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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.

It's been an eventful past two weeks in Lombok, with the entire nation celebrating the Eid or Idul Fitri on 1 and 2 October. Flights between Lombok and Bali, Jakarta and Surabaya were fully booked for the holidays and ports were kept busy with a constant flow of travellers from across the islands. It was a time of happy re-unions, much feasting and celebrations to end the month of Ramadan for another year.

Then, on 8 October, over 10 000 people flocked to the beaches around Batu Layar and Montong, near Senggigi, to celebrate the unique Lombok holiday of Lebaran Topat. Families travelled from near and far to visit ancestral graves and picnic with loved ones on the beaches, while feasting on ketupat (bundles of rice wrapped in coconut leaves) and the coconut chicken curry, Opor Ayam.

After so much celebrating, the island is slowly settling down to normal pace but not for long… the International Lombok Triathlon is just around the corner! Triathletes from around the world will be travelling to our patch of paradise to compete in one of Asia's toughest sporting challenges on 9 November. Get a team together to compete in the 6km Senggigi Run, being held on 8 November, and get ready to cheer the competitors on!

To find out all the latest news and happenings, pick up a copy of The Guide from the locations listed on page 36 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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Bounty Cruises, when they were operating in Lombok, marketed their day trips to Gili Rengit, as a cruise to the “Secret Island”. On the nearby island of Gili Gede is the “Secret Island Resort”. So which is the real “Secret Island”? Or could it be that these islands, floating just offshore in the south-western corner of Lombok's waters, are all secret hideaways for those in the know?

The region known as Sekotong is around one hour's drive from the city, heading south past Lembar Harbour (the main port for ferries to and from Bali). The road winds around low mountain ranges parallel to the coast, through a picturesque landscape of rolling green hills and stunning coastal views. The southwest of Lombok is renowned for clear turquoise waters and pure white sand beaches and – best of all – most of it is undeveloped, offering a vista of natural unspoilt beauty.

In the village of Taun, three small islands lay in a peaceful bay – Gili Nanggu, Gili Tangkong and Gili Sudat. Small, enchanting coral islands, these Gilis are a forerunner to the other Gilis that trail down the coast from this point. Some are small and flat, no more than a dot of land fringed with white sand; others are larger, with small local populations. Most are uninhabited. In total, disregarding the small coral atolls and islands under formation, there are 13 Gilis along this part of the coast. The word “Gili” incidentally, means “small island” in the local language.

The largest of these islands is Gili Gede, appropriately meaning “Big Island”. The island lays just offshore and is easily accessed by boat from the village of Tembawong. The trip out to the island takes less than five minutes across calm waters. Gili Gede is one of the few islands in the area that has accommodation, at Secret Island Resort and at a newly opened resort on the other side of the island.

Secret Island Resort is spread across 1.3 hectares, perched on a hill on the south point of Gili Gede, with ocean views all around. The grounds open directly onto the beachfront, with pretty gardens and berugaks for lounging overlooking the beach.

Accommodation is in an assortment of eclectic buildings, some new and some restored from the past. Perched high on the side of the hill is a two-storey villa with fantastic views across the bay. Upstairs are two bedrooms adjoined by a living area, with a bar and kitchenette. Downstairs are another two separate rooms, each with their own balconies. The villa is perfect for groups of up to four couples, or rooms can be rented individually.

At the base of the hill are three double rooms in the garden, only metres from the beachfront. The rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable, with fans, private bathrooms and terraces. Another four units are currently under construction, on the other side of the garden, and will have nice views of the beach when they are completed in the coming month.

Titin's Yacht Bar is an airy restaurant and pavilion that offers delicious meals, with fresh local fish and other specialties all prepared by the host's charming wife. The restaurant is comfortably furnished with lovely views out over the beach and mainland. There's also a television for watching DVD's, a billiard table, books, chess and other games available to while away the time.

Secret Island Resort is the perfect place for a private group or party, and equally good for families or couples. Trek across the nature trail that leads to a gazebo on the top of the hill with fantastic views all around. Hire a kayak from the resort and enjoy exploring the beaches and sheltered coves around the island. There are many beautiful snorkelling spots nearby or you can learn to scuba dive with Dive Zone, the specialists for diving in the southwest.

