Though well connected to Bali, Sumbawa is a very different kind of place. It is a lot less developed and mostly very dry and extremely conservative.
It is full of sheltered bays, volcanic ridges, terraced rice paddies and dry vast expanses.
This twisted island that sprawls out into the ocean is also a home of world class surfbreaks, with Lakey Peak in central Sumbawa being the epicenter of the surf action.
There are four major surf breaks crashing into one colossal bay lined with soft golden sand and dotted with bars and cheap accommodations.
Lakey Peak beach scene feels super different from the ones on the neighboring islands, so non-surfers come equipped with books or whatever floats your boat and holds your attention.
West Sumbawa with ominous sounding breaks, such as Supersuck and Scar Reef is also surfer magnet. The bays and beaches outside of Taliwang try to one up each other with their golden white sand and fairy tale views. One of the most spectacular ones is outside of a commercial hub of Maluk. The town is shabby, but the eponymous beach more than makes up for it. It is shielded by two headlands, so there is a great swimming in the shallows and when the swell hits, the reef crafts phenomenal barrels.
Within a walking distance south of Maluk is the famed Supersuck, consistently voted the best left in the world and many veteran surfers have declared it the best barrel of their lives. The gnarly surfers from Hawaii’s North Shore routinely come here, so that speaks volumes about the quality and allure of the Supersuck surfbreak.
In between the swells, Moyo Island just off the Northwest coast of Sumbawa is a good place to visit and its main attraction, the magical Mata Jitu Waterfall with its cascading pools filled with turquoise water. The area is so charming, it almost appears surreal and resembles more a 2D painting of a make-believe place. There are zero crowds and we visited twice during our short stay on the island exactly for that reason. Despite it being one of the most picturesque falls we’ve seen in all of Indo, it hasn’t yet been run over by the ferocious Instagrammers, so you don’t have to wait in line to take a plunge or a picture, so don’t forget to bring your swimmies. The atmosphere is very serene and peaceful.
Most overland visitors to Sumbawa never leave the bus to get from Lombok to famous Komodo Islands, but this slightly overlooked island offers natural delights to non surfers as well and is definitely worth exploring.
Words & Photos by Vero