Indonesia has the most beautiful islands on earth. That is not overstatement. With more than 17.000 islands, this archipelago country is a diverse and rich with its beautiful natures. People once asked me, “Where is the most beautiful place in Indonesia?” I would say, it is East Nusa Tenggara province which also consists of many beautiful islands. There are 3 big islands in this province, which are Flores, Sumba, and western part of Timor, where Kupang, the capital of the province located. In Flores, you would be able to see the most beautiful sea-view through the infamous Komodo Sailing Trip and adventurous overland trip across the island. While in Sumba, you can do road trip and experience local cultures throughout the island. It’s gonna be a long post, but definitely worth the wait!
We took a 5 days and 4 nights trip started from West Sumba all the way to East Sumba. We landed at Tambolaka, West Sumba after transiting for a while in Bali. Our driver picked us up and dropped us to our hotel for check-in before starting the journey. So, here is our 5 days itinerary in this amazing island!
Rumah Budaya Sumba (Sumba Cultural House)
Our first destination was Rumah Budaya Sumba or Sumba Cultural House, where we were brought to experience several traditional houses which have been turned to museums with tons of cultural heritage, such as traditional weapons, utensils, clothes, and so on. A tour leader explained to us a few historical events behind the existing cultures of Sumba people here which is still very presence up to this day. One of the most memorable philosophy that we learned here, which is the philosophy behind the cone shape of Sumba traditional house’s rooftop: “Going up high to always involve God in whatever we do and spreading to all direction at the bottom to always help each other as human-beings.”
Lendo Ngara Hills
The next destination was Lendo Ngara Hills which is located at the Southwest of Sumba. It is a huge hills area where we could enjoy the savanna view all around us. Although it is a hills area, we didn’t need to walk or hike up a lot as it is located right nearby from the main road.
Mananga Aba Beach
We ended the first day by enjoying sunset at Mananga Aba Beach. The sand in this beach is so smooth and so white. There were not many tourists or people which made this beach so peaceful and you can be almost completely alone in the whole place.
Danau Weekuri (Weekuri Lagoon)
On the next day, we left Tambolaka and moved towards the eastern part of the island. The first place we visited this day was Danau Weekuri (Weekuri Lagoon) located 60-km away from Tambolaka. This place is famous with its turquoise water with the heart shape from the top view. Another unique fact of this place is that the salty water because this lagoon is connected to the oceans and the water is mixed up through the cracks of the rocky corals which separates both.
In this place, we could walk through the path which led us to the higher part of the lagoon in coral hills. There, we could see both of the ocean side and the lagoon side from the top. It was mesmerizing!
After enjoying the views, you could swim in this clear water lagoon. The feeling was really amazing. However, if you are somebody who is always concerned with sanitary, you might want to think twice to go swimming. Not because the lagoon is dirty, but there is no decent place for you to shower after the swim. There was only a few small cabins with buckets of waters that you could use to clean up yourself. The water was delivered by the local children who brought those heavy bucket of waters from the springs which is located a bit far from the lagoon. Therefore, they limit 1 small bucket per person if you want to shower after swim there.
Kampung Adat Ratenggaro (Ratenggaro Traditional Village)
Another traditional village that we visited and it was around 1.5 hours away from the previous destination. The mystical ambiance could be felt while we listened to the history of this place that was a bit dark. Apart of being traditional village, this place also has big cemetery where there are 304 grave stones and the 3 of them are uniquely located beside the oceans. The cultural ceremony related to the deaths has still been done regularly by the locals until today in this place.
Bawana Beach & Tanjung Mareha
Bawana Beach is probably one of the icons of Sumba, which is a beach with extraordinary beauty and a 5-meters high cliff with a big hole that looks like a big gate besides the oceans. To reach the beach, you need to walked down the steep cliffs for around 20-minutes (it might take longer on your way back as you need to climb lol). We spent the time to enjoy the view before we go back and visited the next place which offers us to see the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen, from a place called as Tanjung Mareha.
