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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.

Lombok’s tourism industry is currently gearing up for the most important tourism promotion event of the year. The national TIME (Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo) will be held in Lombok from 12 to 15 October, 2010. Over 200 buyers and sellers are expected to attend the travel expo, which showcases the best of Lombok and Indonesia to the national and international travel industry.

Medana Bay Marina in Tanjung, North Lombok, has just done exactly that to a different travel industry, after successfully hosting Sail Indonesia 2010. Nearly 100 yachts sailing in the international yachting rally have visited Lombok over the past month, with many staying for weeks to explore our beautiful island. Read our special report on page 10.

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on http://www.thelombokguide.com/distribution.html or visit www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you’ll be enchanted!

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Medana Bay Marina in North Lombok has once again successfully hosted the international yachting event, Sail Indonesia Rally 2010.

Boats from around the world have been arriving in Lombok for the past month, with many taking advantage of safe moorings at Medana Bay Marina, as well as at Teluk Nara, the Gili Islands and Senggigi Bay on the west coast.
This is the second year Lombok has been officially included in the international sailing event and the success of the programme has been largely due to the efforts of Ace Robin and her team at Medana Bay Marina.

Ibu Ace and her sister, Ala Robin, have been kept busy hosting Sail Indonesia 2010 arrivals at the Marina and are very happy with the reaction they have had from visiting yachters from around the world.

Weather conditions this year are very different from those of last year, with strong winds and high seas; many participants have had rough crossings from Flores and were very relieved to find safe anchorages in the beautiful calm bay just north of the Oberoi Resort.

Sail Indonesia is a major annual yachting event, with boats sailing in the Darwin to Kupang Rally, and then spending three months sailing through the Indonesian archipelago before heading onto Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Participants are often undertaking a circumnavigation sailing around the world. A wide range of yachts of all sizes and all types including monohulls, catamarans, and trimarans flying flags from many countries take part.

This year, a total of 94 yachts departed from Darwin on the north coast of Australia on 24 July 2010. Participants in the event come from 19 different countries, including  Australia, USA, UK, France, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Canada and more.

Ibu Ace reports that, from 1 September until 20 September, a total of 89 yachts visited Medana Bay Marina, each with between two and three people on board. At the official opening ceremony, there were 55 yachts anchored in the bay, with some boats being forced to anchor off Gili Air to avoid overcrowding. A resounding success for the Marina, indeed!

At the official “Welcome Sail Indonesia” ceremony, visitors were welcomed to Lombok by North Regent, H Djohan Sjamsu and the Vice Regent, H Najmul Akhyar, as well as hundreds of local people and tourism industry representatives.

Sail Indonesia participants were showered with flower petals in a traditional welcome ceremony featuring Sasak dancers and musicians. The guests were entertained by traditional Gendang Belek music and watched a peresean performance (Lombok’s popular stick fighting event), organised by the North Lombok government.

Afterwards, the visitors had time to relax and mingle with other guests, while having a few drinks and discussing their impressions of Lombok.

The Regent praised Ace Robin’s initiative in bringing the world-class event to Lombok, saying that the Rally was a successful way to show the attractions of the island to international visitors, as well as benefiting local communities who sold tours and services, and foods and handicrafts to the visitors.

Many of the yachts visiting Medana Bay this year had also taken part in Sail Indonesia last year and were happy to back in Lombok, enjoying the warm hospitality and facilities of the Marina. While some of the boats only stay at the Marina overnight before continuing their journey, Ibu Ace said that other visitors have stayed for weeks, touring around Lombok and enjoying a break from sailing. Some sailors also choose to take a break from living on board their yachts, and stay at Medana Resort, the Oberoi Hotel and other resorts in the area.

Roger Denis, captain of the yacht, Catimini, and his wife moored at the Marina for three weeks. The couple love Lombok and have made many friends here, declaring that Lombok is now like a home for them when sailing around Indonesia. 

The praise for Lombok from all visitors, and their appreciation of the facilities and hospitality of Medana Bay Marina, ensures Lombok a place on the Sail Indonesia fixture for coming years.

