Wonderland in Slumberland - Sumbawa, a motorcyclist's dream.

merantau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Lombok Indonesia, Bendigo Australia
Bikes
Kawasaki KLX150, Honda Vario
If you find yourself washed up in Indonesia and fancy going for a ride take a tip from me - hire a bike in Bali (assuming you don't have your own wheels) and, after a few days cruising around some of the more scenic rural back roads, head east as quick as you can. South Bali, where most of the tourist infrastructure is concentrated, is be-set by traffic problems these days; riding is a chore.
Jump on one of these CIMG6110.jpg and head for the next island east - Lombok.

While there spend some time checking out the beaches in South Lombok both to the east and west of the hub - Kute or Kuta. There you'll find spots like these:
DSCN2861.jpg Tanjung Aan
DSCN2875.jpg Tanjung Aan looking west
DSCN2235.jpg Selong Belanak
DSCN1489.jpg Selong Belanak
DSCN1479.jpg Mawi Beach

When you've had a look around south Lombok, head for Pelabuhan Kayangan on the wast coast to catch the ferry for Sumbawa. It's about a 90 minute ride to Kayangan over good roads although the traffic between Kopang and Pringabaya can be quite heavy as the araa is heavily populated and it is the only west-east route across Lombok.

Ferries leave Kayangan every couple of hours for the 90 minute trip to Poto Tano on Sumbawa.
DSCN1734.jpg Kayangan harbour
DSCN1741.jpg Ferry leaving Poto Tano From here you can head to the south-west coast.
DSCN1746.jpg The beach at Jelenga site of Scar Reef surf break. There are a couple of places to stay here. Sumbawa sees few visitors.
DSCN1758.jpg Sekongkan Beach at dusk. Yo yo's surf break.
DSCN1770.jpg Beyond Sekongkan. The road is unmade, the forest pristine, the people few.
DSCN1769.jpg You can reach Lunyuk on the far south coast in about four hours.
DSCN0001.jpg Sekongkan Beach from the hill east of town.
DSCN0621.jpg Dusk at Sekongkan.
DSCN0625.jpg Sekongkan Beach. If you like beaches Sumbawa has plenty and you won't find any deck chairs or beach umbrellas.

DSCN1801.jpg Beyond Sekongkan you ride through beautiful forest for a few hours. There are no people.
DSCN1821.jpg And the occasional water crossing
DSCN1833.jpg The settled area begins again when you reach the coast before Lunyuk. Very fertile land.
DSCN1836.jpg From Lunyuk I turned left to cross over the island to reach the north coast. The road follows this beautiful valley. Traffic - negligible.
DSCN1843.jpg Forest - in abundance. Sumbawa has a small population and a mountainous interior. Subsistence agriculture and fishing are the mainstays of the economy apart from one giant enterprise - the Newmont gold and copper mine at Batu Hijau inland from Sekongkan
DSCN0692.jpg Headland at Sekongkan Beach
DSCN0705.jpg Maluk Beach
DSCN0697.jpg Maluk Bay
Copy of CIMG0781.jpg Between Sekongkan and a settlement called "SP3"
Copy of CIMG0739.jpg The little bay near Maluk that hosts Supersucks surf break. There is an abandoned hotel here.

CIMG0839.jpg This young woman used to supply my breakfast each morning - spicy rujak

CIMG0845.jpg Sumbawa Besar - clean and pretty green.
CIMG0852.jpg Stylish shophouse

CIMG0927.jpg These girls invited me in for a drink.

CIMG0847.jpg More shophouses.

CIMG0934.jpg These folks invited me to share their barbequed fish.
CIMG0943.jpg These guys were big Casey Stoner fans. Gambling on Moto GP is big among the biking fraternity in Indonesia.

CIMG4611.jpg Maluk Bay at sunset. Taken from the track that leads to Supersucks surf break.
CIMG3081.jpg From Hu'u a road heads vaguely east to Parado (according to the map!!!) It quickly becomes a track, then a goat track. At this spot I could go

no further so, reluctantly, headed back to Hu'u.

CIMG3146.jpg north-east Sumbawa. A lonely stretch of road that skirts the coast. Sangeang Api volcano simmers off-shore.
CIMG3439.jpg Endless sand bathed in the warmth of a tropical sun. The wind is in the palm trees ... who can resist the siren pull off the east?

CIMG3359.jpg Selong Belanak, Lombok. How did that get in here? Oh well!

CIMG4639.jpg Coast road, Sumbawa, heading east. A glorious ride. If you make it this way make sure you stop at "Warung ikan Bakar, Telok Santong" for barbequed fish. It's located after Plampang just where the road reaches the coast.



