Sumbawa Besar

Sumbawa Besar

A friendly hub for exploring

The second biggest city in Sumbawa, Sumbawa Besar (often confusingly just referred to as Sumbawa) sits towards the west of the island, more or less below Moyo Island and the western extent of Saleh Bay. It’s home to Sumbawa’s second airport, with flight connections to Lombok and Bali.

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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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While Besar can mean “big” in Indonesian, in the case of Sumbawa it is also used as an acronym for Bersih (clean), Elok (Beautiful), Sehat (Healthy), Aman (Safe) and Rapi (tidy) — this kind of thing is a popular trend in Indonesia, but in this case it is catchy and also true.

Street art and friendly people. : Stuart McDonald.
Street art and friendly people. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Sumbawa Besar is a bit of a sprawling city. If you arrive in the evening from anywhere to the east, your bus will have you skirting the city on the western bypass road (which passes right in front of the terminal bus station to the west of town), from where you can look across and see the city lights.

Despite its size, the central area is both easily walkable and very friendly. The airport is located just a 15-minute walk from downtown. There are at least two clusters of hotels — one in town, the other near the airport — and these should satisfy most budgets. There are also, for those who don’t feel a pressing need to stay downtown, a couple of out of town options, where you can kick back on the beach.

A clean and almost cute town. : Stuart McDonald.
A clean and almost cute town. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Food wise, the city has a very solid range of simple Indonesian joints to choose from. There are also a couple of real coffee shops, more taliwang chicken than you could ever eat and even a Chinese restaurant with ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)

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