A unique and exclusive opportunity not to be missed
“Indonesia is the third fastest growing economy in Asia and the fastest within South East Asia. While Bali’s tourism industry is world famous and has been booming for the best part of two decades, the entire region is undergoing touristic development and the nominal per-capita GDP is expected to quadruple by 2020.”
– Standard Chartered
LOMBOK, or more precisely Mandalika Lombok, is finally welcoming its first flux of both local and international visitors– with its inaugural MotoGP race happening this November – as it hosts the World Superbike or WSBK Mandalika, followed only a few months later by the International MotoGP 2022 fixture in March.
Lombok Mandalika is now easily accessible through southern Lombok’s recently expanded airport, being geared up and able to welcome visitors from around the globe, or domestically, from Indonesia’s impressive archipelago. As the country itself proclaims there is ‘Unity in Diversity’ and this is certainly the case on beautiful Lombok Island.
Only an hour and forty-five minutes from the capital of Jakarta, or just thirty minutes from neighbouring Bali by plane, Lombok is a fabulous place of delightful adventure and discovery. It is relatively unspoiled with azure waters, white sand beaches that are framed by rolling lush hills reaching upwards to endless blue skies. For sure this is venue that the MotoGP world is going to greatly look forward to coming back to again and again. The Madalika Circuit is situated right by these very same beaches and waters, with the hills to the distant.
Once you arrive at Lombok International Airport, it is now but a ten-minute drive directly to Tanjung Aan Mandalika, on the beautiful new By Pass, stunning in itself as it cuts through the natural landscape – it almost seems a shame that the journey is a mere ten minutes.
“Having maintained political stability, Indonesia is one of Asia Pacific’s most vibrant democracies and is emerging as a confident middle-income country.”
– The World Bank in Indonesia
The Mandalika Project is impressive in that during the last couple of years when most of the world was on a ‘sleepy’ lockdown – ITDC (Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation) took full advantage and managed to not only complete its circuit, an airport expansion and By Pass, but also give us an International Hospital (which is operated by Siloam whom are highly reputed on other islands assuring hassle free collaboration with international insurance companies), a sizeable University Campus – which will focus on tourism and in particular hospitality, a desalination plant ensuring eco-friendly water services, as well as a solar panel farm (aiming to be one of the largest capacity solar outputs in Indonesia).
Whilst all this is on offer along with the Mandalika Cultural Village in much loved Kuta (which honours locally owned stalls of art and crafts and countless performances), Mandalika has managed to maintain 51% green space, as guaranteed. ITDC also supports and is fulfilling the basic needs of the community and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Mandalika by partnering with the Invest Islands Foundation who are dedicated to four main initiatives for the underprivileged of southern Lombok i.e. Women’s Empowerment, Waste Management, Accessible Education, Eco Initiatives (such as tree planting etc.).
Accommodation in Mandalika is also attracting international hotel brands, with the Pullman now 80% complete and looking to be fully operational by March 2022. Although not directly in Mandalika, but just thirty-minutes away in stunning Torok Bay, the Gran Melia Resort and Spa is set to open all of its stylish doors by the end of 2024. The foresight of the Novotel means that its room and villa capacity were ready well ahead of time in anticipation of Mandalika’s completion.
As far as entertainment on offer, the Mandalika Circuit is definitely right at the top of its game. MotoGP is hotly anticipated in a country that holds the majority of fan base globally of televised spectatorship until now. So as a nation host, Mandalika Lombok, Indonesia will not be lacking in enthusiasm.
For those who search a more daring and for sure memorable experience outside of spectatorship, then the majestic volcano Mount Rinjani of more than 3,700 meters (the second highest in Indonesia) is not for the faint-hearted. A healthy ascent can be arranged, best peaked during the months of July and August. Teeming with Lombok’s diverse fauna and flora, the experience of Rinjani covers a lush richness of nature and spectacular panorama, regarded as one of the best climbs of South East Asia.
Diving and a multitude of other water sports are hugely popular, and surfing has been a not so ‘well-kept secret’ amongst those who chase the thrill of the waves on Lombok for decades now. The surf community seeks out the breaks of Gerupuk Bay nearby and several more not too far off. Desert Point is for the more experienced up for the challenge, with no line-ups at all.
The beauty of this coastal area named Mandalika is literally legendary, for the sea plays a big part, not only through sport, having been a fishing village for centuries.
Mesmerising Princess Mandalika was renowned through the island for her jaw dropping beauty and many Princes sought to impress her to win her hand in marriage, often battling over her. Rather than be impressed, she was distraught at such aggressive behaviour and decided to restore peace back to her land – resulting in her flinging herself off a cliff in to the sea as the ultimate sacrifice.
