It was hard to believe I was in the same country. Bali was lush, wet, tropical, and inviting. From the Ferry, Sumbawa looked, dry, desolate, and a bit forbidding.

Luckily, that was just a first impression. I had a four hour drive to the town of Sumbawa Besar, the main waypoint for travelers crossing this fairly large island.

As I drove, the desert and hot, dusty towns around the port of Poto Tano changed to fields of corn, wheat, and green rice. Sumbawa is drier than lush Bali, hardly a desert.

Sumbawa is more similar to Lombok than Bali. Like Lombok, Sumbawa is Muslim. I noticed that the mosques were more basic than the fancy ones on Lombok, and there were fewer of them.

That doesn't look like Bali! My first view of Sumbawa from the ferry.
That doesn’t look like Bali! My first view of Sumbawa from the ferry.

Sumbawa also has horse carts like Lombok, which you see in towns. In fact, most traffic is confined to the towns. Local people do not venture far from their homes. Between towns the bulk of the traffic consists of trucks, and a few cars.

Stands lined the road selling fresh roasted sweet corn, providing a tasty snack. That was about it for food. I would learn to always carry my lunch.

When I stopped to take pictures, some local guys wanted me to take their pictures. Guys on a motorbike rode up next to me and talked to me. People are friendly here!

Before reaching Sumbawa Besar, the road passed a stretch of volcanic black sand beaches. Except for the fishermen, they were completely deserted. There is no tourist infrastructure on Sumbawa, and that suited me fine.

Fields of wheat and mountains gave Sumbawa its own beauty.
Fields of wheat and mountains gave Sumbawa its own beauty.
These guys weigh rice. They were quite proud of what they did, and wanted me to take their picture.
These guys weigh rice. They were quite proud of what they did, and wanted me to take their picture.
After the harvest.
After the harvest.
Mountains over the jungle.
Mountains over the jungle.
I had this beach to myself.
I had this beach to myself.
Terry
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.

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