May 28, 2024

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Sumbawa in Indonesia is ‘the new Bali’

Sumbawa in Indonesia is ‘the new Bali’

Some tourists are calling Sumbawa ‘the new Bali.’ But is it?

Pererenan may be the new Canggu, but where’s the new Bali? As tourist behaviour gets worse, motorbikes for foreigners look like getting banned and authorities get increasingly fed up over on the Island of Gods, that’s the question on everyone’s lips.

Leaving aside the problems with the “Bali? Completed it, mate,” philosophy, and indulging in our #wanderlust for a minute, here are six reasons the Indonesian island of Sumbawa could be considered ‘the new Bali’ in 2023.

The waves are uncrowded

The waves in Sumbawa might not be quite as iconic as the ones in Bali, but they make up for it by being less crowded. From Lakey Peak and Scar Reef to Periscopes, Supersuck and Yoyos, there’s more than enough ocean juice for you to forget about Padang Padang and Uluwatu. You’re also less likely to be taken out by a 6’3″ Russian on a mid length, or get dropped in on by a twin fin hipster from Bondi.

The jungle waterfalls are juicy

If you thought Bali was the only place in Indonesia where you can make your less enlightened friends spit out their morning lattes with jealousy as you prance across a field or jump off a cliff into water of dubious depth, think again. There’s waterfall chasing in Sumbawa too.

It’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue

As a video by traveller @freelance_amy claimed yesterday, “Bali is out, Sumbawa is in.” Whether or not this claim is true, it shows people are talking about Sumbawa (another social media user said: “I’m definitely seeing it more on my feed”).

Amy also added an interesting insight into what it’s like to visit Sumbawa, writing: “Whilst it lacks some things that Bali has that make living there so easy – it was a beautiful place to spend a few weeks and feel that island magic.”

It’s not as developed as Bali

Speaking of creature comforts, some of the things that used to add to Bali’s exotic allure were the promise of being violently ill (Bali belly), sunstroke and not being within two countries of an F45. Now, unfortunately, with the crossfitification of Canggu, the avocado-toast-with-chili-flakes-and-Dukka-ification of Seminyak, the remedial pilates centre of the world moving to Ubud and cafes with filtered water popping up in Nusa Dua, Bali looks nothing like it did just 20 years ago.

In fact, even as far back as 1979 tourists in Bali have been moaning about tourists in Bali (see: the Tracks article that claimed there’s “No place where you can go so far to be so close to home”). So if you are after something a little more low key, Sumbawa is an interesting alternative. 

It has incredible natural phenomenon

It may not have Mexican restaurants which turn into nightclubs where you can dance on the table tops, or day clubs with diving boards where you can order chicken burgers and cocktails for Sydney-esque prices, but Sumbawa does have nature for days. Satonda, for instance, is a stunning island off Sumbawa’s north coast, created from a volcanic eruption about 1000 metres below sea level (millions of years ago). Many people hike to the top of Mount Tambora to gain an excellent view over Satonda.

The fellow travellers are more adventurous

In Sumbawa, you’re more likely to run into other travellers looking to escape the crowds, and looking at their travel experience differently. So if that’s what you’re after, Sumbawa could be for you.

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