Cultural Activities

Unlike on neighbouring Bali, tourism on Lombok is low-key. There are plenty of rustic villages in various stages of cultural preservation that are worth exploring. The mix of Muslim and animist culture provides an interesting social backdrop wherever you go, making it worth getting out of the resort for a few days to experience the artistry of the locals.  

Just south of the airport, the towns of Ampenan, Cakranegara, Mataram and Sweta fuse into a large urban sprawl offering the best in city exploration on Lombok. Despite the size of these towns, there isn’t much congestion or pollution, making forays along the streets enjoyable. The fresh markets with their unusual food items for sale, small shops selling handicrafts and good restaurants offer a decent urban scene for an island the size of Lombok. This is where you can find an authentic fiery Sasak meal that isn’t toned down for foreign tastes. The distinct absence of tourists is another bonus.

Bayan Old Mosque

Lombok’s oldest mosque is believed to have been built in the 16th century, when Islam first arrived on the island. The building is impressive in its own right. Worshippers gather here daily to engage in prayer, making this a fascinating site at which to experience the Muslim heritage that dominates Lombok.

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Bertais Market
If there’s one daily market you should visit in Lombok, it’s the impressive Bertais Market in Mataram. As the biggest fresh market on the island, this place buzzes every day as locals buy and sell exotic vegetables and animals. The heady scent of spices fills the air, and even items like antiques and art and crafts can be found among the stalls.

Taman Narmada

Named after a sacred Indian river, this unusual but beautiful park has been laid out to look exactly like the cratered summit of Rinjani volcano, complete with lake and volcanic rim. If you don’t have time to climb the 12,000 foot volcano, visiting this attraction is the next best thing. The grounds are also home to a lovely temple that is used for Balinese celebrations, the former palace of a Balinese king dating to 1805, and a fountain of youth. Visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
Visit this website for photographs and further information about Narmada Park in Lombok Island.
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