When her body was recovered from the waters, all that was left in her place were thousands of brightly glowing sea worms, known locally as ‘nyale’.
This legend has given rise to ‘The Bau Nyale Festival’, which means “catching sea worms” in Sasak, the local dialect. The festival occurs annually in February in accordance with the Sasak calendar, which is the tenth month, and always close to the full moon.
Thousands of people congregate along the coastline of Mandalika’s own Kuta area, mainly Segar Beach, to enthusiastically catch the worms on this one night per annum.
It is the local’s belief that the ‘nyale’ are the reincarnation of Princess Mandalika. They revere them as sacred creatures that bless fertility and prosperity to all who celebrate the festival, and ultimately, consume them.
All this is very creative as the locals naturally are. Weaving, pottery, and rattan craft works are some of the talents that can be found at Sade Traditional Village just ten-minutes north of Kuta Mandalika. Here you can see how the Sasak’s humbly live as well as catch live dance and musical performances, or the fiercer displays of stick fighting.
In all, Mandalika Lombok has come a long way over the past 5 years, and has something to offer all tastes.
“Indonesia is the place of choice for foreign investment for 2019. Indonesia is the third fastest growing economy in Asia and the fastest within South East Asia. While Bali’s tourism industry is world famous and has been booming for the best part of two decades, the entire region is undergoing touristic development and the nominal per-capita GDP is expected to quadruple by 2020.” – Standard Chartered
Lombok: A Treasure Trove of Gems
The island of Lombok, considered to be in the top five emerging investment spots in Asia, is strategically located near the booming tourism areas of Bali and Komodo Island and is blessed with spectacular natural beauty and geological diversity.
Boasting a climate that seldom sees temperatures above 33C or below 21C and located in the middle of the alluring Indian ocean, its beaches are less crowded, more pristine and tranquil than those of its neighbour.
This means glorious sunshine and perfect days for exploring the stunning beaches, diving in clear aquamarine oceans, world-class surfing with some of the best breaks – a real glimpse of an unspoiled paradise set to attract travelers looking for a rare type of authenticity no longer as easy as it once was to find in the more developed and exploited beach destinations across Asia.
What’s more, there are endless opportunities for tourists to immerse themselves into the local Sasak, Balinese and Bugis cultures and see first-hand, some of the traditional ways of rural and town life.
Lombok is the most popular destination in Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, with the incredible Gili Islands drawing visitors from around the world to their world-class dive centres, to enjoy clear waters that display some of the most prolific marine diversity out there.
It is also home to Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia, considered one of the most interesting volcanoes on the planet. Lombok is easy to reach with a short 30-minute flight from Bali or a 1-hour 30-minute fast boat ride from Bali, and a 2-hour 30-minute flight from Singapore. It is strategically accessible to various cities Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
The Lombok Tourism Development Forum was held at the island’s most distinguished resorts, Qunci Villa’s – a recent World Travel Awards winner for Best Resort Indonesia, located on Mangsit Beach. It captured an optimist outlook in the region held by developers, as well as existing and new class of investors attending the event, to review the market performance and see firsthand new developments showcased in the region.
A presentation from Tourism Solutions International (TSI) projected the number of new hotels to be built to more than double by 2022, with larger developments in south Lombok housing most of these planned top-tier accommodation.
Mehdi Tabka from Living Asia Resort, said that Lombok was already on the right path, has a good reputation for hotels recognized across Indonesia, and that it is amazing that with so few hotels on the island – so many of them achieve recognition by sources such as TripAdvisor.
Lombok features prominently in Indonesia’s plan to reach 20 million tourists by 2019, with the fastest growing tourism market in the region. Development of the island in recent years has sped up with the new international airport increasing the number of arrivals by 200% each year. In this climate, private and government-backed resort projects are open and ready for business.
The conditions set out above, outline a unique window of opportunity for investors to buy into a market that is on an upward curve, at highly competitive prices.
While land values boomed in 2009, they are still 5 to 10 times lower than its developed neighbour, Bali, and remarkably up to 100 times lower in undeveloped areas. Making the ratio of land to dollar one that affordable and popular with first-time investors and more established investors alike.
The Mandalika Project
The Mandalika Project is a US $3 Billion eco-tourism destination to be developed on 1175Ha of land and it is the key project driving interest towards this region. Backed by the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC – PT. Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia) and located in central Lombok Regency (West Nusa Tenggara Province), it is the largest project of its kind in Southeast Asia and set to be the next world-class destination. It will consist of tourism-related mixed-use products, over 10,000 luxury hotel rooms (Pullman, Paramount Resort, Club Med, Royal Tulip, Grand Mercure Hotel and more!), an international street circuit (Moto GP 2021), a yacht marina, golf courses and more.