Tanjung Mareha is a hill located 5-minutes drive from the car park in Bawana Beach. We’ve got the perfect spot on top of the hill which is facing right into the Bawana Beach from the top. I believe every place has its own special sunset, but this one is one of a kind.
We visited another traditional village, which is Praijing Megalithic Village! It resides in Waikabubak region in West Sumba. We learned about the culture, witness various traditional objects, get closer and immerse the local villagers livings. Once arriving there, we would be able to see a huge complex of traditional houses with the families living there.
One thing that captured my heart in this place is how the kids warmly welcomed us and very excited to meet and interact with us. What surprised me, these kids are very smart and they could talk in a few foreign language, such as English and Korean. When I asked them where they learned the language from, they answered that it was from the tourists and foreigners who visited this village, and a few volunteers who happily teach them these language. The conversation we had with these kids was more than heartwarming!
Oh, one thing that you need to do when visiting Sumba: please prepare a bucket of candies in your bag! There are kids everywhere. They are kind and lovely. They expect nothing from us (not like the kids in most of tourism spots who usually asked for money), but they are very happy when we gave them sweets or candies. Yes, as simple as candies, you could bring joy to these kids!
Apart of beaches and cultural villages, Suma is also famous with its wonderful waterfalls. Easily reached from Waikabukan where we stayed on the 3rd night, Lapopu Waterfall is a hidden paradise behind the short walk in the jungle that offers us a curtain of magnificent cascades.
From the car park, we need to have shaded walk to the falls in an easy 15-mins alongside the gushing river. It’s a short walk, but you need to be careful as the path could be a bit narrow and slippery. But it was considerably easy, as usually most of waterfalls in the world are hidden even deeper in the woods where we need to have more efforts to reach them.
Bukit Warinding (Warinding Hills)
Now we were finally moving to the east! We were about to stay the night at Waingapu in East Sumba, but before that, we visited one of the most popular spot in Sumba, which is Bukit Warinding to enjoy another breathtaking sunset. The gradation between the blue sky with brownish green savanna is the perfect treats for our eyes.
Here, you could borrow ‘kain tenun Sumba’ or Sumba traditional textile as your photo props. There are lot of kids with their horses happily playing in this place. I would suggest you to come between June to October to get the perfect brownish shade of this hills. Unless otherwise, you would just see green savanna which I think could be a little bit more common.
Milky Way at Waingapu
After refreshing ourselves at the hotel in Waingapu, we went out again at around 10pm to one of the highest hill in the city for milky way hunting. It was worth the time as indeed Sumba has the most amazing sky!
This is another place that we are most excited about! Well, to be honest, it was a little bit of mix between excited and nervous as based on our research, the track that we need to go through to visit this waterfall is difficult and nerve-wracking. This destination is optional in any of the Sumba trip as it requires more effort and strong physical condition.
It took us around 2-hours car ride from our hotel to the first point where we need to shift to 30-minutes motorcycle ride by the steep cliffs. There was a point where the rider asked me to go down and walk down in a downhill while he walked and held the motorcycle as it was too dangerous to ride it on. After that, did we arrive already? Of course, not. We still need to went through 40-mins trekking going up and down the rocky cliffs and small creeks. It was a wonderful experience!
Was it worth it? Definitely, yes!
Walakiri Beach is one of many beautiful beaches in East Sumba, but this one has very unique characteristic with lots of mangroves scattered all over white sand beaches. These mangroves are the ones that make you able to capture amazingly beautiful pictures over the twilight sky before the sunset.
Four days went in a blink of an eye in this beautiful island. The last spot we had is Bukit Persaudaraan, which is a hill located nearby to Umbu Mehang Kunda Airport in Waingapu, Sumba Timur where we would catch our flight back to Jakarta.
Overall, Sumba Trip was one of the most memorable trip I’ve ever had!