Medana Bay Marina has successfully put Lombok on the map for the international yachting community and will no doubt now start focussing on other international boating events. In particular, the Blue Water Rally is an around-the-world rally in which participants also sail through the Indonesian islands for months, calling at official harbours along the way.

Recently, the Fremantle Yacht Club in West Australia announced that it would resume its annual “Fremantle to Bali Yacht Race” in 2011. The world class yacht race from Fremantle to Bali was last held in 1997.

Prior to its 13-year hiatus, the race from Australia to Bali ranked alongside other international long-distance races, such as the Sydney to Hobart and the Auckland to Noumea races. Yachting events such as this have huge potential for Medana Bay Marina and for Lombok. Judging from the reactions of the hundreds of visitors to Medana Bay over the past weeks, Lombok will now be a fixture on future Sail Indonesia Rallies and hopefully, in the future, attract the attention of other international boating events.

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TIME (Travel Indonesia Mart & Expo) will be held in Lombok again this year, from 12 – 15 October, 2010.
Hosting of the annual Indonesian travel mart, which attracts buyers from around the world, was awarded to Lombok in 2008 and was first held here during October 2009.

This year’s event is being organised by BPPD (Regional Tourism Promotion Board) in cooperation with Pacto Convex as the event organiser, government departments and tourism industry stakeholders.

The three-day event will be held at The Santosa Villas and Resort in Senggigi, where sellers will have an opportunity to introduce their products and services directly to national and international buyers through presentations and table top discussions.

Visiting buyers will be welcomed at an official opening ceremony on 12 October. The opening will be held on Gili Trawangan, followed by a special dinner hosted by Gili T’s premier resort, Hotel Vila Ombak.

NTB Governor, M Zainul Madjdi, will officiate at the opening ceremony, which is also expected to be attended by Indonesia’s Minister for Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, and the Ministry’s Director General of Marketing, Sapta Nirwandar.

Chairman of BPPD, Awan Aswinabawa, told The Lombok Guide that the organisers currently have 87 confirmed buyers attending TIME 2010, and around 70 confirmed sellers from outside of Lombok, with an additional 33 sellers from Lombok.

Participating buyers are travel agents and travel industry representatives from 18 different countries, including France, Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, USA, Australia, Eastern Europe, India, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

Pak Awan said that he expected more confirmed registrations over the next week, as the date for the event draws closer.

This is the first major event for the newly formed BPPD tourism promotion board. TIME 2009 was organised by the Lombok Sumbawa Promotion Board, a promotional body that had held the strings on most promotions in Lombok for many years. The Board was disbanded earlier this year, amid accusations of corruption and misuse of the 5 billion rupiah government funded budget for TIME 2009.

With a smaller budget of 3.5 billion this year, Pak Awan hopes to make this year’s event more productive and fully accountable. He acknowledges that without the support of private industry, this would not be possible.
“Please publicly thank those people who have been so helpful with support and encouragement for TIME 2010,” he said when we interviewed him. “Particularly the Lombok Hotels Association, who are supporting us again this year and hosting lunches and dinners for the participants. Also, Manna Kebun, who will host a special lunch on 15 October.”

In addition to the core of the programme held at Santosa Villas and Resort, TIME participants will visit the south coast of Lombok, including the Novotel Resort and the beaches near Kuta, and the north coast of Lombok. It is hoped that, weather permitting, some participants will take part in a post-event trek to Lombok’s magnificent volcano, Mt Rinjani.

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Dear Editor

I totally agree with Glenn’s letter about the motorbikes in the last issue of The Lombok Guide.
During Ramadan, the problem seemed to get worse, but street noise, speeding and dangerous driving is a big problem all the time in Senggigi. Don’t these idiots realize that this is a tourist area? The bad street lighting and broken footpaths are bad enough without people having to worry about locals racing up and down the main street, with no regard for the safety of themselves or anyone else.
Most people don’t realize that the speed limit in Senggigi is 40 km/h. When are the Senggigi police going to do some work and enforce this?

