Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lombok Hums With Gili Nanggu Pact For Growth

Lombok has been abuzz with talk and speculation about the proposed “sale” of the beautiful little island of Gili Nanggu off West Lombok’s Sekotong coast.

The hullabaloo has contrasted starkly with Gili Nanggu’s overriding sense of peace and serenity as people have wondered if investment will turn the little island into the flagship attraction to focus tourist attention on scenic Sekotong.

Local government has entered into a 30-year renewable agreement which gives an investment company, PT Istana Cempaka Raya, rights to manage and develop the 14 hectare island paradise.

Nanggu is one of 23 idyllic little islands in West Lombok’s Sekotong area. The largest island is Gede and the smallest and perhaps most stunning is Sepatang. The Sekotong islands are a magnet for tourists, especially foreigners, seeking solitude, serenity and exotic unspoiled nature.

The smiling operators of about 30 local outrigger-style boats wait at Tawun on the Sekotong coast to welcome visitors and whisk them away to paradise on better known islands such as Nanggu, which is closest to the coast, Tangkong and Sudak.

Tawun is about a 60-minute drive from Mataram and while boats can be taken from Lembar Harbour, which is closer to Mataram and the tourist hub of Senggigi than Tawun, time at sea is much longer.

The Tawun boatmen charge Rp200,000 to take six passengers on the 15-minute crossing to the islands. The fee includes life insurance, though sea conditions in the sheltered coastal waters are invariably calm.

A white sand beach extends either side of the timber pier on Gili Nanggu and the view across sparkling ocean to the mainland shows the rolling green hills of Sekotong.

Most visitors make the day trip from either Bali or Senggigi, further north on the West Lombok coast.

Tourist guide Yan, 45, who had escorted 10 Senggigi-based international visitors to Gili Nanggu, suggested Nanggu as an ideal alternative for those wanting to escape the much more crowded atmosphere of popular Gili Trawangan, one of the world-renown Three Gilis in north-west Lombok.

“If it’s crowded on Gili Trawangan then many guests feel far more comfortable here because Nanggu is quiet and beautiful,” he said.

Gili Nanggu has two equally exotic little neighbour islands. Gili Sudak covers about 30 hectares, is rimmed with heavenly beaches and has a restaurant. Uninhabited Gili Kedis is widely known as Honeymoon Island or the Romantic Island.

Nanggu and its neighbours are perfect for diving, snorkelling, exploring beaches and reefs and getting away from crowds and back to nature.



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