Photo: The rice terraces of Krama Bura.

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For most travellers, Dompu, set roughly midway between Bima and Lakey, is just a transport hub. It’s one of those places where you get off one bus and onto another, or where your airport taxi takes a left and spirits you down to the waves at Lakey Peak.

There is of course though more to it. Dompu is the capital of the same-named regency, the third largest in Sumbawa. It occupies the northern coast of Saleh Bay (though not all the way north to the Flores Sea, as curiously that belongs to Bima), east about halfway to Bima and south encompassing Lakey and the surrounding area.

Small local house in Dompu town. Photo taken in or around Dompu, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Small local house in Dompu town. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Save the surfer statue roundabout and a sprawling traditional market, Dompu town has few attractions or points of interest for foreign travellers. It does have the closest international-access ATM to Lakey Peak though, so aside from the surfers transiting through from Bima, it does see a steady straggle of surfers riding back up to cash up for a few more days on the waves.

There are two points of interest though, which depending on the time of year, make spending a night in Dompu worthwhile. Feasibly fitted into a single busy day, leaving you free to push on to your next destination the next morning, we’re talking about the rice terraces of Krama Bura and the island of Gili Pudu in Saleh Bay.

Mohammad, friendly tailor of Dompu. Photo taken in or around Dompu, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Mohammad, friendly tailor of Dompu. Photo: Stuart McDonald

For both of these you will need your own transport, either your own rented motorbike (or car) or an ojek (or taxi). When the rice is in, the terraces at Krama Bura are spectacular. We saw them in the late afternoon, but they’re apparently even better in the early morning. If you’re in Dompu out of season for rice growing, then they’re not really worth the trip.

Gili Pudu, despite the litter that mars the beaches there, is well worth a trip year round, as long as you have some snorkelling gear to check out what lies beneath the waters: tonnes of fish. The coral isn’t world class, but if you’ve got the time, do visit.

Cooking up some takeaway for dinner. Photo taken in or around Dompu, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Cooking up some takeaway for dinner. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Dompu’s accommodation scene is limited and focussed on business travellers. A fairly new hotel has arrived on the scene though, run by an Indonesian travel enthusiast for all things Dompu. While we didn’t have time to fully explore Dompu’s culinary offerings, there’s enough around the centre of town to fill a belly. Dompu deserves a night.

One point worth mentioning is that in the late afternoon and well into evening, young Dompuians just love riding their motorbikes at very high speed around and around … and around … the central triangle of Dompu. Watch your step.

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Set between the Silo River to the north and the Laju River to the south, downtown Dompu is compact and easy to navigate. East-west running Jalan Sumbawa-Bima runs through the centre of town. Jalan Manuru Bata Dompu and Jalan Bhayaangkara run east-west and north-south below it to form a wonky triangle. At the eastern extreme of Jalan Sumbawa-Bima is a roundabout with a surfer statue at the centre and at the western extreme is a large mosque, opposite the Rinjani Hotel. It will take you 30 minutes to walk from one end to the other and then you’ll have Dompu covered.

Meet Gili Pudu. Photo taken in or around Dompu, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Meet Gili Pudu. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Most of the hotels and losmen are either on or just off Jalan Sumbawa-Bima, which changes name to Soekarno-Hatta while in town. The police station is on Jalan Bhayaangkara, not far from the surfer statue (watch out for getting booked here!) and Dompu Hospital is further down the same road. ATMs are all over downtown and the 3G signal is fine.

Dompu’s terminal bus station is to the west of town and is not well signposted. You will need to take an ojek or bemo to get there.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Dompu.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Dompu.
 Read up on how to get to Dompu.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Dompu? Please read this.
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