Trying to have a drink in a bar on the main street or a meal in one of the restaurants is becoming ridiculous, thanks to the noise from all these idiots who think it is a good idea to modify their mufflers to make as much noise as possible.

It’s time people stopped shutting up and putting up, and put pressure on the police to stop the nonsense. Arrest and fine the speeders and reckless drivers, and confiscate the bikes that don’t comply with noise pollution regulations!

By the way, congratulations on your excellent paper! Having columns like “Your Say” is a great idea and I hope more people start having a say… maybe one day, something will change.

(Name and address withheld on request)

Kepada Penulis

Saya sangat setuju dengan surat yang dikim oleh Glenn tentang kendaraan bermotor yang dimuat pada edisi The Lombok Guide sebelumnya.

Selama Ramadan, masalahnya terlihat semakin parah, tetapi tentang kebisingan di jalan, kebut-kebutan dan pengemudi yang berbahaya adalah masalah besar yang terjadi setiap saat di Senggigi. Apakah orang-orang yang tidak punya otak itu tidak menyadari bahwa ini adalah daerah pariwisata?

Penerangan jalan yang jelek dan trotoar yang rusak sudah cukup buruk tanpa ditambah lagi dengan harus merasa khawatir tentang para pemuda yang kebut-kebutan di jalan raya Senggigi, tanpa menghargai keselamatan mereka sendiri dan orang lain disekitarnya.

Kebanyakan orang tidak menyadari bahwa batas kecepatan di Senggigi adalah 40km/jam. Kapan polisi Senggigi akan mulai melakukan tugas mereka dan menerapkan aturan ini?

Mencoba untuk menikmati minuman di bar pinggir jalan atau makan di salah satu restoran di Senggigi telah menjadi suatu hal yang sangat tidak menyenangkan untuk dilakukan, terima kasih untuk semua kebisingan yang ditimbulkan oleh orang-orang goblok yang berpikir bahwa ide yang bagus untuk merubah knalpot mereka untuk menciptakan tingkat kebisingan yang paling bising.

Sudah waktunya kita untuk tidak tinggal diam saja dan menerima kebiasaan buruk ini, beri tekanan kepada para polisi untuk menghentikan omong kosong ini. Tangkap dan berikan denda kepada orang yang mengebut di jalan dan pengendara ugal-ugalan, dan sita kendaraan bermotor yang tidak memenuhi aturan Undang-Undang Polusi!

Untuk The Lombok Guide, selamat untuk Koran anda yang sangat bagus! Kolom seperti “Your Say” ini adalah ide yang sangat pintar dan saya berharap lebih banyak lagi orang ikut mengutarakan aspirasi mereka… mungkin suatu hari nanti, sesuatu akan berubah.

(Nama dan alaman tidak dicetak atas permintaan penulis)

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• With the recent rains, the main road in Senggigi is in desperate need of some TLC! Once again, Asmara Restaurant is organising a Gotong Royong (Community Clean Up Day) and invites everyone to get out on the street and help clean up Senggigi.

The next Gotong Royong will be held on Friday, 8 October starting at 8am. Asmara will focus on cleaning the area around their restaurant, but all Senggigi businesses should get together with their neighbours, define the worst spots in their area and concentrate on cleaning up those first. Businesses located on the beachfronts are urged to clean up the beach, as the rains inevitably wash rubbish into the ocean.

Once again, e-ONE Waste Disposal will donate the pick-up truck to take all collected rubbish to the Batu Layar landfill. All rubbish needs to be collected in piles along the road for collection. NO burning of rubbish please!
Come on everyone! Do your part and help clean up our town… if we all work together, it will only take a couple of hours! The Lombok Guide will be on the streets taking photos of the best (and worst!) areas. See you there!

• We love snorkelling around the Secret Islands off the southwest coast and now Secret Island Resort makes accessing the area even easier! The resort has just announced their new Snorkel Mania package which includes island hopping to four different islands to enjoy the beautiful deserted beaches and fabulous snorkelling of the southwest. All trips are onboard Scorpio, a comfortable and fully licensed 9m speedboat, with experienced captain and crew.

