Cascading falls, like this gentle one near Jelenga Beach, are tucked away throughout Sumbawa’s natural landscape.
Behind the little village of Seran deep in West Sumbawa, is an ancient legend of forbidden romance. The ravishing Princess Lala Jinis, the only daughter of the King of Seran, fell in love with a prince from another kingdom. Faced with the disapproval of the princess’ parents, the couple eloped, disappearing into the mountains, never to be seen again. You can muse over the tale at the Tiu Kelamu waterfall – about half an hour away from Seran Village – where Lala Jinis is said to have bathed. Today, a mesmerising dance is still performed by the ethnic Samawa people of Seran and Mantar villages on special occasions in honour of the princess.
This myth is one of many that pervade Sumbawa. The rugged Indonesian island is sprawled in the middle of an archipelago east of the more touristy Bali. With its vast tracks of quiet jagged peninsulas, deserted powdery white beaches and traditional villages perched high on volcanic mountains – around 85 per cent of the terrain here is mountainous – the vast island may as well be the antithesis of its noisier neighbour.
Puncak Mantar or Mantar Peak is a spot from a high, a place to see Alas Strait and Sumbawa area with naked eyes. Puncak Mantar is a peak from Mantar Mountain that lies in 650 meter above sea level and it administratively located in Mantar Village. To reach this location, we have to use a good condition car that can hike steep terrain.
t this place, we can see the beauty of the sunrise and sunset at the top of the hill. From the western side, we can see the enchanted view of Lombok Island, Alas Strait and other small islands around the waters. Meanwhile, if we looking at the eastern side, we can see the view of the astonishing sunrise.
Nestled at 640 meters above sea level, it is popularly known as “the village above the clouds” thanks to its breathtaking views. It is also said to always have the same number of albino residents: seven people.
In the last two years, Mantar’s high elevation has provided an interesting option for paragliding events, from festivals to competitions. Its unique culture, especially in relation to the albino residents, also makes it a destination for curious travelers.
Home to 400 families and 2,000 people, the villagers believe their ancestors came from several ethnicities, such as Javanese, Indian, Pakistani, Portuguese, Chinese and Thai. This is what makes the local residents have certain physical characteristics; some are white, even albino, some have brown skin, and there are also those who are black.
Legend has it that their ancestors were stranded in Tuananga waters below Mantar village in the 18th century during the Majapahit era. A stone on the closest beach that looks like a boat is said to be a fossil of the ancestors’ vessel.
Situated around 17 kilometers from the city of Taliwang, the regency capital of West Sumbawa, Mantar is not easy to reach as the 5-kilometer road leading to the village is not yet sealed. But those who are lucky enough to hike to its peak can expect to marvel at the eight breathtaking islets of West Sumbawa, including Kenanga Island.
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