Senggigi is Lombok’s main traveler hub and in recent years development has been increasing at a steady pace. Most travelers to Lombok will stay here even if it is just for a transit stop to the Gili Islands. Senggigi stretches 10 kilometers along the western coast of Lombok and is only around a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport in Mataram.
A few years ago the western coastal road was re surfaced and new areas were built to accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists making their way to Bangsal (the port for the Gilis). Before this road travelers heading to the Gilis had to endure a hairy ride through winding rainforest road gradually climbing the mountain until the summit was reached a families of monkeys would beg for food on the side of the road. With the introduction of this new road it certainly cuts your travel time in half and will greet you with spectacular views of the Lombok strait and the three islands of Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air.
Senggigi has so much to offer the traveler that many choose to extend their stay here. The beach is rarely busy and you can find yourself with kilometers of sand all to yourself. The beach itself is a grey brown color yet this doesn’t deter the traveler seeking relaxation. A much better option for a beach is Kerangdangan beach, this particular beach is a popular spot for locals at the weekend. There are a few warungs (street side food sellers) that are set up just a few meters from the beach. Food is readily available and the most common snack is chicken satay.
There are numerous massage and spa facilities in Senggigi that will entice most people into a state of well being. If you want to venture away from the beach then a visit to the local villages is highly recommended. Here you will be met by the locals who make a living from weaving and handicrafts. These villages have very much remained traditional in the sense that modernity hasn’t yet taken a hold and you will almost feel like you have stepped into a remote village cut off from the world. You will see goats, chickens and cats freely roaming the roads and people getting on with their everyday life. A great option to explore by yourself is to rent a bicycle from any of the hotels offering bike rental. If you don’t feel that energetic then motorcycles are also widely available.
Having the freedom to roam Lombok will certainly give you a better sense of village life and you are sure to be greeted by very friendly people.
The great thing about Senggigi is that you can explore most of the island and return back to your hotel the same day. A popular way of doing this is to hire a car with a driver (around Rp 400, 000), 40 dollars. The driver will have expert knowledge of what to see and will often give you insights into the Island. Apart from the coastal road leading to Bangsal you can visit numerous waterfalls, temples, secluded beaches and come face to face with the wild monkeys.
A beautiful spot just 2 kilometres south of Senggigi is Pura Batu Bolong. This is a very small Hindu Temple positioned a very tiny rock. Here you will find an empty chair that represents Brahma the God of Creation. If you choose to visit this temple then make sure you do it just before sunset as the views across the sea are nothing short of spectacular.
It is free to gain entry here but please make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing. Arms and legs modestly covered. You can rent a sarong from one the sellers for around Rp 5,000.
It is not only in Bali where you can but traditional wooden artifacts. Lombok has been creating woodenware for years and the prices will usually be cheaper than on Bali. You will undoubtedly be offered strings of pearls that come from East Nusa Tenggara. You need to be aware that these pearls are not of the highest quality and are very much scraps from the pearl farms. Most hawkers will quote you with a price of around Rp 350,000 (35 dollars). The realistic price for the pearls you are being offered is much smaller at around Rp 35,000 (around 3 dollars). If you choose to buy then make sure you haggle for a price that best suits you and the seller.
Senggigi is a great base to explore Lombok’s hidden gems. If you choose to venture further East then head to Labuhan Lombok on the east coast. Here you can take a ferry across to Sumbawa. The ticket is very cheap and the crossing will only take around 45 minutes.
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