The best things to do in Mataram and Ampenan, Lombok
October 31, 2017
For those looking for an exciting day trip from Senggigi or Kuta, Lombok’s capital Mataram is one of the interesting possibilities. The capital is only a 30 minutes ride from Senggigi and offers many interesting cultural sites. In this post, I will share my travel itinerary and the best things to do in Mataram and Amepenan.
Mataram and Ampanan
Mataram is Lombok’s capital and consists of three major suburbs; Ampenan, Mataram, and Cakranegara. This itinerary will mainly cover the sights of Mataram and Ampanan.
Mataram is more known for the governmental and office buildings, but also has some nice parks, shopping malls, and many traditional restaurants.
Ampenan is an old town, that was used by the Dutch colonial as a haven port. Nowadays you can still find old buildings with Dutch architectural shapes. When you visit Ampenan, you should not miss the traditional market known as Pasar Kebon Roek.
Day trip itinerary from Senggigi to Mataram
09:15 – 09:30 Leave from Senggigi to Pasar Kebon Roek in Ampenan.
Pasar Kebon Roek
This traditional market is located in Jalan Adi Sucipto. You just turn left at the main road Jalan Saleh Sungkar and you will see the market on your left. On the market, you can find a variety of vegetables, fruit, meat, animals, and other basic needs of the local’s daily lives. When you walk around the market, the local people greet you and ask you if you want to buy something. It might be good to bring a guide, so you have an idea about what price you should pay. I bought some typical Lombok pastries and tried some local fruits.
09:30 – 10:15 Taste local pastries and fruits at Pasar Kebon Roek
10:15 – 10:45 Drive from Pasar Kebon Roek to Banyumulek village
Local pottery at Banyumulek village
Banyumulek village is one of the many pottery centers in Lombok. In Banyumulek village, making pottery was and still is an important job for Lombok’s local group, the Sasak generation. Nowadays, the pottery industry attracts tourism and so you will find many pottery places among the roads. When you enter one, your eyes will be spoiled by the various pottery shapes, sizes, colors, functions, and uniqueness. You will find all kinds of pots, vases, and wall-decorations. Besides enjoying the colorful Lombok pottery, you could also learn about the making process. Often women make future pots skillfully with their muddy hands and men are busy with painting the materials.
Tip: Please note there are no entrance fees to enter the pottery shops. A small tip or buying some pottery is highly appreciated.
10:45 – 11:30 Increase your knowledge about local pottery at Banyumulek village
11:30 – 12:00 Drive from Banyumulek village to Pura Taman Mayura
Pura Taman Mayura (Mayura Park)
Pura Taman Mayura (Mayura Park) is a water palace built in 1744. The palace floats on an artificial lake, joined to the shore by a causeway. When the Balinese ruled Lombok, this place was the political center of Lombok where meetings and court of law took place. In 1894 when the Balinese and Dutch colonizers fought for the control of Lombok, the water palace was the location of some of the most violent fighting. Nowadays, it is no longer a palace, but just a recreational park where locals can relax and occasionally traditional cockfights are hold.
Tip: guides are available throughout the park to provide tours and information about the water palace. Please note there is a small entrance fee to enter the park and additionally a tip of at least RP 50.000 is expected for the guide. I recommend you walking around without guide.
Just across the road from the water palace is the Mayura Temple, the largest Balinese temple in Lombok. This temple was built in 1720 and is still in use.
12:00 – 12:30 Spend time at Pura Taman Mayura
12:30 – 13:00 Taste traditional food at one of the local street vendors in Mataram
13:00 – 13:15 Drive from lunch spot to Taman Narmada
Pura Agung Narmada (Narmada Park)
Pura Agung Narmad (Narmada Park) was built in 1727 by the king of Mataram Lombok, to create a place for ceremonies and as a resting place of the royal family during the dry season. They say that this tourist attraction is a miniature replica of the summit of Mount Rinjani and its Crater Lake. Nowadays, the site is more used as a peaceful park where locals come to relax. Inside the park, you can find a large swimming pool, some ponds, and the Pura Kalasa temple, that is still annually used for a Balinese ceremony known as Pujawali.
Tip: guides are available throughout the park to provide tours and information about each of its attractions. Please note there is a small entrance fee to enter the park. I recommend you walking around without guide.
13:15 – 14:00 Spend time at Narmada park
14:00 – 14:15 Drive to Mataram Hall
When you like shopping, you can pay a visit to Mataram Hall. This shopping mall has different boutiques, supermarkets, tourist shops, and restaurants.
14:15 – 15:15 Shop at Mataram Hall
Islamic Centre Masjid Agung Baiturrahim
15:15 – 15:30 Drive from Mataram Hall to Islamic Centre Mosque
I believe Indonesia has the world’s biggest Muslim population. In contrast with neighbor island Bali, where most inhabitants are Hindu, the majority on Lombok is Muslim. The islamic Centre Masjid Agung Baiturrahim is the largest mosque on Lombok. It is located in Mataram and was built between 2011 and 2013.
The mosque looks truly beautiful with all the minarets and the beautiful colors. Some Islam followers invited me to visit the Mosque inside. I declined, because in my opinion I didn’t wear proper enough clothes to go in, so instead I had a small chat with the guy and asked some things about the Islam. I noticed that most of them will gladly answer your questions.
15:30 – 16:00 Spend time at Islamic Centre Mosque
Tip: please note to wear proper clothes when you visit the mosque. Hats and sunglasses should always be removed before you actually enter the mosque and you should leave your shoes on the rack at the entrance. Women should have all skin covered; ankle-length skirts or pants are required. Sleeves should reach to each wrist and the hair should be covered by a headscarf. Men should wear long pants and plain shirts without advertising messages. Short-sleeved shirts are acceptable as long as the sleeves are not shorter than average. To be sure, better wear long-sleeved shirts.
Way back to Senggigi
16:00 – 16:30 Drive from Islamic Centre Mosque back to Senggigi
Visit Mataram and Amapanan with a tour (guide)
I made this trip with Djoky, a local guy from Lombok, who I met via friends. He is a tour guide and shows tourists around the island. He does not offer the standard trips, but really tries to tailor-made all his tours and give tourists a special experience. Next to this trip, I went with Djoky to Gili Nanggu, Gili Kedis and Gili Sudak. I can really recommend to travel around with Djoky! For me he was not only my tour guide, but a very good friend. You can contact Djoky via Whatsapp +62 818 0360 7713.
Another option is to book a tour online via Viator. I often use this platform to find tours when traveling abroad. It’s very easy to make a booking and the tours I did were lots of fun. Below you can see possible tours in Mataram and Ampanan:
I hope you will enjoy Mataram and Ampenan! And if you have any other tips about spending time in Lombok’s capital or suburb Ampenan, please let me know in a comment!
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