Sumbawa Besar

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Sumbawa Sumbawa Besar

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Introduction

Sumbawa Besar is the capital of Sumbawa Regency, the largest regency of Sumbawa Island in area. It still is the largest even after it lost terrain to West Sumba regency which was separated from Sumbawa regency in 2003. Tourists who stick to the Trans Sumbawa Highroad see only Sumbawa Besar, perhaps with a sidetrip to Moyo Island. To explore Sumbawa Regency it is well doable to cross it from north to south, ending up in Lunyuk where there is some modest accommodation. One can return the way one came, or make a round trip from Lunyuk via Sekongkang, Taliwang and Poto Tano back to Sumbawa Besar.

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Sights and Activities

Museum Dalam Loka

Museum Dalam Loka

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  • Museum Dalam Loka - Dalam Loka Palace is a two-storey wooden palace on stilts, said to be the largest of its kind in the world. It was constructed in 1885 of teak wood without the use of nails. The number of stilts is said to be 99, a referral to the 99 perfect qualities of ALLAH SWT. Sultan Muhammad Jalaluddin Syah (1883-1931) lived here with his family until his death. The next sultan chose to live in a more western style house, the Balai Kuning. Since then the Dalam Loka Palace fell in disrepair, and has been renovated in 1979-1985 after which it was designated as a museum. Further maintenance has been done in 2001 with Japanese aid and in 2011. Address: Jalan Dalam Loka 01, Sumbawa Besar.
  • Balai Kuning - The Balai Kuning (Yellow House) is a short walk up the road from Dalam Loka. It is said that descendants of the sultan still live there and have a small museum. But chances are that they are not home or do not answer the door.
  • Snorkeling - There are at least two good snorkeling sites in the vicinity of Sumbawa Besar. Easiest to reach is Kencana Beach. Even if one does not stay at the cottages of that name, one may come here for snorkeling. After all, access to the beach is free. The sea gardens are quite close to the beach, the best are east and west of centre. When you go near the cliffs (but not too near!) you find underwater rock formations full of corals. Address: Jalan Raya Tano km 11 (Badas), Sumbawa Besar.. If you can spare the time and money to go there, the corals at Tanjung Pasir (Sandy Cape) are even more beautiful than those at Kencana Beach. Tanjung Pasir is the name of the south-eastern corner of Moyo Island, 3 kilometres from the coast off Sumbawa Island. To get there you have to hire a boat at the fishermen’s village Ai Bari, 20 kilometres north-east from downtown Sumbawa Besar. Ask around for Bapak Abdulahi alias ‘Mr. Bent’ who used to serve as boatman for the forest police. If by bad luck he is not available, see whoever else you can strike a deal with.
Sarcophagi at Aik Renung

Sarcophagi at Aik Renung

© theo1006

  • Aik Renung Megalithic Tombs - The stone age or megalithic era is not that long ago in Sumbawa. At least considering that the sarcophagi at Aik Renung are dated at just 2,000 years ago. The sarcophagi consist of rectangular cavities hewn in boulders. They were covered with rocks shaped as traditional roofs - some of these cover stones are broken or lie aside. Rough reliefs of humans and animals have been chiselled on the surface of the boulders. It is thought that these refer to the individuals buried there, likely chiefs or local kings. It is hard to find the site without a guide. Ask a villager of Batu Tering village to guide you, or apply to the official caretaker at Sebasang Ketanga village. When returning from Aik Renung you might have a picnic at the Batubulan reservoir. Address: Aik Renung hamlet, Batu Tering village, Moyo Hulu district.
  • Batu Tering Cave - The guide bringing you to the Aik Renung tombs will also offer to show you Batu Tering Cave. The irregularly shaped hole in the rock in not that impressive, but the nature hike towards it wading through a river is worth while.
Batu Bulan Reservoir

Batu Bulan Reservoir

© theo1006

  • Batubulan Reservoir - The dam in Moyo river at Batu Bulan village has created the largest artificial lake in Sumbawa Island and the second largest in Indonesia. The reservoir was inaugurated in 2002 by then president mrs Megawati Soekarno Putri and irrigates over 5,000 ha of land. The large lake would be ideal for water sports, but these have not yet been developed. Just horses and cows know their way to come for a drink and go back home. Address: Batubulan village, Moyo Hulu district, Sumbawa regency. The lake is just 1 kilometre from the main road.
  • Sumbawa Besar to Lunyuk road - If you have your own wheels, motorcycle or rented car, the 90 kilometres road from Sumbawa Besar to Lunyuk makes an interesting side trip. After about 15 kilometres you pass the turnoff to Batu Bulan Reservoir and after another 3 kilometres the turnoff to Batu Tering village for the Aik Renung tombs and the cave. The road then follows the valley of Moyo river and past the water shed it hugs Beh river, passing through several villages. The main traffic on the road are trucks hauling rice from Lunyuk. They take a break at Melake river bridge 30 kilometres from Lunyuk, where monkeys come begging for food. Other encounters on the road are monitor lizards and birds.

