The ninth largest island in Indonesia and separated from Lombok by the Alas Strait. Sumbawa is a deceptively larger island, bigger than Flores and fifty percent larger than Bali and Lombok combined. Its rich history is traditionally known as a source of sappanwood, honey, sandalwood and the climate of vast grasslands allow a healthy breeding ground for horses, cattle and deer hunting.
Boasting world class surfing, beautiful beaches stretching from east to west, tremendous wilderness and a variety of rugged landscapes which sprawl the landmass of the island. Its stretched landscapes boast volcanic ridges, terraced rice fields, dry expanses and sheltered bays many of which are protected.
Areas such as Moyo, Sangeang and Satonda are where stretches of white sand beaches and clear blue waters can be found yet almost no foreign travellers visit these untouched pieces of paradise. Something most would be unfamiliar with is Sumbawa’s production of top quality honey and wild horse milk. The milk from these animals is historically known for its curing properties to treat many modern day diseases.
Regular ferries and an airport at each end of the island make visiting Sumbawa and travelling along the archipelago fairly straightforward. However the trip to get there can take a little longer than visiting other Indonesian islands the scenic and cultural experiences are a reward you won’t get anywhere else.
Best known to tourists for its surfing opportunities – world class breaks on the Southwest Sumbawa and a second cluster of breaks in Central Sumbawa, Dompu Regency are both suitable year round with the best waves reported in June, July and August. The bays in these areas and off the north coast of Sumbawa tucked behind the bunny ears of the island are where you’ll find stunning coral fringed areas and the perfect spots to enjoy snorkeling and exploring the areas marine life.
The visitation of tourists is almost unknown in these parts which could be the reason for its well preserved culture and natural history. One of the most traditional festivals of Indonesia is the 1001 Sandalwood Horses Festival an exciting annual jousting celebration to highlight the islands sandalwood trading connection and the sandalwood ponies. The festival runs over multiple days and travels between the villages before a grand closure ceremony in Southwest Sumba. The festival also celebrates the traditional handwoven fabrics of Sumba and features hundreds of its finest weaving artisans.
Often overlooked for its dive opportunities the crystal clear waters, twisted peninsulas and protected bays of Sumbawa are a haven for an abundance of marine life, macro critters and pristine coral reefs. These sheltered areas with deep vibrant walls and steaming underwater volcanic vents are breeding grounds to an extensive list of sea life. Such as bumblebee shrimp, paddleflap rhinopia, lacy rhinopia, candy crabs, starry night octopus and bobtail squid. The areas around Sangean Volcano are also the perfect environment to spot almost every nudibranch possible. Diving in Sumbawa is suitable for all levels to explore the incredible flora and fauna. It’s a popular place for stag horn corals, elephant ear coral, turtles and often the mating ground of manadarin fish. An exclusive trip can be arranged to swim with whale sharks and may just be one of the most memorable experiences in the waters of Indonesia.
One can not go past the beauty of Moyo Island at the mouth of Saleh Bay and only a few kilometres off the north coast of Sumbawa. The island is a nature reserve of grassy savannah and forested areas. An ideal homeland for wildlife including wild oxen, native deer, wild boars, monitor lizards, 21 species of bat and massive amounts of crab eating macaques. Surrounded by stunning coral reefs, beaches and fine coral sand it’s best to visit during the months of June and July when seas are clear and visibility for scuba diving and snorkelling is optimal.
A real treat of the island is the Mata Jitu Waterfall. Accessible by boat the beauty is not only in the translucent water but the rock formations and stalactites which adorn the surface, created over hundreds of years. For the ultimate in rest and relaxation find retreat at the world renowned eco-friendly Amanwana Resort. Surrounded by the turquoise, coral rich seas of Flores the exclusive twenty luxury safari tent resort, proudly sits amongst lush rainforest. It delivers exceptional service, fine dining, unique activities and spa experiences set amongst the local tamarind trees. Anchor outside the resort or take in the islands stunning vistas and arrive by float plane from Bali to join your yacht.