There is also a big focus on supporting the locals through a comprehensive Indigenous Peoples Development Plan (IPDP) of the Mandalika Urban Tourism Infrastructure Project. See here for the complete report.
The Mandalika project will be sub-divided into 3 zones:
ZONE 1 – Luxury Residences
ZONE 2 – Hotels, Villas & Facilities (Cycling, Trekking, Golf Course, Spa & Rejuvenation Services)
ZONE 3 – Exclusive Villas, Marinas and Hotels
An Eco-Tourism Destination
A key feature of the Mandalika project is what they call the “green future” due to an emphasis on sustainable development. This combines a growing trend within the territory to place an emphasis on environmental protection in new resort builds, adhering to globally recognized environmental protection standards.
Bali offers a blueprint from which Lombok can learn valuable lessons as it re-writes the pages of Bali’s success and stays up to date with contemporary practices in sustainable architecture and design.
As a template for sustainable development, this project has dedicated 51%+ of its green space to conserve the natural environment for native species, both flora and fauna, ensuring only low impact activities such as cycling and hiking are offering in areas of important diversity.
It will incorporate environmentally friendly technologies such as solar farms for efficient energy use, SWRO plants, innovative water treatments and recycling facilities, as well as advanced waste disposal systems and tidal energy from the world-famous company, Atlantis.
The power plant, which takes up to 50 hectares of land, will help supply half of the resort’s power capacity need that is projected to reach 110 megawatts by 2025 to power hotels, a theme park, private villas and a racetrack in the complex.
Not only providing energy to the huge project area, under ITDC’s master plan the solar power plant will utilize the land under the solar panels as a greenhouse designed to grow crops organically.
The company will develop the solar power plant in stages with a target to reach full capacity by 2019. There will also be an electric light rail train, cable cars, exhaustive natural features with panoramic views, activities to engage with cultural authenticity, an eco-park, water park and mangrove park.
The Benefits of Mandalika
The Mandalika Project is designated as the next world-class destination. A different version of ‘Bali,’ with an eco-tourism focus, a special economic zone (SEZ) and is part of the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation’s (ITDC) first project in Nusa Dua (Bali).
The Mandalika project is a special development that incorporates an environmentally friendly approach. Many developments around the world are focused on the return on investment (ROI), and while this is important for investors, we are coming to a place in this world where we need more than a focus on ROI. The focus on sustainable development will be of core benefit to the Mandalika project, other benefits will include:
- Designated as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for the agricultural and ecotourism industry
- Benefits for investors in terms of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives
- An Island Tourism Model benefit for surrounding areas
- Short flight from main airport hubs – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand & Australia
- A major driver in increasing land values
- Infrastructure development supported by the government as one of the priority “10 New Bali’s” initiative
- Under 30-minute drive from Lombok International Airport
- Mandalika will be the 5* Asian destination to visit
- A major driver in increasing land values in Lombok
Other Developments in Lombok
While the Mandalika project is a major project drawing attention to this majestic island, there is a lot happening beyond the Mandalika resort. See below to learn more:
Awang Luxury Residences with Invest Islands
The buildings you will find at Awang, are less traditional to Indonesia and more in line with global architectural trends of the Bauhaus movement and beyond (1920 plus). These designs will appeal to the discerning client who enjoys European design that is adapted to incorporate the tropics.
Special features include bespoke unusual sunrise/sunset – double bay views and an open plan layout that utilises this unique use of space and design. The villas also come as 2- and 3-bedroom units, appealing more to clients who want distinct space, each unit framed by its own 22-meter, feature infinity pool. Perfect for families, or those of you wanting a more classic type of design, Awang villas play with open spaces, offering panoramic views that become part and parcel of the luxury living, lifestyle experience.
Invest Islands Torok Eco-resort
The design for Torok Villas is a post-modern take on traditional Indonesian architecture, bringing the best elements of tradition fast into the 21st century. By adopting various features found in some of the many regional styles of the building we see in Indonesia, we can cultivate new ideas in ways that pay homage to the past and at the same time, keep one foot firmly in the direction of future innovation.
The design at Torok villas specifically plays with classic Indonesian roof-styles that are distinctly designed to be elevated above stormwater runoff and mud and to work with nature – at keeping residents, the home interiors and the technologies, from dampness and moisture. Adaptations today continue to include all these important factors, that are apt for the hot tropical and hot wet climates we find ourselves in here at different times throughout the year.
Above all, the design blueprint at Torok is malleable enough to incorporate new technologies and materials when possible, that take traditional features to their limits, creating fresh new creations that are bold and unique.
Private Investor Developments
Foreign investment is on the rise in Indonesia, particularly in the Lombok region. Below captures a brief list of some of the development well underway (or already complete).