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Getting There

By Plane

Sultan Muhammad Kaharuddin III Airport (SWQ IATA), also known as Brang Bidji Airport, has flights by Garuda Indonesia and Wings Air from Lombok.

By Bus

Tiara Mas offers daily direct transfers to Sumbawa Besar from Mataram for Rp 70,000. Leaves 9:00am, 12 noon, 3:00pm and 7:00pm. Takes 7 hours. Including ferry. Tiara Mas office Mataram: Jl. Pejanggik 108a Phone: 0370642597. Office Sumbawa Besar Jl. Yos Sudarso Depan Kodim. Phone 037121241. You can also book for Tiara Mas from the Perama office in Senggigi for 125,000 including pickup from your hotel with transfer to Mataram.

Update Feb 2016: a number of big buses (coaches) leave Mataram in the afternoon between 3-4:00pm bound for Flores. Cost until Sumbawa Besar 175-200,000 incl. Ferry, arriving in Sumbawa Besar around 9:00pm.

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Eat

  • Warung Makan Cita Rasa - There are few places to have one’s lunch along the road between Sumbawa Besar and Dompu. At Empang, halfway between the two towns, a Javanese couple runs Warung Makan Cita Rasa. They’ll serve you even during fasting month. On the main road, 700 metres west of Empang bus terminal.

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Sleep

  • Kencana Beach Cottages - Kencana Beach means Golden Beach, and indeed this is a perfect beach. A small bay bordered by cliffs with white sand in between. Clear water and fine corals within easy reach of the beach. From the cottages in a garden setting it’s a few steps to the beach. There is a swimming pool for those who have enough of salt water, and a restaurant with sea view. On the eastern cliff is a Hindu temple that belongs to the property. If you have no need to stay in town, we think this is the best place to stay, 11 kilometres west of Sumbawa Besar. Address: Jalan Raya Tano km 11 (Badas), Sumbawa Besar. Phone: +62.813 3981 4555.
  • Penginapan Bu Siti Nur - There is not much choice of accommodation in Lunyuk. The government guesthouse (pasanggrahan) at the town square seems to open up only for government employees. The rare commercial or recreational traveller is welcome in Penginapan Bu Siti Nur (Mrs. Siti Nur’s Homestay). Her rooms are clean but have no AC and the bathroom is shared. Just a few steps away is a modest restaurant (Warung Sederhana) serving bami goreng and nasi goreng. Address: Jalan Sultan Zainuddin, Lunyuk, Sumbawa Besar regency.
  • Hotel Bala Kemar - Since the Trans Sumbawa Highroad has been improved, one can cover the distance between Sumbawa Besar and Dompu (200 kilometres) easily in a day. If one would take it more slowly, the only option to stay over halfway is Hotel Bala Kemar in Empang. The hotel counts twelve bungalows built of wood and bamboo. Each unit can accommodate three and has a bathroom with squatting toilet. Breakfast is not included, but there is Warung Makan Cita Rasa at 1.5 kilometres distance towards Sumbawa Besar. Address: Jalan Merdeka 82, Empang (Trans Sumbawa Road, 800 metres north of Empang bus terminal). Phone: 0373.691061.
  • Hotel Tambora, Jl Kebayan. Has nice rooms for 120,000 with aircon and tv, incl. breakfast. Beds ok. Nothing glamorous, but quiet and friendly staff. The hotel also has less expensive rooms available. From 80,000.
  • Hotel Dewi, Jl. Sultan Hasanudin (Ojekdrivers will know, from Busstation about 20.000 Rp), ☎ +62 81917677724. Basic place, a bit run down, cold showers. Reception 24h, good for late arrivals, but mosque and school nearby, so early morning wake up. 150,000 no AC, 200,000 AC as of July 2016.
  • Hotel Dian, Jl. Sultan Hasanudin. Very basic place. Rooms start at 100,000 without AC and squatting toilets. Rooms and beds are a little bit messy. Across the road from hotel Dewi.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.

Post

Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.

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This is version 13. Last edited at 19:19 on Sep 7, 19 by theo1006. 2 articles link to this page.

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