Batu Tering & Surrounds
The area around Batu Tering Village has a number of attractions including the ancient Ai Renung and Raboran stone sarcophagus sites and the Liang Petang and Laing Bukal Caves. The village is only 28km south of Sumbawa Besar but given the sad state of the last section of road, allow an hour from Sumbawa Besar for the one-way trip and another 3-4hrs to trek between the sites. As such, Batu Tering is a perfect day trip from Sumbawa Besar.
To reach the village, head south from Sumbawa Besar along the Sumbawa-Bima Road for about 4km, until you reach the turnoff to Lunyuk on the right hand side. After approximately 14km, turn east towards Batu Tering village another 6km’s ahead. This last section of road is particularly poor so a four wheel drive or ojek is probably the best means of transport. At Batu Tering you should be able to pick-up a guide to show you the sites quite easily. Don’t forget to take a torch to explore the caves.
Aik Renung Megalithic Site
On the side of a stone mountain overlooking rice filled plains, archeologists have identified one of the oldest Neolithic sites in the world. Often referred to as the “New Stone Age” the Neolithic period ran from 10,200 to 2,000 BC. It followed the Paleolithic period, the age of chipped-stone tools and preceded the Bronze Age, a period characterised by metal tools.
The ancient stone sarcophagus’s at Aik Renung are estimated to be 4,000 years old. The tombs are made of large stones chiseled out to create a cavity in which to place a body, covered, and intricately carved with human and reptilian forms. Given the care and effort put in to creating the stone graves, archaeologists believe they were preserved for the burial of chiefs.
The Aik Renung relics are scattered across three separate locations, the first of which contains four sarcophagus’s etched with human and crocodile images. Higher on the mountain side, the second location has a well preserved sarcophagus with a complete domed cover (called a cupola in archaeological terms). The sarcophagus’s in the third location are larger but less well formed.
Given the relatively good condition of the relics, Aik Renung is arguably the pick of Sumbawa’s archaeological sites if you have limited time.
Liang Petang (Evening Cave)
The caves of Batu Tering are natural limestone caves sneaking back into the mountain. From the outside, they don’t appear overly large so you get quite a surprise once you scramble your way inside the entrances.
Liang Petang is the better of the two, with some impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations, large anti-chambers and tunnels stretching back 500m into the mountain side. It’s rumoured that the cave was once occupied by early Islam messengers, further fuelled by supposed discoveries of petrified human remains, pottery shards, furniture and an old loom by cave explorers delving into the deep recesses of the cave. Whilst impossible to verifiy, it’s not hard to imagine early inhabitants making use of this natural shelter.
The cave is located about a 20min trek from Batu Tering village, which involves wading through a river and a bit of scrambling up to the entrance.
Laing Bukal (Bat Cave)
Not far from Liang Petang, Laing Bukal cave is not particularly notable for anything other than its resident bat population but has an impressive outlook over a pretty stone river. It’s a perfect place to have a swim and a picnic before heading back to the village.