Sade Traditional Village
Somewhere between a living museum and tourist trap, this traditional Sasak village offers an immersive experience into local culture, architecture, and crafts. The Sasak people are 85 percent of Lombok’s population. They are related to the Balinese in ethnicity and language but differ in their embrace of Islam rather than Hinduism. The Sasak have rich cultural traditions of textiles and dance, as well as a few unusual quirks borne of island living. For those interested in a quick dive into local culture, or just shopping for souvenirs, this village in Central Lombok Regency an hour southeast of Mataram (15 minutes North of Kuta Lombok) offers just that.
Weaving is considered to be the second-most traditional livelihood in Lombok, after rice cultivation. Sade Village is filled with homes and stalls selling a variety of colorful fabrics and styles. One can see traditional songket cloth woven, dyed, and fashioned into various items. Not everything for sale is handmade in the village. Seek out houses farther away from the crowds and hawker stalls for authentic goods. Another prominent craft here is handmade earthenware pottery.
An interesting opportunity is to visit traditional Sasak homes. The unique construction methods are worth a look for their ingenuity. The buildings are made of wooden pillars and frames, bamboo walls, and alang-alang (woven grass) roofs. No nails or metal tools are used in the construction of these sturdy huts. The Sasak also have an unusual cleaning ritual — polishing the clay floors with cow dung — which is said to ward off mosquitos.
The village hosts dance and music performances. There is a drum battle with large, colorful instruments called the Gendang Beleq. This traditional song played before a battle is accompanied by an ensemble including flute, gongs, and cymbals. The Tari Petuk Dance is an ancient pre-circumcision ritual performed by young boys in full face makeup. The Peresehan is a combat exhibition by shirtless warriors with rattan sticks and cowhide shields. A court jester demonstrates the Tari Amar Tempengus, a humorous dance that was performed for weary soldiers returning from battle.
Be wary of “guides” forcing themselves on your group in the parking area and be sure to bargain for any goods purchased in the village. The village is quite touristy but has its share of local charm.