Lombok and the Gilis
Lombok is noticeably different than its close neighbor, Bali. The northern part of the Island is mountainous and lush with tall trees and shrubs. The south on the other hand is arid and covered by savannas. Large Asian mammals are absent and replaced instead by marsupials, lizards, cockatoos and parrots. The difference becomes more pronounced as one moves further cast, where dry seasons are more prolonged and corn and sago are the staple food, instead of rice.
At around the time Islam first came to these islands in the 16th century, four Hindu Kingdoms co-existed in apparent peace in what is now West Nusa Tenggara. Lombok experienced strong Balinese influences, but has retained a unique identity. The indigenous people of Lombok, the Sasaks, are predominantly Moslem and have a strong, distinguished tradition, as do the people of neighboring Sumbawa.
Soft, white sand, virgin beaches are typical in Lombok, where the motto is: “You can see Bali from Lombok, but not Lombok from Ball”. Famous for its ikat hand-woven textiles, the island has exceptional charm and is relatively undiscovered, except for the town of Senggigi, which is becoming a major resort area.