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Welcome to The Lombok Guide – Lombok's complete tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every two weeks and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island. Use the Guide to explore Lombok and check out the best hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing options, to make your Lombok holiday special.

As we come to the end of November and move into the Christmas / New Year high season, it's a good time to reflect on the changes that have taken place in Lombok over the past year.

Confirmation of the Lombok International Airport moving ahead, together with the signing of an agreement with Dubai-based development company, Emaar Properties, to develop a major resort in the south coast of Lombok, sparked a run of investment not only in the south, but all around the island. 2008 has seen land prices soar as astute investors snap up oceanfront building blocks selling at a fraction of the price of those in neighbouring Bali.

2008 is also the year we realised that Gili Trawangan no longer had a low season. Now the popular island fluctuates between steady and packed, as pleasure seekers fall in love with the white beaches, magical corals and the great range of facilities on the island. The non-stop development on Gili T has seen the smart money looking across the sparkling waters to nearby Gili Meno and Gili Air, with land on both islands being snapped up by developers and local businesses eager to expand.

With the global outlook seeming grim and the threat of a recession looming in 2009, some are cautious about the coming year but others are predicting that Lombok's time has come… and that pristine beaches, a great climate and natural unspoilt beauty are a great investment at any time!

To find out all the latest, pick up a copy of The Guide from the locations listed on page 28 or visit us on the web at www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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Photos and Story by Sid Blade

On Sunday morning, 9 November 2008, the Grommets of Senggigi got together for their very own surf competition. Held in 3ft glassy conditions, it could only be described as a complete success. For the uninitiated, “grommets” is a surf term for young, adolescent surfers.

From under 10s through to those really all grown up, at 16 years old, the standard of surfing for their ages was very developed and a promise of the ability of the next generation of surfers in and around Senggigi.

To watch the enthusiasm from little Groms, less than ten years of age, as they were taken out by their older and more established surfers of Senggigi into the break, and then be pushed into the waves as they were too small to paddle the board themselves, was inspirational. Observing these little Groms stand up, completely fearless, in a display of attempted moves not unlike “Slater” on a good day, but without the actual physical size to turn the board, didn't matter a bit to these tiny Groms. Given time, look out World Championships!

The older “under 14” and “under 16” competitors in all the heats and finals displayed some fluid and aggressive surfing, especially hunting out the barrel. Much camaraderie was evident amongst the Senggigi Surfriders and West Lombok Surfriders. Starting with the judges, who were the original local surfers such as Argo and Aris from the Senggigi area, and to watch the flow on through the years right down to the little Groms splashing around on the shallows, was more like watching one big family outing with much laughter and mayhem; all enjoying the day's events to the max. Even a couple of girls were surfing.

Considering that, as recently as 5 years ago, there were only 10 or 15 surfers in and around Senggigi, the sport has now has blossomed into over 100 or so, all keen to surf on all manner of broken and repaired boards; reminiscent of the evolution of surfing in Hawaii and other places. Although Senggigi waves lack the consistency of other breaks, the locals enjoy deep rights and lefts when it does break – there has been many a broken board to testify to that fact!

Surfers will always be surfers, young or old! And surfers are very aware of their environment and the ocean – they have to be. The most outstanding and remarkable comment I could make about the SSR and West Coast Surfriders was how aware and responsible they were about their environment. On their own initiative, they erected signs clearly stating (on broken surfboards, mind you) to keep their beach clean and even built rubbish bins to place the rubbish in.

At the end of the contest, they swept the beach in an emu line, cleaning up every bit of rubbish from the beach before they held the competitor's draw.

Congratulations surfers of the SSR and West Coast Lombok for showing to others their commitment to keeping the beach clean and being environmentally aware! For ones so young, it shows promise for the future of Lombok and should be an inspiration to others much older that to just dump their rubbish, without giving a second thought to keeping Lombok clean.

In conclusion, a great day was had with the Senggigi Groms. Thanks to their sponsors The Guest House in West Sumbawa and Berry's Café and Bar in Senggigi. And not forgetting Ibu Rani and Dustin, but most of all the Groms of the SSR and West Lombok!

Keep surfing and hangin' ten forever… SID BLADE

Results: Under 10 years
1st ALFI, 2nd JAY, 3rd ANDREAN, 4th SYAMSUL
Results: Under 14 years
1st FAHMI, 2nd SALIM, 3rd FRAS, 4th SAFAR
Results: Under 16 years
1st ALEX, 2nd DANY, 3rd WAWAN, 4th FUGO

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Don't miss the annual Perang Topat (Rice War) coming up at the next full moon on 12 December at Lingsar Temple. If you haven't witnessed this fabulous traditional ceremony before, now is the time to do so! The ceremonies start off at the beautiful historical temple in the late afternoon with a cultural parade with exquisite displays of temple offerings, after which is the ritual in the main temple grounds, accompanied by traditional music and dancing. Afterward, everyone joins in the mock war, throwing topat (rice parcels wrapped in braided coconut leaves) at each other, amid much fun and laughter. It's a wonderful, fun event whether you are a participant or spectator!

