Home to renowned surfing spots, the rugged island of Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara is a remote yet beautiful place. Located to the east of the more famous Lombok island, Sumbawa is just waiting to be discovered. It may take longer to reach but once you get to Sumbawa you’ll be rewarded with excellent surf and incredible views.
This island is best known for its waves, sandy beaches and wild terrain. With great surf and spectacular coral reefs, the majority of travelers to Sumbawa come to surf and dive.
The slogan of Sumbawa tells you all you need to know about this island. B E S A R stands for Bersih, Elok, Sehat, Aman Damai, Rapi (Clean, Beautiful, Healthy,and Neat).
As this is a rural destination, Sumbawa lacks the tourism infrastructure of nearby resort islands like Lombok and Bali. Visit here if you have a thirst for adventure and want to get a truly authentic experience of local culture.
The pace of life in Sumbawa is slow. Local people are predominantly Muslim but traditional beliefs and practices also continue to influence daily life.
There are two main cultural groups on Sumbawa, the Tau Samawa in the west and the Dou Mbojo in the east. In parts of Sumbawa, traditional ways of living continue today. Many of the ritual events of old ways are still performed such as water buffalo racing and berempuk – a ritual boxing match.
Climb to the top of the highest mountain in Sumbawa, Mount Tambora which is 2,851 meters high. This volcano spectacularly erupted in 1815 but has since lay dormant. Hike to the rim of the volcano and peer over the edge into the crater’s remarkable gigantic hole that is over 3 km wide. Surfers will flock to Maluk village where a superb white sand beach and turquoise waters can be found. If you are a pro surfer try hitting the famous Supersuck – a reef break that gives rides up to 100 meters long.
Sumbawa Besar is the main town of West Sumbawa. The Dalam Loka (Sultan’s Palace) is the main tourist attraction here. It was built in 1885. Visit the remains of this imposing palace which covers almost an entire block. During festival times you may be lucky enough to see traditional Sumbawan fighting, called berempah. This is a type of bare fisted boxing. The surf at Hu’u and Lakey beach in East Sumbawa attracts surfers from around the world. The best surf is between June and August. The picturesque village of a Rite is filled with traditional Bima-style houses with rice granaries called lengge.
First make your way to Lombok. From Lombok, you can take a ferry to Poto Tano in West Sumbawa.
Some resorts can arrange a private sea plane from Bali directly to Sumbawa or a fast boat from Lombok.
On Sumbawa, there are public buses which run on the islands main highways. Car hire is possible through hotels in Sumbawa Besar of Bima. Motorcycles can also be rented.
If you want a more authentic experience, try a traditional horse cart – called a benhur – to explore around Sumbawa Besar.