Sumbawa is often skipped by travellers, and if not passionate surfers, most of them would just pass through this island on their way to the more famous Komodo or Flores Islands. But whoever decides to stay for a bit will be well-rewarded.
The island of Sumbawa has astonishing scenery that combines secluded bays, abundant vegetation and majestic volcanoes overlooking sapphire seas. One of the less known islands in the Indian Ocean, yet a household name among all surfers – Sumbawa boasts stunning beaches and epic swells.
TOP SURFING LOCATIONS
1.The most popular Sekongkang & Maluk are the twin-spots where the (ill)famed Supersuck is located – the famed shallow lefthand barrel where the waves reach 3-4 m high. Yoyo and Scar Reef are another two well-known sites of the world-class surf. Sekongkang Bay has got some reasonably cheap, safe and clean accommodation, e.g. Rantung Beach & Maluk Beach.
2.The Coastline of Dompu, near Hu`u has also got top surf breaks. Lakey Peak is probably the most visited part of the island, exclusively by surfers. Note that in the main surfing season, the place gets often fully booked.
3.The roughest wave breaks are at the Wane Beach (Dedjoeng Wane), 1 hour south of Bima (Wara Point). This challenging surfing spot is only for the toughest ones (very poor facilities).
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WHERE TO STAY
There are three main towns on the island – Sumbawa Besar (which is also the gateway to the resort island of Moyo), Bima and Sape. These towns have a good range of accommodation. Besides, there are several surf camps around the island and basically, every of the above-mentioned surfing locations has got a good accommodation for the Westerners.
NOTE Booking in the peak season are essential as the accommodation is limited and the swell too attractive 😉
10 THINGS TO DO IN SUMBAWA (APART FROM SURFING)
1.Stroll through the local markets and taste the flavours of the Muslim food – the spice level in Sumbawa rises together with the ocean waves (every town has a small market – you choose!)
2.Tropical Beach – an idyllic, white beach with seaside resorts, beautiful coral reefs for snorkelling and diving
3.Swim in the refreshing Jereweh Waterfalls in the middle of the thick jungles of Sumbawa
4.Explore the countryside and forgotten villages of the island interior. The very strict Islamic community does not allow any married woman to uncover their face, except eyes.
5.Catch a wave in the Indian Ocean. There are numerous world-class surfing locations in Sumbawa, like Lakey Peak and Periscopes or the well-known YoYo & Scar Reef. SuperSuck is just for the brave ones really.
6.Pay a visit to the Sultan`s Palace in Bima and watch the regularly held dancing performances
7.Visit the isolated, yet ultra-posh private Moyo Island and stay in the gorgeous Amanwana Resort if your budget allows (bookings in advance)
8.Become one of the very few mountaineers and climb through virgin jungles, steep slopes and ridges to make it up to the summit of the active volcano Gunung Tambora (2751 m), one of the deadliest volcanoes in the world (3-day long route with a local guide ONLY)
9.Go camping to the Kenawa Island (take a ferry from Poto Tano), there are good facilities for camping, magnificent sunsets and beaches
10.Visit the Donggo tribal villages on the slopes off Mount Soromandi (near Bima) – they will take you back to the prehistoric times
Sumbawa is strictly a Muslim realm and the inhabitants are not much familiar with other fashion styles, so every visitor should be advised to dress conservatively unless in the ocean.
You will need to get around by scooter and the majority of roads in Sumbawa are unsealed and they get washed away during heavy rainfalls and that makes travelling here impossible.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The main surfing season runs between May and October, during the dry season and most of the island become accessible.
HOW TO GET THERE
Overland route from Labuhan/Lombok by slow ferry to Sumbawa/Poto Tano
Overland route from Flores/Labuan Bajo by slow ferry to Sumbawa/Sape
Most of the surfers will want to fly to Denpasar/Bali to catch a flight to Mataram/Lombok, hop on a shuttle bus to Labuhan Lombok from where there is a fast boat to Maluk/Sumbawa (see https://www.garuda-indonesia.com/)
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