Mandalika: Lombok’s Rising Destination

Story By
Diana OReilly

Just a short boat or ferry ride from Bali, or 30 minutes from Lombok’s Airport, The Mandalika Special Economic Zone is an idyllic 1,034 hectares that aims to be the next leading tourist destination on the island of Lombok. Located in the southern part of the Island, the area has more than 16 km of sparkling white sandy beaches, surrounded with contrasting green hills in the background. 

The area has been designed as an ecotourism destination, incorporating Clean Solar Cell Energy, Water Desalination Plants and keeping over 51% of the resort as open ‘Green Space’, which will not only maintain and protect the natural beauty of the Mandalika scenery but also enhance the life and culture of the local people.

Local Eats & Beaches
Its many beaches might remind travelers of Bali, but Lombok’s food is a completely different thing. Lombok is home to many tasty delicacies with which to whet your appetite, especially if you have a thing for spicy food! Plecing Kangkung is one of the most popular (and healthiest) where blanched water spinach is served with spicy fresh ‘sambal’ that is usually found alongside Ayam Taliwang. (Taliwang is a flavorful and spicy chicken, chargrilled and served with rice.) Another must-try is the sweet, spicy and succulent local beef satay called Sate Rembiga, or Ares, a  resourceful way of cooking the midrib in coconut milk. You can find these delicacies in the many local restaurants in the area with varying prices and sizes.

The best activity on which you can spend your time in Mandalika, is exploring its idyllic and serene beaches, with their calming waves, and clear blue waters.  Not far from Pantai Kuta, Pantai Seger is one of the most popular beaches in Mandalika as it hosts the annual ‘Bau Nyale’ event. Pantai Batu Payung also makes a great photo spot with its iconic umbrella-shaped rock on the beach.

If you want to dabble in more extreme sports, Pantai Ubrug and Pantai Gerupuk are favorite spots among surfers for their challenging waves. Located on the east side of Mandalika, Pantai Gerupuk is also the place to go if you want to enjoy a sunset view.

What makes Mandalika special, though, is not only its beaches. Hike to Bukit Merese to get a breathtaking bird’s eye view of your surroundings as this is the best spot to marvel at the curving Pantai Tanjung Aan, whose calm waves and powdery sand make it a popular spot for relaxing.

For a cultural tour, not far from Mandalika you can find the traditional villages (desa adat) of Sade and Ende where you can get a first hand feel of the Sasak tribe’s way of life.

The Bau Nyale Festival

One of the most celebrated events taking place in Mandalika is the annual traditional festival of Bau Nyale, where locals flock to Pantai Seger to try catch the Nyale sea worm that is believed to bring the catcher good luck. In the local dialect, Bau Nyale means 'catching the Nyale worm'. This unique tradition is held on the 20th day of the 10th month in the Sasak calendar, which usually falls in February. This is believed to be the only time the Nyale worms come out and, according to the local folklore, it is a reincarnation of Princess Mandalika who sacrificed herself in urging her people to live in harmony.

This year, the festival also hosted a variety of other activities such as Putri Mandalika Beauty Parade, Cultural Seminar, Traditional Horse Race, Mandalika 10K Run, as well as a Food and Crafts Market, Cultural Performances, and many more.

 

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