Lombok and Sasak Culture Tours
Lombok’s culture is a direct reflection of its history and people. While there are, to this day, people still living the ‘traditional life’, the mix of religious beliefs and racial backgrounds has seen Lombok become a “melting pot”, with many customs and beliefs being shared between very different cultures. Lombok has a population of around 2.5 million, made up of mainly Balinese, Arabian, Chinese and Javanese, with small mixes of other races represented as well.  There are still remnants of past visitors to the island visible in the historic artefacts found scattered around Lombok with coins from ancient Chinese dynasties regularly found adorning Lombok’s own cultural relics. The people of Lombok are exceedingly friendly and helpful, and English is becoming spoken more as increasing numbers of international guests arrive each year. Lombok was up until the mid 1700’s controlled by the indigenous peoples known as the ‘Sasaks’ before being overthrown by the Balinese around 1750.  While the Balinese struggled to control the Sasak peoples in the eastern regions, often being confronted with popular revolts  and rebellions, the Dutch, who had been trading with the region for many years, took control in the late 1900’s to create stability in the region. This led to the end for the last Rajah and their families, who threw themselves at the Dutch military, while dressed in white as their surrender. Lombok has had a tumultuous past.  In 1965, shortly after Indonesia’s Independence, Lombok experienced mass killings of Chinese, and those thought to be sympathetic to the communists.  In 2000, major rioting in the city of Mataram led to many Chinese and Christians fleeing Lombok for the safety of Bali, and it was many years before the felt safe to return, but of course the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005 further eroded what had been a healthy and growing tourism industry. The tourism industry has yet to fully recover.  There remains a considerable gulf between the traditional Muslim Sasaks and western liberal values to this day, though it remains relatively below the surface and is rare for it to be seen in public The main religion on Lombok is Islam, as it is right throughout Indonesia.  While there are other religions represented such as Hinduism, Christianity and a unique religion confined mainly to the north of the island in the Bayan Village area, the main religion is Islam. A note about respecting the beliefs of others…  people in small villages scattered around Lombok are less exposed to international visitors, and some have strong beliefs about dress and conduct.  If you intend visiting small outlying villages, it is best to wear long sleeves and at least knee-length trousers out of respect for the the majority Muslim inhabitants, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink (or smoke) during daylight hours in public, so just to keep everyone happy, consider the locals and their religious beliefs.  We should point out here that the people living in the Senggigi, Mataram, and Gili Islands areas, are more accepting of the dress of international visitors due to their exposure to more visitors, so it is less of an issue.  As with everywhere in the world, if you should wish to visit a Mosque, they are open to everyone, but do ask first as there are some areas where women are not allowed to go, and also some areas where non- Muslims are not permitted to enter. Contact us today to enquire as to availability for a Lombok Culture Tour by  clicking here.
Gili Islands Tours 2012
Lombok and Sasak Culture Tours
Lombok’s culture is a direct reflection of its history and people. While there are, to this day, people still living the ‘traditional life’, the mix of religious beliefs and racial backgrounds has seen Lombok become a “melting pot”, with many customs and beliefs being shared between very different cultures. Lombok has a population of around 2.5 million, made up of mainly Balinese, Arabian, Chinese and Javanese, with small mixes of other races represented as well.  There are still remnants of past visitors to the island visible in the historic artefacts found scattered around Lombok with coins from ancient Chinese dynasties regularly found adorning Lombok’s own cultural relics. The people of Lombok are exceedingly friendly and helpful, and English is becoming spoken more as increasing numbers of international guests arrive each year. Lombok was up until the mid 1700’s controlled by the indigenous peoples known as the ‘Sasaks’ before being overthrown by the Balinese around 1750.  While the Balinese struggled to control the Sasak peoples in the eastern regions, often being confronted with popular revolts  and rebellions, the Dutch, who had been trading with the region for many years, took control in the late 1900’s to create stability in the region. This led to the end for the last Rajah and their families, who threw themselves at the Dutch military, while dressed in white as their surrender. Lombok has had a tumultuous past.  In 1965, shortly after Indonesia’s Independence, Lombok experienced mass killings of Chinese, and those thought to be sympathetic to the communists.  In 2000, major rioting in the city of Mataram led to many Chinese and Christians fleeing Lombok for the safety of Bali, and it was many years before the felt safe to return, but of course the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005 further eroded what had been a healthy and growing tourism industry. The tourism industry has yet to fully recover.  There remains a considerable gulf between the traditional Muslim Sasaks and western liberal values to this day, though it remains relatively below the surface and is rare for it to be seen in public The main religion on Lombok is Islam, as it is right throughout Indonesia.  While there are other religions represented such as Hinduism, Christianity and a unique religion confined mainly to the north of the island in the Bayan Village area, the main religion is Islam. A note about respecting the beliefs of others…  people in small villages scattered around Lombok are less exposed to international visitors, and some have strong beliefs about dress and conduct.  If you intend visiting small outlying villages, it is best to wear long sleeves and at least knee-length trousers out of respect for the the majority Muslim inhabitants, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink (or smoke) during daylight hours in public, so just to keep everyone happy, consider the locals and their religious beliefs.  We should point out here that the people living in the Senggigi, Mataram, and Gili Islands areas, are more accepting of the dress of international visitors due to their exposure to more visitors, so it is less of an issue.  As with everywhere in the world, if you should wish to visit a Mosque, they are open to everyone, but do ask first as there are some areas where women are not allowed to go, and also some areas where non-Muslims are not permitted to enter.
Gili Islands Tours 2012