The reefs off the Secret Islands are some of the best in Lombok, with amazing colourful corals and hundreds of tropical fish species. Daily snorkelling trips are available for just $22 per adult and $12 per child (minimum 3 people). For those wishing to stay overnight, comfortable accommodation is available at Secret Island Resort on Gili Gede. www.secretislandresort.com

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The Lombok Post reports that a “tornado” hit the city of Mataram and parts of West Lombok on Sunday, 26 September, causing millions of rupiah in damage and injuring dozens of people.

At least 39 houses in the village of Kolo Baru, near Sekarbela, Mataram, were badly damaged when they were hit by the mini tornado. Dozens of houses collapsed and trees were uprooted by the strong winds. Homes in Mataram and the district of Labu Api, West Lombok were also damaged.

The mini tornado hit around 2pm in the afternoon. According to eye witnesses in Kolo Baru, the sky became very dark with thick black clouds and lightening, and then an inverted cone swept down from the east, sweeping everything in its path. A large sign at the petrol station was knocked over, before the winds hit nearby homes, ripping the roofs off and sending debris flying.

The mini tornado then moved further south and hit settlements in Bajur, Karang Bongkot and Labu Api, West Lombok, causing further damage to homes there and destroying crops in the farming communities.

The worst damage occurred in Dasan Kolo. Some homes were razed to the ground, while in others walls collapsed and roofs were blown off by the wind. Large trees that had stood in the area for years were uprooted, blocking the roads.

The sudden attack had residents scrambling to get out of the houses, with many screaming hysterically. Children and women cried after the disaster. Many are still in shock after realizing that their homes are destroyed.

The government and city leaders immediately erected emergency stations to treat those injured by collapsing walls and flying debris. Many people were cut and hit by pieces of wood, tiles and tin being flung around by the high winds.
Emergency accommodation is also being organized by the government agencies and the Deputy Mayor of Mataram has said that the government will provide immediate assistance to the victims of the tornado.

The exact number of those injured was not available at the time of going to press. Fortunately, no one was killed in the disaster.

Meanwhile, emergency teams were kept busy over the weekend coping with floods sweeping through villages in West Lombok. A week of torrential rains caused flooding in the district of Batu Layar and some residents have had to be evacuated from their homes.

Flooding was worst in the settlement of Griya Asri, in the village of Sentuluk, Batu Layar, where flood waters reached thigh level and residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

Other villages in Meninting and the Bintang Senggigi complex (opposite the Bintang Hotel) also suffered from flooding. Children and the elderly were transported using rubber boats that had been on standby for emergency evacuation since the previous Friday.

The abnormal weather caused by the La Nina weather phenomenon is playing havoc throughout Indonesia. Both Bali and Lombok are experiencing heavy rains ahead of the usual monsoon season and experts are predicting that these rains will continue through until April next year.

During this time, when trade winds are reversing direction prior to the monsoon, residents are also warned to be alert for mini tornadoes, called “puting beliung” locally.

The head of the local Bureau of Meteorology also warned fishermen not to go out in their boats during this time, saying that the waves were reaching as high as 3.5 metres in the Lombok Strait, between Bali and Lombok.

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(Text and photos by David Clegg)

“Lumbung” is the word in the indigenous Sasak people’s language referring to the thatched building where sheaves of harvested dried rice are stored for future use, and which are generally referred to as 'rice barns'.  Newly harvested and properly dried sheaves of rice will last up to a year in these barns. The unique shape of the lumbung has become one of the icons of the island, along with the gecko. Each village would have originally had its’ own Lumbungs, some of which would be communal, while larger land owners would have their own private barns.

The main feature of this structure is the four main support posts around which the barn is constructed. They are smooth round polished hardwood columns designed to prevent animals, mainly domestic cats, mice, rats, snakes and lizards from climbing up into the barn above and nesting in and/or eating the rice. Despite this precaution some acrobatic rodents do manage to get in occasionally. The bottom part of the barn is an open sided area with only the polished columns in evidence, with a wooden or bamboo floored communal sitting area some 50 centimetres off the ground.