Boat charter is available from the Resort for island hopping to the other deserted islands nearby, or fishing trips can be organised… the night fishing is fantastic! For surfers, the world-famous waves of Dessert Point are not far away, at Bangko-bangko on the southern point of Lombok.

The Big Island offers a host of activities that all the family will enjoy, at the same time as being a place where you can get away from it all. With no roads and very little development on the island, a few days here offers the chance to recharge and relax on a true “deserted” island. There are even tales of pirate ships that used to cruise the waters, seeking safe anchor in the protected harbour of Subowo Bay. Other local legends tell of wandering poets and Sufis who made their homes on this secret island centuries ago and whose descendants still live here.

Certainly it is easy to feel the mysterious and tranquil peace of Gili Gede as you walk along the beaches and nature trails. At night, the sound of gentle waves washes away all thoughts of stress and everyday life, as you gaze up at the Milky Way clearly sweeping across the clear night sky.

In the past, the secret islands of southwest Lombok were somewhat difficult to reach but Secret Island Resort can arrange transfers by car and speedboat from the airport in Mataram, or from the ferry at Lembar Harbour. Visit the Secret Island website for more details: www.secretislandresort.com

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Several changes and rearranges with the fast boat services between Bali and Lombok at the moment. Gili Cat continues to provide a safe and reliable service between the two islands and Gili Trawangan, every day, 7 days a week. Blue Water Express is still providing service between Bali and Gili T every day and now has two boats operating: one carrying 25 people and the other carrying 15 people. Mahi Mahi has suspended its service for the time being. New kids on the block, Awan Utara, promise a flexible service, with flexible itineraries and departure times between Amed on Bali and any of the Gilis (Trawangan, Meno or Air) as well as Teluk Nara, Teluk Kodek and Senggigi. Trips are arranged on an individual basis, for a minimum of four passengers. We also hear rumours of another fast boat service starting shortly… stay tuned!

Cellar Parties at Square Restaurant are on again, after a break over the Ramadan month. Held on the first Friday of every month, the Cellar Party showcases a selection of imported red and white wines, accompanied by delicious gourmet nibblies conjured up by Executive Chef, Wayan. Three and a half hours of unlimited free flow wines for just Rp 250 000++ (Rp 200 000++ for the ladies) at one of Senggigi's finest restaurants is unbeatable value! The next Cellar Party is on Friday, 7 November, 2008.

Definitely hot is the new Ocean Lord Band from Jakarta now playing at Sahara Club! Four beautiful girls and one talented guy front up the band with some of the best vocals heard in Lombok for a long time. Accompanied by four equally talented musicians, Ocean Lord has a very big sound and a great repertoire of music. Band starts at 10 pm and entry is free every night, except Saturday. Arrive early if you're a fan of good rock n roll, later if R & B is your thing.

While on the subject of Sahara, the Club is looking very good after being closed for renovations during the month of Ramadan. The upstairs section has been extended through to the south side of Senggigi Plaza, creating a much larger, airier venue to the left side of the stage. A new bar has also been installed in the new section, to supplement the existing bar on busy nights and clean, modern toilets have been built at the end of the short walkway on the far side. The Egyptian theme has been continued throughout, and two big plasma screen televisions have been installed, making a new, bigger and better club all round!

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Mr Pathma Johnson, managing director of IndoJet Asia, met with members of the local government in Lombok on Thursday, 9 October to discuss his company's proposed direct flights between Lombok and Perth, in Western Australia.

Mr Johnson gave a presentation at the meeting, in which he said that IndoJet could start direct flights between Lombok and Australia as early as the end of December this year.

He said that he already had confirmed numbers for an initial direct Perth-Lombok flight and that his company was already marketing Lombok as a destination to the Perth market, with flights available at present via Bali, in conjunction with local carrier, Trans Nusa Air.

The airline operates several flights a week within Australia, under the OzJet banner, between Perth and west coast destinations. In Indonesia, the company operates under the banner of IndoJet, which currently provides three flights per week between Perth and Denpasar, Bali.

In Australia, OzJet operates a fleet of Boeing 737-200 Advanced aircraft which, with a body length of 30.53m, are capable of landing at Lombok's existing Selaparang Airport, meaning that the company could start direct international flights immediately, rather than wait for the completion of the new Lombok International Airport, scheduled for 2010.