CIMG3107.jpg Bima Bay, Sumbawa.
 

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LivinLOS

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
Bikes
Gas Gas 250 (Trials), YZ250 (enduro), DRZ440 (Supermoto) CBR900 Streetfighter (scary !!)
Loved the scenery.. But had huge problems with locals in lombok.. Problems to the level of angry crowd chanting religious and anti western schtick.. throwing rocks at us.. Level of hassle..
 

LivinLOS

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
Bikes
Gas Gas 250 (Trials), YZ250 (enduro), DRZ440 (Supermoto) CBR900 Streetfighter (scary !!)
We had multiple experiences.. one with a group of very unfriendly locals who made it clear we were not welcome when we stopped halfway up the west coast going to the gillis.. Cant remember the town now.. But that was just unwelcome and vibes / evil stares / refused service etc..

On the way back down.. We got stopped by cops hunting for bribes, somewhere a few kms short of the ferry port back to Bali.. The usual Indo (cambo and all places) shakedown treatment of whitey that I can handle.. Comes with the turf.. But while we start haggling the bribe, mostly by my brother who is a decent enough Balinese speaker, and they are making out they need to arrest us, and we are making out we dont have a dollar.. Knowing we will get somewhere in the middle.. A crowd forms who really got ugly.. They started chanting down with Bush.. You support Israel.. (the fact neither of us are Yanks seemed to have missed them) as this was post gulf war 1 I think and pre war 2.. Was in the year or so after the Bali bombings... and various rabble rousers were shouting and getting the whole crowd hyped up and angry.. At this point I can see the numbers of angry young guys swelling and made it very clear to sam inside the police hut to hurry the fuck up and pay the man the extra dollar.. Then some rocks got chucked and even the cops seemed freaked (our Thai girls were by now in near tears) we pushed the girls into the police roadhut in case of chucked rocks hitting them and the the cops decided to give up our paperwork back and get rid.. By now there was 30 - 50 guys outside chanting and shouting, a real crowd.. I saw someone nick my sandals from the doorway and I ran out collared him and snagged them back as there was no way I was going back to Bali barefoot.. The cops were zero help just telling us to get out into the mob looking nervous too and I thought it was going to be my brother and I back to back going down swinging and a proper crowd stomp..

Anyway, we grabbed the girls.. Got the 10 feet to the bikes by virtue of some pushy shovey nonsense and lots of glaring snarling and attitude and no one had actually swung a punch.. Got the bikes going, girls on the back and ride through the parting tide of them.. as we rode away a few brave souls decided they were safe enough to make light swings at us and more our girls as pillions rather than us but it was one chucked rock or one swung punch from the whole thing going down and us being as news report.

The crazy thing was to this day I have no idea, outside of religious zealotry, caused it.. My brothers theory was they assumed we were with local Indo girls, hence indo hookers with tourists.. My brothers wife is a round flat faced girl who looks very Balinese, in fact when they lived there the locals all used to really assume she was a Balo and almost not believe she wasnt. Odd tho as most of the party girls on Bali are not Balinese anyway but Javanese.

I have had a few other 'spikey' type confrontation things in Indo.. Some Javanese dont seem to happy to meet westerners, in fact not much love lost between Balinese and Javanese sometimes... Then my brothers Javanese mate used to say "ohh you need to meet the Madurese.. They are the hot / hard heads" so no idea.

Long story short (too late) was a proper mob baying for our blood.. And one little bit of luck going another way and it could have been a life threatening beating, for reasons I dont know.

sorry to sort of derail your nice thread.. I love the scenery, have had great times in bits of Indo.. Even considered living there.. But you did ask ;)
 

CraigBKK

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Location
BKK, Thailand
Bikes
Honda CRF 1000L, 300L, SH 150
Loved the scenery.. But had huge problems with locals in lombok.. Problems to the level of angry crowd chanting religious and anti western schtick.. throwing rocks at us.. Level of hassle..

Prior to living on Java a for a few years I had a bad experience with locals in Lombok too. I hired a scooter and was doing a day trip around the island. The trip started badly as I got clobbered by the Police before I'd even left the resort for touching the solid white stop line with my front wheel. Court appearance next month blah blah. Cost me 100K Rupiah.

Later in the day I was on a country road with my Indonesian gf sitting pillion when these two local guys started riding closeup behind me intimidating us. I just kept riding like they weren't there and eventually they got bored and dropped back to let us carry on our trip. Never encountered anything like that before or since, anywhere.

