Sumba is sparse and dry and one of the poorest islands in Indonesia. The residents are original, traditional and religious people. Tourism infrastructure is very basic, however, there is much to discover in Sumba: a rich culture, traditional lifestyle, bizarre landscapes, unspoilt nature and beautiful beaches.
Maybe the biggest attraction of Sumba is the traditional ceremony known as Pasola. The Pasola is performed by horse riders armed with spears. Two villagers face each other in a mock but far from serious battle. Every year, these ceremonies are held in Wanokaka, Kodi and Lamboya around February and March, and on certain holidays such as 17th August, when dance performances and horse races are also held in conjunction. Other attractions are megalithic stone tombs, traditional high roofed houses and outstanding weavings.
Things to do on Sumba
Beside the Pasola, Sumba is also well known for the excellent Ikat weavings. Traditional Ikat weavings are made from natural dyes and are therefore highly priced by collectors.
Waikabubak is a good starting point for exploring the traditional villages around the city. Virtually on every wooded hill in the city and around it are traditional villages. To explore it you need no guide, you can reach everything on foot.
About 20 km east of Waikabubak, near the village of Pasunga, you find the largest megalithic stone tombs in Sumba. Sumba is one of the very few places in the world where the practice of burial in megaliths remains intact.
However, to avoid difficulties with villagers that might be offended by tourists taking photos, we recommend hiring a local guide who also provides you with interesting information and the knowledge where you find the most remarkable spots. At least have some small presents like cigarettes available and don?t forget to make a small donation.
Travel to Sumba
Sumba has two airports, one in Waingapu and one in Tambulaka. Both are served by only two airlines, Merpati and TransNusa. Both airlines connect Sumba with Denpasar in Bali and with Kupang in Timor. An alternative are once again the Pelni cruise ships, which approached Sumba every 2 weeks. Sumba also has a ferry connection to Flores. The ASDP service connects Waingapu with the ports in Ende and in Aimere, each once a week. Please check the exact schedule in an ASDP office, as this is subject to change.
All major cities have good bus connections. Between Waingapu and Waikabubak there are five buses per day, which take about 5 hours. From Waikabubak to the west, buses leave almost every hour to Waitabula.