Above that, about a metre and a half above the ground is the storage part of the structure sheaved tightly with alang alang grass. The only access to the barn is a small opening in the side entered via a bamboo ladder which is removed after use. The opening is closed with a tight fitting shutter of woven bamboo, ensuring that bats and birds, including domestic fowl do not make their homes in among the sheaves of rice. The barn is topped with a steeply arched roof, again of many layers of the long alang alang grass, to ensure it is waterproof, and that the heavy tropical rains run straight down the sides of the barn to the ground giving it little chance to soak through to damage the stored rice.

Some of the best examples of lumbungs, of varying sizes, still in daily use are to be seen in the south-east of Lombok, just a kilometre west of Keruak on the south side of the Praya road near the turn off south to Ekas. Sadly the largest one is in a bad state of repair and is no longer used, except as a place for the villagers to sit and chat.

A further kilometre along that road brings you to the village of Bare Due with three lumbungs, one of which has a square angular roof rather than the usual rounded type. The lumbungs around Keruak were purportedly built in the 1970’s. Some new lumbungs were built some years ago at the traditional Sasak villages of Sade and Rambitan, on the road between Sengkol and Kuta, mainly as a tourist attraction. But these rather sanitized barns, crowded together with other thatched houses, and abounding with souvenir sellers and guides, do not have the character or the feel of the originals.

Rice has been grown in this region for over 10,000 years, and no knows when the first rice barn was built, though it is fair to speculate that they must have been around for many hundreds of years, if not a few thousand, in one form or another. Unfortunately these buildings are getting rarer, many falling into disrepair as the years go by. This is due to a number of reasons, one being the cost of repairs or replacing them.

They are also are becoming redundant as more modern methods of processing and storing rice have been introduced. Mobile rice de-husking machines travel from village to village in the harvesting season. They leave behind them sacks of polished white rice which require very little room for storage compared to the bulky sheaves of cut rice stalks. Some of the rice is now sold directly to third parties and sent straight to the larger modern industrial storage facilities. It is sad to see these iconic buildings, victims of progress, slowly disappearing.

I would much appreciate any information from readers who may come across good examples of Sasak buildings or carvings. Please contact me (David Clegg) by phone HP: 081339521731 or by email to davidcclegg@live.com

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The MATTA Fair in Malaysia is the No. 1 Travel & Tourism Fair in Malaysia and attracts thousands of buyers to Kuala Lumpur every year.

This year, Lombok was promoted at MATTA by Didi Kuswardi, Sales & Marketing Manager at Santosa Villas and Resort in Senggigi. The Lombok Guide was proud to supply our annual full colour magazine to Didi, to be distributed to potential buyers and used at the event to promote Lombok.

The MATTA (Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents) Fair is a well established event, widely recognised and supported by exhibitors and buyers in the region. MATTA boasts a membership of over 2,007 members, comprising local tour and travel organisations as well as numerous overseas affiliations.

Held twice a year at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, the most recent Fair took place over three days between 3 and 5 September 2010. The Fair attracted thousands of potential buyers and there were long queues at the entrance every day. A total of 25 countries participated in the September event.

Malaysian tourists are a large potential market for Lombok, particularly with Merpati Airlines operating flights between Lombok and Kuala Lumpur (via Surabaya) every day.

Pak Didi said that the Fair was very good for the promotion of Lombok. The Santosa Villas and Resort Lombok was one of the businesses chosen by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to take part in the event, with 85 Indonesian companies exhibiting in the Indonesia booth at the pavilion.

Prior to the MATTA Fair, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism conducted a “Table Top” presentation on 1 September 2010, at the Royale Cullan Hotel, attended by 80 travel agents from Malaysia.

“They were very enthusiastic about tourism in Indonesia, especially in Lombok Island,” Didi said. “Hopefully with tourism we can make a bridge for all nations in this world. Our expectations from the Table Top and the Matta Fair are very positive.”

