Fertile and developed than the western part of the island, East Lombok gives visitors a glimpse of a part of rural Indonesia inhabited by the ethnic Sasak people who closely keep to their rich, age-old cutoms. Most of East Lombok’s 1.1 million people are indigenous Sasak but the regency is also home to people of Balinese Hindu, Chinese and mixed Indonesian/Chinese descent, and a small number of Arab Indonesians, mostly from Yamen, who originally settled in the old port town of Ampenan in West Lombok. Islam is the prevailing religion but there are Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Confucian communities too.
The proximity of Lombok’s new international airport may boost investment and development in East Lombok, which is basically a virgin territory with multiple assets and potential for growth, especially in marine and other tourism sectors. The regency already has an established pearl cultivation industry, seaweed farming communities and successful fish producing areas such as Labuhan Lombok, Tanjung Luar and Labuhan Haji. The southern district of Jerowaru has many outstanding natural tourism assets such as the Kaliantan coast and four spectacular ocean capes-Bloam, Ringgit, Perak and Cina-at the regency’s southernmost tip. Travel froam Mataram is to 2.5 hours.
Jerowaru is home to the idyllic little island of Gili Sunut with gently sloping white sand beaches and calm clear waves that make it perfect for water sports such as swimming, snorkeling and canoeing, or for beach games or simply lazing around. Then there are the fine white sand beaches of Ekas bay. Including Sorga (Heaven) beach, where corporate investors have partnered with local people to cultivate pearls and seaweed.
Nestled in the waters of the Sembelia district is a cluster of picturesque little with all the beauty, charm and potential of North Lombok’s famous Three Gilis. The Sembelia gilis of Kondo, Lampu, Sulat and Lawang are a 25-minute boat trip from Transat beach and a 45-minute crossing from eastern Lombok’s main port, Labuan Lombok.
In the north of the regency, where Mount Rinjani looms as a mystical and shadowy backdrop everywhere, many places offer fresh, cool mountain air, forests such as Lemor, and waterfalls fed from rushing mountain streams. Among the cascades are Otak Kokoq and Jeruk Manis (Sweet Orange).
On the eastern slopes of Rinjani, in a huge caldera, is Sembalun Lawang village. From this mountain hideway, to reach out to Rinjani is to almost touch it. In the Loyo area near Kota Raja, skilled artisans create an amazing range of bamboo crafts. Pringgasela village is known for its traditional fabrics skillfully woven on ancestral looms while Senanti is a village of traditional wood carvers. And Lenek, home to the black monkey, is known for its Sasak dence productions.
East Lombok covers 1605.5 square kilometers with fertile agricultural lands and agri-industry potential in its north and potential for commodities such as Virginia tobacco in its dryer south. International importers are already funding local farmers to produce quality tobacco. The regency also has many historical sites, including the Selaparang Tomb of the Kings of East Lombok.