About Sumba

Sumba is a dynamic mystery. One of the Nusa Tenggara Timur one hour flight with ATR 272-600, and it is the southern part of NTT very close to Darwin Australia, a direct flight from Darwin would take maybe one and half hour.

This island is 3 x the width of Bali, but it has only 800,000 inhabitants. Previously it was divided into 2 regions, Sumba Barat with capital city Waikabubak and Sumba Timur with capital city Waingapu.

Owing to the large size, 5 years ago the Sumba Barat was divided into 3 region; Sumba Tengah, Sumba Barat and Sumba Barat Daya, that was chaired by the successful Dr Kornelius Kodi Mete as the Bupati.

With its rugged undulating savannah and low limestone hills knitted together with more maize and cassava than rice, physically it looks nothing like Indonesia’s volcanic islands to the north.

Sprinkled throughout the countryside are hilltop villages with thatched clan houses clustered around megalithic tombs, where villagers claim to be Catholic and Protestant but still pay homage to their indigenous Merapu animism belief with bloody sacrificial rites.

Throw in outstanding hand-spun, naturally dyed ikat, and the annual Pasola festival – where bareback horsemen ritualize old tribal conflicts as they battle one another with hand-carved spears – and it’s easy to see that Sumba runs deep that runs on the months of February and March when the Nyale small animals on the beach appear.

Sumba is one of the poorest islands in Indonesia such as Sumbawa, Flores, Timor, Maluku and Papua, an influx of welcome government investment has brought recent improvements in infrastructure – best seen in Tambolaka, the island's newest city where the newly built airport located.

4 years ago only 3 flights served this Tambolaka Airport, now it is served by 21 flights a week by Wings Air TransNusa and Garuda Indonesia. Most of the airlines fly ATR 272 with 100 seats except TransNusa fly 4 Jets engine with more than 100 seats.

And change has trickled down to traditional villages, as well. Thatched roofs are becoming tin, tombs are now made from concrete, traditional dress is increasingly rare, and remote villagers expect larger donations from visitors. Some traditions persist, however.

Many traditional village with thatched roof still to be seen at Kodi area, Kampung Tarung in Waikabubak, the Karuni Village in Loura and at many remote villages.

Many great beaches are available in Sumba, the most beautiful and close to Tambolaka Airport are the Pantai Kita Mananga Aba, Oro Beach, Karuni Beach, Karendi Beach and Mamboro Beach on the north parts where the waves are friendly with beautiful corals.

Surfing Beach are on the southern part of the island which is about one hour to two hours drive from Tambolaka Airport such as Kodi Beach, Marosi, Lamboya and Tarimbang Beach where most part of the beach are with cliff that naturally been used to protect the island from the wild Indian Ocean.

Sumba’s extensive grasslands make it one of Indonesia’s leading horse-breeding islands. Horses still serve as a mode of transport in more rugged regions; they remain a symbol of wealth and status, and can still win a bride. When young man wants to marry a young woman, his family needs to prepare “Bellis” for the bride, they can be pigs, cows or horses.

The Sumba people are friendly and very often you will meet them with large smiles, they are very often and when talking are very loudly. But people have to have respect and don’t touch their pride, because they are very proud tribe and this can do some harm.

The men traditionally brings a long dagger on the side when they are on official cases and ceremonies, and most of the people are eating “Sirih” on the top of smoking, you can see red teeth everywhere you go, so please don’t be alarmed.

The area of Waikelo Sawah, Kodi and Waijewa, the land has enough water on the ground and also they have more rains so they are forever green. But if you go to Sumba Barat Daya, you can see a lot of dryness because 8 months of the year are dry seasons and only 4 months are wet season.