Have you ever heard the term “left-hander” waves? If you have not and want to see or even conquer this surfing experience then come to Lakey Beach. This beach is located in the Hu’u Village, Dompu Regency, in the province of West Nusa Tenggara on the east coast of Sumbawa Island.
Lakey beach is a long, wide, palm-lined, white-sand stretch of beach fronted by reef. Much of the bottom is rocky, but farther up the beach it’s sandy and good for swimming. It is already well known among the world’s surfers community. Currently the majority of tourists come from Australia, South America, the United States and others.
What is it, you might ask, that makes this place so unique? The waves here appear to sweep to the left in direction, instead of right, as is common. The uniqueness of this fact, with the added, natural beauty of the beach has become a sensation, especially among surfing enthusiasts. Aside from that, the sea breeze is fairly strong as well which supports the activities of surfing, wind surfing, or kite surfing.
Since its discovery by Australian surfers in the mid-1980’s, Lakey Beach has been known to offer Sumbawa’s most consistent and challenging surf. The waves break at four separate spots, including the renowned Periscopes. These swells are not for the faint-hearted as they break over exposed razor-sharp finger coral. For you surf enthusiasts this is your ideal spot.
It is said that Lakey Beach’s waves are fairly stable throughout the year (not affected by seasons) and, therefore, have several times been the location for world-class surfing competitions. Dozens of participants of this competition usually come from all corners of the world, including many local Indonesian competitors. The advantages offered at Lakey Beach are already visible at Dompu city center, in the form of a large statue of a man mid – surf.
For you surf lovers, big and tall waves are usually the most desirable and sought after, but the waves here at Lakey Beach hold a unique challenge all of their own. Being not very high, (around 6-8 meters), the challenge lies in conquering the left-handed direction of the waves, a task that requires special expertise to master. Foreign tourists have come all the way to this beach on the South Island of Sumbawa to experience this challenge and hone their surfing skills.
This is the kind of place where you can join in a soccer game on the beach with the local boys in the afternoons, watch villagers fish in the tide pools at low tide, or try spear fishing when the tide comes in. If you take any path out of the village, you’ll find the vicinity is greener and has more vegetation then other locales along the island’s southern coast.
From the coastal, white, sandy beaches, the view breaks out onto the blue expanse of ocean water, sparkling under the clear, blue skies. The sound of the waves breaking on the beach, act as a beckoning call for the surfers to come in and test their skills on the board. While action on the board among the waves is the thrill of a lifetime, sitting along the peaceful and scenic beach and watching the surfers, or the sunset is a wonderful experience all of its own.
As a tourist destination this destination attracts many foreign tourists. Though rather quiet and secluded, there are approximately 10 existing hotels around Lakey Beach, which you can choose from according to your needs and financial situation. Some of them are five-star hotels, but there are also several homestays with rates starting from Rp 100,000 per night.
Lakey Beach Inn is one of the hotels of the Lakey Beach neighborhood which is run by a gentleman named Rachel. Rachel originally came to the island as a tourist in 1990 and fell in love with the beach and the island and decided to settle here. Rachel married a local resident and opened a hotel for tourists. If you have booked a room in advance at this hotel, upon arrival at Bima airport there will be vehicles available to pick you up and transport you to the hotel.
From April to October is the best time to visit this beach. At times, the beach will be visited by up to 300 foreign tourists at a time, to come to spend weeks or even months living there. The natural beauty and challenging waves are indeed very interesting to be visited by most surf enthusiasts.
The main activity to do on the coast, with a time-frame of approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour from the city of Dompu, is of course surfing. This, along with wind surfing, or kite surfing are some activity choices offered here which you can watch or participate in upon arrival on the island. Aside from the regular tourists, who come and spend up to months here, this beach is also frequented by many enroute to Dompu city, closest town to famous Mt. Tambora.
Besides surfing, you can also swim off the beach, but be careful to remember the size and strength of the waves here are pretty fierce. Dangerous rocks are also widely scattered along the surrounding beach. However, the crystal clear sea water does make for an excellent snorkeling site. There are specific spots marked off especially for this particular activity because of the beauty of the coral reef and the variety of tropical fish to be seen.
You can also take sightseeing tours through the waters surrounding the beach by using a charter boat. You can obtain information for these tours at your hotel, or from a tourist booth along the beach. While on these tours you can also have the boat stop for fishing directly from the boat. If you’re lucky, while on this tour you might catch the glimpse of a passing dolphin’s fin breaking through the waves.
Exactly opposite Lakey Beach, there is another beach, opposite not only in location but in color. The sand covering this beach area is blackish in color. This beach is named Ria Beach. You can visit this beach for the unique experience and to enjoy the scenery from a different angle. A visit to this beach could turn into a full day excursion as well. There are cruise boats, with information available at your hotel or along the beach. It is suggested that you aim to arrive at this beach earlier in the morning before the sun is too hot and the waves get higher and stronger.
At dusk, watching the sun sink behind the horizon will be a one of a kind of luxury that nature offers before closing the day. The sea water will recede and local sea farmers will comb the sands collecting seaweed that the tide left behind on the rocks.
To get to Lakey beach, you need to fly in through the city of Bima on the eastern coast of Sumbawa. There are daily services with Citilink, and 4 times a week with Wings Air (recommended for passengers travelling with surfboards), from Bali to Bima’s main airport, the Muhammad Salahuddin. From Bima, you can take a taxi-bemo (public transportation) which will take you to Hu’u (about a 3 hour drive) for about Rp 300.000 per person in a car, or private transfers can be arranged for about Rp 750.000 per vehicle (maximum 4 people). From Hu’u, Lakey beach is around a 30-45 minutes drive.