Sumbawa is one of the 13,000 plus islands in the Indonesian archipelago. It is a large island to the east of Bali and Lombok. Sumbawa, along with Lombok, is part of West Nusa Tenggara. There are hundreds of small islands in this area in addition to the two major islands.
Sumbawa is known to some tourists for its great waves and sandy white beaches. Due to the somewhat trying process of getting there, the scarcity of cheap tourist facilities, and the absence of clear local sights (which are either unexplored or too expensive to explore), the island is not visited much by non-surfing tourists — which is unfortunate, as parts of the island are quite beautiful.
The effects of Hindu and Buddhist cultures are minimal in Sumbawa; the majority of the population are Muslims.
During the dry season (April to November), a lot of dust is blown up and around. Strong winds blow in off the ocean, and the lush green hills, mountains and valleys turn a dusty brown. When the rainy season begins, an amazing transformation takes place and the island becomes a lush jungle once again.
As most of the island is still developing. There is a very rural feel to just about everything, including Sumbawa Besar, the capital of the western side of the island. The mining company, Newmont, has a gold and copper mine down in the southwestern corner of the island around the villages of Sekongkang, Maluk and Benete. Their presence has sped up the development process in this side of the island.
Bahasa Indonesia is spoken widely in Sumbawa.
- 1 Sumbawa Besar — the capital, is on the western side of the island.
- 2 Bima is on the eastern side of the island.
- 3 Dompu is on the eastern side of the island.
- 4 Sape — ferry to Labuan Bajo in Flores
- Sekongkang — the surfing spots of Yoyo and Scar Reef.
- 1 Mount Tambora — a mighty volcano which is remote, rarely visited and even more rarely climbed.
- 2 Moyo — national marine park with superb diving and home to a remarkable Aman resort.
Sumbawa is considered somewhat remote even by Indonesian standards, and an overland-and-sea journey from Bali takes 15 hours beginning in Singaraja, Bali, and ending up in Poto Tano, the port on the western side of Sumbawa.
Only the cities of Sumbawa Besar (SWQ IATA) on the western side of the island and Bima (BMU IATA) on the eastern side of the island have regular air service. Transnusa flies to both cities from Denpasar (Bali) and Lombok about four times a week. Sekongkan also has an airport, but flights have been stopped for an indefinite period after a small airline called Tropical Air ceased operating.
To get to Sumbawa from Bali most people take the ferry from Bali to Lombok, travel overland to the eastern seaport in Lombok (Labuhan Lombok) and then take another ferry to Sumbawa, ending up in Poto Tano.
Executive class buses to Sumbawa (and Bima) are available from Jakarta.
Transportation on Sumbawa is problematic, and it's best to book ferries and buses as combined tickets, or you may get stranded in port for an indefinite time trying to get onward.
Ikan Bakar (barbecued fish) at the sole warung located at Telok Santong on the road between Sumbawa Besar and Bima In Maluk the Ikan Bakar at Warung Cotok Lamongan is equally good. Choose your own fish from the cool case, sit and have a drink and 15 minutes later you'll be in seventh heaven! In Taliwang try Ayam Taliwang, a dish now famous in other parts of Indonesia but beware - it's pedas! (spicy)
- Rantung Beach Hotel, Jl Lingkar Selatan Sekongkang Sekongkang Bawah, Sumbawa Barat, ☏ . On the edge of the beach just outside Sekongkang Village on the west coast of Sumbawa close to some of the best regional surfing spots such as, Yoyo's, Supersuck, Scar Reef and others. Good hospitality, relaxed atmosphere with clean and comfortable rooms, and a beachfront cafe with an Indonesian and western menu.