North Lombok is dominated by the 3,726 m Mount Rinjani, an active stratovolcano. Rinjani is also the second highest volcano in Indonesia, second only to Mount Kerinci on Sumatra and is Indonesias third highest peak. The volcano last erupted at the Barujari site in May 2010 with active lava flows and ash projected high into the sky with ash plumes rising to an altitude of 5.5 km. Within its 50 square kilometre caldera sits the crater lake Segara Anak (Child of the Sea). Eruptions within the caldera have formed a small cone called Gunung Baru (New Mountain).
The Rinjani mountain and its the surrounding slopes form the Mount Rinjani National Park (Taman Nasional Gunung Rinjani). The park is made up of 41,000 hectares within the park boundaries and a further 66,000 hectares of protected forest outside. In 2008, the Indonesian government proposed to UNESCO that Mount Rinjani be one of the world's official geoparks. If this is approved by UNESCO, Mount Rinjani will become the first such geological park in Indonesia. The highlands are forest clad and mostly undeveloped. The lowlands are highly cultivated. Rice, soybeans, coffee, tobacco, cotton, cinnamon, cacao, cloves, cassava, corn, coconuts, copra, bananas and vanilla are the major crops grown in the fertile soils of the island. The slopes are populated by the indigenous Sasak population. There are also some basic tourist related activities established on Rinjani primarily in or about the village of Senaru. Gunung Rinjani Observation Post Rinjani Sembalun is located in the village of Lawang, Sub Sembalun 12.5 km (4000 feet) northeast of G. Rinjani) in the District of East Lombok. Observers at this post monitor G.Rinjani, G.Barujari/G.Tenga within the Segara Anak Caldera.
The northern part of Lombok has deep traditions and still holds a repository of original Sasak beliefs and customs. The Waktu Telu people still have a strong presence in the north. Waktu Telu ("Three Prayers"), as the name suggests pray only three times daily, instead of the five times stipulated in the Quran. Many of the Waktu Telu beliefs are entwined with animism. Waktu Telu has influences not only of Islam, but also Hinduism and pantheistic beliefs. There are also remnants of Boda (people without a religion) who maintain Pagan Sasak beliefs in the north.
In northern Lombok the people speak in local dialects of the indigenous Bahasa Sasak language of the Sasak peoples of Lombok. Bahasa Indonesian is spoken by many people especially the younger generations. In the tourism areas of Senaru some people may speak limited English. In areas catering to tourists there is slightly more likelihood of English speakers being available.
Public buses and bemo run to and from the west coast and the city of Mataram. northward via Tanjung to access Bayan. Similar services are available to connect through to the north of the island via Pusuk pass and on to Pemenang near the small Bangsal harbour that serves as the primary access point from Gili Islands. The northern hub for buses and bemo is in nearby Tanjung.
Airport taxis and other Lombok Taxi services such as Bluebird and Express travel into North Lombok and are available to arriving passengers at the airport. All taxis are clearly marked and use a meter, the charge is determined by both time and distance. A Rp 17,500 airport taxi surcharge is payable when departing the airport in a taxi. Coupons are available at the Taxi Service counter immediately outside the airport terminal doors.
Private cars can be rented with or without a driver to access this region.
Motorbikes are also a popular means of transport for visitors.
The area has quite limited facilities catering to tourists and those are centred about Senaru and Sembalun and Tetebatu to the immediate south. Senaru has a few restaurants and cafes attached to the lodges and small hotels in and near the village. Nearby Tanjung township in West Lombok has plently of warungs and small local eating houses serving local traditional food. Also in nearby Tanjung are the upmarket Oberoi Lombok Resort, Tugu Resort, the new Lombok Lodge and the nearby medium priced Medana Resort, all have restaurants and cafes that provide food and drinks with western oriented menus and prices. Otherwise the region does not support tourism oriented dining and a trip to Gili islands or further south to the Senggigi region may be required.
There are few licensed premises such as hotels and some restaurants that serve alcohol in the north Lombok region. The north of Lombok is a quiet and often conservative area. Please respect local sensibilities by avoiding drinking openly in public whilst in Lombok especially in the north unless actually inside a tourist oriented establishment that serves alcoholic drinks. Local coffee, tea, fruit juices, coconut juice and softdrinks (sodas) are normally readily available.
Rinjani park access requires payment of a fee and climbing should not be attempted without registration and an accredited guide. Please see the Rinjani article for more information on this.
Try to keep off the roads at night and avoid travelling in the more remote areas on your own.
Lock up your possessions and never leave your luggage or personal items unattended.
Please see the main Lombok article for more details on health and safety.
North Lombok has varying terrain and land use from small towns to remote mountain peaks and valleys. Accordingly mobile telephonary varies from to patchy to non-existent. The towns and more built up areas sometimes have some coverage from the two main operators.
Post office services are available in Mataram at the central post office. It may be prudent to use the the main office in Mataram at Jalan Sriwijarya, Mataram, ☎ +62 370 632645 if required.
Post offices are described as Kantor Pos in Indonesia.