority of her population occupy a narrow 25 km wide strip of land in between. The western third of the plain faces across the strait to Bali. There are water springs, a number of rivers from the southern slopes of Rinjani, hot springs at and to the east of it, and a number of waterfalls around its slopes. Interestingly there are a number of Dutch accommodations located on these southern slopes of Rinjani taking advantage of the climate and topography. Also there are a number of excellent bays and beaches formed by the ridges radiating from Rinjani. The presence of Mt.Rinjani results in a variety of ecosystems, year-round rainforests (higher up and on southern slopes), ferns and tropical plant varieties. Traveling eastward and southward the land becomes drier and less fertile, and also the flora and fauna changes accordingly. Large parts of Lombok mainland are coastal wetlands, irrigated fields and other wetlands. Extensive dry land areas are found on the island of Lombok. Species of plants growing in Lombok have specific importance for the life of the people. Species of plants found in the forest are kesambi, bungur, sonokeling, mahoni (mahogany), jati (teak), kelicung, pala, ipil, bamboo, tutul etc. Wild animals found in Lombok are monkeys (silver leaf and black monkey), wild pigs (babi hutan ), small deer (menjangan), deer (kijang rusa), iguanas ( biawak), pocupines (landak), turtles (penyu) and many kinds of poisonous snakes. Many kinds of birds are found here including pring, parrots (kakatua), bering, koak koak, cucak rawa.
Lombok population consists mostly of the Sasak community, who now amount to almost 2.6million that is approximately 80-85% of the total population. Very little is known about Sasak community, except for the fact that Lombok was ruled by the Majapahit Prime Minister, Gajah Mada. The origin of Sasak language is from the Bali-Sasak-Sumbawa subsection (language) which has further emerged from the Western Malayo-Polynesian offshoot of the Austronesian language class. The Sasaks, in the late 16th century and early 17th century had converted to Islam. The Wektu Telu faith of the Sasaks was equally influenced by the Balinese group which comprises of 10-15% of the total population. The Sasaks practice Waktu Telu sect in most parts of the island and especially in the village of Bayan. Mataram, Pujung, Sengkol, Rambitan, Sade, Tetebatu, Bumbung, Sembalun, Senaru, Loyok and Pasugulan still harbors a major chunk of the Wektu Telu community, who ardently follow the cult and have predominantly remained backward in nature. Among the Sasaks a small section of the minority following the Hindu-Buddhist norms of faith are known as the Bodha community, form almost an estimated population of 8000. This community is mostly concentrated in the village of Bentek and the slopes of Gunung Rinjani where they are totally secluded from the Islamic faith. They are known and recognized as the Buddhist by the Indonesian government. Another diversion in the Sasak (Waktu) community is the Waktu Lima clan which is represented by the Sasak migrants who had migrated from the central parts of Lombok and comparatively remained secluded from the indigenous crowd in Lombok.
The tropical weather in Lombok renders 12 hours of broad day light and the average temperature round the year remains consistent at 28° C to 34° C (that is 83° F to 93° F). The months of October to March experience wet season while the months of May to September display the dry season in Lombok. The weather on the whole is drier compared to Bali even during the rainy season and for the rest of the year the island is located around 200 miles to the south of the equator and offers a hot and humid environment to its residents and tourists in unison. Here day starts at around 6.30 in the morning and sun sets on this island at around 6.30 in the evening and being so humid in nature it’s hard to mention the time of the year unless one considers the present climatic condition. The temperature in the months of May and October remain as high as 80 degree to 90 degree during the day time and the weather is marginally pleasant in the evening though internally the temperature can be quite high. Lombok situated near the equator maintains parity in its weather conditions be it in dry season or in rainy season, as this mostly refers to the condition of the wind and not to the condition of the rain. The winter months are signified due to the breezes which pick up pace compared to the summer months when the environment is comparatively dull and drab. On the whole Lombok can be said to be a peaceful and serene tourist location with a fixed level of weather condition.
How to get there
Lombok is one of the popular tourist destinations in Indonesia and attracts travelers from all across the globe. How to get there to Lombok is not difficult to answer as there are several modes of transport making it all easy. The quickest and comfortable way to get to Lombok is by air and flights connect all the important cities of the Indonesia and also important cities of the world. The Selaparang Airport is Lombok’s only airport. This airport is linked to important cities of Indonesia.
Travelers can also get to Lombok by boat that starts from Benoa in Bali to Lembar. The ferry service runs twice a day and during off season only once. The price of the ferry varies according to the nature of the class one is traveling.
Best time to travel
Due to its proximity to the equator, the climate of Lombok is tropical. Winters are cool and pleasant and summers are tempered by refreshing rainfalls. The days are almost 12 hours long and the average daytime temperature varies from 27 C to 32 C. the dry season lasts from May to September while the wet season extends from October through April. The dry season is the best to tour Lombok as backpackers and trekkers find it extremely inconvenient to undertake their expeditions during a downpour. However you may wish to bear in mind that rains do not last long in Lombok. May, June and July are the peak tourist months when most visitors to the country make a beeline for Lombok. It is also essential to check with the dive operators and tour operators in case you wish to venture into adventure sports such as snorkeling and scuba diving.