I first heard of Lakey Peak about eight years ago, when Indonesia was still a dream for me. In 2016 I travelled to Indo for the first time, but it was only this year that I finally managed to visit this magic corner of Sumbawa.
I’d heard some pretty bizarre and farfetched stories about the place, some good and some bad, but our experience was epic and I hope to go back soon. We got to Indonesia at the end of May and hung out at our beloved Uluwatu for a couple of weeks. Ulus is one of my favourite places in the world, it feels like home to me. We scored really good waves, hung out with friends and soaked up the Indo sun after spending the previous weeks in NZ winter.
With only one month in Indo this time around (unlike the usual three-month stay in previous years), the main trip would be to Lakey Peak. So after a few weeks in Ulus we gathered a good crew and flew from Denpasar to Bima. Nick, Sam, and Ellen from New Zealand, then we later met up with Ian, Francisco, and Fabricio from Uruguay. The flight was an hour and cost $70 NZD a few days out.
We could have driven from Bali through Lombok to Sumbawa like we did last year but it would have taken 2 days and the swell was arriving soon, so we opted to hop on a plane in the morning and surf the same afternoon.
Bima airport is a little over 2 hours away from Lakeys. Once at the airport, we got a taxi which unlike most places in Indo has a set price of 800.000 rupiahs ($80nzd) so we saved the bartering for the ride. Most taxis take a maximum of 4 people and we strapped the board bags to the roof. Despite it being Ramadan (Sumbawa is fully Muslim) our drivers (yes we had two for the long 2-hour journey) made a stop to grab some snacks and told us they were being naughty as they were supposed to be fasting.
Due to Ramadan, there were temporary roadblocks on the main road that went through lots of rural villages. Our drivers Ranga and Rangi got creative and took us through some pretty sketchy looking backstreets to avoid the hold ups. At one point we had to do a 30 point turn to get down a dusty side street filled with goats and chickens, and some locals got involved. We drove through what seemed like a barren wasteland of dry desert and salt farms. Then up into the hills with lush green forest, and through little towns with colourful houses, and donkeys and horses pulling carts of fruits and supplies.
We were running low on fuel and the nearest petrol station was out of gas, so we had to wait in line for the fuel tanker to arrive before we could get the pump to go. We waited for 40 minutes in the stinking hot sun, covered in sweat, our legs stuck to the car seats.
Arriving at Lakey Peak is overwhelming. So many locals followed us into the main area on their bikes wanting to rent us scooters and overpriced accommodation. We hadn’t booked anywhere to stay so we attempted to find a spot in front of the beach and we definitely found it; the place was called Lakey Alavue. It was a bit out of our budget but after yarning with the local manager in my basic Bahasa, I managed to get it down heaps and was perfect for the four of us.
We had a whole house to ourselves, right in front of the peak, with a spectacular rooftop view to have a Bintang, see the sunset, and contemplate one of the most perfect waves in the world.
I was blown away by the quality of the wave. It’s a perfect A-frame, the left being a bit longer and playful with a couple of barrel sections, and the right shorter with a good barrel on the takeoff and a shallower end section, leaving the reef quite exposed.
The next few days the boys and I would paddle out at dawn, only coming in for meals before heading back out again until the wind swung around at midday.
In the afternoons we would explore the area or have a siesta. On one of these arvos, we went on a scooter mission to find a secret beach with a hot spring. The road there was crazy, covered in boulders from a recent landslide, and halfway to our destination the pavement ended and turned into a gravel and dirt winding trail.
The sand and even some of the rocks at the spring were boiling hot, too hot to touch. Ollie got right in it and covered himself in sulphur mud. The road back to Lakeys was super scenic during sunset and quite windy, with outstanding views of the coast and high cliffs, we made various stops to admire the pleasing vista.
On another afternoon we ventured up the coast on scooters we rented or borrowed from Jamesa. This is one of my favourite things to do in Indo; just get on the scooter and see where the road takes you. We rode up and down the beach where there wasn’t a soul in sight. I was feeling so much freedom.
During our time in Indo the FIFA world cup was on, and as an Uruguayan, this is a quite exciting time of the year. I’m not very fond of football but when Uruguay plays I become a dedicated fan. A beach shack style restaurant at the end of the beach called ‘Fatmahs’ was streaming the game against Egypt so we all planned to have dinner there. We were 3 Uruguayans, 1 Argentinian and 3 kiwis, some Aussies too, but everyone was supporting Uruguay. When we got there I was surprised to see a huge Uruguayan flag next to the screen and so many people were speaking Spanish. There were at least 10 other Uruguayans in Lakey Peak watching the game and it was one to remember. We had a power outage midway through the game and the room went pitch black while everyone frantically tried to get the game back on. Uruguay won and it was one of the best feelings to be in the middle of nowhere with a new family.
There are a lot of different options for accommodation at Lakey Peak, the most expensive one being Amangati Hotel, and one of the cheapest is Puma homestay. We stayed in Lakey Alavue for the first couple of nights and then moved to Ani Lestari, which was simple and cheap with a broken tap and a few holes in the walls, but with breakfast included.
This shift of housing occurred after some Australian guys with a rather unpeaceful vibe turned up to Lakey Alavue and said they had pre-booked it online months in advance. Quite astonished with the situation I went and talked to the local manager of the place, he responded he had no idea of this booking but the Aussie owner had called him and said we had to leave because these guys were paying the full price (more than 3x what we were paying). We agreed and moved to the homestay just behind. Pretty stoked that we managed to stay there for basically nothing compared to what these guys paid. In some places like this, especially in Indo, it’s always better to figure out accommodation when you arrive so you can barter a good deal. There are some other homestays further away from the main peak but I would highly recommend staying in one in front of it to always be aware of the conditions without the need to hire a scooter.
For food, there’s not really a supermarket or something similar nearby, just small shops that sell biscuits, some fruit and coffee. We usually had local food for lunch and some western dish for dinner. The best local food spot is definitely Nina’s Warung, just across the main road from the peak, where you can get the classic Nasi Campur for 20 or 30K and it’s reeeally tasty. Nasi Campur literally means “mixed rice”, and usually comes with boiled eggs, fried veggies, tempeh, chicken, fish, and spicy sauce displayed in bowls, buffet style so you can pick and choose what you want.
There are various western style food spots, and they’re all pretty good but a bit pricey for Sumbawa, ending up being about the same as Bali prices. There’s one right in front of the Peak and next to Lakey Alavue where they play surf movies at night and serve really good food. My favourite was the fresh fish with salad and potato chips. The Wreck is good too and has a pool table – its a pretty unique restaurant on the beach, set up on a shipwrecked boat. Fatmahs at the end of the beach has fruit salads and granola bowls which were Ellen and Sam’s favourites.
There are some cool spots close to Lakeys that are definitely worth checking out, and some really good waves too, so when the winds pick up, grab a scooter and go on some missions.
If you’re planning a trip here and there’s anything you’d like to know, I’d love to help, just leave a question in the comments.
Thanks for reading 🙂