Best months:
March to September


Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 03/01/2008
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Sadalmelik: Topographic map of Sumbawa, Indonesia. Created with GMT from SRTM data; Sep 11, 2007

Sumbawa is one of the numerous islands in the Indonesian archipelago. It is a large island with the total area of 15,448 km², located to the east of Bali and Lombok. Sumbawa is known to some tourists 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 parts of the island are quite beautiful.


J. Patrick Fischer: Map showing the Lesser Sunda Islands (Nusa Tenggara); 13 August 2006

The surfing dream continues on to the Island of Sumbawa. A lot of far less crowded options here, suiting both newcomers to the region or those with Bali burnout. Surf camps and tours abound, be wary and do your research, you will not be disapointed.


Maximilian Dörrbecker: Pelni Shipping Routes 2006; October 2006

There are many ways of getting around Indo: by plane, bus, car, boat, train, ojek or becak. The last one, pronounced as "BEH-chuck", is a tricycle (pedicab) transportation mode for short distances such as residential areas in many cities. The better your communication skills are, the less you will pay and check the cost beforehand. By the way, there are no becak in Jakarta. Instead, there is the motorized bajaj (BAH-jai). In some other provinces (eg. North Sumatra, Aceh) there are motorbikes with sidecars, known as bentor (short for becak bermotor).

Ojek is motorcycle taxi, which you may want to take if you're in such a hurry that you're willing to lose a limb to get there.

Car is not the safest way to travel as well – rules on the roads are ignored, driving on the road shoulder is common, buses speed like maniacs and stop without warning, pedestrians cross the road anywhere, even across highways…and police is not doing anything about this mess. So it’s your decision, mates. Just in case you still decide to hire a car, the traffic moves on the left in Indonesia.

Not sure if you should consider bus as well…drivers are often drunk, on drugs or just reckless; keep an eye on your bags at all times and avoid overnight journeys in the wilder parts of the country (notably South Sumatra).

Travelling by plane is probably the safest option, though the safety record of the smaller companies is dubious. But the good thing is that a select a few carriers, such as Garuda, Lion Air, and Mandala among others, have recently bought brand new planes straight from an aircraft manufacturer which have replaced some of the older planes in their fleet. So the situation is a bit better, though be prepared that many carriers have poor on-time records and frequent cancellations.

Ferries are very popular and with PELNI (the largest company) you can go to practically every inhabited island in Indonesia. But as usual, safety records are poor, so look for safety devices on board and postpone your trip if the weather is bad.

Java by far has the best railway network; some parts of Sumatra are covered as well. Journey will take quite a long time, but the scenery is a bonus. Be aware of theft and lock your doors at night.

where to stay

Jpatokal: Beach, Seminyak, 3 October 2005

Hotel Aman Gati, which is located at the famous Lakey Beach, would be an ideal option for surfers looking for home-feel accommodation. The garden at the hotel is filled with colour and life - a rampage of tropical greens and stunning seasonal blooming flowers, providing you with a welcoming and warm feeling.

In the centre of the garden sits the Flamboyan Coffee Shop – used as the meeting spot for all friends and “locals” to plan for activities over breakfast, sharing a snack or a beer whilst watching over the sunset.
This resort offers access to surfing all year round, but the best time to surf this area would be between December and March.

what to pack

Fir0002: Canon-Deluxe Backpack-200-EG; 26 June 2005

Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more. 

Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot weather. A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life.  Women: remember to take a good flat pair of shoes.... And for everybody: pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.

And take a good protection for your camera from the sand.  

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