Poto Tano, The Gate of Sumbawa

There’s a striking similarity between New York, one of the most famous, busiest cities in the world,  and Poto Tano, the gate of Sumbawa: they’re never asleep. In Poto Tano, the ferries keep coming back and forth every 45 minutes for 24 hours a day pouring many kind of people: tourists, farmers, fishermans,surfers, merchants, pilgrims, lovers, and pleasure seekers. The harbor never rests. Apart from the busy port, Poto Tano is quite a calm place.

A small fisherman village near the harbor gives life to the calm Poto Tano. It consists of lots of wooden houses built on stilts above the water and several permanent brick houses. What surprised me is most of the houses in the village (usually those with stilts) don’t have access to clean water, thus most of the residents don’t have a clean working toilet, although there are several shared toilets outside.

The village is a densed populated area, with lots of trash floated on the water below the houses, mixed with the odor of the outdoor toilets produce strong offensive smell. It’s hard not to call the village a slum and it’s too bad because with all the beauty that surrounds this place, it has so much potential to be a great tourist village like Sawarna, where the villagers have been handling the tourist industry so well for years without much help from the local government. Their effort has elevated the status of Sawarna village from a small, remote, underdeveloped village to one of the hottest and the most established tourist destinations in Indonesia.


Well, let’s put aside the gloomy facts and focus on what’s so good about Poto Tano. The fact that it’s surrounded by several small islands over the sea and a few hills around the harbor makes Poto Tano has a distinctive view, so special that separates it from any other harbor in Indonesia, especially at sunrise and sunset. Kenawa Island, a famous island with its exceptional scenery, is only 15 minutes away boat ride from the harbor. With its various dazzling landscapes and nearby islands, Poto Tano is just like heaven for selfie whores and amateur/professional/wannabe photographers. No matter how crappy your camera is, the results are always awesome.

Yeah, Poto Tano is THAT good.



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