Moyo Island – Destination Spotlight
Moyo is a small island located in the north west of Sumbawa. Strategically situated between Komodo and Bali, Moyo is a popular destination for cruising. With stunning coral reefs, waterfalls, and a friendly populace, Moyo offers a little something for everyone.
Located at the north end of Saleh Bay in western Sumbawa, Moyo is approximately 350 square kilometers in size. There are several population centers throughout the island but with a small population of around 1000 people. Although not large, the island does reach over 1500 feet (500 meters) in altitude. The island is mainly covered in forest with a large variety of wildlife present. Much of the island is a national park and all of the coast is deemed a marine protected area.
Activities in Moyo
One of the main activities in Moyo is diving. The protected coral reefs on the west side of the island are situated in front of one of the main villages. The people from the village protect these reefs from outsiders and prohibit any fishing activities. With mild currents and plentiful fish, the dives rate highly with all divers. Typically the visibility is great at the local sites and there are 3 or 4 different sites to choose from. White tip and black tip sharks are common encounters along with sting rays, eagle rays, schools of fish, morays, and even the occasional manta ray. For those who are not certified divers, this area is the perfect destination to try a scuba dive for the very first time.
Moyo is a great place to stretch your legs and explore. There are two main waterfalls not far from Labuan Aji, the main village on the west coast. The closer waterfall is an approximately 2 kilometer walk from the pier. The beautiful cascading pools offer a pleasant dip as well as a rope swing for the more adventurous. There is a second set of falls further inland that are accessible either by jeep or motorbike. These waterfalls are a perfect afternoon experience with a beautiful trek through the jungle as a backdrop. There is the opportunity to encounter local wildlife such as monkeys and deer in the jungle.
In 1986, the West Nusa Tenggara government decreed that the vast majority of Moyo would become a nature reserve. Due to the small population, there is little pressure on the wildlife. Animals found on the island include macaques, deer, wild pig, and bats. There are also over 80 species of bird, a true paradise for birders. There are walking trails in and around the island to find these elusive species. Avid birders truly enjoy the exotic and colorful birds found on the island.
The People of Moyo
The people of the island are friendly and welcoming. A visit to the village of Labuan Aji can be arranged to walk through the streets. Although only a small village, the colorful houses and smiling people make it a worthwhile trip. As many of the inhabitants work or have worked at the adjacent Aman resort, English is widely spoken. A trip to the village in the late afternoon is the perfect time as often everyone crowds around the football field to watch a game of soccer.
With its proximity to both Bali and Komodo, Moyo Island is one of our favorite destinations. With a variety of wonderful activities both in and out of the water, it provides a full day of fun. Stopping here is a must do on our Bali and Komodo itineraries. It’s also very close to the whalesharks of Saleh Bay, a topic for a future post.