Hiu Paus Sumbawa

Swimming with Whale Shark in Saleh Bay Area, Sumbawa

On Sumbawa Island, whale sharks can be found in the Saleh Bay Area, the island’s largest bay, which is administratively connected to the Flores Sea and separated by Moyo Island.

The water area of Saleh Bay is approximately 1,459 km2. How do you find this whale shark in such a big area? Take a look at the explanation provided below.

How to Get to the Whale Shark Location on Sumbawa

To begin, you must first understand where Sumbawa Island is located and how to travel to the city center, Sumbawa Besar City.

Towards Sumbawa Besar City

Sumbawa Island is situated between the islands of Lombok and Labuan Bajo in Flores, in the province of West Nusa Tenggara.

The island of Sumbawa can be reached by both land and air. If traveling by air, use the flight code SWQ to fly to Sultan Muhammad Kaharuddin III Airport in Sumbawa Besar City.

If arriving by land from Lombok, take a ferry from Kayangan Harbor in East Lombok to Poto Tano Port in West Sumbawa.

Then, using a motorized vehicle, continue the journey from Poto Tano Port to Sumbawa Besar City, which will take around 2 hours.

From Sumbawa Besar City To Labuan Jambu Village

After arriving in Sumbawa Besar City, you must travel by motorized vehicle for around 3 hours to Labuan Jambu Village.

Labuan Jambu Community is a coastal village in Tarano District where the bulk of the people works as fishermen.

Labuan Jambu Village, Sumbawa
Labuan Jambu Village

When you arrive in Labuan Jambu Village, you can stay in one of the village’s homestays or at a local’s home. If you stay the night at a resident’s home, you will have to pay a fee.

To get recommendations for lodging and other information concerning Whale Shark tourism, contact the local Pokdarwis (Tourism Awareness Group) or the Labuan Jambu Village Office.

FROM LABUAN JAMBU VILLAGE TOWARDS BAY SALEH AREA

Why should you start your journey in Labuan Jambu Village? Because the Sumbawa Whale Shark can only be seen at 06.00 a.m., when the Bagan fishermen lift their nets.

A traditional fishing boat transports visitors from Labuan Jambu Village to Saleh Bay Area, where the Whale Shark can be found, in around 2 hours.

Paket Tour Lombok dan Sumbawa oleh The Langkah Travel
Tourists take a ride on a Begoq (traditional fishing boat) to Saleh Bay

If you want to reach in Bagan at 6 a.m., you must start your journey from Labuan Jambu Village at 4 a.m.

It is critical to use a local guide during this time. In the Saleh Bay Area, there are dozens, if not hundreds, such Bagan. We don’t know for sure which Bagan the Whale Shark is on, of course.

The presence of a local guide will be quite beneficial in locating the correct Bagan spot where you can immediately go and begin swimming with one of these docile unusual animals.

Paket Tour Lombok dan Sumbawa oleh The Langkah Travel
Bagan, Where Whale Sharks Appear

Best Time to See Sumbawa Whale Shark

Whale sharks can be found in the Saleh Bay Area virtually all year. However, you should visit between August and November to enjoy the optimum visibility when snorkeling and interacting with these massive fish.

Furthermore, visit when the moon is dark, which can be a week before or after the full moon.

Why?

During a full moon, Bagan fishermen do not venture out to sea. The Whale Shark, on the other hand, can only be found if there is a Bagan.

How much does it cost to see Sumbawa whale sharks?

Sumbawa Whale Shark
Whale Shark Seen From The Boat

The rate offered by the Villager of Labuan Jambu Village, to enjoy Sumbawa Whale Shark Tourism is quite high. Therefore, traveling in large groups is highly recommended so that these costs can be shared with other participants.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs:

  1. Outside of meals, accommodation in a resident’s house costs IDR 100.000,- per person. Food is available in stalls throughout Labuan Jambu Village for IDR 20,000 each meal.
  2. Renting a Begoq (traditional fishing boat) to Saleh Bay costs between IDR 500,000 and IDR 750,000, depending on how far Bagan is away. The capacity of a begoq is ten people.
  3. The Bagan owner and Bagan crew fee per chart is IDR 1.550.000. A small shrimp bait is given to keep the Whale Shark on the chart for as long as possible.
  4. The charge for conservation is IDR 50,000 per person.
  5. The entrance charge is IDR 50,000 each individual, with 20,000 going to the community treasury and 30,000 going to Village cash.
  6. Fees for local guides range from IDR 250,000 to IDR 500,000.

The fees shown above do not include transportation to Labuan Jambu Village.

When Interacting With Whale Sharks, Follow These Guidelines

Sumbawa Whale Shark In Saleh Bay
Snorkeling With The Whale Shark

The whale shark is a rare animal that is protected by the government. When engaging with this fish, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. There will be no touching. The whale shark’s placoid scales are spiky and can harm the body when touched, making this unsafe for visitors.
  2. When snorkeling or diving, keep a distance of at least 3 meters since the whale shark’s tail swing is highly powerful, and being hit by the wave can be very dangerous.
  3. Turn off the flash when shooting.
  4. Always follow the local guide’s instructions.

Additional Tips When Traveling Whale Sharks in Sumbawa

  1. Breakfast should be prepared before crossing to Teluk Saleh, or you can ask your guide to do it.
  2. Because the begoq, or fishing boat, is rather open, ask your guide to cover it with a tarp for the return trip from Saleh Bay.
  3. Begoq is also an extremely loud place. Of course, this tourism growth is still in its early stages, with few supporting infrastructure. Cotton should be used to cover your ears.
  4. If a Whale Shark approaches you while snorkeling, remain cool and swim away slowly.
  5. Request that your guide be the first to disembark and the last to board. This allows the guide to keep an eye on you for safety reasons.

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