Mr Johnson said at the meeting that IndoJet would offer 7 night / 8 day packages to the lucrative Perth market for AU $799, which is competitive with current flight and accommodation packages from Perth to Bali.

However, negotiations for the direct flights are at the initial stages at present and government departments, aviation officials and other involved parties will have to evaluate whether the local government can support the proposal, the full details of which have yet to be disclosed.

Lombok is only a three and a half hour flight from Perth, which lies almost directly on the same latitude as Lombok. Hopefully, in view of the record numbers of Australians visiting Bali during 2008, Lombok will be able to tap into this valuable market sitting on its doorstep very soon.

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DATE : 8 – 9 November, 2008
SCHEDULE : Saturday 8 November 16:30 – Senggigi Run – 6km
    Sunday 9 November 07:00 – Triathlon (1.8km Swim / 55km Bike / 12km Run)
EVENT WEBSITE : www.lomboktriathlon.com
VENUE : Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort: Senggigi, Lombok, Indonesia

On the weekend of 8 & 9 November 2008, 200 amateur athletes from all around the world will converge on the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort on the shores of Lombok Island for the island's 2nd annual triathlon event; the fast growing and world-class Emaar Lombok International Triathlon.

The event has gained prestige and recognition in only one year, attracting increased international participation and key corporate sponsors such as the new title sponsor, Emaar, a Dubai-based company and one of the world's largest real estate companies.

Given Emaar's exciting new development project in Lombok – a 1 200 hectare environmentally-friendly development situated on pristine Mandalika Beach, that integrates natural elements into a residential, leisure and hospitality zone, supporting a marina as well as luxury residences and five-star resorts the Lombok International Triathlon was an obvious fit.

Triathlon is one of the most fashionable and fastest growing sports in Asia. More than just a sport, it embodies a lifestyle that combines athleticism, camaraderie and fun. Accessible to all, it however appeals in priority to high achievers in search of new challenges and the next adrenaline boost.

The Lombok Triathlon has been designed to become an internationally-recognised, high-profile triathlon, set in the stunning natural environment of undeveloped Lombok Island, Indonesia.

The race consists of a 1.8km swim, 55km bike and 12km run. Featuring one of the toughest and most spectacular bike courses in South East Asia, participants climb 5km up the ascent of Gunung (Mount) Pusuk through the lush green Monkey Forest and experience breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean.

The Emaar Lombok International Triathlon is not just for triathletes. As a means of involving the local Lombok community, Tribob, the Singapore-based sport management company organising the event, has scheduled a 6km Run to take place in Senggigi on Saturday, 8 November, the day before the main event. Participants will run through lush palm tree groves, over hill tops with beautiful sea views, and finish through vibrant Senggigi town.
In addition to the Triathlon cash prize of Rp 12 500 000 rewarding the Indonesian participants for their efforts, a cash prize of Rp 3 000 000 has been added by Tribob this year to reward the first 10 Indonesian finishers of the Senggigi Run as well.

The Triathlon is enthusiastically supported by The Lombok Hotel Association and Lombok governmental authorities as part of their long-term vision to promote tourism on Lombok Island.

With a highly experienced race organisation team, stunning venue and dynamic race course, the Emaar Lombok International Triathlon 2008 promises to be once again a vibrant festival of sounds and colours!
Issued by Tribob.com Pte Ltd, event organisers of The Emaar Lombok International Triathlon.

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Bali Post reports that a naturalised Indonesian citizen has broken new ground by being the first German-born candidate to stand for election to become an Indonesian legislator. Petra Oderbrecht has completed all the procedural requirements to run for office under the banner of the Denpasar branch of the Democratic Party for Renewal (PDP – Partai Demokrasi Pembaharuan).

Ms. Oderbrecht's candidacy was confirmed by PDPN-Bali leader, Nengah Netra. Speaking from party headquarters in Sanur, Netra told the press that his party welcomes candidates representing any race or group within Indonesian society.

Living in Indonesia for 15 years, Oderbrecht originally came to Indonesia as an employee of a German travel agency, and then worked for a Destination Management Company before working as a teacher of yoga and meditation for the past 2.5 years. Registering as a candidate representing the Petitenget area near Seminyak, the newly minted Indonesian politician said, “I am proud to be a nominee and wish to compete in a healthy manner with other candidates.”

