Diving into Art and Nature: The Underwater Sculpture Park of Gili Meno

The underwater sculpture park at Gili Meno, created by the renowned artist Jason deCaires Taylor, is indeed a highlight that transforms snorkeling into a surreal experience. This underwater sanctuary, known as ‘Nest’, features a circle of 48 life-sized human figures, positioned in a way that evokes a sense of unity and continuity.

As you descend into the clear waters of Gili Meno, the sculptures slowly reveal themselves, standing motionless and serene amidst the ocean currents. The figures, which are made from pH-neutral materials, are designed not only for artistic value but also to encourage coral growth, serving as an artificial reef. Over time, these sculptures have become a part of the oceanic landscape, with corals adorning them and a diverse array of marine life making them their home.

Snorkeling around this installation is like gliding through a mystical underwater garden. You’re likely to see schools of colorful fish weaving through the statues, while soft and hard corals form a vibrant backdrop. This underwater tableau is a vivid reminder of the harmony between art, nature, and conservation.

The allure of this snorkeling spot lies not just in its artistic appeal but also in its contribution to marine conservation. It’s a place where art meets the ocean, creating a habitat for marine life and offering a unique experience for visitors. As you explore this underwater spectacle, it’s a gentle reminder of the delicate balance between our world and the marine ecosystem, and the need to preserve such natural wonders.

Mataram City

Sitting in the west of Lombok is the capital, Mataram. The city itself is somewhat of an aggregation of villages, made up of Ampenan, Mataram and Cakranegara. Just like many cities, Mataram is filled with layers and intricacies. Visit Jalan Udayana and Jalan Pejanggik, which are two streets home to a mix of food stalls and warungs (cafes) to dine at. As night falls and the streetlights glow, the food stalls continue to stay open. Mataram Mall is a popular destination for travellers and locals, with a mix of shops, dining options and even a swimming pool; or take a walk through town and explore the Barat Museum. The main square is lined with gorgeous buildings, and often hosts events and performances to bring the town together. When it comes to spending a night or two in town, Cakranegara is one of the preferred areas to stay in with some of the best accommodation and dining options.