Wyndham Sundancer Resort, Sekotong
Hong Kong Investors Beachfront Villa Resort, Torok Beach
Singapore Investors Luxury Hotel, Beach Club, Beach Studios & Villa Complex, Torok
Private Investors Luxury Estate on 16 Hectares, Selong Belanak
A Seaside Society, Lancing
Eco-Dome Village, Gerupuk
Another 10+ private investment projects, south Lombok
From newly build wide lane roads stretching the length of the north to south Lombok and additional expansion to its new international airport. Critical pieces of vital infrastructure will make Lombok properly accessible, opening endless opportunities to local and foreign travellers, companies and investors.
As conditions improve, industrial management of waste, water quality and access, employment, training and the quality of health care and education will be positively affected.
The government’s heavy investment in the next phases of development in Lombok must be coordinated carefully, in an awareness that it has some way to go before it can be considered one of the more developed nations.
Patience, proper due diligence, careful construction and pacing of projects so that they are done effectively and not rushed through, will be crucial to long term success.
Issues of local poverty, health care and services including access to schools will be vastly improved, but to get things right, the actions and changes must be measured and well managed.
There is no doubt that it is an exciting time ahead for the people of Lombok in terms of seeing a rise in the local standard of living. With a sustainable approach to this development, local cultures and traditions can be harnessed, not erased, local knowledge – enhanced, and the assets of its people can grow alongside its economy.
This is the way forward, and this holistic approach will be driven heavily from outside foreign investment, eager to work alongside government initiatives in the making of Indonesia’s “10 New Bali’s.”
Some notable infrastructure developments include:
International Yacht Marina, North Lombok
The vision of this new marina is to become a hub for watersports, is to attract a high-end traveller and those interested in luxury yachting. Combine that with an array of quality waterfront restaurants and excellent quality accommodation, and you have a resort for the discerning traveller.
Marina Del Ray Port, Gili Gede
Marina Del Ray Port is a labour of love of Australian Raymond La Fontaine’s Marina Resort construction company, and other smaller stakeholders – who have spent ten years establishing what is, the first Western standard, integrated marina.
Gili Mas Terminal for Cruise Ships, Lembar Seaport
The purpose of this terminal is to accommodate cruise ships with the capacity of 4000 – which is at most two boats with a split capacity of passengers. With an impressive investment of Rp 1.3 trillion investment, the project is due for full completion by the middle of 2019 and will provide an exceptional boost to the economy by giving service and employment opportunity to locals.
The northern Gili Islands, north Lombok
The Gili Islands hardly need an introduction. Anyone fortunate to cast eyes on the three tropical islands, with their white shale sand, turquoise waters, charming traditions – think horse and cart taxis, and the fact that you can easily walk or cycle around them easily knows they have found somewhere very special. Gili Air is dotted with some quality European restaurants run by expat-locals – of whom there are a fair share, as well as great local choices that reflect the melting pot fusions of culture and tradition. The waters surrounding the islands are crystal clear, and a quick dip will see you swimming with Turtles, whereas diving from Gili Trawangan – the largest of the three, which is the diving hub where you’ll be able to arrange your dive masters by day and party by night – will show you just how spectacular the underwater world is in this part of Indonesia. Gili Meno is the smallest, Gili Air is for honeymooners and people wanting to combine beauty and solitude, Meno is a chilled out stop off point for a quick circumnavigating walk around the Island, and Trawangan is where you’ll find the action.
The secret Gili Islands, southern Lombok
The East of Lombok is home to some of the smaller Islands in Indonesia’s archipelago. Known as the secret Gili’s, the exotic sounding — Gili Kondo, Gili Bidara, Gili Kapal and Gili Lampu, to name but a few of the more popular of the 15 tiny islands – some practically just sandbanks – offer a real sense of being marooned among stunning waters and scenery.
Mostly uninhabited, the secret Gili’s are all about getting away from it all, off-the-beaten-track, to find your personalised glimpse of paradise.
While they don’t offer much if any facilities, they represent key features of the environmental locality – and as such, are tourist attractions that entice the adventurous type of traveller, keen to get out there and explore the place by the sea.
Visitors can make independent arrangements via local taxi drivers to reach any of the smaller islands, but with a general lack of amenities, they are for those looking to enact a Robinson Crusoe self-styled day out — a picnic in paradise, perhaps a rare chance to properly get away from it all.
Notable mentions are Gili Nanggu and Gili Sudak — Nanggu has very reasonably priced accommodation for around 30 Euros per night and is a haven for good quality snorkelling, and Sudak, has one restaurant, which also offers rooms. A welcome sight for those seeking a few home comforts.