AND THE REST OF EAST NUSA TENGGARA
the size of Sumbawa is three times the size
of Lombok, it holds just one-third the population
- or approximately 1.000,000 people."
Sumbawa's terrain is rough and mountainous
and has none of the fertile plain that grace
south central Lombok. On a map, the outline
of the island is controlled by capes, peninsulas
and deeply cut bays. The 15,600 square kilometer
island stretches 280 kilometers from east
to west and varies from 15 to 90 kilometers
85 percent of Sumbawa are too mountainous
to farm, but rich volcanic soil of the river
valleys yields bumper crops, These valleys
were the sites of many petty states, the
island's first political units.
is part of the volcanic northern chain of
East Nusa Tenggara, and while activity took
place over the eras, no single explosion
seems to have been as dramatic as the Mt.
Tambora eruption of 1815. According to the
Guinness Book of World Records, this was
the greatest eruption in known history.
Over 36 cubic kilometers of rock and ash,
including the top third of the volcano,
were propelled upward, leaving Tambora truncated
and creating, huge caldera.
you stepped off the Lombok ferry at Poto
Tano, in West Sumbawa, you have two basic
choices: head south to Taliwang, or head
east to the area around Sumbawa Besar, and
on to the Bima district.
south usually head as far as Taliwang from
the ferry landing, and trucks over the rest
of the way to the south coast, leaving Taliwang
early each morning. But is still best to
hire a jeep or Kijang (a locally built utility
you leave the ferry landing area at Poto
Tano (Poto means 'harbor' in Samawa), you
are greeted first by long, rectangular houses,
neatly aligned and perched on stilts. It's
10 kilometers to the main road, and then
another 33 kilometers to Taliwang.
is not a very attractive town. There are
lots of dogs and several nondescript mosques.
If you came by bus, you'll have to stay
overnight to catch a truck south the next
Taliwang speak a distinct dialect. Many
have immigrated west to Lombok, bringing
with them their taste of Ayam Taliwang,
a delicious type of spicy chicken.
1 kilometer south of town, turn west, at
the end of an 8-kilometer road you'll find
Labuhan Balat, a wide, curved beach of yellowish
sand. The beach is walled in by high cliffs.
are a few huts and fishing canoes and a
big, crumbling, colonial port building.
In Dutch times, before the main road was
built, Labuhan Balat was the shipping center
of southwest Sumbawa.
kilometers south of Taliwang, the road leads
to Poto Batu, on the sea at the head of
a long, wide estuary. The place is popular
with the residents of Taliwang on weekends,
and there are a couple of good stretches
of beach - you can follow the sand all the
way to Labuhan Balat.
Lalar, A Bajau village of huts perched on
black sand, is 3 kilometers further. This
ist he only seaside Bajau village in the
area, the rest of the people here are an
inland farmer. Boats occasionally make the
run from here to Lombok , and during the
morning hours, delicious fresh fish can
be bought at Labuhan Lalar's small market.
little town of Jereweh, 15 kilometers from
Taliwang and just across the Tiu River,
is the last town before the road becomes
terrible and the scenery becomes fantastic.
There is a fairly well stocked store here
for last minute supplies. If you are around
just prior to planting season, ask if there
are water buffalo races (kerapan kerbau).
It's worth staying around, or returning
for the event.
district capital of the western part of
the island is a large town just one redeeming
feature for the visitor: an old palace built
in 1883. Sumbawa Besar's Palace was partially
restored a century later, with the only
aesthetic blunder being a concrete apron
in front of the main entrance. The palace
is worth a short visit. Just grab a horse
drawn dokar from anywhere in town. There
is also the large Seketeng market cum bemo
station, at the eastern edge of town.
Island, to the northeast of Sumbawa Besar,
offers some of the very best snorkeling
in Indonesia. Beautiful, untouched corals.
Moyo also offers bird lovers with 3 number
of species to see. There are also deer,
boar, banteng (looks like something in between
a cow and a water buffalo), fruit bats,
snakes and lizards.
the north coast of the island, outside of
the reserve, there are a couple of villages
- Labuhan Aji and Sebotok - and several
hamlets. The farmers here raise water buffalo,
horses and goats and all the inhabitants
do some fishing. Coconuts and bananas are
the most important crops.
Island is the right place for lovers of
nature and the underwater world. But for
those seeking a look at the traditional
village life of Sumbawa, the hilltop village
of Tepal, where many pre-Islamic beliefs
are honored, is the place to visit.
Tepal requires an 8-hour walk from Batu
Dalang, which is south west of Sumbawa Besar,
at the limit of a vehicular traffic.
village, located on a hill above the river
used for bathing, has maintained its traditions
in great part due to its isolation. While
no Japanese tour groupshave yet invaded
the village, the occasional foreign traveler
makes it to Tepal, so the people are accustomed
to strange ways and faces. It's no problem
to find a place to sleep - check in the
kepala desa, but bring whatever goodies
you can't live withoutand share them with
250-km stretch of road between Sumbawa Island's
two regional capitals has recently been
upgraded to a wide, well-surfaced highway.
The regular buses take about 7 hours. Traveling
east from Sumbawa Besar to Bima, the first
part of the ride relatively boring, but
the second half offers much better scenery.
DRAGON LIZARD OF KOMODO
dragon is the largest known monitor lizard
(Varanus sp.), a genus whose members are
distinguished by their voracity and opportunistic
feeding habits. Monitor's also called goanna
lizards in Australia got their name because
it was believed that they warned of the
presence of crocodiles.
Island and neighboring Rinca are between
Sumbawa and Flores, approximately east of
Bali. There is just one village in Komodo
and the 600 hundred or so Komodo Islanders
cling precariously to the Eastern Shore.
Despite the small size of the community,
they have developed their own distinct dialect.
is a long, narrow rugged island with dramatic
volcanoes, beautiful mountain lakes, grassy
savannah and mountain forests. The landscape
is beautiful in an untamed way, and yet
it is one of the least visited parts of
is the largest town in Flores, and is set
on the island's south coast, nestled in
the crook of a small peninsula. Most of
the shipping activity is concentrated in
40 km from Ende is Mt. Keli Mutu with three
volcanic crater, each filled with a lake
of different colors. The landscape surrounding
the lakes is barren and Grey, and in this
setting the collors are nothing less than
astonishing. In fact, visitors to Keli Mutu
might as well as be advised to bring offerings
to Konderatu and Bobi, if they want a clear
morning in which to view the three lakes.
capital of Flores that lies in the island's
hub of communications, with a wide range
of accommodations and many of Flores' attractions.
villages south and west of Maumere offer
a gamut of attractions: a regal treasure
of 17th century elephant tusks, the only
real museum in the province, splendid views
onto the Flores and Savu seas, ikat weaving,
and a sacred spot reserved for ancestor
Sumba especially the West can be an experience
to treasure if one has an appreciation for
many villages - recently commercialized,
Tarung is a glaring exception - locals don't
quite know what to make of western visitors.
They stare in disbelief at camera wielding
foreigners who, unfortunately, often disregard
the first rule of Sumbanese courtesy: sharing
betel nut and chatting with one's hosts.
most spectacular ceremony in Sumba is the
Pasola, a ritual fight with spears featuring
hundreds of horsemen. It is a wild and martial
event, and although the government now insists
on blunt spears, serious injuries are common
and there are occasional deaths.