Guide To Sumba Island

Sumba is an island in Indonesia that you’ve most likely never heard of. It’s relatively undiscovered and certainly not geared for tourism.

There’s so much more to Sumba Island than what meets the eye: The rugged coastline and exotic beaches. The unique traditions and rich history. The diverse cultures and isolated way of life.

How to get there

If you’re looking for airplane to Sumba, there are only 3 airlines to Sumba. Garuda Indonesia, Wings air, and Nam Air. Since there is no direct flight, you can choose any airlines and transfer through Bali and Kupang. 

This flight took you around 60 minutes flight from Bali / Kupang to Sumba and it costs around 100 USD / IDR 1.500.000 for one way flight from Bali / Kupang.

The island divides into 4 regions, Sumba Barat Daya, Sumba Barat, Sumba Tengah & Sumba Timur.

There are 2 airports on the island. 

  1. Tambolaka Airport in Sumba Barat Daya – Waikabubak.

  2. Waingapu Airport in Sumba Timur – Waingapu.

Visit traditional villages in Sumba

Sumba Island has strong, preserved traditions and you can experience these by visiting a traditional village. Also unique to Sumba are the houses with tall pointed roofs made of dry grass.

There is no entrance fee to enter these traditional villages.

Below are some of the popular traditional villages in Sumba:

  • Rende Village is in East Sumba and has huge megalithic tombs in the center of the village. It’s close to Wai Marang waterfall so you can visit both on a day trip from Waingapu.
  • Praijing is another traditional village close to Wakiabubak, West Sumba.
  • Ratenggaro is one of the most beautiful and most visited villages on the west side of Sumba Island. Situated on a cliff, next to a deserted beach.
Waikelo Sawah

Remainder, this man-made waterfall and dam is purely for your visionary pleasure and not suitable for swimming at all!

Churning up to 1,000 litres of water per second, Waikelo Sawah used to be a part of a hydropower plant managed by the government in 1976. The current runs fast and strong, giving life to the lush paddy fields and acting as a water source for the locals’ daily wash or leisurely bath.

Surrounded by the verdant greenery under the foot of the hill, this waterfall is also situated under several magnificent caves. As a result, you have one of the nature’s best architectural design – a cave lagoon framed by the panoramic emerald green and the most exotic stone entrance.

An instant favorite for all, the best time to visit Waikelo Sawah is around February, March and November. You’ll get to witness the traditional annual rituals in Sumba such as Pasola, a spear-fighting equestrian game and Wula Podu, a sacred local dance.

Weekuri Lagoon

Located in North Kodi, Southwest Sumba, Weekuri Lagoon is one of the most popular destinations as the turquoise waters lure both locals and visitors alike for a swim. There is a jumping board for thrill seekers. It is important, however, to check the tides before planning a swim. At this paradise lake, the turquoise water turns gold at sunset – a magical moment you don’t want to miss!

Separated by cliffs, this tidal lagoon is only 20 meters away from the sea with a sandy bottom and cool waters that are perfect for swimming. Sit under one of the shady trees while dipping your feet in the cool water and marvel at the beauty of your surroundings. Like many hidden gems on this island, you won’t find many people here.

Come in the morning when you can see the sunlight piercing through the water to the bottom of the lake, and get your snorkel goggles on!

Kampung Tarung

As you step into the ancient village of Kampung Tarung, you’ll immediately know that you have been transported back in time.

Located on the top of the hill overlooking Waikabubak town, the houses (known as “Uma” among the locals) resemble those in Ratenggaro. The stage-shaped houses with hay roofs made completely from natural materials such as bamboo and roots. The houses arranged neatly and encircle the village square, where you will notice a megalithic tomb, a Marapu temple, and a pole on which they used to hang the heads of their enemies.

Determined to preserve their heritage, the village still maintains its traditions and rituals. If you visit Kampung Tarung between the full moon in October and the full moon in November, you’ll get to witness Wula Podu, a festival during which the men hunt for wild boars in the neighbouring forests.

Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park

Nature lovers absolutely shouldn’t miss this national park in Sumba which is the best place to come if you want to see a whole host of plants, trees, and exotic animals.

The plant life here is exquisite and you will find a range of protected species that are native to this part of Sumba.

There are also several rare and endangered species of animals here such as crab-eating macaques, pythons, and Sumba green pigeons.

Also do not miss the amazing part in the park is the towering centerpiece in the form of the Waingapu Waterfall.

Bawana Beach

Imagine posing on a white soft sandy beach with a tall picturesque arch cliff as your background – that’s going to be one of your proudest photo moment.

On the beach, you’ll notice its iconic arch – essentially a large hole in the rock formation that stands firmly on the shoreline while the waves crash in.

From a distance, the view at Bawana beach will remind you of the amazing green cliffs in Ireland. You will see miles of unspoiled beach with pounding waves lined along the majestic cliff.

You’ll likely have the beach all to yourself, and we recommend going during sunset to catch an even more magnificent view!

If you are looking for any tour packages include Sumba Island, here are some recommendations:

  1. Sumba Exploration Tour (4D/3N)
  2. Sumba Island Open Trip (4D/3N)
  3. Sumba Exploration Tour (6D/5N)

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