Home to one of Sumbawa's best waterfalls

Sumbawa’s northern coastline between Sumbawa Besar in the east the Poto Tano in the west doesn’t deliver much in the way of spectacular views, save the distance ridges and ranges that run up to the summit of Olet Sangenes, the highest point in western Sumbawa at 1,840 metres. On Google Earth at least the densely forested peak and crater look remarkably like an extinct volcano.

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Around Sumbawa

Sumbawa is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Sumbawa as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Sumbawa’s different areas.

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On the northwest side of the peak, the slopes tumble down, eventually falling into the Flores Sea, just to the east of the town of Alas. A mere 20 minutes’ inland from Alas will bring you to the charming ricefield village of Merente.

Just another rice field valley… : Stuart McDonald.
Just another rice field valley… Photo: Stuart McDonald

In Merente you’ll find a small community-based tourism scheme underway, where you can stay in a local’s house, explore the village, and trek to the beautiful Agal waterfall. The waterfall alone makes a visit here well worthwhile, but the village is also close to a refreshing swimming hole (part of the same river that Agal dumps into). This is a pleasant, laidback spot, where you’ll feel welcome and be encouraged to take a closer look at what rural village life in Sumbawa is like.

Lodgings and food are simple and the smiles are fast. There’s plenty of opportunity to get involved. The day we showed up our host invited us to go fishing with him to catch dinner (our talent as a fisherman saw us with eggs on rice rather than fish for dinner).

The waterfall walk takes two hours (each way) and is well worth it — the waterfall is truly spectacular — and there are a couple of other minor walks you can do. There’s also a second waterfall you can visit, Saketok Waterfall, but we were unable to visit this time around due to adverse weather.

Overall, if you have time, a visit to Merente is highly ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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