Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sumbawa: Indonesian Island of  Earthly Delights

No one else in Sumbawa wears a smile like Zul. It’s a knowing, enlightened grin, full of heart and born of experience.

For the past 13 years, Zul has spent most mornings cruising the strait between Sumbawa Besar and the Amanwana resort on Pulau Moyo, dodging pods of dolphins and cutting a solitary wake on the way to a reef dive.

Every resort in Indonesia knows what it is they do, but very few know why they do it. Amanwana, the only resort on Pulau Moyo, is one of those rare exceptions. The staff here thinks from the inside out, not the outside in. They have a purpose and a cause.

“Pulau Moyo isn’t a part of us,” says Kevin Brooke, the general manager at Amanwana. “We’re a part of Moyo.”

Sure, Amanwana is the most luxurious resort east of the Wallace Line. Sure, the only way to get to the secluded resort is on a privately-chartered Cessna C-208 seaplane. And sure, its 20 luxury tents are as lavish and gallant as any exclusive hotel in Southeast Asia — from the triple-digit thread-count sheets to the salmon quiche served at breakfast.

The resort offers day trips on the Aman XX, a 32-foot catamaran, and the Aman XV, a 25-foot Boston Whaler. Visitors can head to Satonda Island, a small volcanic island an hour’s ride from the resort, or spend the day trying to hook trophy fish in the sea. Anglers often battle dogtooth tuna and barracuda, but luckier guests land something for the mantle, like a marlin or sailfish.

Sitting a two-hour bike ride away from the resort is one of the most unforgettable waterfalls in all of Indonesia. The jaw-dropping formation — which collects into 300 yards of spectacular lozenge-blue pools — is sometimes referred to in guidebooks as Lady Di Waterfall.

However, if you ask any local about her visit to the waterfall and its subsequent renaming in 1995, you are likely to see countless furrowed brows and pursed lips that open only to ask who Lady Diana is.

Amanwana strenuously refuses to market itself too much, which is, of course, a kind of marketing in and of itself.

Read full article by Zack Petersen

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