The terrain on Sumba – Nusa Tenggara is quite different to its neighbouring islands; undulating hills replace the typical volcanic terrain in Indonesia with many areas in the North and East of the island resembling dry savannahs, whilst central highlands are covered in native alang alang grass and the mountains in the South extend down into lush tropical vegetation.
The World Wildlife Fund categorized Sumba as a deciduous forest eco region for its special flora and fauna. Sumba’s isolation has helped preserve one of Indonesia’s most fascinating cultures, particularly in its more remote western half, which is home to about two-thirds of the island’s 400,000 people.
1. Pasola Festival
The most famous of Nusa Tenggara’s festivals sees large teams of colorfully clad horse riders engaging in mock battles. Its pattern is similar to that of other ritual warfare that used to take place in Indonesia. It is a part of series of rituals connected with the beginning of planting season, which take place in 4 different areas in February or March each year. In February, Pasola is celebrated in the Kodi and Lamboya area, while in march it revolves around Wanokaka, all in West Sumba.
2. The Timeless Traditional Villages
Other than the Pasola Festival, Western Sumba also draws attention for its well-preserved traditional village culture. With traditional houses still clustered in hilltops, surrounding large stone tombs of their ancestors. Around the village you will see bare breasted and filed teeth old women and men in traditional head piece and short sarong on a horseback. To explore the area, you can base yourself in the neat little town of Waikabubabak, where the tropical trees and rice paddies contrast with the dry grassland around Waingapu, or the small town of Melolo, 65 km off Waingaput that is surrounded by numerous villages such as Kampung Pasunga that boasts one of Sumba’s most impressive tomb line-ups, or the Umabaru and Pau villages, that have houses, stone tombs, and Ikat weavings.
3. The Idyllic Nihiwatu
Stretching across 560 acres of unspoiled natural land including a two and half-kilometer private beach, lies Nihiwatu, a spectacular all-villa resort offers secluded privacy and the ultimate exclusivity. This recently named ‘Best Hotel in The World’ by Travel + Leisure Magazine features a three-villa tree house atop a cliff overlooking the Indian ocean, a day-long spa safari with endless spa treatments, private balés, plunge pools in each of its 33 villas , and views of Nihi Beach Island exploration that includes hidden waterfalls, scenic views of farmed rice paddies, local villages and artisans, freshly harvested coconuts, and picnic lunches, world-class surfing on the famous ‘Occy’s Left’ wave, and so much more.