East-Lombok: Giant Trees And Traditional Pottery In Masbagik

East-Lombok: Giant Trees And Traditional Pottery In Masbagik

Our tropical island-hopping trip to Gili Kapal and Gili Kondo was a ton of fun and we arrived safe and tanned back in the little harbour of Labuan Pandan. Once we cleaned ourselves up from the sand, we continued our journey to Tetebatu.

Not long after we departed the harbour, our guide Lalu asked if we were interested in seeing some trees as this place would be on the way and easy to reach. Since we were nearby, we thought why not. We didn’t really understand what he meant by trees, but it must have been interesting if he recommended it.

A few minutes later we stopped at a tiny park (I think is called Sambelia, but I am not sure about this) and were surprised by suddenly seeing literally giant trees before us. Apparently, hundreds of years ago, Dutch colonists planted these mahogany trees in the area. They took tiny saplings from Mount Rinjani and planted them around this part of East-Lombok. Now, those same tiny saplings have grown to become absolutely gigantic trees, maybe over 50 meters high, and throwing shade all over the little park.

There is not much to do there, but looking at the trees will give you a true Jurassic Park feeling, they felt ancient. And I thought it was amazing. Unfortunately, some trees were covered in graffiti and knife carvings, which I kind of expected. Still, it was great seeing these giants. But overall, this park was a very welcome surprise for me. And if you travel to East-Lombok, these trees are not hard to miss.

Once we were finished gazing at the giant mahogany trees we went to a local Sasak community called Masbagik in East-Lombok that is famous for its pottery.

The Masbagik community and pottery workers are pretty much all (older) women and everything is done by hand. They work the very hot ovens and also collect the mud from a nearby river themselves. The ovens have to be extremely hot for the clay to set, which can be dangerous as well. So, while the women in this village do all the work, the men are usually either working overseas or not working at all. This is just how it is and how it has been for a long time in this part of the island. I forgot to mention that the women also have to pass down the trade to their children or relatives, so there is also a lot of teaching involved as well making sure the techniques are not lost.

It was really fascinating seeing the various objects these women can make in no time. This particular village specialized in making clay ovens and plates mostly. And one of the women showed us how to make a clay vase. She was very very good at it and basically had one made in less than 5 minutes. Interestingly, the people in Masbagik don’t sell these little clay ovens to other people on the island, instead, they barter them for whatever the other towns have to trade in return, which can be rice, sugar, groceries, kitchen tools, etc.

After visiting the pottery village, we were dropped off in our accommodation for the night in Tetebatu, the Green Orry Inn. The hotel was extremely basic and is mostly aimed at people who lodge for a short time and are hiking in this area. We were very surprised by the dinner we had in the hotel restaurant later that evening, as it was really delicious. We all ordered ayam bakar taliwang, a Lombok specialty of grilled chicken, and absolutely loved it. We had lowered expectations and came away extremely satisfied. One of the best meals we had on Lombok. And while the hotel looked quite simple, our sleep was great and we got some much-needed rest for another hiking trip in this area of Lombok.

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