Maluk, Rantung & Sekongkang
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As you continue south, the beaches and bays try to outdo one another. Your first stop is the working-class commercial district of Maluk, 30km south of Taliwang. Yes, the town is ugly, but the beach is superb. The sand is a blend of white and gold, and the bay is buffered by two headlands. There’s good swimming in the shallows, and when the swell hits, the reef further outside sculpts perfect barrels.
One of the world’s largest copper mines, about 30km inland of Maluk, has driven a wave of development and attracted international and domestic staff from the US, Australia and Java to the area. The Newmont Mining Corporation employs about 8000 workers, and had a huge impact on Maluk when it first opened, but most of the expat restaurant and bar traffic has now shifted to Townside, a private company enclave complete with health club, golf courses and the best hospital in Sumbawa. You need a personal invitation to breach the gates, but you can arrange one with a week’s notice. Some spill-over still trickles into Maluk, along with a pinch of the nearly US$1.6 billion in annual mining proceeds. There’s a BNI bank with ATM on Jl Raya Maluk, adjacent to the Trophy Hotel. Just north, Warnet BW offers broadband access. The fun beachside marketplace is packed with warungs selling everything from soto ayam (chicken soup) to cappuccinos, juices and ikan bakar (grilled fish).
Directly south of Maluk, within walking distance of the beach (though it is a long walk) is Supersuck, consistently rated as the best ‘left’ in the world. Surfers descend regularly from Hawaii’s North Shore to surf here, which should tell you something, and many lifelong surfers have proclaimed it the finest barrel of their lives. It really pumps in the dry season (May to October).
About 15km further south, the spread-out settlement of Sekongkang includes three superb beaches with another handful of surf breaks. It also has the best range of accommodation and a gorgeous all-natural vibe. Pantai Rantung, 2km downhill from Sekongkang Atas, spills onto a secluded and majestic bay framed by 100m-high headlands. The water is crystal-clear and waves roll in year-round at Yo Yo’s, a right break at the north end of the bay. Hook, which breaks at the edge of the northern bluff, is also a terrific right. Supershit, breaks straight in front of the Rantung Beach Hotel, and is a consistent year-round beginner’s break, but gets heavy and delivers a long left when the swell comes in. The next bay down is where you’ll find Tropical, another phenomenal beach (named for the resort) and home to great left and right breaks that beginners would enjoy.
As you head north again toward Maluk, hang a right at the new government building in Sekongkang, down a degrading dirt road, through a stream, and under a bridge until it dead ends. Park, cross the river to your left, then follow the trail up for 20 minutes and you’ll discover a hidden waterfall home to dozens of dragonflies. Better get wet!
North of Rantung is Pantai Lawar, a tree-shaded stretch of white sand on a turquoise lagoon sheltered by volcanic bluffs draped in jungle. When the surf is flat, come here to swim, snorkel or spearfish.