Lombok feels like Bali did 30 years ago, with scattered pockets of tourism and a lot of nothing else. You will notice the difference the moment you arrive, whether at the airport in Mataram or the port at Lembar. Traffic is about 5% of what you see in Bali and outside Senggigi, the Gili Islands and Kuta Lombok, there isn’t much tourist infrastructure. One place that is cool, tranquil and has some tourist infrastructure is Tetebatu in Central Lombok.
After a week enjoying the white sand beaches in the Gili Islands in NW Lombok, you might enjoy a complete change of scene in the highlands.
Tetebatu is located on the south slope of Gunung Rinjani, 11km north of the main road that runs east-west across the center of the island. Tetebatu’s elevation is 400m, about half that of Sanda / Pupuan. Views are wonderful and the local scene very peaceful with rice and tobacco being farmed. Temperatures are cool and cloud will often cover the sky providing relief from the intense tropical sun.
•Getting to Tetebatu:
Perama bus goes to Tetebatu. Here is a list of scheduled drops.
Tetebatu to :-
•Air Sanih (daily, overnight stop required)
•Bangsal (daily, 3 hours)
•Bedugal (daily, overnight stop required)
•Candi Dasa (daily, 8 hours)
•Kintamani (daily, overnight stop required)
•Kuta Bali (twice daily, 10-11 hours)
•Lovina (daily, overnight stop required)
•Mataram ( daily, 2 hours, 30 mins)
•Padangbai (daily, 7 hours 30 mins)
•Sanur (daily, 10 hours)
•Senggigi (daily, 3 hours)
•Tirtaganga (daily, overnight stop required)
•Tulamben (daily, overnight stop required)
•Ubud (daily, 9 hours)
The best way to get to Tetebatu and for that matter, explore the rest of Lombok is to get your own transport. You can bring cars and bikes over from Bali on the ferry, or hire cars at the airport. Also no doubt Mataram and Senggigi have motorbike rental places. If you insist on using buses, the local bemo bus stops at Pomotong on the main road, to the south. You can catch another bemo up to Kotaraja and a motorbike taxi (ojek) to Tetebatu, or ride a motorbike taxi all the way to Tetebatu. The Perama bus charges 60,000rp from Tetebatu to Senggigi.
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•Getting around in Tetebatu:
Exploring the quiet mountain setting around Tetebatu is much easier with your own transport. traffic is light and there are guest houses that rent motorbikes, including Pondok Tetebatu and Green Orry for around 40,000rp-50,000rp a day. Cars are also for rent at around 150,000-200,000rp with fuel and driver. The model / age of the car / bike will affect the price, so negotiate. There may be limited options and other people wanting the bikes, so you’ll have to see how it goes. For a slower, more traditional way to get around, hire a cidomo (horse drawn cart and driver for 60,000rp per day. Charter trips can always be arranged in Indonesia and are totally open for negotiation. You might pay someone with a car 160,000rp to take you from Tetebatu to Senggigi, or 190,000rp to Bangsal, the port of access for the Gili Islands. Prices fluctuate and your leverage will depend on how badly the driver needs a customer.
•Facilities in Tetebatu:
There is a wartel (phone office) at the Salabuse restaurant, but no banks, moneychangers or internet. To change money / visit an ATM, you have to go to Praya to the SW or Mataram to the west.
•Waterfalls at Jukut and Joben:
Visiting a tropical waterfall is a vision of paradise. You can do that in Tetebatu by driving towards the village of Kembang Kuning to the east. You then drive another 6km to the Jukut waterfall. Entry is 2,000rp and parking 1,000rp. A steep path takes you the last 2 kms to the waterfall, so bring water and a sun-hat. Once there you can sit in the cool water and admire the 20m falls. This is a good are for a picnic as the cliffs surround the site and the river bank is shady.
Joben waterfall, to the NW of Tetebatu is sometimes referred to as Otak Kokok Gading. This waterfall is a sacred place but is less impressive than the falls at Jukut. Access is via a drive back south to Kotaraja, then west taking the first road north again, terminating at the falls.
•Villages close to Tetebatu:
Kotaraja is located 5km south of Tetebatu, is transport terminus. Kotaraja means ‘City of Kings’ and the history of the village dates back to when Balinese invaders forced the royal family of the Langko kingdom to take refuge at Kotaraja. Attractions include the local form of stick fighting called peresehan. At special time events will be held where the young men of the village will ceremonially fight each other with a single rattan stick and a shield made of tough buffalo skin. The East Bali villages of Tenganan and Seraya has a similar tradition, replacing the rattan cane with the sharp edged leaf in a ritual pandanus. Locals will let you know if one of these events is coming up.
The village of Loyok, 5km south of Kotaraja is famous for bamboo basketware. You will see a variety of items made in this fashion.
East of Loyok about 1.5km, is 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.