With water palaces, temples, markets and museums, Lombok’s laid-back capital has plenty to rewards travellers who choose to linger.
Lombok’s capital, Mataram,offers royal palaces and playgrounds, temples, markets and parklands. Whilemany visitors use it simply as a transit point, the city has enough provincialand cultural charms to reward those who linger.
Explore Lombok’s rich historyand culture at the Museum Negeri. The museum houses thousands of fascinatingitems such as masks, fabrics and traditional weapons.
Browse the stores andstalls of Mataram Mall, four floors of clothing boutiques, electronics storesand food outlets. For a more old-school Asian feel, wander through the marketsand small independent stores at Cakranegara. Here, you’ll find pearl shops,gold stores and retailers selling sporting goods, fabrics and handicrafts.
Spend an hour or two atthe Mayura Water Palace, built in 1744 as the administrative centre of Balineseroyal court. Relax by the large artificial lake and lotus pool. Then walk overto the floating pavilion that was once a law court and meeting place.
Just across the road isPura Meru, the largest temple in Lombok. Soak up the lavish decor of thiselaborate Hindu place of worship. The temple complex, dedicated to the godsBrahma, Vishnu and Shiva, contains three courtyards and more than 30 shrines.
Check out the former royalplayground at Narmada Park in Lembuak. This garden is about 6 miles (10 kilometers)east of Mataram and contains a Hindu temple, swimming pool, small lakes andattractive lawns. Stop by the “Fountain of Youth”, so named because its springwaters from Mount Ringani were believed to confer a long life on those whodrank from it.
Situated on the westernside of Lombok Island, Mataram is approximately 24 miles (39 kilometers) fromLombok International Airport. To get around the city take the regular shuttlebus, hail a taxi or hire a car or motorcycle. Other modes of transport includesmall minibuses called “bemos” and horse-drawn carts called “cidomos”.