indonesia travel magazine

Moyo Island, Sumbawa, Nusatenggara


A gently arcing crescent of jungled volcanic rock, Moyo Island – all 36,000 hectares of it – floats atop the gorgeous azure seas north of Sumbawa Besar. The same size as Singapore, it has almost no commercial development and is peopled by just five small villages. The majority of the island, and its rich reefs, form a nature reserve laced with hiking and biking trails, dripping with waterfalls and offering some of the best diving west of Komodo. Loggerhead and green turtles hatch on the beaches, long-tail macaques patrol the canopy, and wild pigs, barking deer and a diverse bird population all call Moyo home.

Unfortunately, accommodation is limited to just one expensive (like ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it’ expensive) resort, but it is possible to visit Moyo on a day trip.

Head to Pantai Goa (don’t let the name fool you) 8km west of the city centre (10,000Rp by ojek) and charter a speedboat (1,500,000Rp, two hours, up to four passengers). Or hop on a public bemo (9000Rp, one hour) to Air Bari, 20km northeast of Sumbawa Besar, and charter a boat (1,000,000Rp, one hour) from there. There are four bemo a day to Air Bari. They leave from the turn-off at the far end of Jl Sudirman.

The boats will take you to snorkelling spots Air Manis, and Tanjung Pasir (the better of the two). Good reefs with a plunging wall can be found all around the island if you are prepared to charter your boat for a bit longer. Just northeast of Pulau Moyo is small Pulau Satonda, which also has good beaches and tremendous snorkelling. It’s three hours by boat from Air Bari.

There are only two ways to dive at Pulau Moyo. You can join a Bali- or Lombok-based, Komodo-bound liveaboard or check in to the luscious Amanwana, the swankiest dive camp on the planet. There are worse fates.

The seas around Moyo get turbulent from December to March. If boat operators are hesitant to launch, they have good reason.

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