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It isn’t easy to surprise Bonita. Since the dynamic entrepreneur opened Waroeng Bonita on Jalan Petitenget in 2004, he has seen so many astonishing changes in Bali that nothing surprises him anymore. But Lombok amazes him. Bali’s neighbor to the east is still a tranquil, exquisite land of rice farms and wilderness, edged by some of the finest beaches in tropical Asia. Now Bonitabali is opening an office in Senggigi, Lombok’s tourist center, where he will bring his creative business acumen to Indonesia’s hot new center for land investment.
Bonita was surprised by the the friendly, easy-going Sasak people. “Lombok is special because the people are special. They’re just as friendly and welcoming to foreign visitors in Lombok as they are in Bali or Thailand or any other place in Asia.” The warm hospitality charmed Bonita, reminding him of the traditional Indonesian culture he grew up with in Sulawesi. He described visiting a village on the slopes of Rinjani. As soon as he entered the village, a lady came out of her house to invite him in and started cooking for him. “I sat down and ate with the family,” he said. “People in Lombok still lead the simple life.”
“I was also surprised by how cooperative the government is,” he said. “In some parts of Indonesia the local authorities are nothing but a problem, but in Lombok they want to help.”
Above all, Bonita was impressed by the fantastic opportunities for land investment. “Value for money in Lombok today is like Bali was 20 years ago, and you could buy beachfront land anywhere for prices that make people laugh now.” Today, beachfront land in Bali within one hour’s drive of the airport is “as expensive as Paris,” he jokes. “In those days, no one could dream how crowded and prosperous Bali would become.”
Bonita predicts that the phenomenon is now repeating itself in Lombok. “Lombok offers extraordinary opportunities for land investment that you will not find anywhere else – and the right time to invest is now.”
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