The administrative capital of the Province Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB). Public buildings, banks, post office, general hospitals and shopping malls are found here. A part of West Nusatengarra (NTB) province, Mataram is the capital and main city of Lombok. It includes the port town of Ampenan, the towns of Mataram and Cakranegara.
As a center of government administration, Mataram has many large, impressive public buildings and substantial houses. The city also has transportation and shopping facilities. The main square is used for art exhibitions, theater, dance, and wayang kulit (puppet theater) performances. In other parts of Mataram, there are a variety of old-style markets and neighborhoods featuring traditional craftwork like basketware and gold- and silver-threaded sarongs, or wraparound garments.
The port of Ampenan was once Lombok's main port, but it now relies mostly on fishing vessels. Cakranegara has significant Balinese and Chinese populations, the Chinese having been brought by the Dutch to provide cheap labor.
The main commercial centre of Lombok, has a thriving Chinese and Balinese Community. Most of the shops and restaurants are run and owned by Chinese.
Once was the main port of Lombok. Old buildings with mix population of Chinese, Arabs, and Melayu. You can find many local restaurants with great Chinese and Sasak foods.
Although officially 3 separate towns, Ampenan, Mataram and Cakranegara actually run together, so it's difficult to tell where one stop and the next starts. There are banks, travel agents, mall, interesting shops, traditional markets and few things to see, but the town is not a major attraction.
Transportation, and bus info
Mandalika Bus Terminal is the main bus terminal for the entire island. It's also the eastern terminus for the local yellow bemos (public transport) that shuttle back and forth to Kebun Ruwek Ampenan. The official fares had just been increased at the time of writing. Public fares (near or far in within Ampenan-Mataram-Mandalika) is Rp. 1500/person, student fare is Rp. 1000.
Make sure you have fix money to pay, otherwise often there's no return on changes. Lombok Taxi Ph: (0370) 627000, orLendang Express Taxi Ph: (0370) 644444 available 24 hours a day.
PLACES TO SEE
Located on Jalan Panji Tilaar Negara Mataram.
Mayura and Bale Kambang, Built on 1743 by Balinese Hindu's Dynasty; Anak Agung Gede Karangasem. It's now become a recreational park when seasonally used for Music Festivals.
Miniatur of Mount Rinjani and Segara Anak Lake. This summer palace has a spot corner where locals believed to have water fountain (air awet muda).
Suranadi, located up in the north east of Mataram, has a preserved forest for recreation and chill out.
Karang Bayan Village, located north of Narmada Park, image of the old tribe of the Sasaks, the major inhabitant who occupied 90% of Lombok's population
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