The island of Lombok in Indonesia is about 200 meters south of the equator. Like most Southeast Asian destinations, Lombok is hot and humid, and thousands of Western tourists want it that way. With its perfect tropical weather, tourists know exactly what to do and what to wear in Lombok.
Lombok is as attractive and inviting as Bali, but not as popular. Bali has received all of the tourism hype and commercial development through the years. For many, however, the lack of urbanization makes Lombok even more special. The island’s resources and the traditions of its locals have remained practically untouched through the years. The Sasak people of Lombok, direct descendants of the ancient Javanese, have maintained their old mores and cultures, which make the island all the more attractive to curious and adventurous tourists.
In addition to the local culture, people come to Lombok for the unspoiled beauty of its beaches, waterfalls and the majestic Mount Rinjani, an active volcano that is actually the 3rd highest peak (3,726 meters) in Indonesia. Rinjani’s last eruptions were a minor one in May 2010 and a big one in 1994. The Mount Rinjani National Park takes much of the island’s north side. Tourists love to swim, snorkel and scuba at Gili Islands off the northwest tip of Lombok. The reefs are to die for. Many have enjoyed seeing, playing and swimming with sea turtles here. The Gili Islands are very relaxed and laid-back; there are neither overly persistent vendors nor the roars and smokes coming from cars or motorcycles. Hordes of vacationers and expats prefer Gili than Bali and any other Indonesian islands for that matter. “Gili” means “little islands” in the native tongue, pertaining to the tiny islands the surround Lombok.
Other popular activities in Lombok are scuba diving in many other dive spots, surfing around Kuta, trekking and hiking up Mount Rinjani, guided bike tours, and fishing on a perahu (local outrigger fishing boat). Perahu operators offer day trips for fishing or island hopping.
These fun activities make it easy to decide what to wear in Lombok – plenty of swimwear and sun-block lotion. Avid scuba divers may bring along their own dive gears and suits, but to the regular tourists, it is good to know that there are rentals at the dive sites. When out of the water, there are clothing practices that tourists must keep in mind.
Lombok is a Muslim province, and the local Sasak people are very conservative. Judging from the more laid-back atmosphere, tourists could easily determine that Lombok is generally much conservative than liberalized Bali. Foreign women are discouraged from wearing halter tops and shorts while walking along non-tourist areas, especially near the mosques. It is best that they wrap themselves in sarong to cover the upper arms and upper thighs. Even in tourist areas and beaches, sexy and revealing swimming gear is discouraged. The Sasak women hit the beach fully covered, sometimes even wearing headgear, while local men swim in full length pants. This should give a hint.
Other than religion, local culture and fun water activities, another thing that determines what to wear in Lombok is the weather. Tourists should keep in mind that the island is generally very hot and humid throughout the year. Annual temperature is from 28° to 34° Celsius (83°F to 93°F). Rainy season begins in October and goes all the way to March.
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