In describing her political platform, Oderbrecht said she hoped that security would be conducted professionally in Bali. She also said she hoped Bali cleanliness and green character could be preserved, especially as Bali's green areas continue to diminish, adding, “the beauty of Bali continues to disappear as we continue to plant concrete jungles.”

Commenting on cleanliness on Bali streets, she lamented that efforts to clean-up Bali are limited to main protocol routes, with garbage allowed to accumulate on side streets in Kuta and Petitenget.

Underlining another area of concern, Oderbrecht bemoaned the inequality of pay between male and female workers in Bali. She also called on the government to pay closer attention to inspection controls on food and medicine in Bali.

Closing her comments with the press, Oderbrecht expressed her deep love for Bali: “For me, Bali is super-unique and spiritual, with ceremonies suitable for yoga and meditation.”

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Indonesia will announce a date next week for the execution of the three Islamists on death row for the Bali bombings, an official said on Monday 13 October, 2008.

“The date and day of the execution of the three bombers will be announced next Friday, by the attorney general,” a spokesman for the attorney general's office said. “We will make some preparations and coordination with the firing squad and other related parties like prison officials," Jasman Simanjuntak said.

The men – Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron – were convicted and sentenced to death in 2003 over the coordinated bombings of nightspots at the resort island of Bali which killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. But their execution has been repeatedly delayed due to a series of failed appeals and, most recently, for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended earlier this month.

“If I am executed, later there will be retribution,” Amrozi told reporters at the Nusakambangan island prison at an event marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “It's not necessary for me to tell you what the retribution will be,” he said.

The bombers laughed for the cameras and told reporters they had no remorse over the 2002 attacks on the holiday island which killed 202 people, 88 of them Australians.

Asked by a journalist if he would ask for forgiveness from the families of Western victims, third bomber Imam Samudra said: “I don't ask for forgiveness from infidels, I only ask for forgiveness from Muslims.” Asking for forgiveness for one's past sins is a tradition during Eid in Indonesia.

Amrozi said he planned to take a third wife if his execution did not go ahead. “If I live a long life, I want to marry again because (in Islam) it is acceptable to have four wives,” he said. Amrozi, who remarried his first wife by proxy in May, refused to say who his next bride would be.

Denouncing Indonesian authorities as “satanic forces”, fellow bomber Mukhlas said: “The people who will execute us, if they do this execution they will be cursed by God. If the execution is carried out, that will constitute the biggest criminal act because they will be killing holy warriors.” Turning to a group of foreign journalists, a visibly enraged Mukhlas pointed and yelled “You are infidels!” before being taken by a guard back to his cell.

The statements provoked these headlines in Australian newspapers: “Final insult, Bali bomber's last words: I'll never regret it,” said the Daily Telegraph. The Australian headlined its report: “Bali bombers still laughing”.

Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, responded to the reports by saying the trio are mass murderers and cowards, and deserve what is coming to them. “The Bali bombers describe themselves as holy warriors. I say the Bali bombers are cowards and murderers, pure and simple, and frankly they can make whatever threats they like,” Rudd told Australian radio. “They deserve the justice that will be delivered to them.”

Simanjuntak said the bombers would be executed by a firing squad despite their petition to the Constitutional Court against the method, which they say is a form of torture.

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Local cargo company officials have been interrogated by police and French nationals are being sought by Interpol following a foiled attempt to smuggle thousands of rare sea shells out of the country.

16 boxes about to be boarded on a departing Qantas flight were intercepted by local authorities, who found thousands of rare shells hidden among local handicrafts and textiles. Authorities estimate the value of the protected sea shells to be in the hundreds of millions of rupiah (tens of thousands US dollars).

Officers of the Bali Conservation Office (BKSDA), Customs and the Bali Police continue to investigate the thwarted attempt to export rare Triton Trompet and Nautilus Berongga sea shells to Tontouta Airport in Noumea, New Caledonia. The prohibited sea shells were reportedly shipped by a Bali-based shipping company, Pacific Express Cargo, and mislabeled as fashion accessories and handicrafts in order to evade detection by authorities.

According to NusaBali, two employees of the shipping company, manager Wayan Sudiana and marketing executive Komang Sudarsana, are being intensively questioned by authorities regarding their degree of collusion in the attempted criminal exportation and may, in time, be named as criminal suspects.