Spent a fair bit of time in Indo in various capacities. Not a country I'm rushing to return to.
 

merantau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Lombok Indonesia, Bendigo Australia
Bikes
Kawasaki KLX150, Honda Vario
Now that you've put it in context (Gulf War time, travelling with g/fs) it becomes clear you have come across a couple of religious extremists who've seized the opportunity to big note themselves in front of a few of their mates and, as we know, wherever there are lots of people with not much to do, a mob forms in a flash. And how do you spell mob? TROUBLE. You are dead right in your assessment of the situation - you were indeed one rock/punch away from becoming a news item. However, this sort of mob violence is not limited to Lombok or indeed Indonesia, but is part of the furniture in many countries. As for the police - what can we say? It would take a revolution to improve the situation in Indonesia. I speak Indonesian, my wife is Indonesian but police in Bali have still tried to shake us down even though all our paperwork is in order. In their defense though it is true that thousands of tourists in Bali hire bikes/scooters without the required licence. It's a gold mine for the police
 

LivinLOS

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
Bikes
Gas Gas 250 (Trials), YZ250 (enduro), DRZ440 (Supermoto) CBR900 Streetfighter (scary !!)
I agree with all the above.. And should emphasize that I still enjoy the country a lot.. I would dearly love to ride from Thailand to Timor and back one day.. Its always on my brothers and I discussion list if it wasnt for the issues that everyone seems to have with the bent customs getting the bike in at the northern borders. We had many great times and some really good connection and vibes with some locals, possibly more 'real' feeling than a lot of Thai connection.

Bali was the first place in Asia I ever came to, at a time in my life when I was first making real money, and taking care of my mum etc after my old man left.. I knew that first trip I would be back to live in asia and only a few years later I was.. So it holds a very special place in my mind.. Its always like a bit of a doomed love affair tho, as its tinged by the undercurrent of over development, poor waste management, destruction of the places appeals (corruption, poverty, etc all being in the same mix).. But when you look from the cliffs, or up at the volcano ringed with some morning cloud, its a pretty amazing place.
 

Forest

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Bikes
Vstrom650,CRF250 , Ducati 900ss ,Yamaha YZ250, Virago 400 etc..
I agree with all the above.. And should emphasize that I still enjoy the country a lot.. I would dearly love to ride from Thailand to Timor and back one day.. Its always on my brothers and I discussion list if it wasnt for the issues that everyone seems to have with the bent customs getting the bike in at the northern borders. We had many great times and some really good connection and vibes with some locals, possibly more 'real' feeling than a lot of Thai connection.

Bali was the first place in Asia I ever came to, at a time in my life when I was first making real money, and taking care of my mum etc after my old man left.. I knew that first trip I would be back to live in asia and only a few years later I was.. So it holds a very special place in my mind.. Its always like a bit of a doomed love affair tho, as its tinged by the undercurrent of over development, poor waste management, destruction of the places appeals (corruption, poverty, etc all being in the same mix).. But when you look from the cliffs, or up at the volcano ringed with some morning cloud, its a pretty amazing place.

wow that is some story for sure Sefton...... hopefully things are a bit different now (??) :hmm I was actually planning to go in the new year.like feb/march..either fly to Bali&rent then Lombok -Sumbawa all the way to take a boat to Komodo island(bike left behind on Sumbawa,no roads there )
or post my bike to hatyai (4xxx bht that cheap!) then fly&ride throu Malaysia,Sumatra etc (*I guess u remember the thread about carnetDP possible in Malaysia?to cross the border in Sumatra should be relatively easy with it, u guys should join :DD ) this option is more time consuming,but i-d prefer to have my bike there..
anyway ,I did have mixed feelings going solo out there in remote Indo, I still do! ;) but I like to be positive so it should be fine...

merantau ,your opinion is that things cooled down?
 

merantau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Lombok Indonesia, Bendigo Australia
Bikes
Kawasaki KLX150, Honda Vario
"Things cooled down?" How long is a piece of string? With the situation in the Middle East there are always going to be some fanatics around and it's possible, but I think highly unlikely, that you might run into them. I'm not aware of any actions directed against foreigners/Western influence in recent years, apart from some raids by the FPI (Islam Defenders' Front) a while back who tried to close some bars in Jakarta. In my case, i reckon I've covered about 40,000 km in Bali, NTB and NTT in the last 7 years and have never felt I was in any danger. Haven't experienced any unpleasantness even. On the contrary I find Indonesians really welcoming - but then again I speak Indonesian and my first visit was in 1970. I would just be careful if, for example, you see a funeral procession or a big crowd milling around some sort of action - common sense really.
 

LivinLOS

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2011
Bikes
Gas Gas 250 (Trials), YZ250 (enduro), DRZ440 (Supermoto) CBR900 Streetfighter (scary !!)
The own bikes way would be a proper epic trip.. If you do end up doing one I have been mulling over for so long, I will be more than a little envious.

