Lying to the east of Bali, Lombok is the first island one encounters in the Nusa Tenggara (Lesser Sunda) island group. It has an area of roughly 4725 km2, which means it’s only about 85% of the size of Bali. Many say that Lombok is like Bali was 20 years ago but this only takes Lombok’s development as a tourist centre into account. There are other more fundamental differences between the two islands including religion, culture, climate and scenery. For instance, Lombok is substantially drier than Bali and the population is mainly Moslim. The highest point of the island is the Gunung Rinjani volcano. Its height of 3726 m makes it the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Flora and fauna have flourished on the northern part of the island due to Gunung Rinjani. The southern coast of Lombok is still relatively unspoiled by tourism and has many beaches of virgin white sand. Gili Nanggu is a small island situated off the southern coast. Just off the coast north of Senggigi you will find the three other main Gili islands famous for their diving and snorkelling. 



Sengiggi is the most developed and most popular tourist spot on Lombok. It is a long stretch of beachfront just to the north of the capital Mataram. Here you will find lots of boutiques, souvenir shops, hotels and restaurants. There are also a number of discotheques. Senggigi is also the right place to be for your daily shopping, to book excursions, to book diving trips, arrange diving courses and make your ATM cash withdrawals. Sengiggi has a nice beach from which you can hire a small fishing boat for a daytrip to any of the Gili islands.


       Ampenan market

Although Mataram is the formally capital of Lombok, over the years it has merged with the nearby towns of Ampenan on the coast and Cakranegara to the east. Together they now form one big, crowded town where about half a million of the 3 million inhabitants of Lombok live. You can get almost anything you want in this lively Asian town, but you will sometimes need to search for it. Unlike in our western countries, most of the shops here are quite small and concentrate on a limited selection of goods.

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