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(Tongue-in-cheek answers to your personal building problems)

QUESTION: Last year, I bought a small plot of land with a sea view and started building my dream villa. I met a nice lady from Bali and we moved in together, even though the villa was only partly finished. As a DIY enthusiast, I tried to do as much as I could myself but it is not so easy when you get to my age. I am 81 years young and my girlfriend is 18, but I don’t like to brag about it too much! 

We have been together now for nearly 6 months and she told me the happy news last week that she is pregnant. We are both single and above the age of consent. I told a friend of mine this news and he said that he did not think there was anything wrong with the situation so “why was I telling him?” I said, “I’m telling everybody!”  

The reason I am writing to you is something else altogether more personal. Just recently, I have started to forget things. I can leave tools and screwdrivers and such like just lying around when I’m doing a job around the villa and when I come back they are not there.  They just disappear. I can’t remember putting them away and, when I look for them in the place they should be, they are not there either. I am worried I might be suffering from the beginnings of the dreaded “old timer’s disease.” It is a constant worry since I am about to become a father. In addition, I don’t know if I should marry “whatsername” for the sake of the er… What was I talking about? Oh yes, the screwdrivers. Now where did I put them?

MR FIXER: Alzheimer’s, or “old timer’s disease”, can creep up on us at any time. It is quite common and can have many benefits. For instance, you only ever need to own one book. You can give the rest away. When you have finished reading it, you can start all over again; it will be like a new book every time! What a saving! We have asked around the office for advice on whether you should marry “the trollop” and we all agree it might be the best thing all round. At your age, it will help to pass the time. Also, look up a book called “How to Improve Your Memory”, subtitled “I’ll Never Forget Whatsisname”. It was highly recommended to me by thingy from somewhere or other. It was really helpful. Don’t do what I did though: I read the first 2 chapters, put it down and now I can’t remember where I put it!

QUESTION: My name is Mankilla von Grossa from Lapland. I am blonde (in most places) and some say buxom and voluptuous. My vital statistics are 46 -- 23 -- 34. I was voted runner-up in the Miss Lapland Fish Throwing Contest 1984. I don’t understand those judges… I was the only contestant! 

Since then, my good looks have faded slightly due to the action of gravity, (damn that Isaac Newton fellow!)  I have come to the beautiful island of Lombok for rest and recuperation and to recover from the recent death of my fourth husband. It was quite distressing; made all the more so due to his refusal to eat his words. That’s when I stabbed him in self defense.  

I have rented a nice villa with sea view with the children’s inheritance and am looking forward to rest and relaxation to restore my fading good looks. I only realized just how far they have gone when I recently visited a girlfriend in the popular tourist residential area of Green Valley in Senggigi. As I arrived, all the dogs stopped barking, so I knew I had to do something drastic. I have heard that cheap cosmetic surgery is available in neighbouring Bali. I am thinking to have breast reduction, cheek implants, face lift, buttock lift, liposuction and tummy tuck. I would also like to do something about my turkey neck. I have also heard about “fish therapy” in Lombok, where during a relaxing massage and spa, small fish are introduced to the waters. The fish apparently clean the skin and impart pheromones to relax the epidermis. Do you recommend this treatment?

MR FIXER: In your case, what have you got to lose? Be careful about drastic surgery however. My friend George sent his mother for a hip operation and she came back with a great set of tits. Another friend of mine was an enthusiastic actor. He was so enthusiastic about the part of Long John Silver in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, he had his leg amputated. The casting director had nothing against his remaining leg. The trouble was, neither did he! Needless to say, he did not get the part. Apparently, he had the wrong leg amputated.

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COCOTINOS... Opening Up Southwest Lombok!

We at The Lombok Guide often rhapsodise about the beauty of the southwest coast of Lombok. As far as we are concerned, the southwest is one of the most pristine and stunning areas on Lombok, with fantastic tourism development potential.

