Sumbawa

Overview

Introduction

Sumbawa is an elongated, mountainous island reachable from Lombok in Bali by daily ferry. If you're looking to balance an out-of-the-way retreat with reasonable access to things to do, it hits the mark. You can see all of the sights in one day, but the ferry ride is just under two hours each way. Book a night or two so you can relax and enjoy it.

Life on Sumbawa is friendly and relaxed, even by Indonesian standards, and centered around the small town of Sumbawa Besar, which is also the ferry landing. You won't find ornate museums or air-conditioned megamalls in Sumbawa Besar, but its local market and early sultan's palace make for interesting touristing. Tourism infrastructure is primitive by the standards of nearby Bali, but comfortable and safe. If your timing is right, you can catch the local sports of water buffalo racing or berempuk boxing.

The real draw of Sumbawa is the outdoor experiences. Local surfing is world-class, rewarding boarders with challenging yet not life-threatening waves that drop you on white-sand beaches. Divers and snorklers report the view beneath the surface is just as compelling, with diverse coral reefs within easy reach. On land, trekking offers unbroken views of the same beaches that draw the surfers, and there is a 9,236-ft/2,815-m high volcano for visitors to climb.

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