While the Cargo agency initially denied any knowledge of the sender/recipient of the large quantity of contraband shells, those individuals were eventually identified as Sadrina Fouache who has held exhibitions of “Sea-based art” in New Caledonia, rare shell collector Andre Fouache, and Elizabeth Tuhipoa. Interpol's assistance has been requested to trace the trio.

Acting on intelligence provided to the Forestry Police assigned to Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport, the illegal shipment of sea shells were seized on Tuesday, 23 September, while waiting to be boarded onto a departing Qantas flight.
Those convicted of being involved in the smuggling attempt of items made of protected wildlife face a maximum imprisonment of 5 years and fines of Rp 200 million (US $21,500). Conservation officials suspect the rare shells originated from areas outside of Bali, possibly from Sulawesi and the Maluku islands.

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Bali's popular Waterbom Park will close its doors from17 to 30 November 2008, to allow major refurbishment and maintenance work to be carried out.

The General Manager of Waterbom, Maman Lingga, said the difficult decision to completely close the park for two weeks was made to ensure the safety of guests during the repair period and to avoid any possible inconvenience to the park's customers.

Among the many attractions awaiting guests both before and after the maintenance period is the exciting “Superbowl” ride.

The Superbowl presents the fun of riding an inner-tube into the core of a bowl slide measuring 34 meters long and 14 meters high for an exhilarating 12 seconds.

Using patented revolutionary technology, participants can ride the tube alone or in tandem. Suitable for all ages, the ride starts with a thrilling drop through the Aqua Tube before riders are launched into the Superbowl, where centrifugal force sustains the riders high on the wall for several rotations before exiting into the splashdown pool.

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Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will run for a second term in next year's election, with Vice President Jusuf Kalla his probable running mate, Kompas newspaper reports.

“God willing I will run again for president in 2009,” he was quoted as saying by Kompas during a meeting at the state palace late Sunday, confirming his widely expected bid for a second five-year term. “It's too premature to announce it, but it is very likely I will run with Jusuf Kalla,” he said.

Indonesia's first democratically elected president is considered favourite to win the polls but he is facing a resurgent threat from former president Megawati Sukarno Putri, who was trounced by Yudhoyono in the 2004 election.

Anger over a government decision to hike fuel prices by about 30 percent in May, to offset the ballooning cost of multi-billion dollar subsidies, hit the liberal ex-general's popularity ratings recently. The move was met by street protests but it was applauded by economists as a sign of fiscal maturity as the budget creaked under the strain of soaring global crude prices.

Yudhoyono's small Democratic Party is in coalition with Indonesia's largest party of Golkar, headed by Kalla. The presidential polls are expected to be held in June after parliamentary elections on 9 April next year.

Meanwhile support for President Yudhoyono is on the rise, pulling ahead of main rival and former president Megawati Sukarno Putri, a new poll said Thursday, 9 October. The ex-general's support rose to 34% among Indonesian voters, up from 27% in July, while Megawati's dropped from 28% to 22% over the same period, the poll by international firm, Taylor Nelson Sofres, showed.

Prabowo Subianto, a former son-in-law of late dictator Suharto and a retired commander of Indonesia's rights abuse-tainted Kopassus Special Forces, saw his support rise to 15% from 11%, the poll said.

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Antara reports that the Indonesian government has proposed revisions to the macroeconomic assumptions in the 2009 State Budget in view of the current global economic crisis.

Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, at a meeting with the House of Representatives` Budget Committee, said the assumed economic growth rate should be lowered to 5.5 - 6.1 percent, from 6.3 percent previously.

The assumed rupiah exchange rate against the US dollar should be reset at Rp 9500 (from Rp 9150 previously), the inflation rate at 7% (from 6.2%), the SBI rate at 8.5% (from 8%), and Indonesia`s crude oil price at US $85 per barrel (from US $95 per barrel).

The changes in the macro economic assumptions were proposed after the House, market players and analysts had called on the government to take immediate action to anticipate the impact of the world economic crisis.

“The global economic crisis has caused a lack of liquidity in the financial market, declining world economic growth, corrections to the interest rate, stock market prices and currency exchange rates. So we need to make adjustments in the 2009 State Budget,” Sri Mulyani said.

The adjustments were made based on the latest situation in the world economy, while maintaining the budget ratio at 20 percent and continuing to give priority to poverty eradication and infrastructure development programs.

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