One of the attractions of the southwest coast is the fact that it is mostly undeveloped; here you can see the island in all its natural beauty -- long stretches of white sand beaches, rolling green hills, small coral islands dotted in the ocean just off shore and endless vistas of clear, turquoise blue seas.

However, the flip side of undeveloped areas is the lack of accommodation and facilities for travelling. Accommodation in the area, until now, has been limited to mostly home stays catering to surfers and backpackers, and small hotels on a few of the islands providing basic facilities for off-the-beaten-track travellers.

That has all changed now, with the opening of Cocotinos Beach Resort in August this year.

Located on the secluded beach at Tanjung Empat, Cocotinos fronts onto over 300 metres of white sand beach and faces the three coral islands of Gili Nanggu, Gili Tangkung and Gili Sudat floating just off shore in the calm bay. With a total of 18 rooms and 5 villas, Cocotinos is the only quality resort in the area and will no doubt reap the benefits of being the first to open up the southwest to the mid- and top-end tourist markets.

Accommodation is set in lovely gardens, with the luxury villas located right on the water's edge. Facilities include a 17m beach front swimming pool, a restaurant overlooking the bay, a waterfront Spa, and diving and boating facilities. A jetty leads into the bay providing mooring for visiting boats and the calm water of the bay is ideal for swimming, canoeing and water sports.

Sekotong, Lombok, is the second venture for the Odyssea Asia group, with their first resort already well established in Manado, Sulawesi. While the Manado resort is primarily focused on scuba diving (Manado being known as a diving haven throughout S E Asia); Cocotinos Sekotong will provide diving and much more.
The white-sand beaches and calm bay facing the resort make the location ideal for relaxing getaways, as well as being the perfect base for exploring the idyllic Sekotong countryside and island hopping to the nearby islands.

These thirteen islands -- called the “Secret Islands” -- are mainly deserted and are in pristine condition. Most are surrounded by calm oceans of clean translucent blue water, providing an ideal habitat for the reefs and marine species that live under the surface. Protected coves and bays provide myriad safe anchorages for boating and sailing, as well as delightful deserted beaches for day trippers.

The Secret Islands are placed like a string of pearls just off the mainland and are easily accessed from Cocotinos. A day spent hopping from one idyllic island to the next, stopping to snorkel over colourful reefs and swim in clean, warm waters, gives a true appreciation for the unique beauty of the area.

It is this rare natural beauty that many want to see preserved.

Due to years of experience in Manado, Cocotinos management have a very clear vision of how they want to develop their Lombok resort. Construction of the resort from the beginning has been focussed on preserving the integrity of the area and is in harmony with the natural environment.

Rooms, while luxurious, make good use of natural timbers and building materials and incorporate energy-saving principles into the design. Windows open, skylights and open-air bathrooms provide natural lighting, and cross-ventilation allows sea breezes to cool the spacious rooms.

Many of the building materials and decorations were sourced locally, providing an income for the local community and, now that the resort is open, the use of local produce in the restaurant is seen as a priority.
This environmentally-compatible philosophy extends to the people of the southwest. Many builders and labourers from the area were involved in the construction of the resort and, wherever possible, local people have been employed by the resort, although education and skills in the area are very low. At present, 30% of the resort's employees and 100% of the restaurant staff come from local villagers and, for many, this is their first experience of employment.

Working with local communities, Cocotinos has organised tours that allow visitors to get a glimpse into the way of life in these simple villages. One such tour includes a trip to the local markets, followed by a visit to a traditional village to see how the local people live. A visit to a Balinese temple traces the history of Balinese settlement in the area and a tour of the nearby Balai Budaya Laut (the Marine Culture Centre) allows visitors to see lobster, grouper and abalone farming. Other options include traditional cooking classes, with guests purchasing fresh fish from local fishermen and produce from the markets, before cooking and enjoying a delicious meal on the beachfront.

Cocotinos has not only opened up this pristine region to travellers, but is committed to introducing the local people to tourism through community involvement. This holistic approach has the dual benefits of providing employment and opportunities for local communities, while allowing visitors to explore an authentic local experience… without missing out on any of the comforts of a top class resort!

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