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Mataram - Capital of Lombok

Mataram is a city on the west side of the island of Lombok, Indonesia. It is the capital and largest city of West Nusa Tenggara province, and has a population of around 342,896 (estimated in 2005).

Three sub districts constitute the Mataram area; from west to east, these are Ampenan, Mataram, and Cakranegara. They are distinct cities, but run together. Broadly, Ampenan is an aging port city, Mataram is the governmental and office center for the province, and Cakranegara is the major commercial center on the island. The city is served by the Selaparang Airport and Lembar Harbour. Mataram is located near west coast of Lombok, so it very close to Senggigi beach.

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 basket-ware 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.

Cakranegara
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.

Ampenan
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.

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