One of Indonesia’s few non-volcanic islands in the so-called Pacific Rim Ring of Fire that spans 11,000 km2, Sumba is a unique, pristine and diverse tropical paradise. While the north coast is calm, dotted with coral reefs, scenic mangroves and sheltered bays, the rugged south coast is pounded by waves of the Indian Ocean. The island forms part of a grouping called the Lesser Sunda Islands, and is about twice as large as nearby Bali. The landscape is full of limestone hills, corn fields, cassava and wavelike savanna, offering a different, more blissful destination to tourists visiting Indonesia.
The inhabitants of Sumba are an ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse people. Despite integration into Indonesia, Dutch colonization and other foreign influences, they have retained their own ways and beliefs. On Sumba one will see thatched-roof homes surrounded by ancestral tombs, as the Sumbanese, whose principal religion is the local Marapu, keep to animist values that emphasize spiritual power and a devotion to ancestors. Christianity and Islam also hold great sway over the island, but nearly always infused with elements of Marapu. The local tradition is seen most prominently in the annual Pasola festival, when tribesmen, mounted on horses and armed with wooden spears, fight a bloody game to celebrate the harvest. Horses remain a main mode of transportation on the island, and are bred in abundance.
Travel to Sumba
Tourists and travelers interested to visit Sumba and view the real estate should plan to come between October and December, when the country is at its greenest, or between April and June when the rainy monsoon season has passed. For surfers, the most propitious time is between May and October, with perfect surfing weather. Swimmers are advised to be careful if they visit between July and September, when high waves can make swimming exciting but also less secure. Besides swimming, diving and surfing, the island has beautiful beaches to lounge on, and breathtaking tropical scenery to observe. If you are seeking a place of peace, quiet and beauty, Sumba is the ideal spot for you to visit.
Getting to Sumba
Travellers can fly to Waingapu Airport in East Sumba, from the nearby city of Kupang in West Timor or from Denpasar on Bali. There is also another airport in East Sumba, Tambolaka Airport, with flights from Denpasar. Otherwise, you can also come by boat from the island of Flores. Waingapu is the largest town on the island, home to a seaport, airport, government offices, education and business centers. Another popular town is Waikabubak, where there are splendid beaches good for surfing, as well as an exclusive resort where holiday-goes can relax, explore the surroundings and appreciate the local culture. There are traditional villages close-by, such as Tarung and Pero.
Whether you are a world traveler, a busy person with a demanding job, a water-sports enthusiast or just someone looking to visit a different corner of the world, Sumba will offer an experience of the beautiful and magical like little else can.