Photo: Gili Paserang viewpoint.

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If you’re arriving in Sumbawa from Lombok by ferry, your first port of call will be Poto Tano, Sumbawa’s primary western port. Poto Tano is home to no fewer than eight glistening islands, a couple of which are well worth visiting, so don’t be too fast rushing off onto the mainland.

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Keep reading to learn more about Poto Tano!

Poto Tano perches along the eastern coast of a chicken-leg like peninsula that juts out into the Alas Strait. Surrounded by small coral- and mangrove-fringed islands and backing onto some spectacular hills, this is a welcome taster to Sumbawa proper.

Take me somewhere. Anywhere. Photo taken in or around Poto Tano, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Take me somewhere. Anywhere. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The port (there is no real town to speak of) passes by in the blink of an eye and then, a few hundred metres down the road, there is a small fishing village from where you can hire boats to some of the nearby islands to either visit on a day trip or camp on.

In the mornings, buses may meet arriving (and departing) ferries but as the afternoon drags on, aside from through-buses (ie those using the ferry), the bus traffic drops right off. If you’re not on through-transport, try to arrange yourself to be arriving at Poto Tano in the morning rather than the afternoon for the best chance of onwards transport that doesn’t cost the earth.

Hello Gili Paserang. Photo taken in or around Poto Tano, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Hello Gili Paserang. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Most will be pushing on elsewhere, but if you arrive early, and have time on your side, consider doing a half-day boat trip out to one of the surrounding islands. While there are eight in total, we recommend Gili Paserang or Gili Kenawa. If you have time for just one, and want to snorkel, definitely go to Gili Paserang. If you have less time/money and are less fussed about snorkelling, go to Gili Kenawa. If you have time and money, go to both!

Boats can be arranged in the fishing village. Just be sure to let the boatman know what your onwards travel plans are and he’ll be able to advise what time you need to be back by to catch an onwards bus.

We camped for two nights on the south coast of Gili Paserang and highly recommend it. You’ll need to bring all your own kit (including water) but the rewards more than make up for the effort. Boatmen in Poto Tano are happy to drop you off and pick you up again a couple of ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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What next?

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

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