Bali to Sumbawa

The rugged island of Sumbawa in West Nusa Tengarra is a remote yet beautiful place. Located to the east of Lombok, Sumbawa is just waiting to be discovered. It may take longer to reach but once you get to Sumbawa you’ll be rewarded with excellent surf and incredible views.

Bali to Sumbawa

Bali to Sumbawa

The slogan of Sumbawa tells you all you need to know about this island. B E S A R stands for Bersih, Elok, Sehat, Aman Damai, Rapi (Clean, Beautiful, Healthy and Neat).

Because this is a rural destination, Sumbawa lacks the tourism infrastructure of nearby resort islands Lombok and Bali. Visit here if you have a thirst for adventure and want to get a truly authentic experience of local culture. The pace of life in Sumbawa is slow. Local people are predominantly Muslim but traditional beliefs and practices also continue to influence daily life.

There are two main cultural groups on Sumbawa, the Tau Samawa in the west and the Dou Mbojo in the east, with an added influx of Sasak from Lombok. In parts of Sumbawa, traditional ways of living continue today. Many of the ritual events of old ways are still performed such as water buffalo racing and berempuk – a ritual boxing match.

Sumbawa horses and ponies are as famous in Indonesia as those of Sumba, and I have seen a number at Bali Equestrian Centre. In Sumbawa, races are run with jockeys as young as 5 years. If you want to see a variety of local horses, then the Bima Horse Fair is the place to be.

Other festivals to visit on Sumbawa are the Moyo Festival, usually held in September, Samawa Intan Bulaeng Festival and the Lakey Festival. At the Moyo Festival one may hear a combination of 850 Sunai flute players performing simultaneously, telling ancient stories through their instruments. Moyo Island is part of Sumbawa and because of its remoteness, is frequented by rich and royals looking for a private holiday. It is usually reached by sea plane, but can also be reached via boat; Amanikan Island Cruises is one of the few sailing ships that offers trips to the island.

The unique and colourful Mbojo fabrics of Bima are a part of the area’s rich heritage, giving an insight into the individuality of the people of Bima. The history of the colourful garments goes back to the time of the Sultanate of Bima, one of the Islamic empires which had a considerable influence in Eastern Indonesia. Every woman of the Mbojo tribe was expected to learn this ancient craft. Mothers who had not trained their daughters felt ashamed that they had failed in an essential duty. The government is trying to revive the industry as a tourist attraction. Previously “rimpus” used to be exported to the Moluccas, Kalimantan, Java, Sumatra and even Malaysia and China. Most are warn as traditional Muslim female attire, a combination of the clothes making a sarong and the headgear.

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