SUMBAWA BESAR REGENCY
is a large island to the east of Bali and Lombok. It is part of
West Nusa Tenggara province along with Lombok. There are hundreds
of small islands in this area in addition to the two major islands.
Sumbawa really belongs more to Eastern Indonesia than to the western
part of the archipelago. The effects of Hindu and Buddhist cultures
are minimal in Sumbawa (although there is a Balinese presence along
the northern coastal area), and although the island is predominantly
Muslim, the role of traditional culture is still very strong.
The slogan of Sumbawa Regency is: "B E S A
R" which stands for BERSIH, ELOK, SEHAT, AMAN DAN, RAPI, (Clean,
Beautiful, Healthy, Safe, and Proper). The regional government's
official website notes that Sumbawa still lacks sufficient medical
facilities to support public health, in particular a lack of doctors
and other health professionals. A public health center was recently
opened in Sekongkang, but adequate treatment for a serious illness
or accident requires a trip to Sumbawa Besar or Mataram, both of
which require a journey of at least four hours minimum.
The regional government has a six-year plan for
improving the lives of the island's residents. This plan includes:
Health (improving health service quality including equipment and
facilities), Education, Social Welfare (including reaching gender
equality), Agriculture (optimizing resources for improving agricultural
products), Industry, Trade and Cooperation (developing an economic
system that focuses on the fair market mechanism), Regional Finance
and Capital Investment, Manpower and Demography, Public Works and
Communication (improving transport and the use of water resources),
Agrarian Matter and Landscape, Living Environment and Natural Resource
(rehabilitating and conserving natural resources), Tourism, Art
and Culture (developing tourism based on natural and cultural tours,
as well as teaching traditional art and culture), Religious Life
Teaching (improving religious life through teaching and providing
praying facilities and by making the role of religious institutions
and social organizations to be teaching about living in harmony
with other religious people), Law and Society's Orderliness (creating
safe conditions based on the supremacy of the law and human rights);
Politic and the Efficiency of Apparatus (improving the quality of
public service through responsibility and the quality of government
institutions); Science and Technology (the application of right
and useful technology).
In many respects Sumbawa can be considered remote.
To get to Sumbawa from Bali most people take the ferry from Bali
to Lombok, travel overland to the eastern seaport in Lombok and
then take another ferry to Sumbawa, ending up in Poto Tano. From
there transportation is somewhat problematic. There are buses that
will take us on to Sumbawa Besar, the capital, or down the coast
road to the south, If traveling from Lombok, it is best to board
a bus there that will take us to our final destination in Sumbawa.
It is also possible to fly into Sumbawa Besar city on the western
side of the island, and Bima on the eastern side of the island.
A small airline called Tropical Air existed for a short while which
flew directly to Sekongkan where the surfing spots of Yoyo and Scar
Reef are located.
Sumbawa is known for its great waves and sandy
white beaches. Due to the somewhat trying process of getting there
and the scarcity of cheap tourist facilities, the island is not
visited much by non-surfing tourists which is unfortunate as the
parts of the island that have seen are quite beautiful. 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.
The pace of life on Sumbawa is definitely slower
than that in Bali. As most of the island is still developing, there
is a very rural feel to just about everywhere that you go, including
Sumbawa Besar, the capital of the western side of the island. The
mining company, New Mont, 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 speeded up the development
process on this side of the island.
West Sumbawa is mostly made up of hollow lefts
that are best accessed by boat charter. The charters will pull up
and anchor at the best breaks for easy access to the surf. This
area has many steep cliffs that offer scenic backdrops to the epic
surf. The Lake area can be accessed by charter, as well as by ferry
and overland transfers, or flights from Bali. Here there some hotels
and surf camps located right in front of the main breaks of Lackey
Peak and Lackey Pipe, with other waves within walking distance.
Most waves are a long paddle or walk across the reef depending on
the tide, reef booties are recommended.