What can we say other than wow! Today's visit with the Prince of Bali was like stepping onto the set of a movie or going back in time to a bygone era.
Best-known for white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and world-class surfing, Sumba is one of the least-visited islands in all of Indonesia. Unlike the other islands in Indonesia, Sumba is not volcanic, and the locals here breed horses - a unique custom rare in Southeast Asia. Legend tells of a stash of gold hidden by the Imperial Japanese Army on the island during World War II, though it has yet to be found.
Because of the equestrian tradition of the local people, many of Sumba's activities and attractions center around horses, from the dynamic Pasola festival, where tribesmen conduct bloody, mock battles from horseback, to horse riding along the beaches and jungle paths of the island.
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Sometime between February and March of each year, Sumba hosts the exciting Pasola festival, a series of contests that originated as rituals to please the spirits of the harvest. The festivities include boxing matches, where contestants bind their hands in grass, and a battle between mounted horsemen, who use blunt spears. Because of the sheer scale of Pasola, blood and injuries are common, and deaths sometimes occur.
Visit a series of intriguing stone megaliths used in local burial practices; these monoliths are of varying age, with the most recent of them constructed in 1926. Many of these tombs are adorned with carvings of local chiefs and their families, as well as that of local animals, including horses, buffalo and cockerels.
Sumba is known for some of the best surfing in the world. There are small waves suited for novices, as well as excellent point breaks along the white sandy beaches.
Visit a traditional Sumba village and learn about their cultural practices and crafts, among them ikat weaving, traditional methods of construction, wedding customs, and funeral rites. Ikat is particularly interesting; a regional style of weaving, ikat is so elaborate that some pieces may take up to two years to complete. Visitors may commission an ikat design, which can be sent to them once completed.
Because of Sumba’s unique terrain and long equestrian traditions, horseback riding is an excellent way to see the island. From Nihiwatu Resort, one can take a ride along the beach and continue along jungle paths that meander through local villages.
Travel Indonesia’s mystical Sumba island on this thrilling 10-day luxury journey. Trek through the area’s lush natural surroundings, far off the tourist path. You’ll interact with locals in their small villages, marvel at iconic ancient tombs, and relax at the five-star Nihiwatu Resort on a white-sand beach.
Hop from exotic island to exotic island on this breathtaking 11-day luxury cruise that will take you to some of Indonesia’s most beautiful islands. Spend time in the popular and scenic Gili islands, hike to a crater lake, and search the island of Komodo for its eponymous dragons - all part of your exciting adventure.
Nihiwatu Resort, a small and exclusive island hideaway in eastern Indonesia, sits on 175 hectares of tropical forest, rice terraces and grasslands, and features 1.6 miles of headland-protected beachfront. Due to its location, Nihiwatu offers adventure sports such as world class fishing, surfing and diving, yet is an idyllic getaway for couples and anyone in need of rest and relaxation in pristine environs. Surrounding Nihiwatu are Stone Age sites and traditional villages that have remained unchanged for centuries; this unique tribal culture with its ancient animist rituals is truly incredible. Nihiwatu has seven luxury bungalows and three two-bedroom villas, offering complete solitude on remote Sumba Island. The thatched-roof bungalows and villas, hand-built by Indonesian craftsman using local materials, have balcony vistas stretching the full length of the beach to the headlands beyond. All are superbly outfitted in contemporary Indonesian style with large glass walls and doors to maximize the views. A swimming pool, cliff-top bar and living and dining room are close by the villas, and on the beach below is Nihiwatu’s jungle spa under a grove of Pandanus trees. Dining menus change daily and feature Asian and Western fare, and there is an extensive wine list with Old and New World bottles to suit any palate. The largest Sumbanese structure on the island is where private and group yoga, pilates and meditation instruction are available. Nihiwatu is a 50-minute flight from Bali.
If you’re traveling off the beaten path in the lush natural ambiance of Waingapu, Sumba, there’s no better place to rest your head than the Elvin Hotel. Tucked away from the busy road, the Elvin Hotel is a quiet Indonesian getaway. With cobalt-blue tiled, domed roofs, the hotel is built with true Asian island architecture style, but not lacking in any modern day conveniences. Enjoy a light complimentary breakfast delivered to your doorstep every morning. The hotel has been recently renovated and is always spotless and well-maintained. Enjoy a workout in the recently-added gym. While there is no on-site restaurant, there’s a cafe and one of the island’s few bakeries just a short stroll away. The hotel is a short drive from the Waingapu airport.
Step into a cultural retreat as you sleep easy underneath a traditional thatch roof. The Hotel Manandang is a series of Indonesian-style huts furnished with all the modern day conveniences inside. This is a luxury hideaway in the small town of Waikabubak. Enjoy a complimentary afternoon tea, accompanied by a local donut-style snack when you return midday. Take a stroll in the quaint, green garden. Enjoy a quick, piping hot and delicious meal of local cuisine from the on-site restaurant. Located just 30 miles from the Tambolaka Airport, the hotel is easily-accessible.