The split personality of Sumba makes the island very attractive. The east-coast rocky shores are decorated by beautifully shaped craggy mountains and the west was contrastingly blessed by fertile verdure with rolling hills and lots of rain. Merchants from all corners of the world have been coming here to pick the finest ikat fabric for decades. Poor nation, yet rich tradition. The irreplaceable cultural heritage of Sumba is best to be seen in the countryside, where thatch-roof-topped houses tower over the jungles and the female villagers diligently weave and thread on their verandas, while the men are battling with swords and spears on horseback.
WAINGAPU AND WAITABUBAK
The largest port town Waingapu is the capital of Sumba, but it is far from a modern city. Pigs and poultry roam the backstreets and locals still walk barefoot, just ikat, which looks more like a colourful towel to the Westerners, wrapped around their waists and heads.There is no need to rush on this island; just relax and go with the flow.
Waitabubak is the second most important town. Surrounded by green meadows and forested hills, the land made home to numerous traditional tribal villages. Waikabubak is where you need to go to uncover the secrets of the Sumbawese civilization.
THE ANIMIST CULTURE
The local traditions and customs are the main reason to pay a visit to the mysterious countryside of Sumba. The villages are characteristic of huge clean houses made out of a petrified tree, from which the heads of conquered enemies once used to be proudly hung to celebrate the victory. Such totems are quiet a spectacle. Death here in Sumba plays the most important role, as that is a moment when then mortal soul makes the journey into the spirit world. Therefore, one of the most impressive experiences on this island are graveyards and the funeral rituals and ceremonies like megalithic burials and animal sacrifices.
Sumba gets heavy rain falls between December and February and it is almost impossible here to travel in these months, middle season months are March-April and October-November. The peak time is in the dry time of a year June-September, when it gets very hot.
Remember that Pasola takes place in the months of February-March and Wula Padu in November.
HOW TO GET THERE
Sumba is accessed either by boat or plane.
Fly to Jakarta/Java or Denpasar/Bali first. Then catch a local flight to Sumba. There is also a domestic airport in Waingapu (see https://www.garuda-indonesia.com/)
If travelling overland, ferry from Ende/Flores brings you to Waingapu/Sumba, or from the other side, from Sape/Sumbawa to Waikelo/Sumba.
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