Bumbu Café on the main strip in Senggigi has been around for years now and is popular with both tourists and residents. We love the green papaya salad and fish cakes with spicy dipping sauce for entrée, or a light lunch. The seafood in lemongrass for main course is delicious, but you really can't go wrong with any of the curries. Thai with a twist, in relaxed surroundings with great service… no wonder it's so popular!

The Santosa Villas and Resort is looking fantastic after its facelift, with the grand lobby complete and a stunning new cocktail lounge off the main lobby. Floating in a large pool, filled with Koi, surrounded by flaming urns at night, the Gili Lounge is dramatic and sumptuous. Stop in for a cocktail or two, catch the sea breezes and relax in style!

We hear The Beach Club, next to Café Alberto, is selling whole BBQ chickens to take away for just Rp 50 000. With hostess Dee supervising, they're bound to be the real McCoy, with a delicious stuffing and roast chicken flavour. Grab one for a picnic or when you're too lazy to cook.

Gili T, the island of style, is going to get a lot more stylish with the opening soon of Ko Ko Mo Resort. Ultra-chic private villas on the beach, each with their own pool and luxurious furnishings, big lounges on the beachfront, an up-market spa for pampering and a top-notch fine dining restaurant under the captainship of Mr Matthew are all in the works. Stay tuned… it's sure to create lots of buzz.

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Qunci Villas, the Lombok Hotels Association and local tourism body, ASITA, hosted a familiarization trip for visiting Russian travel agents on Sunday, 23 November at the stunning Villa Qusia in Mangsit.

The Russian travel agents were in Lombok as part of a tourism promotion, first visiting Java and Bali. Lombok was their final destination before returning home. “We've been to Jakarta and Bali first, but we all like Lombok the best,” the Russian team said.

Travellers from Russia are a fast-growing market in Bali, with 2008 seeing a marked rise in the number of Russian arrivals to the island, together with increased Russian investment in real estate and businesses there. Bali`s tourism office recorded the arrival of 31,267 in the January - November period in 2007, an increase of 64.5 percent from 19,000 in the same period in 2006.

Indonesia is actively seeking to grow the Russian market, urging privately-held and publicly-owned companies in the former Soviet Union to send their incentive groups to Indonesia. Indonesian tourism officials said they prefer tourists over foreign aid or loans, and pointed to the largely untapped potential of the Russian market, known for their extended holidays and high spending habits.

At the meeting ASITA Chairman, Mr Misbach Mulyadi, said that Lombok had been chosen to host TIME, Indonesia's major travel mart, in both 2009 and 2010. This is a hugely important event for Lombok, as TIME (Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo) attracts around 300 international travel agents from over 20 countries and 500 or more domestic travel agents and buyers each year.

Pak Misbach was appointed Chairman of Lombok Sumbawa Promo one month ago and is keen to work with the Lombok Hotels Association and members of the local tourism industry in promoting Lombok and sees TIME as a major springboard for both domestic and international promotion.

The Russians spent their short time in Lombok enjoying the stylish facilities of Villa Qusia, part of the Qunci Villa group, swimming in the stunning infinity pool perched high on the hillside overlooking Mangsit Beach with views to Bali on the horizon. They have vowed to return for a longer stay next time, bringing friends and tourists with them!

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In a first for Senggigi hotels, the Senggigi Beach Hotel has joined with local business “Senggigi Surf” to open a surf shop within the hotel.

Most star-rated hotels offer tour and dive facilities for their guests, but the Senggigi Beach Hotel is ideally situated to offer great surfing facilities to its guests too, being located directly in front of the only real surf spot in Senggigi. Locally known as “Anjungan”, the beach on the south side of the Senggigi peninsula is the best place around Senggigi to catch waves and often has a decent swell, owing to the nearby reef.

Senggigi Surf offers a range of services to both hotel guests and outside guests, including a surf school for beginners upwards, with experienced and friendly instructors and small class sizes. Individual and private surf lessons are also available. The shop has a wide variety of surf boards and equipment for rental and sale, as well as surfing gear and accessories. For experienced surfers, they offer tours to the famous surf spots on the south coast at Kuta, Gerupuk and Desert Point.

Senggigi Surf is operated by an Australian investor keen to support locals in developing surfing as a sport and is the only professional surf shop in Senggigi. They also have a surf shop next to Senggigi Abadi Supermarket.

As part of their exclusive contract with the Senggigi Beach Hotel, a 5 day/6 night package is available for would-be surfers. The Rp 2 700 000 price tag includes 6 nights accommodation in a Garden View room with full board, airport transfers, and a 5 day surf school including all equipment, with experienced instructors. The offer is available for a minimum of 2 persons and a maximum class size of 12.

