Lombok and Sumbawa: Introduction and Touches

Lombok and Sumbawa: Introduction

West Nusa Tenggara consists of two main islands, Sumbawa and Lombok, with multiple smaller islands (gili). It is bordered by sea at all of its perimeter, however, in geopolitical terms, it is bordered by Bali in the west and Flores Island in the east.

Around 70% of West Nusa Tenggara population lives in Lombok; the urban area itself lies in the middle section of western and eastern Lombok. On the other hand, although Sumbawa has four times area larger than Lombok, it has only the remaining 30% of total population.

Since the opening of Lombok International Airport, connection between the islands, primarily Lombok, to the rest of the world is getting easier. Direct flights to the airport are available from Jakarta, Denpasar, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. From the airport, airplanes may continue to reach inland Sumbawa in around one hour flight. Through the sea, many large and cruise ships come to Lembar and Keyangan Port in Lombok also Pototano and Sape Port in Sumbawa.

Lombok and Sumbawa: Touches

Batik is one of the most important part of Indonesian culture and society. It is reflected in the clothes wore by Indonesian at almost any occasions. The other types of fabric that is common to be used by Indonesian is “tenun” or handwoven fabric. Lombok and Sumbawa are two of the main producers of handwoven fabric in Indonesia.

Handweaving is crucial in some local cultures there, so crucial that it determines the status of a person who make and wear it. In Desa Sukarara, Lombok, girls are taught to hand weave from early age and must produce a handwoven fabric to be eligible to get married. The tradition continued until today. The idea behind that tradition is to prepare the girls becoming tenacious women since it takes months to produce a single handwoven fabric.

A handwoven fabric is made to design and has unique texture depending on the materials used, be it silk or cotton. The pattern is prepared in a complex structure of bamboo that somehow will reflect the final product according to the desirable design. Handweaver then tied those raw pattern one row at a time using string.

There are many types of patterns produced in Lombok, but the most famous one is rangrang motive. Although handwoven fabric can be found in variety of color, the traditional color of Lombok is red. Handwoven fabric can be used as pashmina, baby holder, gown and clothes for male and female. “Tenun” can also be used at any occasions and suitable in any weathers, especially in warm climate such as in Lombok and Sumbawa.

Although the weather in Lombok and Sumbawa is warm throughout the year, colder weather can be found in higher altitude. Sumbawa Island is known to locals for being much hotter than Lombok, they even suggest that Sumbawa has nine suns. It was proven by me when day tripping around Kenawa and Peserang Island, my skin easily getting dark and burned even though I have used sun screen.

On the other hand, Sumbawa’s extreme weather is a bliss when it comes to enjoying nature. Photos look more contrast and colorful under the sun. I do enjoy walking around Kenawa Island because I was able to capture the texture of brown thatches. Should you need to cool down, you can swim around the beach and play with starfish and enjoy underwater scenery.


This writing is one of the six stories about my journey in Lombok and Sumbawa.

The six stories are about touches, smells, tastes, hearings, sights and general guides of Lombok and Sumbawa.