A Peek Into the Traditional Sasak Village in Lombok

It was our last day in Lombok, where we were supposed to visit the Sasak Village – a must-see attraction for any visitor to the beautiful island, also known as the “Brother of Bali”. Why is Sasak Village not to be missed? Because the Sasak tribe is the largest tribe in Lombok, comprising about 85% of the island’s population.

There are 2 main traditional Sasak villages in Lombok, one in Sade & one in Rambitan. The Sade Sasak Village is apparently the larger one though more touristy than the Rambitan Village, but both villages still have the presence of Sasak villagers living in them. Since both are located down south in the Central Lombok Regency, we checked out of our hotel by Senggigi Beach in West Lombok after breakfast to travel down south, checking out some local traditional shops along the way.

A mobile fruit stall selling native fruits like the addictive Salak (front)

A mobile roadside fruit stall selling native fruits like the addictive Salak (front)

Besides the usual “compulsory” souvenir shops that we had to stop at, there were interesting finds before our lunch stop. The first was a lorry by the roadside peddling loads of fresh fruits, so our guide suggested we made a brief stop here. It was a first for me to taste the Salak fruit – a species of palm tree native to Java and Sumatra. Commonly known as the Snake Fruit because of its scaly skin & prickly texture, my first bite into this exotic fruit felt kinda weird. Not really sure how to describe the taste, but it was a bit sweet yet acidic tingling taste in the mouth. But subsequent tries made me addicted to the sweet yet “pungent” fruit, & I even bought some back home to share with my parents (500g for IDR 12,000 = S$1.20)!

A tour at the Rismunika Astuti Artshop

A tour at the Rismunika Astuti Artshop

The next stop at the Rismunika Astuti Artshop was also interesting in the sense, because not only did we get to see the locals work on the handicrafts, but we also witnessed a “magic performance” by our tour guide. He showed us how water in the handmade pot wouldn’t spill despite turning it upside down. Not really magic, but it was simply due to the creative design of the pot.

Lombok batik makingEnroute, we also visited the traditional Batik shop where we caught a live batik-making process by the local women. Indeed it is very delicate and fine art that not everyone can master, must respect these ladies! Some of my tour mates also took the opportunity for a free batik fitting + photo-taking at the batik shop, nice. 🙂 It was too warm so I didn’t feel like putting on additional layers of clothing on myself haha.

Soon, it was time for lunch at a local restaurant in Segara Anak Hotel along Kuta beach. The hotel doesn’t look impressive but it has a great location very near to the tranquil Kuta beach, & the food was quite sedap (Indonesian for tasty) too. We also made a really brief stop at the beautiful Kuta beach for some quick photo-taking. No one seemed to want to stay there longer despite the stunning views because it was really burning hot! It was so hot even the trees along the road were dry & botak (bald-headed hehe).

Heavenly beach!

Heavenly beach! Personal opinion: this is nicer than Bali’s Kuta Beach 😛

It was a short 15-min drive to the traditional Sasak Village from Kuta Beach & we were brought in by a local Sasak guide.

Sasak Village entrance

Glimpses of the village

Different views of the village

More of the rural village

More of the rural village

To be honest, I didn’t think the village guide really did his job as he only gave a brief introduction at the beginning of the tour when we entered one of the traditional houses & thereafter he just walked ahead expecting us to follow him without anymore guidance. Inside the house made of cow dung, it was quite cooling despite the scorching sun outdoors. There was no unpleasant smell too.

We also saw several villagers, mostly women & children selling their handmade handicraft work outside their huts as we walked, but don’t think anyone of us bought anything since we had enough of souvenir shopping. All the huts were built close to one another with just narrow laneways like you see in the photos above. One interesting thing to note (I found out online) was that the men usually sleep outside their houses to guard their family from danger. Boys will follow their fathers to sleep outside in the small hut seen in the 1st collage leftmost pic from the age of 12.

At the end of the short tour, apparently the village guide asked for tips directly although we had already paid the admission fee upon entrance. I didn’t know of this till we were all on the bus because I was one of the earlier ones to finish the tour. Gosh! Like what our Lombok guide had cautioned us before, Sade Village is very touristy compared to the other one just opposite. We should have visited that one for a better native experience… Next time you visit Lombok, think twice before deciding which village to visit – the larger but touristy one or the smaller yet more native one!

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