Kotaraja in Central Lombok, is located 5kms south of the mountain village of Tetebatu. Centuries ago the Langko kingdom fell to invaders from Bali and the royal family took up residence here, hence the name ‘City of Kings.’
One attraction that Kotaraja is famous for is the persehan, the traditional stick fighting with local men engaging in ceremonial combat with a stick and buffalo hide shield. These events will be open to tourists and you will be informed by locals when they are happening.
The village of Rungkang, famous for its pottery. Locals use a flat stick to mold the clay over a large stone, which then becomes a pot. Mornings are good time to come and observe the process. You might find some cool items for gifts.
Loyok, which is 5km south of Tetebatu, is famous for bamboo basketware. You will see a variety of items made in this fashion.
Lengang Nanakha is 2kms off of the main road and 2.5kms east of Kotaraja. This tranquil village has pleasant walks through the rice fields and its population are friendly. The high number of residents has meant over the years people have been transplanted to less populated parts of Indonesia, under the transmigrasi policy. One resident, Haji Radiah, encouraged tourism in this farming community. Accommodation can be found at H.Radiah’s (0376)631463. They offer a choice of simple rooms in the family compound or other new rooms located outside the village surrounded by rice fields. By accounts the family who run this homestay are super cool and enjoy interacting and walking with visitors. As Lombok is heavily Muslim, some people may find it less friendly / accessible than Bali. Staying with a Sasak family and checking out their scene at close quarters could be a great experience. There is a wartel and an internet cafe nearby.
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The turn off to Penakak is located 1.5kms east of Masbagik on the main road. The village is one of the 3 main pottery producing centers in Lombok. There is an excellent choice of items made. Masbagic itself is home to the Masjid Al-Jami Al Akbar, a huge mosque complete with shining domes. The town is also the junction of the east-west road and the main road down to Labuhan Haji.
Rempung is a village on the main road, 2kms east of Masbagic. Following the road north from Rempung brings you to Pringgasela, a center for weaving. There is some accommodation in Pringgasela at Glose Homestay (0376)631594. This lace offers budget rooms with cold water in a family compound. For a lovely scenic ride try heading north from Pringgasela for 5kms to the village of Timbanuh. Awesome scenery and views of Sumbawa, the island to the east.
Lenek on the main road is the access point for Loang Geli, just 3kms north. Loang Geli has a freshwater spring set up for bathing and a monkey forest. Best visited during the week to avoid local crowds. When you get to Loang Geli ask a local the exact location of the spring.
Sapit is located about 10kms inland, just 1km off of the main road from Swela to Kali Putih on the north coast. Sapit sits on the side of Gunung Pusuk at a height of 1,400m, perfect for those who enjoy cool climates. Its possible to hike the steep uphill 15kms to the mountain town of Sembalun Lawang. For those who prefer to stay put and enjoy the view of Sumbawa, Sapit has 2 guest houses. The Hati Suci (0818 / 545655 offers budget bungalows with cold water and nice garden. The Balelangga situated close by offers even more spartan accommodation, the toilet being outside. The views from these places are great.
The mountain road to Sembalun Lawang is not good and is often in a state of disrepair or completely closed after flooding. Best done in the dry season with our own transport, although local buses do follow this route.