So many points on route I want to see.. Barabadur, the sulphur miners at Kawah Ijen, the cool high elevation places.. Nias island (could spend a couple of weeks here I hear and still enjoy it).. Etc Etc.
 

Chrismb

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2014
Bikes
KLX650R
Great pics, Merantau. I am planning on riding Sumbawa next year. I have ridden a fair bit of Lombok over a couple of trips in the last few years. Still have to finish the far north and the east coast.

I've never felt unsafe over there, in fact I feel safer over there than I do back home sometimes!
 

Forest

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Bikes
Vstrom650,CRF250 , Ducati 900ss ,Yamaha YZ250, Virago 400 etc..
The own bikes way would be a proper epic trip.. If you do end up doing one I have been mulling over for so long, I will be more than a little envious.

So many points on route I want to see.. Barabadur, the sulphur miners at Kawah Ijen, the cool high elevation places.. Nias island (could spend a couple of weeks here I hear and still enjoy it).. Etc Etc.

I like the idea of my own bike better , lately I customized panniers and a 16liters tank!(to a CRF) ..and yes that is a epic expedition all the way from CM/Pai!well ,get together with your brother and see .could even be possible at least share part of the ride(?) I was thinking end feb-march when the 'smoke'season comes and is awful..perfect to get out of here and go to the beach for a bit.anyway I'm very flexible on dates, routes/budget not a prob ;) would be nice if it happens.keep me posted
 

The Bigfella

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Aug 15, 2012
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KTM 950SER & EXC, BMW R90S & Dakar, MZ250, BSA B33, Norton 16H, Honda - 500 Fs & X, DRZs, XLs XRs CRFs CT110s etc
I rode through Sumbawa and Lombok in 2011. No trouble at all. Loved it. Did see some local working women in Lombok... a pair of them working together in Senggigi. Saw a lot more local working men though. I met my daughter on Gili Trawangan (she brought some tyres up for me, left them in Bali and came over on a fast ferry). One of these



It seemed that half the western women there had a local lad on her arm.



I was riding solo though, so didn't stir up the local lads.

Plenty of critters in the waters around the Gili islands... but the coral is a bit knocked around. Go out on a boat if you want better views than this



It is worth pointing out that Senggigi is near the stronghold of Jemaah Islamiyah - the terrorist perps of the 2002 Bali bombing. Nice sunsets from there...



I only spent a couple of days on Sumbawa.... had intended to go to Tambora, but got pointed the wrong way at some roadworks and just kept going



Sumbawa is noted as a "dry" island. No booze.... although there is an international hotel with some, somewhere... if that's your thing.

The main road should be perfect across the island now, as there was an Australian Aid project widening it from this



To this



Incidentally, in my whole time riding in Asia, the only cop who has tried to shake me down was the Thai cop who sprang me riding on the motorway near the airport in Bangkok. He wanted 5000 baht. I said no... arrest me... which he did. His boss let me go without paying a cent. This cop... and many others, just wanted a sit on my bike. This was in Dompu, Sumbawa

 

merantau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Lombok Indonesia, Bendigo Australia
Bikes
Kawasaki KLX150, Honda Vario
You are right about the road Big Fella. The Aussies did a really good job. Two years have passed since completion and it's still in excellent shape. The road to Tambora too is new. In '09 in took me 6 hours - now less than 2 would do it. BTW April 15 next year is the 200th anniversary of the eruption so if anyone planning a trip to Indonesia ...
 

colvfrfg

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2012
Location
Bandung, West Java
Bikes
Kawasaki KLX 250S, Suzuki TS125
Hi Steve,
Excellent photos! Sumbawa is a beautiful island.
So, the road to Tambora has been repaired, it must be a lot easier for the locals now. I was last there in 2011 and if using a trail bike it wasn't a problem but for the 'matics' an absolute nightmare!
We are planning to be at Tambora for the celebrations in April next year, not sure yet how many of us from Bandung will be there, at least 6 bikes.
We found an abundance of ice cold Bintang at Lackey beach (they wouldn't serve it to us unless there was ice inside the bottle :))
Colin
 

merantau

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Location
Lombok Indonesia, Bendigo Australia
Bikes
Kawasaki KLX150, Honda Vario
Yes, Colin you are right about Lakey - the beer is always cold. You can also buy beer in Maluk at a Chinese-owned shop in the main street and at Sekongkan and I imagine Jelenga too. I'm pretty sure you could track down a beer in any of the larger towns too. In 2009 I rode to Pancasila on a Vario so know what you're talking about. Took about 6 hours to do 120km. I had a minor stack too 'cos ended up travelling too fast for the conditions. Am hoping to make it back to Tambora in April next so keep in touch
 
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