Most travellers crossing the scorched, mountainous island of Sumbawa, east of Lombok, experience it solely through the window of a long-distance bus. But transit travel doesn’t do justice to this friendly, laidback island, with its fine beaches and surfing, offshore islands and traditional villages.

Historically, Sumbawa was divided between east and west, with the western Sumbawans influenced by the Balinese and Sasaks of Lombok, while the eastern Bimans share linguistic and cultural similarities with the Makarese of Sulawesi and the peoples of Flores and Sumba. The whole island is Muslim, however, and conservative dress is recommended.

 

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