Published/Last edited or updated: 18th April, 2016
It’s reputed to be the most densely populated island in Indonesia.
It is a Bugis village and indeed, it is pretty built out -- we’re not sure of the veracity of the most crowded spot though, as one Jakarta condo would blow this joint out of the water it seems, but it makes for a pleasant and interesting visit, preferably in the very late afternoon from Alas (or Merente if you are staying there). The traditional Bugis houses are mostly stilted and it is just an interesting spot to wander around. We spent perhaps an hour there. Expect plenty of smiles, "Hello misters!" and so on. Please always ask before taking someone’s photo.
The houses vary from quite fancy wooden affairs through to concrete bunkers, including some that are made entirely of corrugated iron -- we can’t imagine how hot they must get during the day. There are two schools on the island, at least one mosque, and a bunch of fishing piers -- virtually everyone living here is involved in either fishing or bringing up kids.
We suggest going in the late afternoon as the light is better and, if the weather is clear, on the ride back you’ll score a gorgeous sunset over Rinjani on Lombok -- plan ahead and grab a couple of cold beers from one of the streetside warungs on the far west side of Alas (past the bridge, on your left) if you are so inclined.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 1 other sights and activities in and around Merente