If you've ever wanted to learn to surf, this has to be the easiest and most relaxing way to do so… on the non-gnarly waves of Senggigi with all the comforts of a top class resort!

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Jo-Je Boutique has just opened its doors on Wednesday, 19 November and is a great new addition to the Senggigi fashion scene. The boutique is located on the main road, next to the new Lian Senggigi Club.
Boutique owner, Yuka, is originally from Lombok but has lived and worked in Bali for the past 10 years. She decided to return to her Sasak roots recently and is in the process of building Jo-Je villas, four deluxe beachfront villas on the same premises.

Jo-Je Boutique is part of the villa complex and features a fabulous range of trendy and up-to-date fashions collected from around Bali and Java. Choose from casual resort wear, sexy and fun party dresses, and elegant evening wear – all at very attractive prices!

The boutique also stocks a selection of fashion accessories including funky necklaces and jewellery, as well as glamorous shoes and bags to complete the look. With the Christmas and New Year party season coming up soon, now is the time to visit Jo-Je Boutique to find that perfect little dress to celebrate the festive season!

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Seen in Batu Bolong

Local School Bus!!!

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The new Governor of West Nusa Tenggara, Muhammad Zainul Madjdi, showed his disappointment at government functionaries recently by locking them out of a meeting.

Heads of Departments and technical institute heads were invited to a meeting to evaluate the regional budget and area development planning on Monday, 24 November. When the appointed time arrived and members were late, the Governor instructed the entrance of Sangkareang building in the Governor's office complex to be locked. The west side door remained open, but under guard by district public service police.

As the event was closed to journalists and press, Governmental PR head, Andy Hadianto, cited the request of Governor Zainul Madjdi to functionaries to show discipline by managing their time and also be punctual to meetings if and when invited. He asked that attendees arrive ten minutes before the event and, if they wasted time, they not be permitted to enter.

This is the first time the Governor has shown his authority to subordinates since his election on 17 September this year. All department heads and leaders were instructed to be at the meeting by 8 am, but eleven of the members didn't heed his warning about timeliness. The Head Secretariat of the Monetary Bureau, the Area Director of the Public Hospital Mataram, Director of the Mental Hospital Mataram, the Head of the Public Health Service NTB, Head on Duty of the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Head of the Planning and Development Board among others were not permitted to enter the building until after the opening address, which lasted around thirty minutes.

At the meeting, the Governor accepted the report of development spending of 64.26%, or Rp 702.8 billion, of the total budget of Rp 1 093 trillion. He asked the assembled members to execute efficiency and control according to his leadership vision in the allocation of the budget. '”If there is a surplus, it will be returned to public funds,'” he said.

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The National Defense Agency (BPN) has formally asked the National Ministry for Housing and the Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI) to commence collecting information on the source of income used in property purchases involving foreign interest as a means to help control illegal money laundering.

The Chief of the BPN, Joyo Winoto, told Bisnis Indonesia that foreigners involved in property transactions must be monitored to avoid Indonesia's unwitting involvement in illegal currency transactions.

Winoto explained: “In other countries the source of funds used to purchase property is one of the requirements that must be met by foreigners purchasing property. Currency sourcing is a dangerous area that must be monitored. We do not want money laundering to occur in Indonesia.”

Winoto told the press that he has received a draft of proposed rules to govern foreign land ownership in Indonesia which has been drafted by REI in the hopes of paving the way for a more liberalised environment for foreign land purchases.
He said these rules need further elaboration to address other issues, such as the minimum purchase price of properties bought by foreigners, product specifications and permissible reasons for foreign land ownership.
If necessary, Winoto said, specific areas open to foreign property ownership should be designated. “The rules need to be tightened in order to avoid future problems,” he added.

He also suggested that foreign nationals only be permitted to buy certain classes of property, such as homes, shop houses (ruko), and newly built apartments, in order to facilitate supervision of their property activities.
Winoto wants foreigners barred from secondary real estate purchases, forbidding foreigners from acquiring properties previously purchased by Indonesian consumers.

Winoto said that moves from the real estate sector to secure 70-year lease periods for foreigners would be difficult to grant. Such a change would not only require a change in the current rules, but would also probably be rejected by the Indonesian Constitutional Court. “It has already been decided by the Constitutional Courts that the period of ownership is tied to existing rules and the maximum leasehold period (hak guna bangunan) is 25 years, extendable for an additional 20 years, and then for a final extension of 25 years,” Winoto explained.

Winoto said BPN has no fundamental problem with those seeking to extend property ownership rights to foreigners, providing the rules and regulations are carefully drafted to avoid problems in the future.
REI submitted a draft of proposed changes in rules pertaining to foreign property ownership to the government in July 2008.

Included in those recommendations are proposals to extend the leasehold period for foreigners from 25 year to 70 years. Advanced by REI, the new rules are intended to help stimulate the national property market.

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